It’s easy to get cabin fever in Sun Valley. Once skiing season has ended and summer is just barely here, there is only so much hiking and biking to be done. And with the economy in crisis, it’s likely that a much needed getaway to somewhere like Cabo has been suspended. But fear not, for the Wood River Valley is laden with sweet escapes and places for pampering, and none of them will break the bank.
A little known favorite is the Meadow Creek Inn & Spa in Stanley. Located right on the Salmon River and in the heart of the Sawtooth Mountains, the Inn offers uninterrupted, breathtaking views and a full variety of spa services. For a little over $200, two people can stay the night, drink wine, enjoy a steam sauna and a 45-minute body treatment. Other, more in-depth spa treatments are also available, including, for example, rejuvenating body wraps and foot reflexology. Each room is uniquely crafted and comes with its own satellite television, refrigerator and coffee maker. The property also has a hot tub, an outdoor wine bar and a spectacular deck overlooking the water. While light snacks are available, you’ll probably want to pack a picnic or try out a restaurant in the quaint town of Stanley for dinner.
For a getaway that’s closer-by, stay a night or two at the Inn at Ellsworth Estate in Hailey. The Inn is a historic treasure of the Wood River Valley, featuring nine bedrooms, all distinctively decorated and named after famous places or people in the area. Stay in the Hemingway room and sleep on a bed similar in shape and décor to the one Ernest Hemingway once used. Lodging comes with a complimentary three-course breakfast. The meal begins with a fruit course, followed by a main dish featuring eggs and meat, and ends with a dessert (think banana buttermilk pancakes with toffee topping). To make the stay even more romantic, guests can order a trio of treats for $65. The package includes wine or champagne, flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries. During the summer, the Inn also offers a theatre package with discount tickets to the Liberty Theatre in Hailey. Guests may also enjoy strolling around the property or playing a game of tennis on the Inn’s very own tennis courts. >>>
Man or woman. Adult or child. Old or young. Just about everyone loves a good spa treatment. And if your staycation has you here in the Wood River Valley during mud season, a good day, or even just an hour, at a spa can make a world of difference whether there is a crick in your neck or you just need a time out with no cell phone, no work, no kids, no worries. But here’s the rub: There are so many spas and masseuses concentrated in this one small area, it’s hard to know where to put up your feet.
The world-class Spa at Zenergy, tucked away from the gym and the pool, on the lower level, is the perfect escape. It’s dark and quiet and just right. The hot stone massage is a real treat where hot rocks are laid across the back to loosen up muscles, followed by a deep tissue massage; it will melt the stress away, literally. Zenergy also offers a number of wet room treatments from herbal body wraps to a Vichy massage, which involves a cascade of warm water. It is the ultimate cleanse.
For a more social pampering experience, indulge in spa night at Tru Day Spa. After hours, the Spa reopens its doors and hosts a cocktail/spa party for 10 guests. The gathering takes place in the spa’s luxurious and delightful Buddha Lounge filled with pillows, rich fabrics and candles. In between sipping drinks and snacking on hors d’oeuvres, the ladies (or men) will be treated to private, 20-minute mini-facials or massages. The cost is $85 per person. If it’s not Dutch Treat, and the event you’re hosting is more formal, Tru Day Spa will even send the invitations to your 10 lucky guests. It brings a night on the town to a whole new level.
If the going gets really tough, the perfect solution is a massage from Anita Moloney. Not only is she a certified massage therapist, she is also a certified healing practitioner. When she gives a massage, she also gives out healing energy. It may sound a bit trippy, but it definitely works. Stuffy nose? Moloney has an assortment of aroma therapies to clear it up. Migraines? She’ll use Cranial Sacral Release therapy. Feeling stressed? She will figure out why and what to work on to make it go away. The possibilities are endless.
Moloney is available by request at Sun Valley Day Spa. >>>
Even those who like their look sometimes need a new lipstick or an eyeliner to spice things up. But it’s always better to have a team of specialists to help you look your best. Enter the lovely ladies of Pure in Ketchum. For the past year, these women have been offering martinis and makeovers every Friday to interested women. Simply sign up, sit down in a chair, sip on a Cosmo or a lemon drop, and get beautiful. Pure specializes in top-end products and primarily sells makeup by GloMinerals and Chantecaille, and the artists can do everything from low-key basics to super sexy smoky eyes. Best of all, manager Teresa Hiramatsu makes one strong martini.
At the other end of the Valley, photographer Dev Khalsa and Paula Proctor, owner of Paula’s Dress Shop in Hailey, have teamed up to create a night of total makeover madness. Khalsa starts the evening by taking a before picture in her studio next door to Paula’s Dress Shop, then face and make-up gurus Shellie Lard and Shanon Christensen give makeup advice and a mini-facial. Then, the lucky gal heads to Paula’s for a head-to-toe dress-over. Try on dresses, shoes, accessories and more. Then head back to Khalsa’s studio for the “after” shot. Drinks and light snacks included. The best part? It’s all free.
Arts & Leisure
It can be hard to remember that the athletic playground that is Sun Valley is also a thriving place for the arts. Global artists are always visiting to share their stories on the stage and on film. (Carnival of Film, pg. 34) But what makes the art scene in Sun Valley even more appealing is that most events are either free or not more than $20.
Summer Fools Festival at The Liberty Theatre in Hailey is one, featuring three rotating plays. The season starts July 4 with the debut of 110 in the Shade, the story of finding our personal truths in a drought-stricken community in the 1930’s West. Steel Magnolias, a story set in a Louisiana beauty salon, follows, beginning July 7. Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter begins July 11. It is a present-day story of personal recovery and acceptance built around a wounded Iraq war sergeant who returns to her California desert home.
Tickets typically run $15 to $25, but the Company of Fools is nice enough to also offer a pay-what-you-feel preview. Tickets for that show are sold an hour before the play. While there are no reserved seats, you really can pay as little or as much as you like. The company also offers a nightly special of 10 seats for $10. Again, one hour before show time, 10 seats in the front row are sold for $10 each.
It’s like Broadway without the cost or the traffic.
The Wood River Valley is also home to galleries galore, and both Ketchum and Hailey host their own free art walks, often with artists in attendance to guide you through their work. Featuring art from locals and from around the world, the gallery walks are usually monthly affairs. Stroll the streets, sip free wine and see what the galleries have brought to town. In Ketchum, look at cutting-edge work at Gilman Contemporary on Sun Valley Road, see pieces by Chagall and Matisse at Frederic Boloix, stroll through the outdoor sculpture garden at Anne Reed and look at an enormous self-portrait of the photographer Chuck Close.
In Hailey, stop by the The Loft, or the studios of painter Melissa Graves Brown or photographer Dev Khalsa. Or head to Bellevue to the Green Antelope Gallery where owners Helen and Brooke Bonner showcase art by predominately local artists. And—did we say this already?—it is all free. >>>
Sometimes cooking can seem like a daunting, never-ending task. There is the menu to plan, the groceries to buy, the dishes to clean.
With that in mind, in the fall of 2008 the Elkhorn Supper Club opened. The Club is located at Elkhorn Springs next to the new grocery store and Elkhorn Golf Club building. Each weekend, the restaurant opens it doors to a different chef who offers a unique, mouth-watering, four-course meal. Sometimes the cuisine is French; other times, Italian. Last Valentine’s weekend, the club offered a meal of aphrodisiacs to get couples in the mood. Feast on escargot or duck empanadas. Enjoy an extensive wine list or order drinks from the bar, which also features a smaller menu with some of the night’s dishes. The best part is that dinner is an absolute bargain: $35 per person (drinks not included). And with a constantly changing menu, it will always be different so you can continue to feel like you’re someplace new.
A less fancy, but still very chic, restaurant is the River Bend Coffee House in Bellevue. During daylight, the café offers Big Wood Bread pastries, chicken tamales and delicious coffee. After hours, especially on the weekends, River Bend becomes a hip, artsy hangout with a large selection of wine and beer and, often, live music. The décor is upscale and eclectic with Buddha statues, Persian rugs, bright pillows and a cozy fireplace. There is also a collection of instruments including bongos that can be played by just about anyone, as long as he or she is respectful of other patrons.
Shop Till You Drop
Sometimes a little retail therapy is all one needs to let loose. Lucky for us, the Wood River Valley hosts an assortment of chic boutiques and many offer incredible summer sales with anywhere from 30 to 75 percent off.
One such place is the famous Silver Creek Outfitters. The store carries just about everything: high-end shoes, belt buckles, fly-fishing rods, coffee table books and even rifles. Visit their summer sidewalk sale and save big.
For a different shopping adventure visit The Dollhouse, a high-end consignment store in Ketchum. Owner Lara Spencer selects only the best. Find a barely-worn pair of Prada pumps for under $100. Select a vintage sundress for the weekend’s festivities. All the more enticing is that Spencer donates clothing to the Barkin’ Basement to benefit the animal shelter. Ricochet in Hailey has fabulous vintage as well.
Giving your house or even one room a makeover can break your budget. But a great individual item can boost your spirits and maybe even inspire you to rearrange things for a fresh look.
Places like Isadora’s in Bellevue or Vintage Gypsy in Hailey have lots of unique and affordable options. Both stores carry everything from housewares to gifts and little trinkets, all vintage and all well-priced so you can gift yourself without guilt.
Growing up in Dallas, Texas, Della Sentilles had her fair share of exposure to beauty treatments and pampering. In fact, her paternal grandmother often told her “beauty equals pain.” No longer a believer in her grandmother’s adage, Sentilles still believes pampering is a must, whether to look your best or simply to take a load off.