Picnicking at Camel’s Back Park

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A locavore adventure

By Rachel Holt, Photography Pete Grady

Boise is called the City of Trees, and with its green parks and open spaces, it’s easy to see why. One particular favorite, especially for North Enders, is Camel’s Back Park. This park, located near the quaint historic Hyde Park neighborhood, is a relaxing spot, popular in the summer for hikes and Boise-Co-Op-3picnics.

Because it’s so close to downtown, Camel’s Back is near many local shops where you can pick up items for a picnic. One favorite place is the Boise Co-op. The Co-op is a Boise fixture and offers a wide assortment of foods. In the deli, they have a wide range of meats and cheeses, boasting over 200 cheese varieties from around the world. For a picnic, you may also need bread—the Co-op carries Zeppole’s, a local bread company. Other treats include Garden of Eatin chips, a U.S. organic tortilla chip brand, and Treasure Valley Salsa, made locally here in Eagle, Idaho. The Co-op also has a wine shop with a selection of local, regional, national, and international wines. For a summer picnic, a rosé is recommended as this blush colored wine is more likely to pair well with a variety of foods that are in season during the spring and summer.

Just a short walk from the Co-op, on a one lane road lined with historic homes, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to an era of white picket fences and lounging on the veranda with a cool glass of lemonade. This Hyde Park neighborhood surrounds a small shopping area, Hyde Park, which starts at Alturas Street and ends on Brumback. The neighborhood has a variety of shops and restaurants, including everything from bicycles to antiques, chocolates to pizza, and toys to a barber shop. One Hyde Park favorite destination is Goody’s, an old fashioned sweet shop. As you enter, you’ll see the colorful dispensaries filled with delicious treats. For your local picnic, you might want to choose Bogus Basin Road chocolates that include marshmallows and almonds or on a particularly hot day a pint or quart of homemade ice cream does the trick.

Further down the street you’ll walk by G.Willikers Toy Merchant where you can purchase an Eco Saucer Frisbee, soccer ball, or kite to enjoy on Boise-Co-Op-5Camel’s Back’s open grassy areas. This tiny shop is home to a wide variety of toys, new and old. If you seek nostalgia, this is your place with its books, doll houses, wooden toys, and even a cup and ball set. For more modern tastes, electronic toys are available as well.

Passing by Hyde Park’s restaurants and antique shops, you’ll encounter a classic looking home nestled amongst the more modern buildings. This quaint building is home to Dunia Marketplace, a fair trade shop that has been a part of the landscape for 20 years. Dunia offers an assortment of items including rugs, figures, foods and more. For your picnic, you may want to consider Level Ground Dried Fruit mix, a USDA organic product. If your canine friend is accompanying you on your outing, you might also try Barc Bones, a treat for canine companions locally made by the Arc.

With all your picnic items in tow, it’s only a few more blocks to Camel’s Back Park, this sprawling green playground with a mix of slopes and flat grassed areas. Visitors can enjoy a nice hike on multiple paths of varying difficulty. For the little ones, there is a permanent play area as well as a tennis court, picnic tables, and local parking.

The neighborhood surrounding Camel’s Back Park is as eclectic as the park itself, classic yet modern, peaceful and serene, a refuge for the weary and a great place for a picnic.