We have been nicknamed the Gem State because of the varieties of gemstones that can be or have been found within our borders. This state is also a figurative gem because of its something-for-everyone setting. The city dweller. The suburbanite. The farmer. The redneck. The thrill seeker. The artist.
Idaho has been home to authors and poets like Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound; actresses Patty Duke and Ellen Travolta; actors Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Franz, and Ben Stein; athletes like Jake Plummer and Don Larsen; even Philo Farnsworth - the guy that invented the television. At some point in time, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Elway, Mark Zuckerberg, Clint Eastwood, and Wayne Gretzky have owned vacation properties in Idaho. This is a state that has inspired adventure as well as offered a quiet retreat for many.
In my little corner of Kootenai County, I have come to appreciate our event-filled tourist season that seems to never end. Car d'Alene, Ironman, the Fourth of July parade and fireworks show, Julyamsh pow wow, Art on the Green, North Idaho Fair. I love our nearness to the rugged wilderness and access to the amenities of Spokane on the other side of the state line. The smell of mint as I drive across the prairie, the roar of water falling over the Post Falls Dam, the feel of wind sweeping inland from the lakes and rivers, and the relieving chill as I dip my toes into the water after a hike around Tubbs Hill. We experience all four seasons in their truest forms: wet but warm springs with cherry blossoms and electrical storms, long hot summers that will compel you to seek either air conditioning or your favorite stretch of beach, cool and crisp autumns with colorful foliage, and frigid snowy winters that make recent Californian transplants regret their decision to move north.
This is my home.
Before I start to sound like I am speaking on behalf of the Department of Commerce and Tourism, before you assume I'm trying to convince all of my out-of-state friends to relocate to my neighborhood, there's more.
Idaho contains unparalleled scenery. It is a golfer's and sportsman's paradise. We have miles and miles of trails to support any fitness advocate. Foodie will find their favorite culinary haunts. If you're looking for good wine or good gin, you'll find it in Idaho. Life here is something that anyone could get used to.
If you are to live in Idaho, you will have to accept that crazy is the default setting for most of the politicians that run this state. The capitol building in Boise is a stunning and gorgeous work of architecture, but the business that is conducted within its walls borders between insanity and absurdity.
photo credit: Boise Architecture Project
There is more. If you want to know what kind of mindlessness lurks around Idaho's government, you'll have to read part two tomorrow.