A September 2005 trip
to Boise by Wildcat Dianne
Quote: The world's largest operating steam locomotive has been on tour throughout the Pacific Northwest since late August, and it came to Boise, Idaho, for the day. Mom and I took a quick trip to the Boise Depot to see it and take pictures for a friend.
Attraction | "The Meridian Scarecrow Festival."
The Meridian Scarecrow Festival is catered mostly to young children, but there are many crafts and business booths for us adults to peruse. My friend Leslie and I spent most of the time checking out the many booths along the two-block area. Leslie picked up three free gun locks for her daughter from the Meridian Police Department booth that was emphasizing gun safety around children. Leslie and I sampled some nuts and gelato from a couple of food booths. We really enjoyed an artist who made sculptures from barbed wire. She was very gracious when we complimented her on her work and my knowledge of dogs when I complimented her on her Greyhound sculpture.
This year, the kids had a climbing wall to burn off their excess energy. It was for adults, too, but I saw all kids having a ball bouncing on the super trampoline and climbing the wall. Between Leslie's bad heart and my cranky back, it wasn't advisable for us to try the wall, but it was fun to watch!
Many other activities happen at the Scarecrow Festival but time and our work schedules kept us from seeing them, but the festival is well worth a couple of hours of your time if you are in the Meridian area.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 30, 2005
The Meridian Scarecrow Festival
Attraction | "The Boise Co-op Harvest Festival"
Every October, the Boise Co-op, one of the city's best organic food markets has its Annual Harvest Festival in its parking lot. Several of Idaho's best breweries, wineries, and gourmet, and organic food growers and businesses set up booths on the second weekend of October to hark their wares.
This year, was the first time Mom and I didn't have to work on a Sunday, we were able to go. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day to enjoy sampling some of the best gourmet foods, beers, and wines in Idaho.
If you attend the Boise Co-op Harvest Festival, be prepared to park a distance from the Co-op because parking can be a nightmare. Leslie was lucky to get a spot right in front of the Co-op, which was good for Mom since she is recovering from heart surgery.
Mom and Leslie passed on the salsa booth at the festival entrance, but I decided to give it a shot. During baseball season on NESN, the Red Sox cable station, there is a commercial with Don Orsillo, "Announcer Boy," as he is known to Red Sox fans, and David "Big Papi" Ortiz. Orsillo tries some of Papi's salsa and turns every shade of the rainbow because it is so hot. I tried many salsas at a couple of booths at the festival and didn't get that dive for water effect, but they were good.
Mom and I sampled some Sam Adam's Oktoberfest Ale, which was great. It's too bad they didn't have their Boston 375th anniversary beer, but it must be only for Boston itself. Leslie sampled some of the Koenig Winery's dessert wine, and I had a little sip of this very sweet apple wine, too. We all enjoyed the varieties of potatoes from a local organic farm followed by pickled asparagus and beans from a couple of gourmet shops that were very good. The herb farm that provides the herbs for the Co-op had a booth, and we were very impressed with the smell and taste of the rosemary and thyme, we bought some for $1.79/package.
The Harvest Festival is from 12-4 p.m. in October. It is free to enter, and it is a great way to spend about an hour on a nice autumn day.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 9, 2005
Boise Co-op Harvest Festival
Attraction | "The Boise Co-op"
When Leslie invited Mom and I along for a ride to the Boise Co-op and its Harvest Festival, Mom was skeptical about what many places call "organic" produce. We had gone to a place in Donnelly that advertised this, and most of the produce is what is sold in the local supermarkets. But once Mom took a look at much of the product that the Boise Co-op has to offer, she changed her mind.
The Boise Co-op is located on Fort Street in Downtown Boise. It has the greatest variety of organically grown local produce, free range meats, and other items such as soaps and other toiletries. One could go crazy in this place with its variety of foods and hippie atmosphere.
Mom was wearing her granny square poncho that her mother crocheted for her about 35 years ago. With the hippie-ish clientele that was milling about the Co-op, Mom felt right in place there and got many compliments from several patrons! Leslie and I want to make homemade lip balms, and our friend Anya from Good Scents here in Meridian recommended we go to the co-op for our ingredients. We were able to get sweet almond oil and flavored essential oils for a reasonable price. I wanted to price comfrey for my acne rosacea, and it was something I will get on a later trip because I was on a tight budget this trip. Mom and I also got white eggplant at $1.69 a pound, exotic, reasonably priced, and pesticide free. Other goodies Mom and I bought was Chicken Pesto Parmesan sausage ($7.99/pound) and Albacore Tuna Steaks ($7.99/pound). Be prepared to spend a little bit more at the Co-op, but the quality and organic products are well worth it. If you have pets, the Co-op has organic dog and cat food and snacks for your pampered pets!
The people who work at the Boise Co-op are very nice. I got talking with one lady who worked there about my acne condition, and she recommended some products they carry that could help it and was very helpful.
The Boise Co-op is open seven days a week, and the prices listed are membership prices. If you don't have a membership, prices are 10% more. It costs to get a membership at the Co-op, but if you are over 63, you get a free membership. Mom qualified for a free membership, and she signed up for one since I will be returning to the Co-op for Comfrey and other items in the near future.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 9, 2005
Boise Consumer Co-op
888 W. Fort Street
The Silver Trail Winery is a brand new winery located in the Sandstone Plaza outside of downtown Kuna, Idaho. In addition to the winery, there is a nice souvenir shop hawking several Idaho-made products and a restaurant serving lunch daily.
Mom and I concentrated on the souvenir shop and winery. We were greeted by a couple of employees and allowed to browze around uninterrupted. Then, Mom and I went into the winery, and the lady working in there stopped her mopping and offered us samples of the wine of the day, a 2001 Chardonnay ($12). It was very good, and Mom and I bought a bottle to have last night. Since I was driving and Mom was recovering from heart surgery and limited in drinking, the lady passed on any further samples and let us continue shopping in the souvenir shop.
The Silver Trail Winery and Souvenir Shop are very rusticly decorated in warm tones in the Tuscan Style. Mom and I spent about 20 minutes looking around the souvenir shop for Christmas presents for her family and anything else that struck our fancy. Mom got some native huckleberry jam ($4.25) for her family back east while I discovered an old favorite of mine, Bryanna's Hot Pepper Jam ($4.95). It has just enough kick for chicken or snacks, and I grabbed the last jar. I also bought some spices for making mulled wine or cider ($2.95). There are also products that had me chuckling such as the Chocolate Body Sauce for those in a romantic mood and other novelty items. After the nice lady from the winery cashed us out, she and Mom were talking about spoiling children at the holidays. This lady just became a grandmother for the first time and was very happy to share what it will be like for them this Christmas. The Silver Trail Winery is well worth your time to visit anytime of the year. It is open Monday-Saturday 10-6 most of the year with appointments required for Sundays, but during the holidays, Silver Trail is open 9-7 Monday-Saturday and 8-4 on Sunday. To get to Silver Trail from Boise, take I-84 West to the Meridian/Kuna exit (#44) and go left at the off ramp. Follow Route 69 to Kuna and go through the downtown at Main Street. Silver Trail is located at a dead end at the end of Main Street and Avenue E.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 5, 2005
Silver Trail Winery
347 Avenue E
My Arkansas friend Ken is a big train nut who spends many a Sunday morning with other train nuts watching trains near his home. When Ken heard that the World's Largest Operating Steam Locomotive, Union Pacific Railroad's No. 3985, was touring the Pacific Northwest this Autumn and was stopping at the Boise Depot here in my neck of the woods, he e-mailed me and asked me to check it out and take photos. Some of my photos from Ken's 2003 visit to Idaho and the Boise Depot were published in the newsletter Ken publishes for the train nuts of Arkansas, and I was very honored to be his "Girl Friday" once again.
A Brief History of the No. 3985. UPR No. 3985 is 122 feet long and weighs over a million tons. It is an articulated locomotive that was built in 1943 to negotiate some of the curvy tracks of the Pacific Northwest. The No. 3985 was built in 1943 and has six-foot diameter drive wheels that enable it to go up to a speed of 70 miles per hour.
No. 3985 was from service in 1959, and in 1981, it was restored to its original condition by Union Pacific employees for special services and tours originating from Cheyenne, Wyoming.
The current tour of No. 3985 has been equipped with a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) to allow train nuts to map out it route on UP's web site www.up.com.
Today Union Pacific Railroad is owned by the Union Pacific Corporation and is one of the USA's leading rail companies. UPR is linked to 23 states and are mostly used to transport goods from the Agricultural, Automotive, Energy, and Industrial industries and go from coast to coast and serves all six of the major gateways of the USA.
Mom and I arrived at the Boise Depot about 2:30, and it took a while to find where the train was on display, but it was stationed about a half-mile from the Depot Station. Old timers feeling nostalgic and several families with young children were milling about taking pictures and several children were on top of the engine posing for shots for their parents. I don't recommend you do that because the engine was constantly running and its surface was hot in several places. Admission was free, and parking was available in the Depot parking lot or on the streets near the Depot.
Union Pacific's No. 3985 began its current tour in Cheyenne, Wyoming in late-August and has run through Utah, California, and Oregon before stopping in Boise from September 25-26. Its final stop will be in Pocatello, Idaho on September 27, 2005.
Train travel is a dying form in most parts of the USA, and I highly recommend that if an old locomotive like No. 3985 is in your town, visit with your family.