Literary City Guide | BOISE, ID


He loved the warm sun of summer and the high mountain meadows, the trails through the timber and the sudden clear blue of the lakes. He loved the hills in the winter when the snow comes. Best of all he loved the fall ... the fall with the tawny and grey, the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies. He loved to shoot, he loved to ride and he loved to fish. Now those are all finished. But the hills remain.
— Ernest Hemingway wrote this in eulogy for a friend, and part of it is now displayed on a memorial to Hemingway in Sun Valley, Idaho, a resort town two hours from Boise where Hemingway penned For Whom The Bell Tolls and was laid to rest in the town cemetery.

Tour Guide: Jamie Hausman

Jamie Hausman was born and raised in the Chicagoland area, and after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism, she became a freelance writer. In addition to writing for print and digital magazines, she launched two farmers markets in Atlanta, Georgia. She moved to Boise, Idaho in January of 2017 with her golden retriever, Hooch, and her partner, Owen, seeking new adventures. She spends her non-writing time cooking, reading, hiking and harvesting vegetables at a local organic farm. While she’s on sabbatical from social media, you can keep up with her adventures at www.jamiehausman.com.

Q&A

Relationship to Boise: I moved to Boise in January 2017, so while I’m a newcomer, or what some Idahoans call a not-so-local, I’ve fallen in love with this area and intend to make it my forever home.

Writer you'd like to invite to dinner: Barbara Kingsolver

Chef you'd like to prepare the meal: Alice Waters

Writing soundtrack: When I can, I write best on the river bank, but when I can’t be near one, I listen to the sounds of trickling water on my Calm App.

Pen or Pencil: Pen

Coffee or Tea: Tea

Paperback or Hardback: Whatever becomes available first at the library. I also rely heavily on e-books and audio books when I travel.


Good Reads


BOOKSTORES

Rediscovered Books. Located downtown, this bookstore is constantly stocking new must-reads, and their wall of books for registered book clubs (more than 30!) is impressive in itself. I love their displays and their knowledgeable staff.

Once and Future Books. This bookstore is owned by the same family as Rediscovered, but it offers used books that are constantly being refreshed. Recently, I found two hardcover copies of Tommy Orange’s There There for $10!

LIBRARIES

Library! The Boise Public Library! system has a downtown location on Capitol Boulevard that visitors to Boise pass on their way into town. The exclamation mark in its name is not a typo, and the programming and services the library provides are set to improve with a new building soon.

Library! (Bown Crossing). This is the city’s newest and most state-of-the-art library. It’s got a modern design and fits beautifully in its Southeast Boise’s surroundings.

READINGS & CONFERENCES

The Cabin’s Readings and Conversations Series. This series brings lecturing authors and cultural icons to Boise each year. The series has hosted everyone from Gloria Steinem and David Sedaris to Idaho native Tara Westover and Pulitzer Prize winner and Boise resident Anthony Doerr.

Story Fort. Organized by local writer and friend Christian Winn during Treefort, Boise’s annual independent music festival, Story Fort hosts panels, readings and events to enrich and support Boise’s literary community.

OTHER FINDS

The Cabin. This literary organization in Boise is housed in a real, historic log cabin. The organization supports readers, writers and learners through workshops for adults, camps for kids, public readings and programs for students. I sit on their board, take their workshops and subscribe to their reading series and consider them a cornerstone of Boise’s literary community.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival. Enjoy a seasonal series of plays in an outdoor amphitheater that continually represents the best of Boise. I love to go on a hot summer night with a full picnic and take in the beautiful natural surroundings on the river, the impressive quality of plays and the sense of community the space provides. 

Good Eats


COFFEE SHOPS

Hyde Perk. This coffee shop is close to my house and on the quaint tree-lined street that runs through the center of Hyde Park, a small neighborhood in Boise’s North End. Owned by a family who runs the shop, they serve classic coffee drinks, seasonal specials and a killer chai latte.

Form & Function. First opened as a farmer’s market stall, Form & Function quickly drew a following for perfect pour-overs. Now, they operate a modern space with plenty of seating that I love to go to when meeting with fellow writers downtown.

Push & Pour. This shop celebrates the city’s location on the Boise River, just a few steps from the riverbank. It features an indoor/outdoor design and a dog-friendly interior.

A PROPER MEAL

The Wylder. This restaurant supports my constant craving for pizza, serving up slices on a sourdough crust from a starter that’s almost half a century old, in a refined modern farmhouse style space. The family-owned restaurant has consistently good service, and their kale caesar salad is the perfect balance to their butterscotch budino.

Petit 4. This is our special occasion spot located on the Boise Bench, a neighborhood that sits above downtown and has views of Boise State University, the capital building and the foothills. Their food is French-inspired, but with a seasonal menu and ultra-creative chef, you can’t go wrong. I always advise people to come hungry and save room for dessert.

Bittercreek Alehouse. We take all of our visitors here. The owner, Dave Krick, is an avid supporter of local farms, and everything on the menu is delicious. I personally recommend their wings, a beer from their extensive tap list and one of their locally sourced burgers.

TREATS

Txikiteo. Ppronounced chee-kee-tay-o, this spot serves several treat-based purposes in Boise. I go there for a light Basque-inspired breakfast after the farmers market, and I meet friends there for charcuterie and bottles of crisp, Mediterrenean-sourced wines. Their prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is modern and approachable.

Jan Jous. When I need a pick-me-up pastry or comforting cup of tea, Jan Jous holds a special place in my heart. Their brioche is the stuff dreams are made of, and encounters with Moshit, the Israel-born pastry chef and owner, are warm and welcoming.

The Boise Farmers Market. This is part of my Saturday routine, with more farmers selling produce, fresh bread and locally raised meat than any one person can take in, as well as live music, food trucks and educational programming. A second market, the Capital City Public Market, spans the center of downtown and caters to visitors with more art-focused vendors.


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JAMIE's 5 Favorites


1. Favorite view: I live across the street from a trailhead for the Hillside to Hollow Reserve, a 316-acre system of trails where much of Boise’s residents walk their dogs, mountain bike and trail run on a daily basis. I love to hike the Harrison Hollow ridge trail with my pup and take in the view of Boise’s canopy and the mountains that flank the city.

2. Favorite place to write: I love to write outside, so when my schedule allows, I like to drive into the mountains and canyons around Boise, setup my hammock and write to the sound of trickling river water.

3. Favorite museum: The Basque Museum is my favorite place to take visitors for a bit of culture. Boise has the largest Basque population outside of Spain, and the Basque Block is where the museum, historic buildings and restaurants are located. After a visit to the museum, we stop in Bar Gernika for croquetas and kalimotxos (red wine and Coke).

4. Favorite coffee shop: I live close to Hyde Perk, which is always buzzing with activities and serving my favorite iced chai latte. I choose this coffeeshop for the vibe, proximity and free parking whenever I schedule a coffee date.

5. Favorite thing about Boise: Boise has a small-town vibe with big-city amenities. I love the authenticity of its outdoorsy folk, and I love the access it provides for adventure.