Vivir en Boise, IdahoIyna Bort Caruso
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Boise resident Anthony Doerr once wrote in a Smithsonian Magazine article that when he visits friends out of state they ask why he lives in Boise. “But when friends visit us, they say, ‘Oh, wow, now I see.’”
Idaho’s capital city sits on a high desert plain on the western edge of the Rockies. The Boise River cuts through it, lined by a popular 25-mile greenbelt used for jogging and biking. Doerr called it “arguably the most remote urban area in the Lower 48.”
Boise is a city large enough to have a thriving arts scene but small enough to feel like a community. Murals and sculptures adorn downtown streets, parks and city institutions thanks to a program establishing a 1.4 percent set-aside for public art. Annual jazz and Shakespeare festivals are on the calendar. There’s even a Basque festival known as Jaialdi, which is held every five years. Among Boise’s surprises is the fact that the city has one of the largest Basque communities outside of the Western Pyrenees Mountains. To no surprise to its residents, however, Boise’s quality of life--low unemployment, low crime--has secured rankings on such diverse lists as Best Places to Retire, Best Cities for Kids and Fittest Towns of the West.
Some of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods are known for their turn-of-the-last century homes on the National Register of Historic Places. Other coveted areas offer easy access to outdoor attractions, of which there is no shortage.
In addition to fishing in and floating on the Boise River the city counts 17 golf courses and a grape-growing region with more than a dozen wineries within a short drive. It is also a jumping-off point to five ski resorts including Sun Valley, 155 miles away, and Brundage Mountain in McCall, just over 100 miles from the city.
McCall is situated in Idaho’s west-central mountains and on the southern shore of Payette Lake. This old logging community is now a four-season resort. Snow, however, is its greatest resource. McCall boasts the highest average snowfall in the state and makes the most of it with every variation of skiing, 500 miles of snowmobile trails and a historic winter carnival that dates back to the 1920s.