Monday, February 20, 2012

Sun Valley Idaho: But what ELSE is there to do?

I have to say, skiing is obviously the reason one would go to Sun Valley in the first place...but that doesn't mean that there isn't anything else to do!

First things first - the "activity" we enjoyed most during our stay was definitely the giant outdoor hot tub. Especially the night that it was snowing while we were in it. They have cocktail service until...at least 8 PM? Forgive me for not remembering, it may have even been later, but how awesome is the idea of a waitress coming to you hot tub-side to take your drink orders, then sipping on said drinks when she returns?

Not to mention it's always fun to dip into a relaxing hot tub after a long day of skiing, period.

The whole area around the pool was always so steamy! ;)
There is also some decent shopping in Sun Valley Village and Ketchum, though to be honest the stores in the Village and many in the town close quite early. Considering people are likely skiing most of the day, one would think that 6 or 7 PM wouldn't give tourists enough shopping time after 4 PM mountain closures! There are some great little kitschy shops in Ketchum - The Country Cousin at 411 E. Sun Valley Road probably has the widest range of souvenirs, especially t-shirts, sweatshirts, shot glasses and just random stuff that you'll never need but at least be amused by. Also, my backpack strap tore while we were on our way to Sun Valley and I needed a new one, so I ran into the Elephant's Perch at 280 N. East Ave in Ketchum and grabbed an awesome Dakine backpack - complete with padded laptop sleeve that terminates before touching the bottom of the bag - on sale for about $45! So if you're in town and need some ski gear, I definitely suggest checking out this store.

Quaint downtown Ketchum
Back at the Sun Valley Lodge and in the adjacent Sun Valley Village, one of our favorite activities was to listen to live jazz/piano music while enjoying drinks in the Duchin Lounge :)

Sort of candid picture of us getting comfy on a couch in the Duchin Lounge
The Duchin even features a couple of good local beers!
We also visited the Inn Lobby Lounge, though to be honest that lounge was downright empty the night we were there. (Of course, it was a Monday...) The Duchin was never empty in the evenings, though on our first night - which was a Saturday - it was pretty crowded. Almost to the point of not being able to find a seat (had there been more than two of us, we wouldn't have been able to do so). But the live music was always great and the prices weren't too bad either, considering it was the only real "bar" at the Sun Valley Lodge!

Unfortunately the Boiler Room in the village wasn't open at all when we were there. I was told that they have comedy shows and live music sometimes but that otherwise it remains closed. Sad :( To be honest it *would* have been nice if there was a bit more of a "happening" nightlife at or near the lodge. The one night we went into Ketchum we visited - as previously mentioned - a more toned-down restaurant ranter than a hopping bar, but even so it we would have had to deal with catching the bus back early or finding and paying for a cab had we wanted to stay out late, which just kind of...sucks, to put it bluntly ;)

There are plenty of extra activities that we sadly missed - the tubing, for one, which I've read is enjoyable especially for children; and also the ice skating, which was right outside our door at the Lodge, but the one night we thought about maybe doing it/making time for it we ended up going into Ketchum, getting distracted by Sean the bartender at Cornerstone, and returning to the Lodge far too late to go ice skating.

Also, it's worth mentioning that there is a movie theater in Sun Valley Village, and that if you eat dinner at certain restaurants on the property - including but not limited to Gretchen's and Bald Mountain Pizza - you get free tickets! When we were there they were playing two animated kids' movies, at I want to say 6:15 and 8:45, but we drank too much beer at Bald Mountain Pizza the night that we ate there and so never made it to a movie, silly us...haha. There is also a free showing of Sun Valley Serenade at 4:30 PM every day, but of course we didn't make it back early enough from skiing to change and get to the movie theater for this. Still, if you have the time I think it would be really cool to say that you saw Sun Valley Serenade in a movie theater right there near/where it was filmed.

Other than that, we just wandered around the Lodge. We "visited" Suite 206, where Ernest Hemingway wrote most of For Whom the Bell Tolls, though we didn't get to see inside of it, really (we caught a bit of a peek thanks to the fact that there were maids inside cleaning it when we stopped by and the door was propped slightly open). And they keep Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey (near the airport) decorated for Christmas all ski season, which meant tons of cool ice sculptures and pretty Christmas lights to see! So I'll leave you with a few shots of those and this one last fact: We had an amazing experience in Sun Valley and if you're a skier - but most especially, a skier who loves nostalgia - this place is a must for your skiing/travel bucket list!

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