Oftentimes when people talk about what inspired them to start a new business venture, they wax nostalgic about family history or speak profoundly about a life-changing event. But in the case of Savor Spokane, the founders were inspired by a completely mediocre experience. While on a city food tour in 2009, they had an OK time, but left feeling like there should have been more...something.
They mulled it over, and eventually realized what was missing: their tour hadn't been local enough. So, they began developing a framework for what they thought would be a more complete experience. They wanted local food, local guides, and an integration of relevant historical and cultural information.
Today, these are exactly the kinds of tours they organize with Savor Spokane. Though the focus is food or wine, as groups walk from destination to destination, they pick up interesting tidbits about Spokane geography, architecture, and culture. The guides say they've been able to enlighten both tourists and locals, often finding even lifelong residents admit they've learned something new, been to a restaurant they didn't realize was there, or figured out their key to the city doesn't actually open anything.
Piloted by a professional driving staff, Boise Party Bus's fleet whisks between 16 and 24 clientele away on celebratory jaunts customized for special occasions and tours. Each non-smoking ride arrives equipped with a full bar, hardwood dance floor, and miniature water park built into the tire rims as a driver accommodates requests you make throughout the trip.
Alongside services for private parties, Boise Party Bus's passengers charter the fleet for the Best of the Northwest Wine Tour or Snake River Valley Vineyard Tour to sample boutique wines at five local destinations. Guests on The Great Idaho Brew Tour make pit stops at up to six of the state's best brewers for pours of craft brew on a voyage that Boise Weekly lauds as "a genius idea."
After more than 20 years in business, what began with one aircraft shepherding fishers through the Idaho backcountry has blossomed into a gleaming six-Cessna fleet offering charter service deep into the wilderness. Overseeing the whole operation is SP Aircraft’s founder, Scott Patrick, a charter-industry veteran with many close contacts in the backcountry-outfitter, river-guide, and tour-company arena. The outfit’s trip packages dispense wild majesty and creature comforts in equal measure, much like receiving a foot massage from a grizzly bear. The Sawtooth Air Tour and Backcountry Brunch, for example, begins with a 90-minute flight over the Sawtooth Range, Dagger Falls, and the Deadwood Reservoir and culminates in a multicourse brunch. Meanwhile, the Mackay Bar Overnight Steelhead Fishing on the Main Salmon River trip invites travelers to try their luck on the “River of No Return”—so-called because, unlike most rivers, it only flows one way.
As soon as young Ed Dickson could swim three laps in an Olympic-size pool, he earned his free time on Lake Michigan; his mother gave him a 12-foot aluminum motorboat and told him he could fish anywhere, provided he was home by sunset. Reflecting back on his childhood, Ed suspects his family ate more fish than they wanted to.
Nowadays, Ed is the owner of Diamond Charters and a Coast Guard captain with more than 15,000 hours on the water, which he accumulated on Lake Michigan, the waters of California and Mexico, and in his current lake of choice: Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille. Since 1992, he has been cruising the landlocked lake for its rainbow trout, famed for growing to record-breaking sizes and skirting predators by blending into nearby rainbows. Ed also showcases the lake to his guests on fishing expeditions through Diamond Charters. On any given excursion, he steers passengers to the best fishing spots aboard his 32-foot Twin Volvo Turbo Carver yacht, outfitted with amenities that include a TV, microwave, and a set of more than 1,000 lures.
Ponderosa Aero Club has sent Boise residents skyward for more than 35 years and acquaints aspiring pilots to the blue beyond with discovery flight lessons. A licensed flight instructor first debriefs students on the fundamentals of taking off, maneuvering, landing, and using radio equipment to order a frisbee-tossed pizza. Attendees then approach the club's fleet of Cessna and Piper Cherokee Archer aircrafts for a preflight inspection. As guests climb into the cockpit alongside their aerodynamics mentor, they can enlist the help of a camera to keep midair memories intact. Planes soar over Boise during a 30- or 60-minute scenic flight, the latter of which includes a tour of Snake River, Swan Falls, and Lake Lowell before a complimentary lower view of a cloud's reproductive system. Patrons can shoot postflight pictures upon their return to earth while staff members award them a logbook and certificate of completion.
Trophy bass are nothing unusual to the licensed fishing guides at Mountain River Outfitters. Armed with more than 15 years of experience, they lead trips through local waters—including the Salmon and Snake Rivers—in search of prize catches such as bass, salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon. Mountain River Outfitters also has expert guides that lead whitewater-rafting trips, horseback rides, and camping and hiking trips in local canyons and mountains.
As the early-morning sky lightens and the sun paints the horizon in purples, blues, oranges, and yellows, a fleet of balloons takes flight. These are Boise Hot Air Company’s balloons—colorful inflated vessels bedecked with purple and yellow stripes, red checkerboard patterns, and the stars and stripes of the American flag. Captains take groups aloft at 30 minutes before official sunrise in baskets equipped with seats and dividers for added safety. Flying only in fair weather and usually at speeds of no more than 8 miles per hour, the captains pilot leisurely flights low over the countryside of rolling hills from March through November.
Discover places for tours, attractions and things to do.