My hotel room window looks out onto Capitol Boulevard, with the Idaho state capitol and its colossal dome in the background.
Boise is bustling. It’s one of the fastest growing places in the country, and people here report that many of the recent arrivals hail from California. Real estate prices have skyrocketed, and one of Boise’s suburbs is set to become the second-largest city in Idaho in its own right.
There always seems to be traffic on Capitol Boulevard, too.
If you go to a steakhouse, there really are only three viable dessert options. Number 1 is the New York-style cheesecake, of course. And tied for second are a fruit cobbler and key lime pie — which must be made with a graham cracker crumb crust.
Tonight, at a very good steakhouse in Boise called Chandlers, I polished off an exceptional “cowboy cut” ribeye and some creamed spinach. I decided to top off my very traditional steakhouse meal with key lime pie. Sure, it was served in a round dish, and the graham cracker crust was chocolate, and there was no ultra-thin slice of lime, twisted and carefully placed on the whipped cream, but I was willing to overlook these departures from slavish adherence to the norm. And it tasted great, by the way.
I prefer the grand old hotels, with their special features and fixtures, but it’s nice to get a glimpse at the new hotel trends every once in a while, too. Last night I stayed in a Marriott Residence Inn in downtown Boise that the friendly woman who checked me in said had been open for all of two weeks.
The first thing I noticed when I got to my room was the smell. With all of the shiny new, just-out-of-the-delivery-box metal, plastic, fabric, and carpeting, the room had that familiar scent that made me feel like I was going to spend the night in a new Mustang on the local Ford dealer’s showroom floor.
There were some other signs of new hotel approaches, too. The room was a kind of mini-suite, with refrigerator and microwave (complete with a packet of microwave popcorn), and the Keurig coffee maker is definitely a welcome step in the right direction. The bathroom features an enormous, blindingly white walk-in shower that is guaranteed to blast the newly roused traveler into immediate wide-awake mode. And the room has two other features that go on the negative side of the ledger — heaps of those clunky, oversized “accent” pillows on the sofa that keep you from sitting down unless you throw them on the floor, and light fixtures that you have to carefully study to determine whether they are powered by a knob, a hanging cord, a wall switch, or a step-on device on the floor. Oh, for the days when every light could be turned on by a knob beneath the lampshade!
It’s a nice room and a nice hotel, but new or old, a hotel is always a hotel. I noticed that this one also has the loud, patterned carpeting that you seem to find only in hotel hallways and bowling alleys. Some things never change.
Tonight I began my overnight cross-country trip that will take me from Boise, Idaho to Salt Lake City, then to Boston, and finally to NYC. Any experienced traveler will react to this wishful itinerary with the thought: “Yeah, good luck with that!” But sometimes you just have to try.
Boise was cloudless the whole time I was there, even when I boarded the plane, above — which I’ve got to say isn’t bad. When I landed in Salt Lake City a few hours later I was horrified to see a few clouds in the sky, but the mountains that ring the airport, shown below, made up for it.
Now it’s time to fuel up on some great airport food, try to stay awake until my next flight boards, and then survive the red-eye.
Yeah . . . good luck with that!
I’m on a quick visit to Boise, Idaho. It’s my first visit to a place that, according to a big signs at the airport, bills itself as the “City of Trees.” The airport signs also make it clear that Idahoans are proud of their beef and their potatoes — so I savored some of each at dinner.
Although I didn’t notice anything remarkable about the trees of Boise, I did think the state capitol building, pictured above, was pretty cool, and I was really struck by what you see in the distance behind the capitol — i.e., cloudless blue sky. Boise gets sunshine at least part of the day for a ridiculously large percentage of the year. We could us some of that during our Columbus winters.