Summer of Idaho continues! Where else can you ice skate on an OUTDOOR rink in July? In America? Sun Valley Resort! It’s a true treat to be able to ice skate without freezing or even having to wear gloves – although there were some glove wearers. Affect or custom? But hear this: ice skating outdoors in July does not come cheap. Adult rentals are $11, children are $9 and skate run $4.50. And if you forget your socks (because it’s summer!), they will gladly sell you a pair for $3.50.
Still, it’s a treat. And it’s where the famous Sun Valley Ice Shows are held each summer. Yes, you are skating on the same rink as Sasha Cohen, Johnny Weir and Evan Lysacek. See those bleachers in the background? That’s where you’ll sit. So close to greatness!
Next we took our bikes (you can also rent) on a beautiful bike path. There are miles and miles of bike paths through the foothills in Sun Valley that are suitable for families. Taking Trail Creek, we stumbled upon the Ernest Hemingway Memorial on the 50th> anniversary of his death. Still, the place was nearly deserted. That’s Idaho. It’s empty. So even when there are crowds, it’s not that crowded. If you’ve lived in New York or Los Angeles as I have, I have not gotten used to the fact that it is almost never crowded here, no matter where we go or when we go. The memorial was a peaceful and beautiful place for contemplation. There is no fee. (Hemingway is also buried in Ketchum, the town adjacent to the Sun Valley Resort.)
When we were there over July 4th weekend, Alison Kraus and Union Station were playing at the sumptuous Sun Valley Pavilion. It is one of the most gorgeous amphitheaters I’ve been to (think: Getty Center in Los Angeles). We had our kids with us and knew that they wouldn’t make it through a show without torturing us, so we did not buy tickets and instead, sat on the lawn outside the pavilion. There are speakers everywhere so that you don’t have to be inside the venue to enjoy the music. Don’t bother paying for the “lawn seating” – only those who lined up and ran for the closest spots (so gauche! so undignified!) to the amphitheater got to view Alison. They all had to sit in the direct sun with no shade. It was an unusually hot 85 degree day. We sat in the shade, 50 yards further back. It was perfect.
At the end of a perfect day, we drove back into Ketchum for an ice cream at LeRoy’s. It’s a little shack in the middle of Ketchum’s Town Square, newly built for the purpose of lazily eating ice cream and kibbitzing with your friends. There are outdoor sculptures that the kids can climb on. (that was OK, right?)
The next day, we drove for one hour to Red Fish Lake. It’s a popular destination for Boiseans (a three hour drive) and it was clear why:
To get the lay of the land, we rented a motor boat (you could also rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards – even a pontoon boat!) in the marina just in front of Redfish Lake Lodge for an hour – just the right amount of time to figure out where everyone camps, swims, canoes and gets away from the “crowds” near the Lodge. We even let our children (5 & 7) drive the boat. That’s how uncrowded the lake was (on July 4 weekend):
At Red Fish Lake, you have three lodging options:
- Room at the Lodge
- Rent a Cabin
Each option has its advantages:
- With Camping you can grill/cook your own food. It’s inexpensive to camp. Cons: the camp ground toilet (not a con if you have an RV), the noise from the RVs.
- The rooms at the lodge are cheaper than the cabin rooms, but they have a shared bath. Also, you really need to eat your meals at the Lodge, since there is nowhere for you to cook.
- The cabins have the nicest living arrangements, but you can’t really cook your food: There is a fridge and a microwave. Our friends have brought prepared foods and coolers to augment the small fridge.
There were tons of families at Redfish Lake. This is definitely a place to go with children.
The people who live in Idaho are enthusiastic about the State. I found two lovely women who had the silhouette of Idaho tattooed on their bodies. Shannon, the one with the ink on her torso told me: “I LOVE Idaho!” Me, too.
We still have to get to Hell’s Canyon this summer. It’s the Summer of Idaho!