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2 nights in Idaho - Ketchum? Sun Valley? Stanley? (etc)

2 nights in Idaho - Ketchum? Sun Valley? Stanley? (etc)

Old Mar 31st, 2012, 08:23 PM
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2 nights in Idaho - Ketchum? Sun Valley? Stanley? (etc)

I will be flying to Boise before a rafting trip on the Salmon and will have two nights before i need to be in McCall for the night before the trip. Looking to see some of Idaho but stay in interesting places with a nice hotel (does not have to be fancy or expensive; nice with some character is fine), good restaurants etc. Have considered Ketchum, Sun Valley, Stanley, Idaho City etc. but really know nothing about them and after a while of looking online in all of my usual and favorite places for information, have turned up very little. Can anyone give me a little on the differences among these cities??
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Old Mar 31st, 2012, 09:02 PM
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I spent a couple of nights in Stanley last August, one night on each end of a five night trip. It's very small, but I found it quite charming and relaxing. I will add more tomorrow when I can type on my computer and not a mobile. Check back!
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Old Mar 31st, 2012, 09:29 PM
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Thanks musicfan and I will. Would be especially interested in where you stayed, if you like it, and why you stayed there and not some of the other towns. Since I will be driving through a lot of these places I would like to stay in one that will be an interesting place to be in the later afternoon and evening.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 09:39 AM
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Okay, I'm back--hope this is helpful and not too much extraneous information.

Stanley was my choice because it was on the way to my destination, a town about an hour north I was heading to for a 3-day music festival. I didn't want to travel all that way for just three nights so I added a night in Stanley the first night of the trip and then again the last night, and I was glad I did. I am doing the same trip this August and added an additional night, which I am spending in Ketchum--I've not been yet, it just looked like it would be a pretty spot.

Stanley is a VERY small town...the population is 100! The streets are wide and gravel, but the scenery is stunningly beautiful. It's very laid-back and quiet/relaxing. You can walk to almost wherever you need to go in town.

I stayed the first night at the High Country Inn, which was nice--private bath and breakfast included. My room had two entrances, one from the interior hallway and one leading to a deck with a view of the Sawtooth mountains. Great for drinking wine and reading, which is exactly what I did! A disadvantage is that you have to pay a deposit of one night's room rental when you make the reservation, so for one night you are paying for your entire stay up front. There was a street dance that night in town. Not a lot of actual dancing but the music was nice, and free and one of the shops was selling food and drinks. The weather was spectacular.

The last night of my trip I wanted something less pricey and more "historic" so went with the Sawtooth Hotel, a log cabin hotel built in the 20's. I had an upstairs room at the end of the hall, very comfortable bed, windows looking out to the mountains. The bath was down the hall, which is really not as bad as I thought it would be. Very clean. No breakfast included, but the owners also have a small restaurant in town, The Stanley Baking Company, which was very popular and tasty. The hotel also serves dinner several nights a week. The downside to this is the kitchen smells tend to waft upward into the rooms, but I wasn't in my room enough for it to bother me.

The Kasino Club (just up the street) serves dinner and also had a free concert that night and there is a small town bar, the Rod & Gun, across the street from the Sawtooth.

I also drove south a few miles to see Redfish Lake and the Redfist Lake Lodge, which looked like a fun place (they also serve dinner), but it was more bustling, lots of families, and since I was on my own, not really my thing. But it is very pretty and the food is supposed to be good. They also have live music in the summertime on certain nights.

So for August 2012, I am heading back! I'll start my trip in Stanley (after flying into Boise), but this time I am staying both nights at the Sawtooth Hotel, in a private room this time--it was much more reasonable than the Inn, and the Inn was pretty well booked already so there was not as much selection as last year when I made my reservations. And no $ out of pocket up front. After the last night in Stanley, I'm off to Ketchum for one night, I think at the Best Western.

There is really no shopping in Stanley to speak of, just a small grocery store, gas station, and outfitter-type stores for the Salmon River rafting population. And no Sunday papers from anywhere.

If you have time in Boise, I can recommend Goldie's Breakfast Bistro in downtown-excellent! The old Union Pacific Depot is cool too.

Some links:

http://www.highcountryinn.biz/index.php
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 09:45 AM
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My computer was acting up and I didn't want to lose what I had typed so here are some more:

http://www.sawtoothhotel.com/

http://www.stanleycc.org/

I would have loved to have stayed at Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, but too pricey for me. Looks fantastic, though!

http://www.idahorocky.com/

I hope this helps you!
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 09:48 AM
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Also, in case you are curious, the drive from Boise to Stanley is about three hours, through beautiful pine forests. I think there was only one spot to get something to eat, but there is a Forest Service office building with a restroom available.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 10:30 AM
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Thank you SO much music fan. Just what I needed to know and all of this is really helpful information. And you sound like you like what I do when you travel. Also a big music fan - would be curious about which music festival you go to. Will probably drive to Ketchum and stay there a night and then to Stanley. We stayed at the Redfish Lodge 7 or 8 years ago with my husband's young daughter. It was really pretty but yes, more family like and probably won't do that this trip.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 03:04 PM
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You're welcome--glad it was helpful info! I hope you have a great trip.

The music festival is the Braun Brothers Reunion Festival, held in Challis every August. The Brauns are a musical family from the area, and the sons of one of the original Braun Brothers have relocated to Austin and have two successful bands of their own. They return to the Reunion every year, and many of their Texas/Americana friends come up to play. Here is the website:

http://www.braunbrothersreunion.com/home.html

I went for the first time last year and had such a terrific time I can't wait to go back--I hope it's as much fun this year.
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Old Apr 1st, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Have only been to Ketchum a few times but I think its a very cute town. There are lots of nice shops ( some very high end) and restaurants. I stayed in a private home in SV so not sure of hotels- but highly recommend Christina's as a restaurant. We usually go for breakfast and its packed- if you are going in a group as we usually do, you can make a reservation- otherwise you may have to wait- but its worth waiting for.

Worth a drive to see Sun Valley Lodge- but more fun to stay in Ketchum I think.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 08:40 AM
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Thanks sunbum1944. Appreciate the restaurant tip and also interested in lodging ideas (other than the Best Western) for that area.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Just made a reservation at Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch (thanks for the tip musicfan!) When I first looked it did indeed look expensive, but then I realized the price ($315 for a single) included all 3 meals and most of the activities. Sounded like a decent value considering the Best Western in Ketchum (where I will probably end up) is $135. IMR sounds like a nice place for a splurge given that I will be there the entire time from check in to check out and then don't need to drive anywhere. Happy to know about it!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Aly, I am sure you are trying to be helpful and you may not know this but the 4th rule for this board is the following:

This is a no-advertising zone.
Commercial postings (including links by advertisers to business emails and commercial sites) aren't allowed here and will be removed. Posting advertisements will result in the suspension of your account. If you see advertising, you may notify the moderators by emailing [email protected].
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 07:10 PM
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That's awesome, mstraveler! I'm jealous. I think there might be a trip report here from a Fodorite who stayed there several years ago. They loved it. If you search Idaho you can probably find it pretty quickly as there are not a lot of Idaho threads. Glad I could help.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2012, 09:30 PM
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Many thanks again musicfan. Found it easily here:

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...p-to-idaho.cfm

Lots of useful information!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 03:47 AM
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Usually stay with friends in SV/Ketchum - but get by the historic "Pio" (Pioneer Inn) for at least a drink and they make a very good steak there too. Here is a NY Times review - 36 hours, etc. http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/12/12...l/12hours.html

The drive along the Salmon River is beautiful - and the part from Stanley to Sun Valley goes through some beautiful mountain scenery. In Stanley - stopped for breakfast at this great place - forget the name - but they had all kinds of Elk, Deer, Buffalo and fish mounts. On the north side of the street - right in the middle of town -more or less.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 05:05 AM
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I am glad to see you found my trip report useful. Our memories of Idaho are very happy and we look forward to a return. You will love the area!
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Old Apr 8th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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Rocky Mountain Ranch is great although we have not been there in a few years.

If you need to get to Mc Call for the start of your river trip, think about driving through the garden valley. It a very pretty drive a better than going back to Boise and up. You'll find it on the maps and it is the road that cuts to the west before Lowman.
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Old Apr 10th, 2012, 10:28 PM
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Thanks jnfraz (and cmcfong). I will not be in a hurry and do not want to go back through Boise so will look this up. It will be lovely to have days to have leisurely drives and nice places to stay at night. Ended up at the Wood River Inn in stead of Ketchum because it seemed like the better option. Looking forward to it all.
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Old Apr 11th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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You will love your trip! I found it to be so relaxing--five days in Stanley and Challis where there was not a single stoplight! How often does THAT happen? Even though my trip is four months away, I am already looking forward to it.
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