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."
A fully operational winery since 1987, Sawtooth Winery was once under the care of the Pintler family, who had used their parcel of land as pasture for years. But the rolling, south-facing hills were a bit too robust to be limited to one use, and in 1982 15 acres of grapes were planted. Today, Sawtooth is one of the largest vineyards in Idaho, and those same vines produce the plump grapes destined become one of the eight wine varietals crafted onsite. Those wines have garnered Sawtooth a variety of honorable accolades and press, including a Winery of the Month designation from the Idaho Wine Commission.
A home garage was never going to be enough to contain The Terror's Estate. From these humble origins, the haunted house grew and eventually expanded to become what it is today: a full-scale indoor attraction complete with cinema-quality sets, professional lighting effects, and creeping fog. Groups of friends or family members can slowly inch their way through the narrow hallways and the macabre rooms featuring a variety of unsettling accent pieces, including chandeliers made of grinning skulls, walls scored with supernatural scratches, and long-overdue library books. Strobe lights and hidden scares are throughout The Terror's Estate, waiting for the perfect opportunity to startle passersby and elicit a chorus of screams. The haunted house remains open September 16 through Halloween until midnight seven days a week, providing a late-night adrenaline rush for anyone willing to brave the fright-inducing rooms.
In 1805, Lewis and Clark ventured down the Salmon River in dugout canoes carved from hollowed-out trees. They were enormous crafts— up to 40 feet in length and 3 feet and diameter—but they could barely navigate even calmer stretches of this river, not to mention the rapids. That's a testament to the power of the Salmon River, which regularly has Class III rapids, as well as a testament to how much boating technology has improved. Today, thankfully, it's easier and much more fun to attack this wild whitewater in a smaller craft. Yellow Jacket River Guides has an experienced team that directs rafting tours and camping trips on and around the mighty Salmon.The company has three types of watercraft: large oar boats, paddleboats, and inflatable kayaks. “If you’re not comfortable in the water, you can ride in the oar boat where the guide steers," says owner Alison Steen. "If you’re ready to try something more intense, the inflatable kayaks are a lot of fun.” Both trips begin with a chartered jet-boat ride upriver; the three-day Treasure Valley Weekend Getaway will go about 25 miles up, and the four-day Whitewater Escape ventures by jet boat about 80 miles from the launch point in Vinegar Creek. The four-day Whitewater Escape also concludes with a 25-mile jet boat ride through a final stretch of un-floatable water. The two excursions are virtually identical, with the exception of their lengths and a few different stopping points. Both trips will start downriver, and groups will break camp each night on white sand beaches along the waterway. Typically 10–12 people make up each group, but groups can be as large as 24. Everyone can enjoy a late start to the day to let the morning chill pass over and to catch the season finale of a hilarious dream sequence. Soon after, you can spend a few hours paddling with plenty of downtime for swimming, hiking, and fishing."It’s not a cookie-cutter trip where everyone has to do the same thing," says Steen. "Only half the day is spent on the river, so there’s a lot of free time. Some people want to go on a strenuous hike, others want to sit and read, and some just want to take a nap. It’s very customizable.” The area is prime for bird watching; also keep an eye out for moose, big-horned sheep, and deer.In addition to their mastery of Idaho’s first-aid and rescue training requirements, Yellow Jacket’s guides are well-versed in interesting facts about the land. Along the way, they’ll point out where to spot Sheepeater Indian pictographs and historical pioneer homesteads. They’ll also point the way to the all-natural hot spring. At each day’s end, as campers finish up a hike or take a nap, guides will preside over the campfire to craft a gourmet meal made from savory meats and locally grown vegetables. The meal changes each night, but a highlight of the trip is Saturday’s luau on the beach, where groups will dig into a feast of polynesian pork tenderloin with a tropical salsa, stir-fried veggies over island rice, watermelon, and a dessert of pineapple upside-down cake.
If one word had to describe Coeur d’Alene Cellars’ attitude toward winemaking, it would probably be "meticulous." During each stage of creation, from vineyard selection and harvest to bottling, winemakers carefully supervise and adjust conditions to suit their visions. They hand-harvest fruit from their eastern Washington vineyards only on days that fit specific temperature conditions. Between pickings, the vines are pruned for low yields that concentrate flavor and quality. And their syrah and viognier grapes are both hand-sorted the night of harvest before they’re pressed and fermented.
That process is carefully controlled as well. Syrah blends first ferment in open-top vessels, allowing for closer management of color and tannins. Only later do they age inside French and American oak barrels, like former daredevils bent on reliving their trip over Niagara Falls. Viognier blends, on the other hand, spend both fermentation and aging periods in small oak barrels.
The resulting well-balanced wines can claim myriad accolades from publications such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Their 2004 Sarah’s cuvée viognier, for instance, earned 89 points from Wine Enthusiast, which praised its "good balance" of "peach, apricot, sour lemon candy and even a bit of cinnamon." Current vintages include the 2007 Alder Ridge Vineyard syrah, whose smooth body supports flavors of berries, vanilla, and cinnamon that conclude in a lingering finish.
These and other wines are poured at Coeur d'Alene's onsite wine bar, Barrel Room No. 6. Inside, sleek red walls help create an upscale vibe. Glasses perch beneath pendant lighting on the bar or glitter on top of old wine barrels repurposed as tables. As customers sip, knowledgeable wait staff can suggest ways to bring out the wines' subtle flavors by nibbling aromatic cheese pairings or the hem of a neighbor’s freshly laundered shirt.
Beamers Hells Canyon Tours ferries passengers through the vacillating rapids of one of the deepest river gorges in North America. Along nearly 200 miles of majestic landscapes and American history, certified tour captains delve into detailed narratives on geological landmarks, Native American history, and how U.S. mail delivery developed from horseback to the modern-day jetpack. Wine-tasting and brunch cruises complement degustation with stunning scenes of mountain ranges, rivers, and rare glimpses of local wildlife foraging for food or preparing their tax-return forms, and fishing charters let anglers test their mettles against the river?s crafty steelhead, sturgeon, and bass.