STORY AK TURNER | PHOTOS SUBMITTED
Every summer my husband and I pack our bags, load up the truck with luggage, a cooler, bikes, and our two young daughters and drive 3.4 miles to the Riverside Hotel. We’ve enjoyed our annual “stay-cation” for enough years in a row that I think it now qualifies as a family tradition. It’s a night or two away from home without having to tackle the logistics of major travel. Here are 10 reasons why the Riverside keeps calling us back:
1. The Chocolate Chip Cookies. Never underestimate the power of a good chocolate chip cookie. The Riverside makes these in-house and doles them out at check-in. They are the first things my daughters (okay, and my husband and I) look forward to. Be sure to order an ice cream sandwich later while poolside or at the Sandbar. These same chocolate chip cookies are used to make the most decadent of desserts.
2. The Games. We play checkers and chess at the boards in the lobby. Then we play checkers and chess at the giant outdoor sets adjacent to the pool. When my daughters were toddlers, I sometimes let them win. Then they got bigger and I stopped letting them win. Now, they just flat out beat me.
3. The Sandbar. If you haven’t been to the Sandbar yet this season, it’s worth checking out. After a recent remodel, they’ve doubled their previous space, adding extra seating and an entire second bar. My husband swears by the brisket. I’m a sucker for the Portobello veggie burger.
4. The Pool. The Riverside pool is pristine, accented by a hot tub on one side and a splash pad on the other. There are lounge chairs, shaded tables, and staff to provide you with towels, water and anything you might like to order from the bar or restaurant. (Yes, please).
5. The Package. The Riverside offers a “Stay-cation” package. A night’s lodging, free brunch, a tote with beach ball, sunscreen, lip balm, and water and a $50 gift card to spend at any of the bars or restaurants. For those who don’t have children in tow, check out the Vin-cation package, which includes wine, wine accoutrements, and a tour and tasting at Telaya Winery (on the same property as the Riverside — no driving necessary).
6. The Music. Many of Boise’s fantastic musicians have played the Sandbar. With three different acts playing throughout the day, we get the benefit of live music while still lounging by the pool. Evenings include acts inside at Bar365 and the Sapphire Room.
7. The River. There’s a reason it’s called The Riverside. You don’t have to float the Boise River to enjoy it, and the manicured river frontage under willow trees makes an ideal setting.
8. The Greenbelt. We ride our bikes along the Greenbelt because it’s good to temper all that poolside lounging with a little exercise. Our Greenbelt rides have taken us to the Esther Simplot Park, Zoo Boise, and Payette Brewing, among other stops.
9. The Breakfast. You had me at “bottomless mimosas.” If that’s not enough, try the prime rib, donut bar, and made-to-order omelets. Sometimes we hit the Riverside weekend brunch when we’re not staying there, just because it’s so good. Did I mention the bottomless mimosas?
10. The Break. It’s lovely to be pampered, but just as important as all of the little perks and comforts is the time away from a daily routine. The opportunity to relax with family, leaving behind the constant scramble to keep up with the world, even if just for a day, makes this a family tradition worth sustaining.
AK Turner is the award winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Vagabonding with Kids book series, as well as This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store, Mommy Had a Little Flask, and Hair of the Corn Dog. When not traveling the world with her family, the Turners live in Boise (conveniently not far from the Riverside Hotel). Learn more at www.VagabondingWithKids.com.