This may be a repeat for some (which I had posted on Manas) so feel free to pass on by. OR read on for more details on Boise! A couple of months ago, we took an impromptu road trip to Boise, ID. Everyone kept asking, “Why Boise?” to which I could only say, “Why not?” We’d never been and I knew one person who raved about it. My reasoning was just that it was under 10 hours of driving (well, it started out that way!) and it was a new place to us. We also figured it was a place where we’d really only need a couple of days in.
I have to say, I was surprised at how much I liked Boise and how eager we are to explore more of Idaho. (Next time we’re thinking North, around the Coeur d’Alene area. We’d like to check out more of the wilderness, the mountains, the lakes, etc. Boise was surprisingly cool – very quiet and laid back. Everyone we encountered was warm and friendly in a genuine way without being overly chatty or cloying.
We were blessed with good weather – bright and sunny every single day, cool in the morning and pretty warm in the afternoon. We started out from Seattle early on a Thursday, watching the sun burn off the fog to reveal blue, sunny skies.
There were moments of scenic driving, but a loooooong stretch of nothing. In Oregon, as we got near the Idaho border, things got a little more interesting to look at. Some windy roads overlooking huge, open swaths of land that seemed to stretch on forever. We found a really cool lookout point and realized we must be close to the ID border when we saw a random, giant pile of potatoes in the parking lot of the lookout! It was hysterical (you had to be there, I guess) and we made jokes about it the entire trip.
We arrived late at night and as we wandered around downtown, we stumbled across “Freak Alley.” I immediately decided to go back and scope it out during an afternoon. It was a neat little section of town (I always appreciate a town that appreciates artists). The art was wacky and fun.
On our last day, as we were leaving, I noticed tons more street art scattered around town.
We’re not ones to be interested in governmental type sights, but it’s a small town and the Capitol Building was right there. The building looked cool, so we spent some time walking around and inside of it.
Downtown was quaint and did I mention, so quiet and laid back? For two people who spent years battling traffic in Philadelphia, Boston, around DC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, Boise’s version of “Rush Hour” is a dream. Our favorite coffee spot was Thomas Hammer Coffee – their decor reminded us both of Amsterdam. In fact, once inside the place, you almost couldn’t tell whether you were in Boise or Amsterdam – well, except for the Boise-ians working the counter. No Dutch accent and all. We made a point of stopping at Hammer early the morning we left for home.
Unfortunately we didn’t check out Camel’s Back Park until our last day – unfortunate because if we had gone sooner, we’d have gone back every day! Camel’s Back is such a cool park. There’s a playground at the bottom of the hill but oh, man – the hill (the “camel’s back”) is fun to walk up and the view is incredible. We also discovered, too late, that if you drive to the outskirts of downtown, there’s some great paths and trails for hiking.
It’s been well over a month since we’ve been to Boise and I am craving the Boise Co-Op something fierce. I don’t know why I loved it so much – even Husband said he kinda wished he could hop in the car after work and grab something at the Boise Co-Op. It was new and different (seriously the best co-op I’ve ever been to). Clean, wide, big, and spacious but the icing on the cake was their deli/prepared foods/food bar/smoothie/coffee area. Their premade foods at the deli and the food/salad bar had the most delicious & healthy stuff I’ve ever seen at a food bar. Their fresh baked goods were better than any I’ve seen at our local co-ops (and more variety.) The fresh juices and smoothies were the bomb. I’ve been recreating our Boise Co-Op smoothie choices here at home. AND in the section of the store where they had shampoos and hair care products, there was an entire, small section devoted to dreadlocks. I kid you not. We didn’t even see anyone in Boise with dreads, but there must be a lot of them! I haven’t even seen dreadlock hair care sections in the hippy towns in Oregon or Northern California. Very entertaining. The only thing we didn’t like about Boise was the Zoo. It wasn’t a bad zoo, per se, just a little lackluster and not much to see. Oh, well.
Speaking of zoos and animals… so yeah, OUR DOG! Husband was always a “cat person” (or so he thought. He now claims to have unknowingly been a dog person all his life and that he was deeply deprived.) I’ve been working the idea into his head, this past year, of getting a dog. I’ve wanted a German Shepherd since I was a kid, so I had my heart set on one now. Just out of curiosity and because I knew it could take awhile to find available litters, I had been scoping out breeders in WA & OR. I wasn’t very happy with what I was finding – the dogs seemed fine, but the breeders were few and far between and the ones I DID contact were… well, let’s just say that I hope they interact better with their dogs than they do with people. I was really put off by the attitudes and emails. Thinking of our impending trip to Boise and that ID was within driving distance, I extended my search and found someone who breeds black and white (and also silver sable and various combos of all three) which is what I REALLY wanted. (I had resigned myself to the traditional color since I wasn’t finding any of the nontraditional color breeders.) So I found this guy about an hour from Boise who bred these other colors and when I contacted him, he was pleasant. I had said that I was just feeling around to see about getting on wait lists – we weren’t ready to get a dog already, but I would wait as long as I had to for one of his dogs. They were BEAUTIFUL, by far the most gorgeous Shepherds I’d seen so far.
I told Husband about it and he warily said that we could go look at his dogs – I wholeheartedly had no intentions other than to show Husband how cool the dogs were and getting him more warmed up to the idea. *I* wasn’t quite ready, myself, so when he kept saying, “We’re just going to LOOK, right?” I meant it when I said yes. I jokingly warned him that puppies are dangerous and he might wind up falling in love, to which he rolled his eyes.
Well. We went to see the dogs and guess who was prepared to walk away and wait (it would have been HARD but I meant what I said) and guess who fell madly in love with a particular pup and decided right then and there that she had to come home with us? Yup. Good thing, too, because our son was also having a hard time wrapping his head around the idea of seeing cute puppies and then just walking away. So we drove out to this farm, out in the middle of nowhere, where the guy had TONS of shepherds running around (so well behaved, so calm, and so gorgeous.) And then we went into a fenced in area where a bunch of slightly older pups were running around – 3 months and more. And this one girl, 4 months old, just stole everyone’s hearts. (Even the breeder seemed hesitant about letting her go.) Even after we saw a couple of younger, 8 week old pups, this is the one that sunk her little teeth into our hearts.
She’s a sweet girl, too. Even for a Shepherd, she’s astoundingly smart and a quick learner. She was housetrained in about TWO DAYS. We hired a personal trainer and literally within one hour of training, she was heeling on the leash. She’s gorgeous – black/silver/tan and has a feral look about her when she’s tearing around the back yard. Also, she’s HUGE. At just for months she was over 40 lbs and after a month she was up to 47lbs. She is mild mannered but already protective (she almost dared a door to door marketer to knock again after I refused to answer.) She prowls and watches, man. The trainer already commented that she’s “above average” in terms of how quickly she’s learning and given run of the house when we’re not home.
So we left Boise with our family having grown by 1!