Having just arrived in Idaho Falls I stepped out and looked at the water then down the path. I couldn’t hear her, but I could see her coming towards me.She was rocking a hot pink helmet and carving back and forth on a skate board of the same color. Directly behind her were two friends pushing along on scooters. The falls in the background provided a gentle hum to the surroundings. Children cruised back and forth while couples strolled hand in hand with the falls acting as the pulse of the city.
Locking my car, I made my way across the street for a bite and drink at Snow Eagle Brewery. With a nice malty brew in hand, it was the perfect place to people watch and take in the surroundings.
The River Walk
People of all sorts were enjoying the beautiful views of the River Walk. Wanting to do the same, I finished my beer and followed the flow of water to a free and community-supported Japanese Garden just past the bridge. This Japanese Friendship Garden is host to the first bridge to span the Snake River in Eastern Idaho. Organized and maintained by volunteers, the garden provided a peaceful and picturesque view adjacent to the river and the city of Idaho Falls. With the sun setting, I made my way to the other side of the river. Part of the charm of the town are the activities that surround it. Walking towards a local watering hole, I spotted a group of dancers exiting a performance hall still halfway in their dress. Past them surrounding the entrance of a bar were dozens of travelers discussing the beer festival that had taken place.
Meeting Friendly Locals
“Yo, Colorado!”I happened to be wearing a hoodie representing a Colorado brewery when a stranger from the festival noticed. “Hey! I like your hoodie, I’ve been there!” the new friend exclaimed. Glad to encounter some familiarity, I engaged him in some brief chit chat: “Right on! How did you find yourself in northern Colorado?” Taking a swig, he responded, “I’m actually from Idaho Falls, but I’ve traveled working from brewery to brewery. I used to live in Colorado for a bit and tried out all the popular spots.”“Where are you now, what brought you back?” “I’m in Utah brewing, but I still call Idaho Falls home. I come back multiple times a year, especially for the brew fest.” We continued the conversation over beer discussing travel and Idaho Falls. He clearly had an appreciation for the town. It was only my first day here, but I could understand why.
Exploring the Surroundings
The next morning, I decided to venture out a bit and explore some of the volcanic fields in the area. The place was called Hell’s Half Acre Lava Field. Don’t be confused by the name; the area encompasses a fair portion of Eastern Idaho. There just happen to be designated points where lava fields are easily accessible for visitors. After a brief stroll and pictures, I found myself back in Idaho Falls enjoying the breakfast staples at Smitty’s Pancake House. Filled with a mixture of old regulars enjoying coffee and a younger demographic of what seemed like out of town beer-fest attendees, the restaurant was near capacity. Satisfied, I continued my curious stroll throughout the town. The Riverwalk again acted as a sort of center to my bearing. The morning called to runners and photographers out catching the morning light. As I was making my way towards the museum, a photographer directed a couple to position in front of the falls with proper sunlight illuminating their attire and joy. A few blocks later I arrived at the Museum of Idaho. The museum was a sort of time machine. Scenes from Idaho’s past had been rearranged to be on display for onlookers. Old relics and stories built up a solid foundation for the roots of the state. Predating Idaho itself, the museum held a special Archimedes interactive exhibit. Two floors of interactive inventions led visitors to learn about old technology and how it has influenced our current state. Mentally satisfied, I left seeking lunch.
Visitors Becoming Locals
Back towards the river I made my way to Smokin Fins, a popular local eatery. It was here that things sort of continued to build on themselves. While looking at the brunch menu a local engaged me in conversation, “You can’t go wrong with the crab eggs benedict.”“I was looking at that, not too bad eh?” I responded. “It’s all pretty good, but that’s what I usually get,” he remarked. After ordering I asked him, “So are you an Idaho Falls local?”“I am now. I travel from place to place for work, but after I came here I told them I wasn’t going anywhere else.”Smiling, I nodded. Idaho Falls seemed to be one of those places. Difficult to leave and when you find it, you never want to be anywhere else.