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Stay& Play In Southern Idaho Natural Attractions EXPERIENCE THE MAGNIFICENCE OF THE MAGIC VALLEY

Spring Into Action

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Stay & Play In Southern Idaho

Spring

Into Action GO-TO GUIDE FOR VISITORS TO THE HAGERMAN VALLEY

TODD BENNETT

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(800) 255-8946

BRIAN M C CORD

GO It’s a September to remember in the Hagerman Valley. In the middle of the month, music lovers can enjoy Blues in the Park in Hagerman. Throughout the three-day weekend, Billingsley Creek State Park is hopping with live music, dancing, and a beer and wine garden. Two weeks later, the annual Thousand Springs Festival features music as well, along with the works of dozens of talented artisans. The festival on Ritter Island benefits the Southern Idaho Land Trust. Earlier in the year on July 3-4, Buhl Sagebrush Days activities include children’s rides, a fun run, bull-riding rodeo and the longest parade in Southern Idaho. The event, which is free to the public, is capped off with a dazzling fireworks display.

PLAY Ready to raft? The portion of the Snake River that runs from Burley to Glenns Ferry includes the Hagerman stretch, which is popular among families for rafting, fishing and natural springs. “The middle section of the Snake River is incredibly diverse, from radical rapids for rafting to the mellowest waters for paddling,” says Olin Gardner, who owns and operates Idaho Guide Service with his wife, Shelley. The guide service’s half-day and day trips provide access to both widely visited and lesser-known areas, such as the Murtaugh section, open only in the spring as snow runoff flows into the river. “It’s one of the premier day trips in the Northwest for people in the know,” says Gardner, the first outfitter licensed to conduct trips here. “There’s also a considerable amount of wildlife and birding because of the seclusion.” Wildlife draws many to Thousand Springs State Park, which includes Ritter Island, Niagara Springs, Malad Gorge and Crystal Springs Lake. The lake also attracts anglers, as do Hagerman National Fish Hatchery and Idaho Fish and Game Hatchery, which draw families fishing for rainbow trout and other species. In the wintertime, birdwatchers flock to the

STAFF PHOTO

hatchery’s lakes and the Hagerman Wildlife Management Area, a waterfowl rest area for migrating ducks and geese. Other seasonal visitors include bald eagles, ospreys and falcons.

STAY The region’s natural hot springs bring thousands to area resorts such as Miracle Hot Springs in Buhl, which has 19 private pools and two outdoor pools of the high-pH water. “The water has a special feel,” explains Nathan Olsen, who co-owns the resort with his brother. The warm water is great for just about anyone but also has a therapeutic appeal. “There’s nothing like soaking in the water and then getting a massage,” says Olsen, who has four massage therapists on staff. Miracle Hot Springs also offers RV camping, creekside tent camping and geodesic camping domes heated with the natural hot water to provide a comfortable place to stay no matter what the time of year. The resort also features live alligators, first brought to the hot springs by Olsen’s grandfather, who opened the hot springs to the public in 1954. 1000 Springs Resort takes advantage of the hot springs, too, but Hagerman also has traditional bed-and-breakfasts, such as Hagerman Valley Inn on Frogs Landing.

EAT Spring for a good meal at the Snake River Grill, located next door to Hagerman Valley Inn. A third-generation cook, Kirt Martin opened the restaurant in 1995 and specializes in preparing local wild game. “Most of our products are produced here in Idaho, whether it’s Kurobuta pork, Kobe beef, sturgeon or trout. And we get our seasonal fruits and vegetables from the local farmers market,” Martin says. The restaurant thrives with the support of hungry patrons looking for cuisine that’s refreshingly different, locally produced and impeccably prepared. “We put a lot of love into this place,” Martin says. “It’s my passion.”

Left to right: Guests relax in one of the warm-water pools at Miracle Hot Springs in Buhl; Thousand Springs State Park’s many waterfalls erupt from rocky canyon walls and gush into the river below; rafters enjoy the Hagerman stretch of the Snake River.

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Stay & Play In Southern Idaho

Natural

Attractions EAST REGION ROCKS WITH RACES, RESORTS AND CAREFULLY PRESERVED HISTORY

GO If water racing floats your boat, visit Burley in June, when the city serves as the setting for the Idaho Regatta. “The Idaho Regatta is one of the most popular events on the American Powerboat Association racing circuit,” says organizer Mark Moyle. “Sixty competitors from all four corners of the United States compete for $40,000 in prizes.” The 2010 regatta, slated for June 25-27, is expected to draw 5,000 spectators. Burley also hosts another popular race. The annual Spudman Triathlon, sponsored by the Burley Lions Club, consists of a one-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run. Only 1,600 triathletes may compete, so a lottery opens in January for participants to register – months before the event takes place on the last Saturday in July. Dancing takes center stage at the King Fine Arts Center in Burley at the Idaho International Dance and Music Festival. The 25th annual event will take place in July 2010, bringing more than 300 dancers and musicians from around the world to perform.

PLAY With snowfalls by Halloween and lasting until early spring, the Albion Valley provides plenty to do when the weather turns cool. The popular Pomerelle Mountain Resort has slopes ideal for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels and gets 5,000 inches of powdery snow every year – more than any other Idaho ski area. Pomerelle as well as Bald, Soldier and Magic mountains are located within Sawtooth National Forest, which is a scenic spot in any season. “Sawtooth National Forest has 71 developed campgrounds and 22 picnic sites, as well as many dispersed camping sites,” says Julie Thomas, public affairs officer. The forest is divided into three ranger districts – Fairfield, Ketchum and Minidoka. “It’s visited by visitors from all over the world who come for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, sightseeing and birdwatching,” Thomas says. Located near Almo, City of Rocks National Reserve is a

unique geological area with granite pinnacles and monoliths. Activities include rock climbing, hiking, birding and snowshoeing, and visitors can also see sections of the historic California Trail. Up near Burley, ruts made by Oregon Trail pioneers are visible at Milner Historic Recreation Area. History also prevails in the Rupert Town Square, which features hometown shops such as Hoggan’s Custom Canvas and Leather, a fourth-generation mom-and-pop business specializing in handcrafted camping gear. However, Rupert’s centerpiece is the 1920s-era Wilson Building and Theatre, which is undergoing a $3.2 million restoration. Tours are currently offered, and the historic structure will feature a theater, community center and retail space when completed.

STAY For anyone who doesn’t wish to enjoy the East Region’s many campgrounds, Almo Inn provides a convenient place to spend the night. The facility opened as three one-room cabins but has since added eight additional Western-themed rooms. The former Albion State Normal School, which closed more than 60 years ago, has been remodeled into a state-ofthe-art conference and retreat center called Campus Grove at Albion. The campus, located just 20 minutes from Pomerelle and 40 minutes from City of Rocks, is also transformed into a popular spook alley each October, featuring haunted mansions filled with fall frights.

EAT At Gossner’s Magic Valley Chalet in Heyburn, visitors can stock up on ice cream, cheese and other items from Gossner’s plant just down the road. Upstairs, the Upper Crust Bakery and Grill serves a variety of dishes complemented by locally made dairy products. Chow down on cedar-plank salmon and other specialties at the Sage Mountain Grill in Albion, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Additional East Region eateries include the Outpost next to the Almo Inn, the Albion Café in Albion and Henry’s at the Drift Inn on the historic Rupert square.

Clockwise from top left: Wilson Building and Theatre is the centerpiece of historic downtown Rupert; a snowboarder catches air at Pomerelle Mountain Resort in the Albion Valley; a family casts their lines at one of the many lakes in Sawtooth National Forest.

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(800) 255-8946

TODD BENNETT

BRIAN M C CORD

Get events, lodging information and more at visitsouthidaho.com


Stay & Play In Southern Idaho

Fair Thee WHEN TO GO, WHAT TO SEE AND WHERE TO STAY ON THE NORTHSIDE

Well JEFF ADKINS

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(800) 255-8946

GO It’s fair to say that fairs are among the top events in the Magic Valley. One family favorite is the Gooding County Fair and Gooding Pro Rodeo, slated for Aug. 19-21, 2010. The rodeo, with 360 contestants, is the fair weekend’s biggest attraction. “It has a lot of entertainment value,” says Don Gill, fair manager. “The rodeo sold out all three nights.” Tickets can be purchased in advance online, which might be a wise idea – sales at the gate were up 30 percent in 2009. Jerome has its own county fair, held earlier in August, the month that also features Joe Mama’s Car Show, which draws as many as 15,000 people to Jerome City Park. In Shoshone, music is in the air in July at the annual Art in the Park & Fiddlers Jamboree on the courthouse lawn. Meanwhile, Fairfield blooms with excitement for spring during the annual Camas Lily Days Celebration each May, which features family-friendly events such as a kids’ fishing derby, arts and crafts show, and fun run.

PLAY Southern Idaho experiences the best of all four seasons, with plenty to do no matter the time of year. Springtime brings wildflower hikes at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, where visitors can see the

incredible effects of volcanic activity. The lava fields are home to hundreds of plant and animal species, making it a haven for wildlife watchers – as well as hikers, bikers, anglers and hunters – when the weather warms up and as it cools off for fall. Part of Craters of the Moon, Gooding County Snow Park provides a winter wonderland for visitors to crosscountry ski, snowmobile or snowshoe. Or, cool off from May to September with a visit to Shoshone Ice Caves, which are actually lava tubes that remain 28-33 degrees Fahrenheit even when it’s 100 degrees outside.

STAY Visitors in large groups will appreciate Sawtooth Best Western in Jerome, which provides state-of-the-art meeting accommodations for a hotel of its size, along with a 24-hour indoor pool and a plethora of other amenities. Hunters and anglers on their way into the wilderness often choose the Wingate by Wyndham, also in Jerome, thanks to its convenient location near the intersection of Interstate 84 and U.S. Route 93. For something off the beaten path, the Get Inn in Gooding is housed in the former Gooding College, which operated from 1917-1938. Today, it has been transformed into a bed-and-breakfast and events center. Springtime guests

can also visit Woodford Gardens, a greenhouse and nursery on the grounds. Over on Main Street, the century-old Gooding Hotel Bed and Breakfast is older than the town itself and now operated by descendents of the city’s founders. The antique furnishings, home-cooked breakfasts and welcoming owners add to the establishment’s appeal.

EAT Gooding’s Main Street offers a sure crowd-pleaser, Zeppes Pizza & Subs, as well as Sweet Inspiration, which will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth with its specialty bakery items and homemade candies. Shoshone knows a thing or two about desserts, too. The locally owned Shoshone Drive Inn offers mile-high ice cream cones, old-fashioned floats and malts, along with amazing burgers, burritos and breakfast. Down in Jerome, try the slow-smoked brisket at Smokin’ Cowboys or Choate’s Family Diner, a staple here for 13 years and counting. “We’re one of the only local American cuisine restaurants left in Jerome,” says owner Ron Choate. The eatery serves classic Americana fare such as burgers, BLTs, dinner and breakfast, and sees a fair share of tourists who receive recommendations for the diner from the local hotels where they’re staying – a good sign of truly good eats.

Left to right: Visitors walk along the top of Inferno Cone at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve; hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls compete at the Gooding Pro Rodeo, a sellout event at the Gooding County Fair, held each August.

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Stay & Play In Southern Idaho

Hello, Gorge-ous SHOP, DINE AND EXPLORE IN THE SCENIC TWIN FALLS AREA GO Diving into the depths of the Snake River Canyon with only a parachute strapped to their back may not be most people’s idea of fun, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy the Perrine Bridge Festival, held each September in Twin Falls. The fundraiser for children with special needs features fun runs, a carnival and many other activities to see and do – all while remaining on solid ground. The famous gorge is also the namesake of the Snake River Canyon Jam, an annual music festival scheduled for June 18-20, 2010. The event embraces the area’s natural attractions as a backdrop for the music, which includes world rock, gypsy jazz, folk and more.

PLAY The canyon and its BASE-jumping, kayaking, trailblazing and other activities are just one of the many facets

STAY

of attractions here. Visitors can travel a portion of the Oregon Trail at the Stricker Homesite, the oldest home still standing in Twin Falls. The carefully preserved grounds also include Rock Creek Station, Magic Valley’s first trading post, which dates to 1865. In Kimberly, the Main Street shopping district includes The Quilt Barn, which is quickly becoming a tourist attraction. “The designer names that we carry and our wide variety of fabrics draw them in,” says owner Heather Cartwright, who opened the business in 2008. “We’re also growing in popularity with the younger generation who sew clothing items, bags and aprons – as well as the quilters, from novice to expert.” In addition to classes and holiday specials, The Quilt Barn hosts monthly Friday Night Quilt Parties. “We’ve had such a great first year,” Cartwright says. “I hope to have many more.”

Check in to one of dozens of hotels in Twin Falls, including the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, the familyfriendly and newly remodeled Comfort Inn & Suites, and the dog-friendly Shilo Inn Suites, each of which is half a mile or less from the scenic Snake River Canyon.

EAT Highway 30 in Hansen is home to Foothill Café and its award-winning avocado-and-bacon-topped cheeseburger. If that doesn’t tantalize the taste buds, the café also serves up diverse Americana fare, from eggplant Parmesan to shepherd’s pie. Twin Falls’ smorgasbord of eateries includes Rock Creek Restaurant, known for its fresh seafood, and Jakers Bar and Grill, with sizzling steaks and a salad bar as well as vegetarian and glutenfree selections. On Main Street, O’Dunken’s Draught House has more than food and drinks on the menu – the pub doubles as a hot spot for the city’s live music scene. For additional information on Idaho, call 1-800-VISIT-ID. 09-IV-1 12.5

This special section is published for Southern Idaho Tourism by Journal Communications Inc.

For more information, contact: Southern Idaho Tourism P.O. Box 5155 • Twin Falls, ID 83303-0443 Phone: (405) 744-500 • Fax: (405) 744-8445 www.visitsouthidaho.com

JEFF ADKINS

©Copyright 2009 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080.

The Snake River Canyon provides countless outdoor recreation opportunities.

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All rights reserved. No portion of this special advertising section may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. On the cover: City of Rocks National Reserve Photo by Jeff Adkins


Southern Idaho Tourism 2010