Editor's Note: As a special travel feature for September, TheStreet.com offers a series of weekend getaways, each designed to help you find the Good Life. Enjoy!
Idaho is much more than the home of Napoleon Dynamite and Ore-Ida potatoes.
Thanks to its unparalleled scenic beauty, millions of acres of national parks and world-class ski resorts, it is rapidly becoming known as a high-end adventure-travel destination.
So it's no surprise that Idaho's capital, Boise, offers a unique welcome to the discerning traveler.The wild west is tamer in Boise, and the city is making a concerted effort to present more sophisticated choices to go along with its rustic setting. By far the most cosmopolitan city in the state, Boise is a small, friendly and comfortably compact locale, with a downtown that's easy to navigate on foot. It's both a college town, sporting a youthful influence that is increasingly shaping local culture, and a corporate haven, housing major corporations such as Boise, Albertson's and Micron Technologies. Another plus? Lodging is quite reasonable. I stayed at Boise's only four-star hotel, the
Basking ... in HistoryBoise is home to a large and tightly knit Basque population, descendants of the northern Spanish sheepherders who settled the area in the nineteenth century. The current Basque-American mayor won office by a landslide, and a sapling from the Tree of Guernika, the symbol of Basque independence, grows on the capitol grounds. From the back of the Grove Hotel, you can stroll down a tree-lined walkway to Grove Street and head right into Boise's unique Basque central. This is a several-block area that functions as a center of operations for the Basque population and provides a window into the culture for the rest of us, complete with restaurants, cafes, a museum and even a Basque market. One interesting touch: The words of various Basque folk songs are inscribed on the sidewalks throughout the neighborhood.
|Traditional Basque Dancers|
Eat, Drink and Be MerryIndeed, one of Boise's most important attractions is its food: There are countless restaurants and cafes featuring Basque regional cuisine. What does that entail? Lamb dishes, chorizo sausage, beef tongue, red bean soup and rice pudding, all served family style. I had a delicious lamb grinder with pepper and onions at an informal and inexpensive outdoor cafe, the Bar Guernika Basque Pub and Eatery. The barman explained the origin of the cafe's name and tree logo -- it was in honor of the Basque village brutally bombed by the Germans and immortalized by Picasso in his famous painting "Guernica." A few steps from the Bar Guernika lie the ample offerings at
Above and BeyondA major annual Boise attraction is the
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