Guest Opinions

Newcomer’s first impressions of Boise: Tight-knit and proud but not very accepting of outsiders

I very recently relocated to Boise, as my fiancee was transferred to Mountain Home for work. I can hear Boise city folk already mumbling, “Mountain Home?” under their breath. I wanted to share my experience and observation of the new city. Don’t kill me.

Melissa and I drove 20-plus hours to reach the great Treasure Valley. As we inched closer to Boise, we began Google-searching classic touristy things: “What to do in Boise,” “The five coolest places to visit in Boise,” “Best food in Boise,” “Famous people from Boise,” etc. We learned about huckleberry and Boise State football, mostly. Then, I went to my trusted source for all things: Wikipedia.

Wikipedia tells me that you must never pronounce Boise, “Boy-zee.” That is a sure way to be spotted as a fraud in the Treasure Valley. The correct pronunciation is “Boy- see.” Got it!? I also learned that some French explorers were wandering through the desert when, suddenly, they spotted a bunch of trees in the distance and exclaimed “Les bois! Les bois!” (“The woods! The woods!”) — and the name stuck. Let’s see what else... Oh, Boise is the state capital, fyi. And I think the rest was about Albertsons and Boise State college football. For those of you who do not know, Boise State is the team with the blue field.

Melissa and I pulled off the road and practiced our pronunciation. “Boy-see. Boy-see. Boy-see.” After we felt comfortable with the new language we continued on. I could relate to the French guy and his excitement when he saw the woods, because when we came over the ridge and saw the city of Boise nestled in the valley of trees, I too was excited to see life! What a location for a city, I must say. We exited on Broadway and made our way into the valley. I was immediately taken by the city. And that was before you veer right and see the state Capitol building outlined by the foothills. Touché, civic engineers of Boise! First impressions of Boise: quaint city surrounded by stunning landscape. Also, have you noticed how hot it is?

Melissa and I took a stroll downtown and were surprised to finish our stroll in 30 minutes. A small downtown. But a very nice change of pace, compared to a bulkier and more crowded Minneapolis. Eighth Street, maybe, the one with all of the patio seating and drinking. That is a fun street. Melissa and I don’t drink heavily, but still, good for people watching. We ate at Fork. Solid. My hamburger came on a cutting board, but they don’t let you keep the cutting board, unfortunately. We need a cutting board.

Now that we have lived here full time for about a month, I have noticed an intense amount of Idaho pride. I see Idaho stickers on almost every truck. I can sense a sort of tribal feel to the community, maybe not accepting outsiders as quickly as other communities? Looking for work has also been interesting. I get the same feeling of being an outsider, especially when I look at companies on LinkedIn and see that most employees went to either University of Idaho or Boise State. I hear a lot about how Idaho people are mad at California people who relocate here — a lot. Almost every day. So that’s interesting. A tight-knit community, here in Boise. I see that it won’t be easy to melt the hearts of you Idahoans.

It feels like the city is ready to explode with growth. And that is exciting! Have you seen the South Park episode about Whole Foods and what happens to your community when a Whole Foods moves in? That is not entirely false. Whole Foods is just the beginning. Then you get turds like me. Then Jonah Hill is walking down the street with patio seating and drinking. Then Jeff Goldblum. Then everyone is moving to Twin Falls and the cycle starts all over again. But until then, let’s enjoy the exciting growth that is happening here in Boise, Idaho! But who am I?

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