Boston of the West


Fruit infused beers are awesome and no one can tell me otherwise.  This has been reaffirmed by a flavor found only out west: Huckleberry.  Sweeter and more tart than the blueberry, Paul and I downed a six pack of Wild Huckleberry brewed in Whitefish, Montana as we watched the NBA Draft from the comfort of a Boise motel.*

This was no ordinary motel, though.  While at first blush our lodging was just another Super 8, several oddities threw us for a loop.  Door handles pulled up; faucets needed to be turned right for hot water; and there was no Gideon bible in the night stand.  Cue the twilight zone music.

Upon checking out, we explored the city itself.  Final verdict?  Boise is pretty damn cool. I actually found it reminiscent of Boston.  Aside from the obvious – both are major “B” metros that serve as state capitals – the cities have much in common.

Cruising down the streets – many of which are inexplicably one-way – we found a city of distinct neighborhoods possessing a hip, young feel.  The youthful atmosphere was supplied by the large college population, headlined by Boise State University.  And the populace at large proved to be religiously diverse, much to my surprise.  Here can be found Protestants of every stripe, Mormons, and Jews, as well as some impressive religious architecture.  The Methodists here consecrated a gigantic church in 1960, known as the Cathedral of the Rockies.  And as it turns out, the Jews have been in Boise for a long time: the local synagogue was built in 1896, making it the oldest continuously active temple west of the Mississippi.

Idaho State Capitol

Idaho State Capitol

The blue turf of Boise State

The blue turf of Boise State

Ahavath Beth Israel synagogue

Ahavath Beth Israel synagogue

After wrapping up our sightseeing, we headed west out of this oasis in the Idaho desert. With the sun high in the sky, we entered our final state: Oregon.  Taking 20 through Oregon was quite scenic. Indeed, if not for this killer heat wave, it might have beat out South Dakota as my favorite drive.  Still, we traversed half the state in one day, getting as far as Bend, where we at last reached Pacific Time.

* Trey Burke is going to be a star, you heard it here first.


One thought on “Boston of the West

  1. Claudia Link says:

    Great job Steven. I’m a friend of your mother’s and I up in Newton, Ma. I have driven on Route 20 numerous times and had no idea that it extended all the way across the country. I’ve only been on the stretch from Boston to Sturbridge. Keep traveling and writing.

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