Jan. 29, 2019

If you visit out of state and say you’re from Idaho, most people don’t know where you are talking about. But if you mention potatoes...well, that’s a whole other story. Idaho is synonymous with potatoes. So, it was no surprise to find out that Idaho had a Potato Museum.

I had no idea what to expect from a Potato Museum, however, when I pulled up and saw the HUGE potato outside, I knew this was going to be a very interesting adventure. The museum is in an old train depot. The women who took our tickets told us all about the origins of the museum and pointed us in the direction of pictures that told the story of potatoes in Idaho. There were singing Potato Heads, products made from potatoes, equipment used in growing and cultivating potatoes and even a kids area that teaches experiments made possible with the use of potatoes. It was really interesting to find out the many uses potatoes have.

To make it even better, there was a Potato Station Cafe serving up potato bread, a baked potato bar, potato salad and potato cupcakes. So yummy! Check out their website at idahopotatomuseum.com for everything at the museum. Spend an afternoon learning about Idaho’s famous potato origins. It's worth the trip!

History: A brief history of the potato in Idaho.

A History of the Potato in Idaho
by James W Davis
Excerpted from “Aristocrat in Burlap” / Published by the Idaho Potato Commission

“Say “Idaho” and the first thing most non-residents think of is the famous potato. Any history of Idaho would not be complete without considering the history of the potato industry.

In certain ways the mighty Snake River is the mother of Idaho’s potato industry. It has, through the centuries, transported and deposited much of the silt that farmers cultivate today in lower lying fields along the river course. It provides much of the water that makes possible the growing of a plant that needs a soil moisture of eighty percent for ideal growth. As it plunges a mile downwards in elevation along its course, the Snake generates electrical energy that makes pumping from deep wells possible, and most of the potato growing areas in the state lie contiguous to the Snake River Valley as it twists its way in a 550-mile arc across southern Idaho.

The first potatoes grown in Idaho were planted in northern Idaho by Rev. Henry Spaulding. It was a successful crop but his missionary work was brought to an end by the Whitman massacre and the Spauldings were forced to leave in 1850.

Potatoes again made their way to Idaho by way of Utah. Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847. On July 24 a five-acre potato patch was plowed and seed potatoes planted. The first irrigation in Salt Lake Valley was for the benefit of the newly planted potatoes. A week later the potatoes were growing.

Certain pioneers were sent northward from Salt Lake to settle other areas. One of these areas was Cache Valley. Some, thinking they were still in Utah, had actually crossed the border into Idaho and began to establish their farms there. One of these early settlers in what now is Franklin County was William Goforth Nelson. He recorded in the summer of 1860: “We all camped in our wagons the first summer, but we all got homes built by winter; these houses were built in the present meetinghouse lot in a fort. I spent the summer working on ditches, canton roads, and hauling poles and wood from the canyon. I raised thirty-three bushels of potatoes, which is all that was raised in Franklin that summer except for a few onions.”

This is the first recorded planting of potatoes in Idaho in an area where the settlers remained and the crop is still grown to some extent today. The planting was accomplished three years before the Idaho Territory was organized.

Those first Idaho settlers were pioneers mentally as well as geographically because they had the initiative and willingness to better their conditions regardless of physical hardships and uncertain futures.”

Location: The Idaho Potato Museum is located in Blackfoot. From Boise take I-84 E 235 miles. Then take Exit 63B / I-15 N for 17 miles. Take Exit 89 for I-15 Business/US-91 and follow the signs. The address is 130 NW Main Street / Blackfoot. You may contact them at 208-785-2517 or info@idahopotatomuseum.com.

Hours: September – May:
9:30am – 5:00pm M-Sa
June, July, August:
9:30 am – 7:00pm M-SA
Sundays, Thanksgiving & Christmas thru New Year’s

Seniors, AAA, Military…..$3.50
Children 5-12……..$2
Children 4 & under……...FREE
Groups of 15 or more……$3 each

Eats: I strongly suggest eating at the Potato Station Cafe right at the museum. However, if you are looking for something different there are many restaurants and cafe all along Main Street and within walking distance.

There is a small park beside the museum that is perfect for a picnic.

Special Notes: They have ADA access parking and plenty of room for parking RVs and motorcoaches. They are handicapped accessible and definitely bring the kiddos!

They have a gift shop so be sure to pick everyone up a potato souvenir. I tote my potato keychain around with pride!

Jan. 29, 2019

History has always intrigued me. Growing up, my father’s idea of the perfect road trip was stopping at historically significant places and telling us kids their exciting stories. It was so boring when I was a kid! I couldn’t have know how much I would miss it when I grew up.

Then along came these BucketList Adventures. Many of them are focused on places of historical significance. One of these is Register Rock, just outside of American Falls. We had spent most of the day stuck in the sand dunes and were headed back to Boise from Pocatello. I remembered that Register Rock was on our way home and only a short detour. It didn’t take much to talk my bestie and adventure partner into going along.

I’m really glad we did. Seeing the names inscribed on Register Rock and knowing the hard times these travelers had experienced gave me a shiver. Especially since some of the names dated as early as the mid 1800s. Idaho is such an open state, sometimes road trips seem to take forever, but imagining how long emigrants traveled in wagons and on foot made me even more grateful for my Ford.

History: Register Rock is in the center of an emigrant campground where travelers inscribed their names on basalt boulders. The largest of these bolder is now sheltered by a pavilion, with other inscribed rocks nearby. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Location: Register Rock is located in Massacre Rocks State Park near American Falls. From Boise take I-84 E about 200 miles toward Pocatello. Take Exit 28 to Massacre Rocks State Park. Follow the signs about 2 miles to arrive at the Rock.

Hours: The park is open 24 hours a day, but day use is limited to daylight hours unless you find a campspot.

Costs: Motor Vehicle entry fees are $5 per vehicle.
Serviced Campsites - $24-$29 per day
Standard Campsites - $12-$21 per day
Cabin Rentals - $50-$65 per day

Eats: There are plenty of picnic areas around the park and several around Register Rock. Bring your own picnic or head into American Falls for dinner at one of their many restaurants.

Lodging: There are hotels in American Falls or you can head to the park for camping.
Throughout Massacre Rocks Park there are 42 Camp spots and 4 cabins. Contact Idaho Parks and Recreation for reservation information.

The park also has showers, flush toilets and dump stations.

Special Notes: There is a horse corral located near Register Rock for those who are bringing their horses along to the park. It is a nice place for a long ride.

Visiting the Rock is easily handicapped accessible and very children friendly. You may have your pets in the park, but please be courteous and clean up after them.

Throughout the park you will find picnic areas, horseshoe pits, hiking trails, a disc golf course, ramps and docks for day-use, fishing and swimming.

It’s such a short drive from Boise, it makes for a great day trip or weekend get-away. Enjoy the park’s many outdoor activities, but make sure to take the time and stop for a minute by Register Rock and appreciate the history of our Idaho forefathers.

Jan. 29, 2019

"Carousel horses are not just made of wood, they are painted with memories"...Bette Largent.

I remember the first time I ever saw a carousel. It was the state fair and I couldn't wait to ride one of those pretty horses. The beauty of the carved wood, carefully painted, felt magical. Speed forward more years than I care to admit, and we still have carousels bringing joy to children. Even as an adult, I never pass up a chance to jump on those horses going around in circles....and I love that the joy I feel riding carousels is echoed in my grandchildren's faces.

I couldn't wait to do this item on my BucketList. Getting out of my truck and walking towards the carousel I felt my 6 year old self taking over. After paying for my ride, I walked around looking for the horse that "talked" to me. Climbing aboard I let the music lull me back to my childhood. I could almost see my Dad standing to the side waving at me. It was magical and I wished I could ride again and again.

History: Any carousel connisseur knows the best ones are made of wood. However, out of the over 3000 wood carousels that used to exist in the US, there are only 172 left. In Idaho, there is only 1. The Idaho Centennial Carousel is Idaho's only antique wooden carousel. It even has authentic carousel music from an organ run on paper rolls. Unbelieveably cool!

The Carousel was built by Spillman Engineering Company of New York about 1926. It was originally a traveling carnival machine. In 1947 it was moved to Utah and in 1952 a group in Rexburg raised $5000 to go to Ogden and buy it in time for the Rexburg 4th of July celebration. Then in 1976 the Teton Dam flood waters caused severe damage and several horses were lost. Skilled craftsmen restored it in 1988 then renovated in 1990 in time to commemorate Idaho's 100th birthday.

Location: The Idaho Centnnial Carousel is located in Porter Park in Rexburg, Idaho. From Boise take I-84 E approximately 247 miles (It will merge with I-86). Use the left lane to take Exit 63B to merge onto I-15 N toward Blackfoot/Idaho Falls and follow it for 47 miles. Take Exit 119 for US-20 toward Rigby and turn right onto US-20 E. Follow for 26 miles then take Exit 333 for ID-33 E toward Rexburg. Turn right onto ID-33 E then right onto S 3rd W. The park is on the left.

The address is S 3rd W / Rexburg. 208-372-2560 is a reservation phone number for large groups.

Hours: Open from Memorial Day to Labor Day / Monday thru Saturday / 12 to 7 pm

Cost: $1.25 per ride. Groups can reserve the entire carousel for $60 per hour non-exclusive and $120 exclusive.

Special Notes: The park is large and spacious. There are picnic areas all around, both covered and uncovered. There is also a water park area with play areas for very young children as well as older kids. Its a beautiful park.

The Carousel does have a cover. It shields out the sun and a lot of heat during the summer. The park is pet friendly, but not around the carousel. Its a great way to spend the day if you are in the Rexburg area. I took my best friend, who ended up enjoying it as much as I did. I loved stepping back into my childhood and reliving one of my favorite memories!

Jun. 14, 2017

I love to eat out! Especially breakfast. If I hear of a great place to eat breakfast I am there. I heard a lot about the Kneadery in Ketchum. Lets just say….they definitely live up to their reputation. I had the famous Kneadery Benedict….YUMMY! The place was busy! It is a very popular spot. Not only is the food to die for, but the service was impeccable. Our table of 5 and a half was treated like we were the only customers, even though every table in the place was taken. Servers actually took the time to talk to their customers and chat about their day without neglecting anyone.
The Kneadery was established in 1974. All the food is made with fresh ingredients…organic breads, seasonal fruit, fresh eggs and top quality meats. And the cooks are talented! Everyone at my table practically licked their plates clean. They serve breakfast and lunch until 2 pm. There is usually a waiting line, but it is worth the wait.
The owners are Duffy and Sheila Witmer and they have filled the Kneadery with Western artwork and antiques. Not only is the food and service amazing, but the décor is authentic and beautiful. We sat out on the outside deck in the back. What a charming place to enjoy breakfast!

Location: The Kneadery is located in Ketchum, Idaho. Take I-84 East toward Mountain Home about 45 miles. Use Exit 95 to get onto US-20 (go left off the Exit). Continue on US-20 approximately 97 miles into Hailey. To get to Ketchum from Hailey…..Turn left onto ID-75 and travel about 12 miles and you will run right into Ketchum. The Kneadery is located at 260 Leadville Ave. North. Phone (208) 726-9462.

Cost: All the meals started at about $8 and went up to about $14. There was a kids menu and you could order half orders of just about everything.

Special Notes: If you are up in this area (like at the Trailing of the Sheep), don’t miss out on enjoying breakfast or lunch here. The décor is fabulous, the service fantastic and the food out of this world. The kids will love the tractor sitting outside the front door and the kids menu is right on track for keeping the kiddos happy. It is handicap accessible, but they have stairs at the front door. If you let them know, they will give anyone who needs it an alternative entry. They are very accommodating.
I’m a pretty good cook and have worked in the service industry for many years, so it takes a lot to impress me. I was impressed. The waitress made us feel at home and the food….I still haven’t stopped talking about it to anyone who will listen. Stop by…you will be very glad you did!

Jun. 14, 2017

I have always had the dream of watching the running of the bulls…but I am in Idaho. What to do? Well, if you are in Idaho you go up to Ketchum in October and watch the Trailing of the Sheep. It’s not bulls, but it’s just as fun!

I drove up on a Sunday morning because I had heard this was an event not to be missed. I wasn’t told wrong. I made it just in time for the parade and the actual Trailing of the Sheep. What a fun and unique experience. The parade had everything from antique cars to rodeo queens to clowns riding funny bikes. People were everywhere…the sidewalks packed with people from all over the world. I found a great spot on a landing outside a sandwich shop so I could prop the kids up to watch the parade. We made great friends with a family from Switzerland. So cool to meet people from all over the World! As the last clown wandered past, the excitement of the crowd grew to a high point. The excitement was contagious! After about a ten minute wait…there they came! I have never, and I mean never, seen so many sheep. It was so unique and amazing to watch. They herded hundreds upon hundreds of sheep down the center of Ketchum. It was one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen. This is one event you do not want to miss out on! There is nothing like it and it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience (unless you choose to go every year!)

History: It is said that John Hailey brought the first sheep into the Wood River Valley in the late 1860’s. They became an important economy source and by 1890 there were 614,000 reported sheep in Idaho. By 1918 the sheep population reached 2.65 million. Wow! As a major sheep center, Ketchum was second only to Sydney, Australia.
The role of the Basques in the sheep industry was critical to its success. Today, most Idaho herders are Peruvian. Their culture is well represented in the activities related to the Trailing of the Sheep.
In 1997, the Wood River Valley began this amazing tradition of honoring the history and heritage of sheep ranching in the region. Diane and John Peavey, local sheep ranchers, decided it was time to share the history and importance of sheep ranching with the ever expanding population of the area. It is now recognized as one of the Top Ten US Fall Festivals in the World.

Location: Festival activities are located in both Hailey and Ketchum, with the parade taking place down Main Street in Ketchum.
Take I-84 East toward Mountain Home about 45 miles. Use Exit 95 to get onto US-20 (go left off the Exit). Continue on US-20 approximately 97 miles into Hailey. To get to Ketchum from Hailey…..Turn left onto ID-75 and travel about 12 miles and you will run right into Ketchum.
You can also fly from Boise into Sun Valley and drive from there.

Details: The festival continues over 5 days the first week of October. It begins on Wednesday with registration (for the Sheep Dog Trails and Classes) and a Farm to Table Dinner in the evening. Thursday has classes available from spindle classes to cooking classes and ends with another Farm to Table Dinner. Friday is the start of the Sheep Dog Trails (from dawn to dusk)…incredible to watch…along with art and cooking classes. The evening holds the Every Sheep Tales Gathering at the Sun Valley Opera House. Saturday continues the Sheep Dog Trails and classes. In addition there is the Folklife Faire and, in the evening, the Sheepherders Ball and Dinner in Ketchum. Sunday has the completion of the Sheep Dog Trails, an afternoon picnic, THE PARADE INCLUDING THE TRAILING OF THE SHEEP, and a hike in the afternoon. Check out trailingofthesheep.org.

So much to do!!

There are three Idaho campgrounds close to Ketchum.
Wood River Campground: Address- Forest Road 156. Phone-(208)737-5000 for general information and (877)444-6777 to make reservations for large groups. The cost is $14 a day for a single site and $28 a day for a double site. They have RV and tent camping, flush toilets, drinking water and picnic areas. If you bring the dog, they do require a leash.
Deer Creek Campground: Address-Take ID-75 S from Ketchum about 9 miles, turn west onto Deer Creek Road. It is first come first serve and there are only 3 spots. It is densely forested so only small RVs and tent camping. No Fee. One vault toilet. No drinking water.
Boundary Campground: Address-NF-51 Sun Valley. $10 a night for a single site, $20 for a double. RV and tent camping. No reservation needed. First come, first serve. Drinking water and vault toilets. Picnic areas. Dogs must be kept on a leash.

Wood River Inn and Suites – 603 N. Main Street. (208) 578-0600. Prices start at $121 a night.
The Inn at Ellsworth Estate – 702 3rd Ave S. (208) 788-6354. Prices start at $99 a night.
Airport Inn – 820 4th Ave S. (208) 788-2477. Prices start at $97 a night.
Hailey Hotel Bar and Grill – 201 S. Main St. (208) 788-3140. Prices not listed.
Best Western Plus Kentwood Lodge – 180 N. Main St. (208) 726-4114. Prices start at $170 a night. Lots of amenities.
Best Western Tyrolean Lodge – 260 Cottonwood St. (208) 726-5336. Prices start at $160 a night. Lots of amenities.
Knob Hill Inn – 960 N. Main St. (208) 726-8010. Prices start at $218 a night. Very swanky.
Limelight Hotel – 145-155 Main St S. (855) 565-0985. Prices start at $196 a night. Very nice.
Bellemont Sun Valley – 600 N. Main St. (208) 726-5900. Prices not listed. 4 stars plus!!

Dining: There are a lot of restaurants from sit down fancy to burger joints throughout Hailey and Ketchum. Plus you can always dine at the Farm to Table Dinner or the Faire. Please check out my post on the Kneadery in Ketchum for seriously the best breakfast I have ever eaten!

Special Notes: If you bring your pooch to the festival, make sure you are cleaning up after him/her and they are on a leash. Everything is handicap accessible. Bring the kiddos! It is so much fun for them and they can experience Idaho history as it unfolds right in front of them. Parking is a little difficult and you may have to walk some distance so if you have a kiddo not yet walking, be sure to bring a stroller. Also, bring a coat. It is fall and you will be in the mountains so the weather can be warm, then turn nippy very quickly.
It is beautiful up there this time of year. The trees are an amazing array of colors and the bite in the air brings all the fall feelings rushing in. The flow of sheep is incredible, but watch your step after the parade….there is you know what everywhere!