Hagerman, Idaho

Photo: Thousand Springs

You have a glass of Windy White wine in your hand. A slice of homemade lemon cake sits on the little wooden table in front of you. Steps lead down from the wide terrace to a small dock. No boats are tied to it right now, but two sun loungers face the river. The water sparkles as the sun begins its afternoon descent.

You’re pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome you received at Thousand Springs Winery Bed & Breakfast. You weren’t planning on staying at a bed and breakfast when you first considered a trip to the Snake River Valley. You usually prefer traditional hotels. Hotels in this area aren’t impressive, though. Most of them are purely functional with little regard for comfort or design. You were so discouraged in your search that you almost gave up on Southwestern Idaho. Then you discovered this little gem.

Thousand Springs Winery Bed & Breakfast sits on the west bank of the Snake River, a great river that runs from Wyoming through the Pacific Northwest. The Payne Ferry, part of the Oregon Trail, docked on this land during the late-19th century. The property is now home to a three-room bed and breakfast, a small tasting room, and a winery containing Chardonnay, Syrah, and Merlot grapes. You settle into the Suite. The bed and breakfast’s largest room features a king-size bed, a soaking tub with a view of the garden, and sliding glass doors that lead to the patio and the river.

Photo: Thousand Springs

Wine is certainly part of your plans this weekend. The Snake River Valley is Idaho’s largest wine region. Ancient volcanic sediment, cold winters, and warm summers create ideal grape-growing conditions. There are now 15 wineries, almost 50 vineyards, and nearly 2,000 acres in the AVA (American Viticultural Area).

This area is known for much more than wine, though. Hagerman, a small town where life revolves around the river, lies six miles to the north. It’s home to Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument (Pliocene Epoch fossil beds where the Hagerman horse was discovered), Thousand Springs State Park (home to springs, trails, and waterfalls), and natural hot springs (mineral-rich water that rises from the earth). Outdoor lovers—including birdwatchers, fishermen, hikers, and whitewater rafters—love the area.

You can’t wait to start exploring yourself. You’ll be ready to start after one more glass of wine. You should try a red, the River’s Edge Red, before you head out. Just to establish a baseline, of course.

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