A Wandering Widow Post
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
A few months ago, when I was in my “never gonna live in Boise again because Europe is so much better” mode, a friend pushed back hard. I was in a pretty good place when I left Boise, but I still saw Dan (or a Dan-shaped void) everywhere I looked. Back then the simple act of breathing in this town was a painful reminder he wasn’t here anymore. My friend insisted it wasn’t fair to decide without giving Boise another shot when I got back, especially now that I’ve reclaimed my happiness. Fair point.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d be ready to live with people after being alone for so long. And I was a little afraid of what it would feel like to be back in Boise again. So under the guise of giving the City of Trees a fair shake in an apples-to-apples comparison to my favorite European cities, I decided it was a perfect opportunity for an experiment. Not that I needed an excuse to hole up in a hotel by myself in my hometown, but it was nice to have one just in case I felt sad and needed to cry a lot. (I didn’t.)
Just like I did in Europe, I stayed in the city center and evaluated downtown Boise on foot. So if you’re expecting a long list about hiking in the foothills, floating the river, our vineyards and wine production, or my waxing poetic about the Idaho mountains or Wrangler butts at the rodeo, this isn’t that post.
It was fun to look at my city with fresh eyes and see it the way visitors might. And you know what? It WAS my city. MY Boise. The Dan shaped void was gone. I’d forgotten how beautiful this place is, how friendly our people are, and how good it feels here. And it was as if Boise missed me too since it greeted me with perfect warm, sunny, spring weather.
Ahhhh. It’s good to be home.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
Click here for my Boise photo album.
After soliciting recommendations from Boise business peeps, I chose to make the Inn at 500 Capitol my home base for this experiment. This five-star boutique hotel is European in many ways, except for the size. After one week back in the USA, I’m still a bit overwhelmed with how HUGE everything is. Hotels, cars, shops, meal portions, people, roads, green space, everything.
The location and service at the Inn were excellent, and you can’t ever go wrong with dining at Richards. I’d stay here again, in spite of the frustrating internet access issues. I had the same connectivity issues in many parts of Europe but expect better in the US with our modern infrastructure, especially at this price point. Having to call the front desk at 5:00 am asking them to reset the router so I could work was a bit awkward. I dunno. Maybe I’m not being fair on this issue.
Despite being in the middle of downtown, my room was quiet and peaceful. Exactly what I needed to help fight my horrible jetlag. I got to enjoy the sunrise each morning and had clear views of the International Space Station flyovers from my balcony. And they have the most comfortable beds I’ve ever snuggled into. If I ever put down roots again, I’ll be buying one. Sleep on a cloud every night? Yes, please.
NO CAR, NO PROBLEM
If you’re in the downtown core, Boise is very walkable or bikeable. The Inn’s location was perfect for my daily walkabouts, and I could easily access the State Capitol Building, the Basque Block, the Boise Art Museum, the Boise River Greenbelt, and all the fun BODO and 8th Street can provide. I’m still a bit in shock at how many new restaurants and bars have sprung up in less than a year.
Thanks to the hotel, I had a super cute bicycle available to use during my stay (one of my favorite hotel perks). They must have heard about my bike wreck in Amsterdam (further proof I didn’t inherit the ninja gene), but after a quick waiver I was off and wheeling down the greenbelt towards Garden City. We are so lucky to have this beautiful natural resource in our backyard. The river, the trees, the parks and all of it so easily accessible. If I had to pick one favorite feature of our city, the Boise River Greenbelt would win.
I did have to Uber into Meridian a few times which was a bit of a budget buster. So for those of you thinking you can get by on foot/bike alone, I hate to burst your bubble. If you choose to live here, you’ll either need a car or will need to live/work/play in the city center. Outside of downtown and the greenbelt, Idaho isn’t very bicycle friendly.
But from downtown, I was able to walk to Whole Foods, my Idaho Central Credit Union branch, and every restaurant and bar that y’all wanted to meet me at. No car necessary.
So to all my European friends who have asked about my home state, we’ll take good care of you if you decide to visit. Although if you’re from Italy or Spain, please leave the driving to the professionals.
And yes, we have cowboys and rodeos too.