Mother's Day approaches-that's right, it's this Sunday-and how are you going to show your appreciation for this wonderful woman in your life? There's always the old stand-by of a bouquet of flowers, a humorous card, and a nice dinner at one of the many chain restaurants lining Blue Lakes, but this is your mom we're talking about! The one who endured 20 hours of hard labor to bring you into this world, who stayed up late helping you finish your science fair project, who never missed a baseball game or ballet recital. Doesn't she deserve a little more than the monotony of a repeated gift yet again? Lucky for you, there's still time to plan a Mother's Day that will stick out in her memory against the mundane years down the road, and this list of places to take her in our beautiful Magic Valley will help you out with that.

Elevation 486

No, it's not the Perrine Bridge which stands 486 feet above the Snake River Canyon floor, but it's got a great view of it. It's a new restaurant on the rim of the canyon that opened this winter, and if you can tear your eyes away from the spectacular scene of the Snake River and the canyon it created that lies before you, you'll also see Soldier Mountain to the northwest, the Pioneer Range to the north, and Mt. Harrison to the east. If you think the view sounds good, you should try the food! Most of Elevation 486's ingredients are purchased locally such as their sturgeon from Hagerman and prime rib from Bliss, and they serve unique flavors and new twists on traditional foods like a cranberry aioli on a turkey wrap and a B.L.A.S.T sandwich, a.k.a. a BLT with avocado and sprouts. In addition to the restaurant, they have a full bar and boast a large selection of bottled wines, 18 of them from the Gem State and 76 from the western United States, Europe, Australia, and South America. They also have a separate kids' menu. On Sundays they are open for brunch from 10-3. The rest of the week they are open for lunch from 11:30 -2, Happy Hour from 4-6, and dinner starts at 5.  Perhaps Mom would like some new tastes for her palate and her eyes. With Elevation 486, she won't be disappointed!

Directions: Head north on Washington, turn right on Canyon Crest Dr., then left under the archway onto Pinnacle Place. The restaurant is on the left in the Twin Falls Center for the Arts building complex.

195 River Vista Place, Twin Falls

Canyon Rim Trail

Another way to experience the beauty of the Snake River Canyon is to get out and walk it. I have two favorite places where I like to walk: off of Washington and at the Twin Falls Information Center off of Blue Lakes. To get to the first one, you head north on Washington to where the road curves, and there's a little parking lot on the right. The walk runs parallel to the golf course on the canyon floor, has picturesque views of the Perrine Bridge, and has two viewing platforms to enjoy Perrine Coulee Falls from above. To get to the second starting point, turn west off of Blue Lakes onto Fillmore St., take the first right and follow the road beyond the Outback Steakhouse to the canyon rim. This trail passes under the Perrine Bridge, in front of the Canyon Park shopping complex, and over the stream that feeds Mary Alice Falls. It also has statues of I. B. Perrine and the Twin Sisters, and it offers the best view of BASE jumpers off the bridge on calm days and evenings. If you're feeling really adventurous, you could walk across the bridge and really appreciate the height and magnitude of this historic landmark. Pack a picnic, bring your puppy dog, and take a leisurely walk along a paved trail with your mom. The sights, shopping, fresh air, and, most importantly, conversation will make this Mother's Day thoroughly enjoyable.

Thousand Springs Tours

Maybe Mom would like to experience the Snake River a little closer up and still enjoy a great meal. It's possible with Thousand Springs scenic river tours in Hagerman. Their 52-foot Catamaran cruiser, "River's Mist," seats up to 32 people and offers scenic, lunch, and dinner cruises up and down the Snake River. At this unique piece of land, all the water traveling westward underground converges, overfills the aquifer, and spills out down the side of the canyon. The result are thousands of waterfalls lining the riverside--a breathtaking sight. There's no better way to experience these falls than aboard the "River's Mist" on a 2-hour, 12-mile round-trip cruise. You'll also see the crystal-clear blue water of Blueheart Springs where underground springs create this beautiful, sapphire pool. And there's no need to pack a snack if you join them on their lunch or dinner tours catered by the Snake River Grill of Hagerman. Up for service is prime rib, Salisbury steak, marinated chicken breast, fresh fruit and salad, and an assortment of cheese cakes with fruit toppings. They run daily with their scenic cruise (no meal provided, $25/person) departing at 10:00 AM, lunch ($40/person) at 1:00 PM, and dinner ($50/person) at 6:00 PM. Seniors and groups larger than 24 are eligible for discounts up to 10%, and reservations are required. You can call ahead at the number above or go online to their website, also listed above.

Directions: From Buhl Head west on Highway 30 for 10 miles until you see the Banbury Hot Springs sign and turn right.

From Hagerman: Head south on Highway 30 for 6 miles until you see the Banbury Hot Springs sign and turn left. Continue to follow the signs to the springs, and after you reach the parking lot, turn left and drive through the campground. The dock has its own parking spaces available.

Departs from Banbury Hot Springs on Highway 30, Hagerman

Hands On

When was the last time you sat down and made crafts with your mom? Yeah, I can't remember either. Hands On paint-your-own-pottery studio offers you the nostalgic opportunity to spend some quality time with your mom while making her a personalized gift. How it works: you paint a pre-made ceramic piece, the studio coats it with a clear glaze, fires it, and it's ready in a few days. The pottery comes in all shapes and sizes--mugs, bowls, flower pots, vases, ring holders, figurines, and more. Not into painting? Then try making a mosaic (which can be taken home the same day you make it), a fused glass sun-catcher, or jewelry from silver clay, no prior experience required! Bring the kids along and make her a set of plates with your children's hand prints on them, or make her customized pure silver jewelry and paint a jewelry box to accompany it. The options are endless! There is a studio fee of $6 for adults, $4 for kids 12 and under (on Wednesdays it's only $1) which is good for the whole day. Stay as long as you want and make as many pieces as you want! Then pay for the base of whatever it is you're making (i.e. the ice cream bowl you're going to paint or the frame you're going to mosaic) which ranges from 50 cents to a couple hundred dollars depending on the size and shape of it. For moms on Mother's Day, there is no studio fee! Walk-ins are accepted, but groups of 6 people or more should make a reservation and discounts are available for those who do. The studio is open Monday-Thursday 11-7, Friday 11-9, Saturday 11-7, and Sunday 12-5.

147 Shoshone St. North, Twin Falls

Stricker Ranch Historical Site

The valley's largest Mother's Day event takes place at the old Stricker Ranch south of Hansen and Kimberly. Lucy Stricker began this event to commemorate mothers, and it has grown to expect 400-600 people every year! This year they are serving old-fashioned BBQ, dedicating a new event center, having demonstrations by the Oregon Trail Muzzle Loaders, and providing live music by the blue grass band, Headwaters. Built in 1865, the Rock Creek Store is one of the oldest stores along the Oregon Trail and is the oldest store in Idaho. The site is also home to a couple of storage cellars, an old cabin-converted-to-barn-converted-to-cabin, and the Stricker's mansion which was built in 1903. It holds original woodwork, built-in cabinets, china, and an organ that Lucy brought west from Ohio that still plays. Tour guides will be dressed in period clothing, and lunch will be served from 11-2. The dedication of the new event center which depicts the history of the area from the flooding of Lake Bonneville to the mid-1950s will take place between 10 and 11 AM. This event is free, but there is a suggested donation of $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 10 and under. All donations go towards restoring and preserving this nationally historic landmark. People from all over the world have visited the site including the Netherlands, Australia, and England. How many of us haven't seen it even though it sits right in our own backyard? Now's a good time to take advantage of this opportunity and share the experience with our beloved mothers.

Directions: Head south out of Kimberly on Main St. or 3500 E for 5 miles. Just as you enter Pleasant Valley, take a left on 3200 N for about 2 miles. The ranch is on the right. There are small roadsigns pointing the way.

3715 E 3200 N, Hansen

About The Author

Trisha Gronenthal was born in Twin Falls, raised in Burley, and studied English and History at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, so she is an Idaho girl true blue, through and through. She's easy to please and enjoys doing just about everything from snowmobiling and softball to scrapbooking and crocheting to trying new things like sushi. But best of all, she loves to read, some of her favorites being Harry Potter, "Macbeth" by Shakespeare, and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. She lives in Twin Falls with her husband, Brian, her new son, Trey, her English Mastiff, Indy, and her kitty-cat, Tammy Peanut.

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