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36 hours in Boise features frontier charm and fine food

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Boise derived from the French word for wooded, but a name that also reflects a confluence of frontier myth and speculation — sits below the Rocky Mountains on a verdant plain known as Treasure Valley. Boise (BOY-see, if you are a local; BOY-zee if you are not), once a gritty stop along the Oregon Trail, is Idaho’s capital and, with a population of 223,000, its most populous city.

It is a place that offers frontier charm, easy access to expansive wilderness, a reverence for modern art and creative restaurants. It is also a place where visitors will find Basque culture — the most concentrated in the country — throughout the city, especially in the Basque Block neighbourhood. The culture is an integral part of Boise, where children can take Basque dance lessons and adults can drink calimotxo, a red-wine-and-Coke libation.

UNDATED — BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-BOISE-ART-NYTSF— Bikers enjoy the Boise River Greenbelt. Boise -- derived from the French word for wooded, but a name that also reflects a confluence of frontier myth and speculation — sits below the Rocky Mountains on a verdant plain known as Treasure Valley. Boise (BOY-see, if you’re a local; BOY-zee if you’re not), once a gritty stop along the Oregon Trail, is Idaho’s capital and, with a population of 223,000, its most populous city. It is a place that offers frontier charm, easy access to expansive wilderness, a reverence for modern art and creative restaurants (not to mention goats known for their landscaping skills.). (CREDIT: Tamara Kenyon/The New York Times) -- ONLY FOR USE WITH ARTICLE SLUGGED -- BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-BOISE-ART-NYTSF -- OTHER USE PROHIBITED.
UNDATED — BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-BOISE-ART-NYTSF— Bikers enjoy the Boise River Greenbelt. Boise — derived from the French word for wooded, but a name that also reflects a confluence of frontier myth and speculation — sits below the Rocky Mountains on a verdant plain known as Treasure Valley. Boise (BOY-see, if you’re a local; BOY-zee if you’re not), once a gritty stop along the Oregon Trail, is Idaho’s capital and, with a population of 223,000, its most populous city. It is a place that offers frontier charm, easy access to expansive wilderness, a reverence for modern art and creative restaurants (not to mention goats known for their landscaping skills.). (CREDIT: Tamara Kenyon/The New York Times) — ONLY FOR USE WITH ARTICLE SLUGGED — BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-BOISE-ART-NYTSF — OTHER USE PROHIBITED.  (Tamara Kenyon / The New York Times)

FRIDAY

3 p.m.: A falcon’s view

Get sweeping views of downtown Boise and learn something about falconry when you venture into the lowlands, a 20-minute drive outside the city. There, on a plateau that more than a half dozen falcons and other birds of prey call home, the World Center for Birds of Prey (also the headquarters of the Peregrine Fund) offers live raptor presentations and one of the world’s most thorough falconry archives. There are displays on raptor diets and migration patterns, and an astonishingly in-depth exhibition that details how Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the former president of the United Arab Emirates, devoted much of his life to preserving the culture of falconry. General admission is $10.

6 p.m.: Pioneer libations

A festival each summer commemorates Basque immigrants who settled throughout the rural areas in the 19th century, where they were miners and later shepherds. Evidence of the Basque diaspora is everywhere: a large mural of children playing pelota (similar to handball) overlooks downtown’s Basque Block, where utility boxes display images related to Basque dance, paella, bocadillos and tapas at the Basque Market, and an artzainak (Basque for shepherd) exhibition at the Basque Museum. Cocktails at the Modern Hotel and Bar downtown offers Basque-inspired cocktails such as the Barbarella (Hacienda de Chihuahua sotol, Bozal Tobasiche mezcal, rhubarb shrub and fresh ginger, $10). After a drink, explore the nearby Julia Davis Rose Garden, which holds more than 2,000 rose bushes inside a 43-acre park.

8 p.m.: Eclectic eating

Haricot vert, a chilled soup with confit fingerling potatoes, petite garlic and leek, at Le Coq d’Or.
Haricot vert, a chilled soup with confit fingerling potatoes, petite garlic and leek, at Le Coq d’Or.  (Tamara Kenyon / The New York Times)

Helmed by executive chef Christian Phernetton, State & Lemp sources Pacific Northwest and Idaho meats, cheeses and vegetables. The prix fixe menu, about $200 for two, changes frequently. On a recent visit, the menu included smoked sturgeon, octopus and fiddleheads, pork with rhubarb and a crème fraîche panna cotta. The venue is essentially an intimate art gallery with kinetic sculptures and other local artwork for sale. Reserve in advance.

If French cuisine is more in line with your tastes, Le Coq d’Or, in nearby Eagle (part of the metropolitan sprawl surrounding Boise), offers a menu that includes a tempura avocado crab boat (Dungeness crab with mango, cilantro and habanero ginger aioli, $14) and free-range chicken with “truffle spinach” and goat cheese risotto ($31).

10 p.m.: Mingle with locals

Huddle around the bar with the casual date-night crowd at Bittercreek Alehouse, which offers more than two dozen rotating drafts from local breweries including Boise Brewing and Woodland Empire, as well as from breweries in Alaska and elsewhere. A late-night happy hour begins at 10 p.m. (try the poutine, $6, or the salmon croquettes, $5), but you will probably find yourself there past closing; guests are not kicked out — they are usually invited to stay a while longer.

SATURDAY

8 a.m.: Beyond breakfast

Heed the call to an amazing breakfast at Wildroot Café and Market, tucked behind an unassuming facade and decorated with bright green furniture. You can delve into a plate of Wagyu steak and eggs (served with sweet potato hash and asparagus, $16) or migas (a queso fresco and scallion omelette-like dish, with chorizo, house-made avocado salsa verde, pinto beans and crispy tortillas, $10). For a taste of Basque cuisine, go to Txikiteo (Basque for pub crawl), which opened in March. For breakfast, indulge in the Gâteau Basque (a fluffy cake topped with a cherry, $5) and the jamón serrano and manchego breakfast sandwich ($7).

9 a.m.: Beyond Boise

Bikers enjoy the Boise River Greenbelt.
Bikers enjoy the Boise River Greenbelt.  (Tamara Kenyon / The New York Times)

Less than an hour’s drive from downtown is the city of Horseshoe Bend and the fantastical woodlands that surround it. Some of the best river rafting anywhere may be had on the Payette River ($60 for half-day trips). Or hike along the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway and spy on mountain goats and elk at various overlooks. Idaho Mountain Touring offers mountain bicycle rentals ($15 to $60 for up to four-hour rentals, depending on bike model); check out the Bogus Basin, a year-round skiing and biking enclave with verdant trails once used for gold mining.

Noon: A sky, darkly

Rent a car to drive through the Sawtooth Mountain range (a roughly three-hour picturesque drive) for an overnight in the Sun Valley wilderness. Central Idaho is the only certified dark sky reserve in the country — designated in 2017, it is one of 12 worldwide. (Though the designation applies to 1,416 square miles of craggy backcountry, anywhere outside of downtown Boise will do.) Set up your base camp in the town of Ketchum (try the Tamarack Lodge, where rooms start at $125), the final resting place of Hemingway. You will find his grave in the Ketchum cemetery. It is the one adorned with pens and bottles of whiskey.

3 p.m.: Hunker and head out

Recover from your drive with a flight of local craft beer specials, a house-baked pretzel (made with duck fat, rosemary and saison beer cheese, $8) and the butcher’s cut steak (market prices vary) at Warfield. Then explore the Sawtooths by kayak (Backwoods Mountain Sports, daytrips from $30, depending on model) or join a Salmon River float fishing trip (White Otter Outdoor Adventures, $350 a person). You will wend past gold-mining ghost towns and hot springs while navigating the same rich waters that fur trader Alexander Ross and the Hudson’s Bay Co. did in the 19th century.

8 p.m.: Ode to Hemingway

Have a drink at Michel’s Christiania in Ketchum, where Hemingway spent his last night with his wife, Mary, and where you can enjoy the carpaccio de boeuf ($14) and escargots bourguignon ($15). Or save your appetite and go to the Town Square Tavern where you will find something like a Fifth Avenue vibe served alongside lamb burgers ($12), duck confit tacos ($13) and tapas ($6 to $12). Order a slice of Turkish coffee mud pie ($6) and then, as you head home, bask in the brightness of a blanket of stars.

SUNDAY

Noon: Potaytoe, potahtoe

Westside Drive-In, where the famous "ice cream potato" is served.
Westside Drive-In, where the famous “ice cream potato” is served.  (Tamara Kenyon / The New York Times)

No trip to Idaho is complete without potatoes. Frites come as sides with most everything. But there is only one Ice Cream Potato. Back in downtown Boise, enter Westside Drive-In, a throwback complete with pink neon sign. OK, the ice cream is not actually made with potatoes. Rather it is frozen ice cream compressed into the shape of a russet potato then rolled in cocoa powder and slit down the middle. Filled with rich whipped cream, it is the perfect alt-snack in a place famed for its spuds.

2 p.m.: Gold dust

When in the Gem State, do as the miners did: Head for the hills and the gold, which may or may not be there. Either way, appreciate the abundance of natural resources at the Idaho Museum of Mining & Geology (free), and then stroll through the Old Idaho Penitentiary ($6) next door, which offers a good introduction to Western prison history. There are several trailheads nearby, so hike into the rolling desert landscape, a vestige of what frontier remains.

Lodging

Once a ramshackle motel, the Modern Hotel and Bar (1314 W. Grove St., themodernhotel.com; queen rooms start at around $130) is now a chic boutique inn with reasonable rates and excellent cocktails.

Built into the foothills overlooking the north of the city, the delightful Boise Hillside Suites (4480 N. Kitsap Way, boisehillsidesuites.com; from $85) is roughly five minutes from downtown and features landscaping stones from the Boise City Hall.

Looking for camp and kitsch? The Anniversary Inn (1575 South Lusk Place, anniversaryinn.com; from $159) has been a stalwart in Boise for years and is part of a larger Midwestern chain, with rooms such as the Treasure Island suite, the Sleeping Beauty’s suite and a Swiss Family Robinson-style treehouse.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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