What’s that? You don’t know where Blaine County is or why we’d write about it? Ok, we’ll use the name everyone knows - Sun Valley. Yes, that Sun Valley — the one that had a movie made about it in 1941 and that still houses movie stars, venture capitalists and other gloriously wealthy people. We figure that, if you’re one of our readers, chances are that you don’t need us to tell you that the skiing and mountain biking in Sun Valley are incredible or that the fly fishing in Silver Creek is world-class. Heck, it’s the reason so many people go there in the first place.
If you want to go where the locals do, we think you should take your dog (everyone in the county seems to have one) and head out to one of our favorite hikes. If you’re in great shape (remember, you’re a mile up in the middle of a desert, so running in a gym for twenty minutes three times per week probably doesn’t get you where you need to be for this one), we love the 8-mile hike up Hyndman Creek to Pioneer Cabin. Later in the season, we love heading up to Norton Lake, which is short, but pretty steep (and very pretty):
If you don’t feel like spending a day climbing a mountain but still want to get a quick hike in, you’ll find locals driving about a mile from Ketchum to walk in the aspen trees around Adam’s Gulch. While the whole loop there is over 6 miles, most people do a shorter there-and-back or take one of the side trails that cuts the hike in half.
After a morning hike (and we do recommend doing it in the morning, before you hit the heat of the day), we love the Moose Girls Cafe (which used the be the Rustic Moose), although it’s hard to complain about the perennial local’s favorite, The Kneadery. If you’re not a breakfast person, our favorite sandwich in town (and maybe on earth) is the Hot Hawaiian at Perry’s (although we like chicken salad a lot, and that influences our opinion here). Another of our favorites is the Peppered Pig at the Big Belly Deli in Hailey.
We like to peruse the excellent galleries near Perry’s in Ketchum before dinner — the Kneeland Gallery features plein air painters from the Rockies, while Gail Severn has a good collection of modern artists from the Pacific Northwest. However, our pick for our favorite gallery in town? David Norton Fine Art, who, with his wife Brenda, have incredible early American western art in their store, The Sheepskin Coat Factory.
Finally, it’s time for dinner. We know that places like the Pioneer Saloon and Michel’s Christiania are popular with tourists (and locals, off-season), it wouldn’t be fair to ignore the two excellent restaurants ten miles away from Ketchum, in Hailey - CK’s, which features slow, local food, and Zou 75, which (believe it!) has inventive sushi and main courses. Don’t feel like something fancy? Trek a bit further south to Bellevue and grab a pie at South Valley Pizzeria instead - even we jaded New Yorkers admit that it’s pretty darn good pizza.
And then, it’s time to get up and do it all over again… sometimes, we think we’re silly for not moving hopara there to be with some of the other entrepreneurs who live out there (Smith Optics and ScotteVest, to name a couple), but we need a real airport to do what we do. Oh well!