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Beautiful Boise

Updated on May 30, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I've lived in the Boise area for much of my life. Growing up there, I had little interest, wanting only to move far, far away. I saw Boise as a hick town full of hick people. Then, on graduation, I moved away. Far, far away. About as far as you could get, and still be in the US. Then I moved again, just as far in the other direction. For almost four years, I lived away from Boise, and still I thought it was a hick town full of hick people. Though I grew tired of repeatedly defending it, because, even if you think your hometown is a hicktown, you still don't let outsiders bash it. Then circumstances brought me back home. I was apprehensive at first. Now that I had lived beyond the Treasure Valley (the between the Boise River and Snake River comprised of Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Nampa, Caldwell, and a myriad of small towns, and bordered by the Rockies and the Owhyees, comprised of over a half million people and named as such for its abundance of recreational and resource treasures), how could I return. But when I returned, it was with new eyes, and I saw for the first time what Boise really has to offer.

Treasure Valley, Southwest Idaho. Image from Google Images
Treasure Valley, Southwest Idaho. Image from Google Images
Boise Foothills facing city.  Image from Google Images
Boise Foothills facing city. Image from Google Images

An Outdoor Playground

Recreationalists around the world have been amazed at the variety and proximity of outdoor activites available to Boiseans.  The Treasure Valley has within it mountains and canyons, rivers and lakes, deserts and forests, city and country, park and wilds.  While Boise sits at the Northeast end of the TV, it is no more than an hour and half to any of these.  Road cyclists and mountain bikers share a kind of truce in the Northend, one of the cities major arteries and nestled right into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  With trails for hikers, cyclists, moutain bikes, horse riders, and recreational vehicles literally in the Northend's backyard, the Northend is famous as the home of outdoor enthusiasts.  As such it is also littered with shops catering to that crowd.  Coming off the foothills is renowned Hyde Park, the thirteenth street oasis after a long day of hard play.  For some of the best rapids in the country, an hour north of Boise lies the Payette river, a rafter's and kayaker's delight.  On top of that, Boise is a four-season play ground, with skiing forty minutes up the mountain, ice skating (along with the Idaho Steelheads Hockey team) both in the heart of Downtown Boise, aka BODO, and in the southern end, snow shoeing and cross country skiing are popular as well, and everyear, just two hours north, is the McCall Winter Carnival; the entire town gets adorned with ice sculptures.

BSU Broncos on the Smurf Turf.  Image from Google Images
BSU Broncos on the Smurf Turf. Image from Google Images

The Greenbelt, Downtown, and the Broncos

Along the Boise River are the Greenbelt, BODO, and Boise State University: Home of the Broncos, winners of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

The greenbelt is a system of parks and paths that stretch 25 miles from Lucky Peak, the resevoir to the east of Boise, and reaches Caldwell to the west, following the Boise River.  My favorite spot along this run is the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, the outdoor theater along the river where every summer a professional troupe of actors present Shakespeare and other plays to the gurgling music of the river and the chiruping of crickets.  Also along the river are BODO, Boise's downtown district, featuring an eclectic array of restaurants, shops, and clubs, the Basque District, and the majority of Idaho's fifteen museums.  And here also is the home of the Broncos, Boise State University.  With a world reknowned raptor biology program (the Birds of Pray Wildlife Refuge is only a thirty minute drive away), and the now notorious Bronco Football Team, BSU is a great source of pride for Boiseans.  We may not have a pro team, but the Broncos have our hearts!  BSU is also home of the Smurf Turf, a football arena of bright blue.

So Much More...

Boise has so much more to offer than I had ever realized.  Especially now that I am beginning to learn about backpacking ( ), I am learning just how much.  But it's just not the outdoors that has let me fall in love with my hometown.  Boise is becoming bigger, which is carrying some of its own problems, but it is expanding and diversifying. And still, Boise feels like a town.  With such an extraordinary array of possibilities, its no wonder that Boise graces the Top Cities lists in everything from raising a family to starting a business.  I neglected to love Boise while I was growing up, but now I want to share with everyone just how great it is, and maybe one of you will decide you'll have to try it out yourself.


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