My dad liked to tell a story about a conversation he’d had with a colleague, maybe an intern or some other young employee, about how time passes faster every year the older you get.
“Well, the years must just be whipping by for you, then,” this person pointed out, a statement my dad found particularly adroit, and enjoyed sharing with us a number of times over the years.
I usually think about that “whipping by” sentiment this time of year, when I realize summer has snuck up on us again, leaving me totally unprepared for weeks of juggling family activity and working from home, and I’m on the edge of frantic all the time when I’d much rather be taking some time to enjoy the season.
In fact, I think shared that little anecdote about my dad in an earlier post, so apparently, I’m at the age where not only are the years whipping by, but my memory regularly takes a powder as well.
I’ll just warn you, I don’t think things are going to improve.
Anyway … that’s not the point of this blog. The point is: it’s summer. Already. And while we don’t have any big trips planned, we will be having company. Jack’s invited a friend to visit from Denmark. He’ll be staying with us a little less than a month, which is just about the perfect amount of time to share a summer sampling of my awesome hometown. Here’s a little list of ten very Boise (and close to Boise) things we’ll be doing with our out-of-town guests this summer:
- Listening to music – This is hands-down my favorite thing to do in Boise, and there’s plenty of opportunity for outdoor concerts while the weather’s good. From the free Wednesday-night downtown Boise staple: Alive after Five, to the mid-price Boise Music Festival to the bigger-game Idaho Botanical Gardens summer concert series in Outlaw Field, we have a robust summer music scene around here, even for those not of an age for clubbing.
- Getting outside – Pack your sturdy walking shoes, Sooner or later I’m going get sick of hearing video game noises from the basement and kick all y’all out. Right from our backyard, Boise’s Ridge-to-Rivers trail system offers a good stretch of the legs and a lovely view. We’ll probably wander a little further at times, too. Just up the hill, Bogus Basin makes the most of the mountain during the off season with trails of its own. And music. And their new mountain roller coaster is something I plan on trying this summer.
- Communing with nature – The MK Nature Park provides a free, mellow afternoon activity. Not into mellow? Too bad, get off your butt up and go see some fish. Or a heron. Or a deer. We’re going to get a little face-time with the urban nature scene. You’re in Idaho. You need to see deer.
- Taking in a rodeo – We’re not normally members of the big-belt-buckle-and-Wranglers club, but if it’s your first time here, you need a dose of rodeo. There’s no higher concentration of boots, spurs, lassos, horses, and long monologues about patriotism than that. Rodeo could possibly be the most western thing there is about America, and there’s a lot of tradition packed into each event. Snake River Stampede in Nampa is a big to-do with a lot of pomp, horned animals trying to gore guys wearing suspenders and clown make up, and sparkly girls riding white horses and making little karate-chop waves. We prefer more of a small-town shin-dig, like the Gold Dust Rodeo in Idaho City, where there’s a little less to-do and a lot more dust, but still gobs of western charm.
- Reliving history – Where Denmark has castles, Idaho has little towns that look like they never left the 1800s. We’ll do a couple of day trips to Idaho’s one-time mining boom-towns of Idaho City and Silver City for that experience, each just a short drive away.
- Going to a ballgame – When it comes to summer sports, I have to admit our family motto is: “Baseball. It’s not that bad.” But if you’re visiting the states in summer, you’re expected to take in a little of The Great American Pastime. This means grabbing a shady seat in a sweltering stadium for about three hours to watch some guy run around a big circle while some other guys chase him with a ball and a few more guys stand out in a field just in case someone throws the ball that far. In the meantime, there’ll be ice cream served in miniature baseball helmets. There’ll be breaks in the action where kids dressed as tater-tots run bases. A guy with a mic will probably throw things into the stands. It’s iconic. We’ll explain later.
- Partaking in patio – Around about the beginning of July it’ll get hot enough you’ll feel pretty melty no matter what you do, and it’s best just to sit. We prefer Sun Ray Café in Boise’s Hyde Park neighborhood, the Sandbar on the Boise River, or Lucky 13 (coincidentally almost exactly thirteen miles by bike from our front door), for a snack, a cold drink, and maybe some live music on a hot afternoon.
- Heading to the mountains – Weekend excursions to the mountains are a must when the temperature climbs to triple digits. This summer we’ll be taking up a good five days at our favorite campsite near Stanley, Idaho. On Fridays, Wednesdays and Sundays from June through August there’s live music on the front lawn at Redfish Lake Lodge, just a few feet away from boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards rentals for tours around the lake. We’ll also do a little hiking. Since Stanley sits at 6,250 feet or so, I’ll probably be forcing sunscreen and water on anyone within arms’ reach. But it’s worth it for the views of the spectacular Sawtooths by day, the Milky Way by night, and temps about 20 degrees cooler than the lowlands.
- Cooking over a fire – I know the Danes know their briquettes. Let us introduce you to the Dutch oven (no idea whether or not it’s actually Dutch), and afterward the art of roasting a marshmallow on a stick until it’s a perfect, golden brown for s’mores. Or you could just set the thing on fire and watch it melt off the stick. We do that occassionally. High times, I tell you.
- Getting in the water – Floating the Boise River is an inexpensive way to kill about four hours, and because we rarely have an extra four hours, it’s something we save for when we have guests and want them to think we’re the kind of chill people who have that kind of time. Regardless of how busy we all are, it can be relaxing to take a long, slow paddle from Boise’s east end through to the congested takeout at Ann Morrison Park. Along the River’s chilly length, summer’s heat becomes a little less oppressive, people smile and talk with each other more (you can take your phone out for an occasional photo, but it’s best to keep it tucked away in a waterproof bag), and time slows way down, if only for a little while.Which may be the perfect antidote for the Whipping By Days…