Flying M Coffeegarage
1314 Second St. S., Nampa, 208-467-5533, myspace.com/flyingm
Checkpoint No. 1: We brace ourselves for the journey ahead with caffeine and baked goods. The urban watering hole is larger than its Boise counterpart and is filled with corners and niches perfect for meetings—personal and professional. Signs of regular live entertainment in the form of music and performances are easily discernible. Staff proves to be knowledgeable and helpful guides to the surrounding territory. Refreshed and renewed, we continue with our adventure.
112 13th Ave. S., Nampa, 208-442-1313, marketlimone.com
Checkpoint No. 2: Just a short trek away, past an array of trendy shops in historic buildings, we discover what appears to be a non-indigenous species in what is known as the Belle District. The cavernous interior of Market Limone is filled with stores of exotic food. Hungry travelers belly up to the long bar and tall tables or wander to the upstairs restaurant to refuel. Cases are filled with tempting and artistic sweets, while an area for ritual cooking classes dominates the back of the building. The basement is filled with edible items, including more than a dozen types of honey. We stock up and continue exploration.
120 13th Ave. S., Nampa, 208-466-5005
Checkpoint No. 3: With fresh supplies in hand, we make the short voyage to Urban Shed, where natives have collected their previously used items of household decor for resale. The building is filled with a vast assortment of couches, beds, tables, cabinets and assorted decorations. This makes it clear to us that the locals are going to be hard to categorize. We find a treasure trove of gently worn native costumes in the back of the building. After trying on everything from dresses to sequined shirts, some of our party decide to invest in the local dress in an effort to fit in better.
The White Pine
115 13th Ave. S., Nampa, 208-466-9083, thewhitepine.wordpress.com
Checkpoint No. 4: Decked out in native attire, we make the trip across the obvious migration route and explore The White Pine. While there is no botanical species present, we do discover a collection of crafts made by local and regional artisans. Bags, clothing and even shoes seem to have been made with similar care, and many share a social or ecological message. We are intrigued by this broader social awareness.
1211 First St. S., Nampa, 208-467-3581, yesteryearshoppe.com
Checkpoint No. 5: We decide to trek into a new area and discover a vast repository of knowledge called Yesteryear Shoppe. Inside, row upon row of bookshelves are filled to the point of bursting with previously read books covering an impressive array of subject areas. Some members of our party explore the towering aisles and display cases, while others make a rudimentary catalog of a collection of sound recordings kept in a form called vinyl. We stock up on information and continue our travels.
1304 Second St. S., Nampa, 208-463-0639.
Checkpoint No. 6: Some of our party feel we need more indigenous costuming, so we find our way to Brass Razoo. The small shop is filled with garments of all description, varying greatly in color, pattern and size, but all apparently are designed for women. Colorful baubles and jewels line the walls, and one local worker explains that much of the previously worn clothing is brought all the way from a place called Southern California. We note the surprising mobility of the local population and expand our collection of native apparel.
1424 Second St. S., Nampa, 208-467-6033
Checkpoint No. 7: Our journeys have made us weary. We go in search of nourishment and discover Rita's Bakery. The small vendor offers an array of Mexican baked goods and makes homemade tortillas onsite. We approach a walk-up window, where one of our party confers with a local and orders tacos for our group. The warm, delicious food nourishes us and we decide to expand the scope of our adventures.
Graples Home Decor Outlet
517 E. Karcher Rd, Nampa, 208-467-2963, grapleshomedecor.com
Checkpoint No. 8: After having trekked extensively on foot, we take a quicker form of transportation for our voyage to Graples Home Decor. This nearly mythical location can only be explored by those with very good timing, since its doors only open once a week—on Thursdays. Buyers from around the area gather at its entrance before the set opening time to scramble for discount prices on quality decorations for their homes. We hear rumors of occasional Saturday store hours and we decide this stop is worth future exploration.
2414 Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell, 208-454-8757
Checkpoint No. 9: We stretch the length of our journey and enter a new territory marked as Caldwell on the map. After traveling down a long boulevard, past local gathering places where natives meet to eat, drink or shop (of note is one large structure called Karcher Mall) we seek out further nourishment. We discover Imelda's, an establishment offering homemade Mexican food. After narrowing down the vast options, including the traditional menudo, we huddle around an array of tacos and quesadillas, all made with thick, warm homemade tortillas and packed with customized fillings. While overwhelmingly full, we continue to partake of tortilla chips with fresh salsa. Satiated, we move on.
College of Idaho
2112 Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell, 208-459-5011, collegeofidaho.edu
Checkpoint No. 10: Nearby, we discover a meeting point for scholars and students. The grouping of stately buildings punctuated by statues of older men is collectively called the College of Idaho. We hear tell of a place where scholars look to the stars and we change course to intercept a place called the planetarium. Anxiously, we pass display cases filled with mineral samples and approach the entrance to the planetarium, only to be met with disappointment in the form of a locked door. Not to be discouraged, we seek out further adventure upon the recommendation of several students. A small sign marks the door to a natural history museum, and we follow a twisting, barren staircase into the basement of the building. There, we discover a trove of taxidermied animals. Our curiosity piqued, we again find ourselves stymied by a locked door. Perhaps more advanced planning and contact with leaders of the establishment could prevent this next time.
Checkpoint No. 11: We decided to head back out into nature and voyage to the traditional center of Caldwell. It appears that the natives have recently decided to go natural, uncovering a once hidden waterway. Indian Creek now creates a scenic green trail through the center of town, where locals are encouraged to rest on its banks on benches and decorative bridges. While the fast-moving water is undeniably attractive, it appears that many of the area residents are decidedly not nocturnal, since by mid-afternoon, many had closed shop and headed home. Several watering holes beckoned, but the voyage back was long and daylight was fading.