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!!

Lodging:
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.

Hotels/Motels/Lodges:
(Hailey)
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.
(Ketchum)
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!

May. 26, 2017

To be honest I stumbled upon the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes because I had to use the restroom. We were headed out of Wallace and I had just finished a huge cup of coffee at the Red Light Garage. I saw a visitor’s center with a public restroom so I stopped. Walking back to my car I noticed historical signs and various other memorabilia that seemed out of place, but not out of place. Then it hit me where I was. I spend the next hour walking along the walking trail wishing I had to time to bike it all the way to the border.

The Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes was created through a unique partnership with the Coeur d’Alene tribe, Union Pacific Railroad, the US Government and the State of Idaho. It was a railroad route historically. Now the hiking/biking trail follows the path of the railroad. It is 72 miles long and begins in Plummer, Idaho. It ends in Mullan, Idaho. I was on a section of it just outside of Wallace. It is paved with 10 ft wide asphalt.

It’s a very unique day hike or, if you are a hiker, more. There are some amazing machinery displays at the site outside of Wallace. They are very intriguing to look at. Make it more than a restroom stop…it’s worth the stroll.

Location: Between Plummer and Mullan, Idaho. To start at the head of the trail the easies way to get there is to go to Plummer. Take ID-55 out of Boise for about 100 miles. Turn right onto US-95 N and stay on it for about another 245 miles. There are 20 developed trailheads that provide entry points along the trail.

For more information and a trail map visit http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/trail-coeur-d-alenes

Hours: You can hike at any time, but walking in the dark isn’t advised.

Lodging: There is no camping on the trail; however, there are lots of campgrounds within walking distance of the trail.

Special Notes: You can hike/bike/snowshoe this trail. Be respectful of other visitors.

Kids would love the exploration of the trail and stopping at the trailheads. Take them to the visitors center in Wallace for hands on exploration of the railroad machinery.
Pets are allowed on the trail on a leash.
Handicap accessible – the path is 10 ft wide
Suggestions: Bring lots of water, a daypack, sunscreen, a first aid kit and a trail map

It gets cold in the evenings so be sure to bring something warm for when the sun goes down. Happy Hiking!

For more pictures like my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/realisticguidetoabucketlist/

May. 26, 2017

I’ll admit…I was on my way back from biking 15 miles and camping for three days. I really wanted to get home. I had listed the Cataldo Mission on my itinerary, but I was tired and by the time I hit the Exit I only had an hour until close. However, I am not a slacker and I knew I would kick myself if I passed up this opportunity to check off another item on my BucketList. I’m really glad I decided to push past tired and stop. Beautiful is not a big enough word to describe Cataldo Mission.

Cataldo Mission or Sacred Heart Mission is found in Old Mission State Park between Wallace and Coeur d’Alene. It is the oldest building in Idaho. It was built between 1850 and 1853 by the Jesuits for the Coeur d’Alene tribe. It has survived the over 100 years it has been standing magnificently. Built on the banks of the Coeur d’Alene River, it was meant to copy the grand cathedrals of Europe. Despite having to make altars out of wood and chandeliers out of tin cans, the church was impressive and became a popular place of worship.

I loved it. It was amazing to walk through the doors of the cathedral and look up towards the altar. It was like walking into a movie it was so beautiful. The church has been mostly untouched and as you explore, the creaky sound of the floorboards is music to the ears. There are a few exhibits in the church talking about how it was constructed and its history. (It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1962.) Next door is the Parish House which is where the Jesuits lived along with many of their Native missionaries. They lived very simply and it is reflected in the things left in the house.

I could have walked around both for hours…if it wasn’t so close to closing time. Both buildings back up to the Coeur d’Alene River and the view is astounding! If you are anywhere near this area, make sure you don’t miss out on the splendor and historical significance of the oldest building in Idaho. I’m glad I didn’t!

Location: Take I-84 W out of Boise for 246 miles, passing thru Oregon. Take Exit 179 for I-82 W toward Umatilla/Kennewick entering Washington for 30 miles. Take Exit 113 for US-395 toward Kennewick/Pasco for 7 miles then follow US-395 N toward Spokane, re-entering Idaho, for 19 miles. Take Exit 39 to Old Mission State Park. Signs will direct you to parking.
Address – 31732 S. Mission Rd. / Cataldo
Phone – 208-682-3814

Hours: October – March / 10 am to 3 pm
April-September / 9 am to 5 pm

Cost: Park fee and to tour the grounds is $5 per vehicle.
Sacred Encounter Exhibit (Inside the Visitors Center) is $5 a person/$10 a family

Eats: There are picnic grounds available.

Lodging: There is no camping in Old Mission State Park. Kahnderosa River RV /Campground is located very close at 14343 S. Latour Creek Rd. / 208-682-4613.
There are also several hotels/motels and Camping areas about 20 minutes away in Wallace or 30 minutes the other direction in Coeur d’Alene.
I stayed at a campground close to Wallace the night before. It was well kept and a little more secluded.

Special Notes: Make sure you stop at the Visitors Center. They have some fantastic information on the entire area, which includes the mission, parish house, walking path and two historical cemeteries.

Kid friendly. I don’t know how much fun younger kids would have. They might find it boring walking around looking at old stuff, but older kids (especially if they are interested in history) will love it. No pets on the grounds. Sorry, but the puppy has to stay home.

The walking path is handicap accessible. However, the stairs up to the mission are a little difficult to manage. Because they are preserving the integrity of the church they have not added a ramp to the steps out front. The Visitors Center and Exhibit are handicap accessible also.

You can get married in this church! Talk about a beautiful place to get married. It is available regardless of religious backgrounds. Ceremonies may be held within the Mission or in the West Courtyard. Check out https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/parks/coeur-d-alenes-old-mission for more information.

Even if you don’t believe in religion, you have to visit this place. It will fill you with so much peace and awe….it’s that beautiful. I’ll admit I also looked for ghosts. I didn’t find any, but something that old has got to be haunted right?!

Make sure you check out my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/realisticguidetoabucketlist/
for more pictures from this adventure!

May. 25, 2017

I love sharing adventures and especially when you can share them with children who are just learning to explore. Strolling along Cleo’s Nature Trail in Melba was an exploration in itself. Around every corner there was something new to be discovered. All along the trail are carefully made, intricate, birdhouses. The storyteller in me might have told the munchkins that Fairies lived in those houses….okay…I did! It sure made for an interesting walk! We had a blast trying to figure out what type of Fairy lived in each house.

Around every turn on this amazing trail was a new adventure waiting to be discovered. We uncovered wild animals on safari (life-size fiberglass statues of wild animals), we sat with famous people (bronze statues of Einstein, Mark Twain and many others), we saluted soldiers (more statues) and looked for trolls under a bridge. Beautiful and artsy lawn art is mixed with local flora creating a whimsical atmosphere. Cleo Swayne’s presence is felt all along the path in the many signs quoting inspirational passages. A flock of peacocks followed us around which helped to sell the Fairy stories. (The kids were convinced Fairies were riding the peacocks.) The trail ended at rock houses full to the brim with memorabilia representing the hardships of settlers and natives in Early Idaho. The houses are the remains and reproductions of buildings showing an imagined daily scene at Walter’s Ferry during the time when it was the crossing between Boise Silver City and San Francisco. For Oregon Trail emigrants who had bypassed the Three Island Crossing or Glenn’s Ferry, this was another chance for them to head north towards gold camps in the Owyhees and Boise Basin.

For me, it was a great way to spend an afternoon away from the distraction of technology and explore with the kiddos. Creativity is something you need to feed occasionally. This was the perfect place to take a deep breath and dream.

Location: Wallace, Idaho. Take I-84 W towards Nampa/Caldwell. Take Exit 38/Garrity Boulevard. Turn Left. Turn left at Flamingo Ave (about .2 miles). Then turn right on Happy Valley Road. Stay on Happy Valley Road until you reach Deer Flat Road (about 6 miles). Turn right on Deer Flat Road and go 3 miles until you come to ID-45 S. Turn Left. Take ID-45 for 11.5 miles. Turn left (East) at Dan’s Ferry Service (before crossing the river). Take the dirt road on the right down to parking for the trail. There are plenty of signs.
Address – 2048 Hwy 45 S., Melba.
Phone – 208-495-2507

Hours: Daily 8 am to 8 pm.

Cost: Donation

Eats: There is a covered picnic area that is available for use. You can actually sit there and feed the peacocks while you eat. The view is fantastic and there is a grassy patch for the kids to play on. (Just don’t let them chase the peacocks!) Bring a picnic, or snacks for the trail.

Special Notes: Bring the kids! It’s fun for all ages. The trail is handicap accessible. No pets though! They don’t want them upsetting the peacocks or other wildlife around the trail.
Make sure you pick up after yourself. They don’t have a maintenance crew since they only receive donations, so help them out and keep the place looking good for everyone.

If you need to get away from everything, but don’t have the time or money to go very far, this is the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the river, take inspiration from the signs, and don’t forget to look for fairies.

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