Friday, July 7, 2006

Small town, big doings

"Just another day in paradise" is an instinctive greeting among locals that is more truth than cliché.

What brought this to mind were the streets and sidewalks and stores jammed over the July 4 holiday—a testament to the remarkable draw of the Wood River Valley's galaxy of attractions that continue to lure droves of visitors.

Think of it: Can any other relatively small area boast so many doings, so often, year-round?

Into hiking? Where else can one backpack to the top of a mountain in the summer and ride a ski lift in the winter, then descend to attend a symphony, opera, a concert, a rodeo, antique shows, and arts and crafts festivals?

Where else can one go fishing or mountain biking in the vast solitude of the backcountry and then enjoy live theater or sample the cultural uniqueness of a weekend of Basque activities—including the trailing of hundreds of sheep through Ketchum? Or, take in one of many shows at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, stroll good galleries or join a runners' marathon?

The roster of activities and attractions is far too long to list in this space.

This is success personified—both by default of our unprecedented natural beauty in surrounding woodlands and mountains and by design of those who work to make the area visitor-friendly.

That occasional heavy traffic caused by so many visitors sometimes prompts grumbling. But locals would really have cause to grumble if day after day empty streets and empty stores seemed like an unending period of slack.

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