Hemingway and a Whole Lot of Soul in Sun Valley, Idaho

Posted October 1, 2009 by Kate Hamman


One of the original resort towns in the U.S., Sun Valley now attracts the literary and coffeehouse set. And one of its most famous residents, Ernest Hemingway, is honored with a festival each year celebrating his life and work. So there couldn't be a better time to visit the valley than fall—Hemingway's favorite season—for changing leaves, fewer crowds, and crisp weather.

Hemingway Memorial: Ernest Hemingway called Sun Valley home for the last few years of his life, but as early as 1939, he found inspiration in the natural setting and later finished several novels here. You can pay your respects at this memorial overlooking Trail Creek, where you'll find a bronze bust of Hemingway and an engraving honoring his love of nature. There's no charge to enter, and the area makes for a lovely picnic setting or place to toast a man who was larger than life.

Iconoclast Books: What better way to honor Hemingway's memory than by spending a day surrounded by not only his work, but the work of so many others who were influenced by him throughout the years? At Iconoclast, you can do just that by wandering through the stacks of new and used hardcover and paperback books. The collections of rare finds, including one specifically devoted to "Papa," are also worth a stop. After moving three times, the bookstore has found a permanent home in the historic Griffith building, built in 1887. Prices can get high for signed and antique editions, but there are plenty of regular used copies for a fraction of the original cost.

Java on 4th: With a tagline like "Wake Up and Live," it's hard to pass by this neighborhood coffeehouse without craving a little pick-me-up. Visitors and locals alike have added this independently-owned shop to their morning routine thanks in part to its creative coffee concoctions. The "Bowl of Soul"—espresso, coffee, and Mexican chocolate topped with thick cream and cinnamon served in a ceramic bowl—a favorite among regulars, is just the right amount of wake up you need to live.

To search for flights and compare prices to Boise, which is home to Sun Valley’s nearest airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Iconoclast Books)

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