Salmon, Idaho has long been a base for anglers, river runners, and snow sports enthusiasts. Most people immediately think of outdoor sports when they hear the name of this Lemhi County town; not that the locals mind, heck it’s half the reason most of us live here. Or half the reason most of us live here, half the time?
I am a Salmon resident, not a local. The locals might kill me just for hinting that I might, possibly consider Salmon my home. For eight years, I have called Salmon home in the summer only. As a seasonal worker, the winters have led me elsewhere. This winter, however, I finally got to spend most of my time in Salmon. Although I love fishing, rafting, and skiing, sometimes I do other things. As Walt Whitman said, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” My first winter in Salmon, I found that while it may not be large (population 3,200) it also contains multitudes. I recently got to experience the multitudinous side of Salmon, with a group of ladies who also call Salmon home.
Although I am not a morning person, a friend was able to convince me that a hot springs soak is worth getting up early for. We filled our coffee mugs and set out for Sharkey Hot Springs before the sun fully rose. Just 17 miles southeast of town, we turned left then followed the signs for Warm Springs Road. The best part was that we were able to drive right up and park in the lot, no hiking required! There are heated changing rooms and two pools to choose from. There is a $3 usage fee, or in our case a $10 fee, because the drop box offers no option for change. After our coffee ran out, thoroughly relaxed, we headed down the hill for our next stop. On the way back to town, we stopped at the Country Market in Baker for snacks. This Amish owned market (multitudes, y’all!) just eight miles from Salmon features sweet treats, Amish cheese, and canned goods, among other staples.
Back in Salmon, we went to Bertram’s Brewery for lunch and a drink. This locally owned restaurant features house brewed beer and an extensive menu. I had the bacon cheeseburger (on a gluten free bun!). When finished with lunch, we realized we still had some time before our afternoon yoga class. I cannot get enough of the incredible selection of distinctive jewelry at Goodenow Designs, so we stopped in to look.
Judy Goodenow travels the world for inspiration and makes a lot of the featured jewelry herself. What better souvenir of a visit to the Gem State than a handmade piece featuring Owyhee Jasper, Idaho Garnet, or even Mammoth bone? After spending time browsing and chatting with Judy, we continued down Main Street and over the bridge to the Episcopal Hall, where we joined with a few more friends. Here in the naturally lit hall, Kit Kauffman teaches an hour long class every Monday and Wednesday afternoon, and Friday mornings. Drop-ins are $5 and Kit’s warm personality will instantly make you feel like a regular.
After yoga, we arrived at Paulette’s for a private crafting night. Seven of us hung out and learned how to make a customized craft with Trish and Dylan teaching. As someone who has never been to a craft night, I was soon surprised by how much fun they are! Dylan encouraged us to bring in food and drinks so we spent hours together catching up, having a drink, and enjoying take-out from the Pork Peddler (check out their menu here!). Everyone enjoyed getting to spend time together, and no one had to pull clean up duty after. We all went home with our craft creations, plus a little more. Dylan offers 10% off the store during classes, which was a deal several of us couldn’t resist.
If you would like to experience a weekend in Salmon, I recommend the rustic charm and warm hospitality of the Syringa Lodge Bed and Breakfast. Perched above town, on what the locals refer to as “the bar hill,” this beautiful log cabin features nine guestrooms (three standards and three suites which feature two rooms) and beautiful decks from which to take in the views of the valley. When I visited, Paula the inn keeper warmly greeted me in the amazing living room as a fire crackled away in the stone fireplace. Each room is uniquely decorated and perfect for quiet relaxation or socializing in the great room. This will provide the perfect accommodations for your own Salmon getaway weekend.
Check out further resources to fill up your weekend getaway on the Visit Salmon Valley website, and start planning your trip.
Landon is an international travel guide and writer who is based out of Salmon, Idaho. Her work in the travel industry takes her to rivers around the Pacific Northwest, the Galapagos Islands, and Cuba. Her work as a writer mostly just takes her to a table in the back of a local coffee shop. She writes for television and creates online content. When not working, she enjoys fishing, boating, and knitting.