Tag: weekend getaways

How to do Disney World as an adult

How to do Disney World as an adult

If you read that title and are asking yourself, “Why would I do Disney World as an adult?”, I want you to know that you are asking a fair question. Disney is not for everyone and if the idea of visiting the ‘happiest place on 

Antiques Roadshow tips and tricks

Antiques Roadshow tips and tricks

Sharing Antiques Roadshow tips and tricks from an experience in St. Louis, Missouri. Last weekend, a dream of mine came true. I attended the Antiques Roadshow. When B and I told people the reason we were going to spend the weekend in St. Louis, Missouri, 

10 Things to Do in Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho

10 Things to Do in Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho

I grew up about an hour west of Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho. Yes, I saw plenty of celebrities and I made a lot of money cleaning houses in the summer. But I rarely did anything fun. I was either working or running errands, and the community vibe always felt a little pretentious to me. It was not until I moved away that I began to appreciate everything the Wood River Valley has to offer. I still think it is a bit pretentious, but there is no denying its beauty and what it has to offer. I also happen to find it a great micro trip or girls’ weekend getaway.

Sun Valley Idaho red barn at dusk
Twilight in Sun Valley, Idaho.

What to do in Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho

Below are 10 things I like to do in the Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho, area. There are suggestions for both winter and summer and some can be enjoyed all year long.

Eat at Johnny G’s Subshack in Ketchum

There are a lot of tasty places to eat in Ketchum and Sun Valley. However, my absolute favorite is Johnny G’s Subshack. It may not be much to look at, but this place is delicious. They cater to a local lunch crowd, so hours are limited. That means you may have to plan your schedule around them. Do it! You will not regret it.

Hit up the thrift stores

There are several thrift stores located throughout Hailey and Ketchum. The most well-known is the Gold Mine. You can find some good stuff here, but be prepared to dig. Also, be prepared for slightly higher prices. The people here know their brands and price them accordingly. You can still find an Icebreaker shirt for a fraction of the original price, but you will probably pay more than you would at your local thrift store. Of course, the chances of me even finding an Icebreaker at my local thrift store are slim. But at the Gold Mine, brand names abound. Keep in mind that they sell stuff seasonally. Do not expect to pick up skis in July. However, if you go in the winter, you can find good ski equipment for an even better price. My slightly-used Salomon ski boots are still one of my favorite purchases from the Gold Mine.

I should note that Ketchum, and to an extent Hailey, have some fun stores that are not thrift stores. Huck and Paddle is one of the most adorable stores I have ever shopped in. Just be prepared for ski resort prices.

Take in the view from Galena Summit

The drive north of Sun Valley to the top of Galena is one of my favorites. I have very fond memories of the route and the view. It is the highest summit of a highway in the Northwest and the view of the Sawtooth Mountain Range is stunning. R is cursed when it comes to seeing what Galena has to offer. If it is not some crazy storm, then it is smoke from a wild fire that blocks her view. Assuming you are not cursed like R, the drive and the view is well worth your time.

Galena Summit Idaho
The view from Galena Summit.

Enjoy the bike path

Year round, one can (and should) enjoy the Wood River Trail. (Locals simply call it the bike path.) Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue are all connected via a paved, multi-use, non-motorized pathway. In the summer, take your bike. If it is winter, get out your cross-country skis. Enjoy part or all of the 20-mile trail. Of course, keep in mind that heading south to north will be slightly uphill.

Bald Mountain in the spring Ketchum Idaho
All along the bike path you will find beautiful views like this one.

Attend a concert at Whiskey Jacques

If your favorite band is performing at Whiskey Jacques, do not hesitate. Buy a ticket and go. R and I have spent many-a-fun evenings dancing and singing our hearts out at Whiskey Jacques. I am sure it is a perfectly good bar and I know the burgers are good. But its real draw is its concerts. The venue is small so you can get up close and personal with your favorite musicians. The people watching is usually pretty good as well.

Micky Braun Micky and the Motorcars Ketchum Idaho Whiskey Jacques
Micky Braun. Micky and the Motorcars is one of our favorite bands to see at Whiskeys.

Watch the Sun Valley Suns

Hockey is my favorite sport to watch and that love began with the Sun Valley Suns. This semi-professional team is fun to watch and the local vibe is GREAT. The new rink located in Hailey. The games here are just as enjoyable of an experience as they were at the old rink. There is a bit more seating, so that was nice. Be sure to dress warm!

Don’t miss the yard sales in Ketchum and Sun Valley

Similar to shopping at the Gold Mine and other thrift stores in Sun Valley and Ketchum, hitting up the yard sales can result in some amazing finds. This is a summertime only activity, but it can be worth getting up a little early on your weekend to see what treasures await you. I have never shopped at any celebrity’s houses. But there are enough rich folks up there selling their expensive goods for a steal to make it worth your while.

Sun Valley Resort in Sun Valley Idaho
If your budget allows it, go ahead and stay at the Sun Valley Resort.

Attend a festival

The community may be small, but they put on some great festivals and events. My favorite is the Trailing of the Sheep festival. There is nothing else quite like it in the world. If opera, jazz or ballet is your thing, then there is an event or two you will enjoy. Just check out the local event calendar and then start planning your trip.

Go skiing, duh

Assuming it is winter, I recommend you hit the slopes. After all, Sun Valley is “America’s First Destination Ski Resort.” You have two options for some downhill skiing: Bald Mountain or Dollar Mountain. Baldy, as the locals call it, is the more “plush” option. It is everything you imagine when you think of skiing in Sun Valley. Dollar is where the kids ski. It is both easier and more affordable. No matter your choice, you will have a wonderful time.

skiing snowboarding Sun Valley Idaho blue skies
Snowboarding and skiing on Baldy with friends.

If Nordic skiing is more your style, you will find trails aplenty to keep you occupied. Some you will have to pay to use, so keep that in mind.

Hiking abounds all over Sun Valley and Ketchum

As stated previously, I am not much of a hiker. I prefer trails that fall more into the “nature walk” category. But that does not mean I have never traversed the hills surrounding Sun Valley and Ketchum. The hike up Carbonate Mountain is a nice option, especially if you are a beginner. Many locals hike it every day and it has great views of Hailey. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour. You can also ride the gondola to the top of Bald Mountain, enjoy lunch at the Roundhouse Lodge, and then hit the trails. As you head north toward and into the Sawtooth Mountains, options for a more challenging hike increase. You can pretty much find any kind of hike you are looking for in this area.

Hiking trail in Sun Valley, Idaho dusk wildflowers Valley View Trail
Trails abound in and around Sun Valley.


The Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho, area makes a lovely micro trip or weekend getaway anytime of the year. Period. And a weekend spent in Sun Valley and Ketchum is just one way we, as part-time travelers, make the most of our time off work. You should give it a try.

Summer Music Festival Preparation

Summer Music Festival Preparation

Tips and tricks for a strong summer music festival preparation. The weather is getting hot, the flowers are in full bloom and if you are really lucky, you are listening to a sweet riff on an electric guitar. Summer is upon us, which means (in 

A Weekend Getaway to the Casino

A Weekend Getaway to the Casino

This past weekend, R and I ventured down to Jackpot, Nevada, for music, food and of course, the casino. We made the trip in order to see a band we like, but it turned into a nice little trip out of town. It got me 

Killing Time in Coeur d’Alene

Killing Time in Coeur d’Alene

This post finds me killing time in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I am here with my folks. My dad is seeing a specialist about his Lyme disease and to say my parents are terrible travelers is kind of an understatement. So I offered to come along and hopefully make the trip a little easier for them.

Killing time at Coeur d'Alene Resort in northern Idaho on a sunny day
Coeur d’Alene Resort in northern Idaho.

Spending time in Coeur d’Alene (or CDA as the locals call it) is anything but a hardship. This area of my home state is beautiful and there is plenty to do. I have done a couple of things with my folks, but mostly I am on my own and without a car. Luckily, it is not too hard to have a good time here, even without a car. Below are some suggestions for what to do if you are like me and have a little time to kill in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Take a bike ride around Coeur d’Alene Lake

This area is rife with options for riding your bicycle. I won’t touch the subject of mountain biking since I could not be less informed. I just know that if you like to do it, there are plenty of places to go. For those of us who like a nice paved path, one does not have to search too hard to find a good one. Both the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes and the Route of the Hiawatha are super close to CDA. But if even those are too far, you can do what I did and hop on the North Idaho Centennial Trail, a 23-mile long trail that runs right through town. It is not too hilly and has fantastic views.

If you do not arrive with your own bicycle, there are a couple of shops in town that can set you up. I headed to Vertical Earth, a friendly shop that had me riding down the street in under 15 minutes. A half day cost me $25. I rode around for a couple of hours, taking in the beautiful sights around me. It was an excellent way to see both the city and the surrounding area.

Red bike at Coeur d'Alene Lake
Biking around CDA.

Eat at Hudsons Hamburgers in the heart of CDA

There is a reason this hamburger joint has been in business since 1907 and is a favorite with the locals. It is small and a little overwhelming if you do not know what you are doing. Luckily, the menu is limited so it is not too hard to make a choice on the spot (which is what happened to us). There were seats available when we walked in, but we wanted to eat outside since the weather was so nice. By the time we got our burgers, there were no seats available and the line was out the door. It was a very good burger and super cheap. I definitely recommend it. Just prepare yourself to wait in line and/or be a little overwhelmed when you first walk in.

Hudsons hamburgers when you are killing time in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Yum, yum!

Hike around Tubbs Hill

This little gem is located within walking distance of downtown. Tubbs Hill is over 120 acres with several miles of hiking trails. Lake Coeur d’Alene borders three sides of it so the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. There is a 2.2 mile interpretive trail (pick up a guide at the visitors center) that follows the perimeter. You can complete that in under an hour, or find a secluded beach and relax. Either way, Tubbs Hill makes a great place to go if you are killing time in Coeur d’Alene.

Tubbs Hill and lake views for killing time in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Not a bad place to spend an hour or two.

Follow the boardwalk around Coeur d’Alene Resort

The boardwalk around Coeur d’Alene Resort is the longest floating boardwalk in the world. Sounds impressive, right? Well, it will not take long if you decide to walk around it. It is just under ¾ of a mile. Whether you think that is far or not, it is a fun thing to do. If you are lucky, you will have sunshine and blue skies. This gives you the opportunity to take some great photos.

Boardwalk on Lake Coeur d'Alene, blue skies
The boardwalk at Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Cruise the lake

I’m not going to lie, this was not the most exciting thing I did. In fact, as we were docking, I overhead another passenger say, “Well that was kind of boring but very relaxing.” But if you have some time to kill, Lake Coeur d’Alene Cruises offers a couple of options for getting out on the lake. I signed up for the 90-minute scenic cruise which takes you around part of the lake and provides commentary on the area and its history. You get to see some incredible houses and catch a view of the floating green (Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course boasts the world’s first, floating, movable green). But there is a lot of downtime. And I do not think I would enjoy the cruise in less-than-fair weather. But I did enjoying views and I learned a lot.

Cruising around Lake Coeur d'Alene is a great way to kill a couple of hours
A great way to relax.

To really kill some time in Coeur d’Alene, splurge at Wolf Lodge

A local told us that Wolf Lodge was her favorite place to eat. Lucky for us, were we in the area (it is perfect for killing time in Coeur d’Alene since it is located about 20 minutes east of CDA…in the middle of nowhere). We arrived just after they opened for dinner (they are not open for lunch) and a good thing we did. This place is very popular and reservations are recommended. Had we not arrived early, we would not have gotten a table. After trying the steak, I can see why this place is so popular. The atmosphere and décor also contribute to a fun and unique experience.

Wolf Lodge restaurant is perfect for killing time in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
This one is worth the drive and the price tag.

Kill time in Coeur d’Alene by going shopping

Downtown CDA is not large. In fact, you can easily see it in a day in my opinion. But there are fun shops to slip into and explore. My bag will definitely be a little heavier going home. I especially enjoyed KnitKnit and Mix It Up. Both had unique offers and made for a fun shopping experience.

colored yarn at KnitKnit in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Yarn for days.

Take a break treat yourself at Shenanigans

A coworker of mine told me about Shenanigans Toy Emporium. She said it was an ice cream shop that made delicious crepes. She was right. They serve up other tasty treats as well. Given they also sell toys, I was worried they might be trying to do too much. But I have no complaints about my order and would definitely recommend this place. However, I did not do any toy shopping so I cannot vouch for that part of the shop.

Shenanigans Toy Emporium in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Try the crepes…or the ice cream…or the chocolate!

Killing time in Coeur d’Alene conclusion

Coeur d’Alene is beautiful and fun city in Northern Idaho. Whether you find yourself killing time or planning a special vacation, you will not be disappointed.

Related posts you might like:

Or if you want to see all of our posts, visit Past Posts.

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A Long Weekend in Iceland

A Long Weekend in Iceland

Iceland is h-o-t, people. A Jane reader asked us the other day about whether we had written anything on it as her friend was planning a trip there soon. (If you are like us, it seems like every other day you hear about someone you 

Three days on the Oregon coast: a road trip itinerary and map

Three days on the Oregon coast: a road trip itinerary and map

I am very excited to share this road trip itinerary for three days on the Oregon coast. I take no credit for its amazingness. It was given to me by a former local and all-around Oregon expert. She really came through and provided the greatest 

Ways to Make Business Travel More Fun

Ways to Make Business Travel More Fun

Fun work trips are possible. I promise. Do you have to travel for work? If the answer is yes, below are some suggestions for how to make your next business trip a little more enjoyable…provided you can find some free time of course.

Suggestions for fun work trips

A couple of times a year, I get/have to travel for work. These trips are usually a week or so in length to some place in the U.S. In fact, I have never traveled internationally for work. Needless to say, the “perks,” as we tend to think of them, are few for me when it comes to business travel. I have no elite status with any sort of airline and my miles and points add up very slowly. That is not to say I do not have a good time when I travel for work. It just means I have to make my own fun and work a little bit to take advantage of the situation. Here are my suggestions:

Suggestion #1: Eat something tasty

Even if you are too busy working to get out and explore, you still have to eat. So you might as well make it a unique experience.

Every region of the country (and world, for that matter) is known for something culinary. We all know New England is known for its clam chowder, Chicago for its deep-dish pizza and the South for its BBQ. Even here in old Idaho, we are known for our potatoes. You just have to do a little research. Or better yet, ask a local. Did you know Cincinnati is known for its chili? I sure did not until I visited a friend there. Now, chili is the first thing I think of when I think of Cincinnati—probably because it tasted so good! Search out which restaurants or dishes are famous and make sure to try them. Knowing I do not have to pay for it is just an added bonus.

Enjoy the perk of eating on the company dime

Another bonus to business travel is the opportunity to eat at very expensive restaurants occasionally. You know the kind I am talking about, those places where your entrée does not come with any sides. Instead, those sides cost about as much as you would normally pay for an entrée back home. I do not eat at expensive restaurants often. But every now and then, I get asked to join a client dinner. Since the experience is a rare one, I almost always say yes and I have had the opportunity to eat at some really great, high-end restaurants courtesy of work.

If I am not joining my coworkers or a client for dinner, I typically keep dinner simple and within walking distance to my hotel. Since the company pays for my meal, I sometimes like to spring for dessert—often at a different location entirely. On a recent trip to Sacramento, I discovered a little gem called Rick’s Dessert Diner and made myself sick off a slice of their decadent cake. Experiences like this help to make fun work trips.

Dessert fun work trips
Rick’s Dessert Diner in Sacramento is well worth a visit.

Some people are nervous about eating out on solo trips because they will have to eat by themselves. R and I have both reached a point in our lives where this is no longer a big deal (you get used to it after a while). But if you tend to feel lonely, remember you can almost always eat at the the bar. The bartender is often friendly and you get your food quickly. If you like sports, there is usually a game on that you can watch while you dine.

Suggestion #2: Explore on foot

If you are staying in a city, it might seem obvious to get out and explore. In fact, you might have to in order to eat or attend meetings. But not every business trip, or chosen hotel anyway, is located in a city center. However, no matter where I am staying, I am usually pleasantly surprised by what I find when I get out and walk a bit.

After my boss asked me to work out of our New Jersey office for a few weeks, I started arranging for lodging and a car. I needed to find a hotel with a kitchen so that I did not have to eat every meal out for the next six weeks. I ended up going with a Residence Inn not too far from the office. After settling in, I started going on walks and exploring the area. Aside from the gorgeous houses and trees in the area, I also found out there was a town about a half mile from my hotel. It was small, but it had everything I needed including a grocery store, pharmacy and restaurants. Best of all, it was home to a train stop. I was able to walk to the station and catch a ride into NYC to see my friend any weekend I was free.

fun work trips New York City
The street my friend lives on in New York.

During a business trip to Anaheim, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my hotel was within walking distance to Disneyland. I just happened to have a completely free day on that trip as well. Needless to say, I went ahead and visited Mickey on that free day.

Do not be afraid to set out on foot and explore your new and temporary neighborhood. Who knows what you will discover.

Suggestion #3: Take a class

When I travel for work, my days are usually quite busy. But most of the time, my nights and weekends are free. I do not mind watching TV and decompressing in my hotel room. However, after a couple of days of this, I am usually bored. Luckily, extracurricular activities abound all over the U.S. and make for fun work trips.

I once took a cake decorating class from Carlo’s Bake Shop (you know, the Cake Boss) while in New Jersey as well as a paint and sip class while in Sacramento. And then there are the various yoga classes I have attended while on the road. Classes like these usually require registration and a fee, but they can be a good way to pass the time and experience something new. They can also be a good way to meet locals and find out unique things about the area.

Cake decorating class Carlo's Bake Shop fun work trips
My masterpiece!

If a class is not your thing, you can always try a local spa. A massage while traveling for work is never a bad idea. Websites like Travelzoo and Groupon often offer spa deals in major U.S. cities. They also offer deals for entertainment. Idaho is not exactly a major stopping point for most bands. Whenever I go on a trip for work, I always check to see if a band I like is going to be performing in the area. I have gotten lucky a few times and have been able to see some of my favorite acts performing in new-to-me venues.

Suggestion #4: Go to a game

I cannot pretend to be a big baseball fan. However, I do enjoy taking in a game if I get the chance and thanks to various works trips, I have had the opportunity to see the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves all play on their home turf. A game is always a good way to spend the evening in a new town.

fun work trips Baltimore Os baseball
Watching the Os in Baltimore with R.

Suggestion #5: Tack on a road trip

I love a good road trip. Thanks to some work obligations, I have been able to go on some pretty fun ones. A couple of years ago, I attended a conference in Portland for work. After the conference ended, I rented a car and spent the weekend driving down the Oregon coast. At the end of my voyage, I returned the rental car and flew home. I did not have to take any time off or buy a plan ticket. It was lovely.

Oregon Coast fun work trips
The Oregon Coast. Lovely.

On other occasions, I have already had a rental car because of my work schedule and location. This happened on an extended work trip to the East Coast. Ironically, R had a business trip scheduled on the East Coast during that same time. I met her at the airport and we spent a long weekend road tripping through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont before heading back to work. Since work had paid for our flights and my rental car, we just had to split gas and lodging between the two of us—making it a very affordable road trip through New England.

Suggestion #6: Explore a nearby city (and take the train)

Instead of flying directly into Baltimore to attend a conference, I flew into Pittsburgh a day or so early and caught the train. I arrived in Baltimore in time to attend the conference, but first I enjoyed a lovely train ride through some country I had never seen before. It took some planning and I had to make sure flight prices into Pittsburgh were comparable to flight prices into Baltimore (turns out, they were cheaper so I actually saved the company some money). However, it was worth the effort to see a new place and visit a new city.

Pittsburgh fun work trips
Visiting Pittsburgh for the first time.

If you are traveling to an urban area you are not renting a car, then the train, or even the public transportation system, is something you should really take advantage of. You might be surprised at the places you can go with just a little extra planning. Whenever I visit New Jersey for work, I make a point to go into New York City (via public transportation) to visit a good friend of mine. It requires a bit of coordination, but it is well worth the effort.

Suggestion #7: Meet up with friends and family

I love it when work trips bring me to where my friends and family live. I mentioned my friend in New York City whom I try to visit whenever I go to our New Jersey office. Lucky me, I also have a good friend in Orlando. Over the years, a particular conference has taken me to Orlando a half dozen times. Each trip, I get to spend time with that friend and it makes any hassles I have traveling for work worth it.

Epcot Disney World fun work trips
Visiting Epcot in the rain with a very good friend from Orlando.

I have also used work trip locations as a jumping off point to meet up with friends. Sometimes, after my conference or meetings wrap up, I fly to an entirely different city to meet up with a friend. It can often be cheaper for me to visit someone that way since I just pay the difference from the original, roundtrip ticket that my company bought.

Note: I do not charge my time, gas or any other expenses to the company when I am playing. Never take advantage of your employer. It’s not cool.

Fun work trips conclusion

Business travel does not have to be a drag and there are ways to ensure you have fun work trips. Every state, city and/or region has something unique to offer. You just have to do a little research to find out what those unique offers are, and then coordinate your time to take advantage of them.

5 nights in Puerto Rico

5 nights in Puerto Rico

Last spring B, C and I were thinking about where we could go in the fall for a quick, affordable vacation. After looking through Google Flights and seeing where we could get from Boise on the cheap, we narrowed it down to two options: Aruba