IDAVATION: Southeast Special pt. 2 (Blackfoot + Idaho Falls)

We actually spent the majority of our vacation time in Idaho Falls, where Eric grew up. It's always fun for us to show our kids places we hung out at as kids, so we stopped over for a morning in Blackfoot, a small town about twenty minutes or so from Idaho Falls. Eric's grandparents both came to Idaho from Greece around 1914 and started a homemade candy and soda shoppe downtown Blackfoot called the Bon-Ton. In the 1920s they opened a booth selling candy, ice cream and cigarettes at the Eastern Idaho State Fair held yearly at the fairgrounds downtown Blackfoot. Eric spent many, many years working at that fair, helping his grandpa at the shoppe, and generally hanging out with his extended family of Greeks in Blackfoot. He showed us his grandpa's old house and we visited the cemetery. One place he'd never been before, though, was this:

Of course we had to go in. The Idaho Potato Museum is housed in the old railroad depot downtown Blackfoot, the proclaimed potato capitol of Idaho. It is also the headquarters for the Chamber of Commerce and has a sweet little gift shop, with stuff like potato lotion and postcards of Marilyn Monroe wearing the Idaho potato sack. Much to our surprise, we all got a package of freeze dried hashbrowns with our admission fee.

There was a large amount of potato paraphernalia in that place, including machinery, the world's largest potato chip, an outrageous collection of antique potato mashers. The kids had a great time, and I highly suggest stopping in if ever you're in that part of the state.

We all love Papa and Yaya's (our kids' names for Eric's parents) country home in Idaho Falls, and the first thing we did was check out the new baby chickens and rummaged their enormous garden for strawberries and sweet peas to munch on.

We did save these yummies (steamed artichokes) for dinner that night. What a treat!

The next day we hit the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls, which was free with our Zoo Boise family pass. The girls loved the petting zoo and I truly believe this little treasure is the best zoo in the state of Idaho. It is extremely well cared for and the environments are lush and lovely.

Eric and I hit the town one night on a much needed date. For dinner, we took in the Brownstone Brewhouse downtown on the Falls and had a delicious dinner of fried calamari and pizza outside. Of course we washed it all down with their Summerfest Ale. Mmmmm. (Later that night we took in The Hangover at a local theatre and found it outrageously baudy and hysterical, by the way. It was the perfect WOO HOO! WE'VE GOT NO KIDS! HERE WE COME RATED R! movie to see.)

The next morning we hit the Psychedelicatessen, a 1970s school bus turned bagel bistro, downtown Idaho Falls. I'm a super critical judge of bagels because I love them so much and let me tell you, these were fantastic. And their homemade cream cheeses are too die for. Seriously, ladies, if you ever take that thing on the road, PLEASE COME TO BOISE.

The hippy bagel bus was parked right near the Farmers Market, which is getting bigger and better each time I visit Idaho Falls. Their artisans market was great, and my mother in law bought me some killer handcrafted silver star earrings. We enjoyed checking out the local produce and fresh baked goods (but those bagels, I'm telling you....). Anyhow, Idaho Falls is a bustling little city with lots to offer and these are just a few highlights from our trip; there are many other yummy places we ate and things we did. I'm always up for new suggestions, so feel free to leave me your "Idavation" tips on Idaho Falls or other locales in the state in the comments!