My parents live in an area of sparsely populated towns. Lot's of small ranching communities, the biggest one a whopping population of 2000. All these towns were settled in the 1800's by those seeking a simple way of life. It's not an easy life to be a rancher, but those who stay do so because they love it. My cousin waxed poetic as he told me how he makes money or rather doesn't make so much money, but loves the wide open spaces, land, his animals and the feeling of self reliance.
The other thing these towns all have in common is they were largely settled by Mormons. These hard working people set out to beautify their towns and as such almost every town in surrounding 100 miles has tabernacle that was used as a gathering place for worship and for social events.
When you are traveling with kids you have to be selective on what will hold their interest and in this day of chronic internet, it can be challenging just to get them to leave the house. Thankfully, having the cousins together is a big motivator and what I am finding over and over is, we don't need big expensive activities to keep them happy--simply providing a park is often all they need.
The small town of Montpelier, ID is just 30 minutes away from my parent's house. It's where we grocery shop, bank, catch a movie and in our case, visit the Oregon Trail Museum. The museum offers a very well done 45 minute tour which is just enough to keep the interest of the children.
The staff did a great job of involving the kids during our tour, the gift shop out front sells the most delicious caramels and there are picnic tables and a park on the property. It makes for a really nice activity.
Address: 320 North 4th St. Montpelier, ID 83254
Cost: $12/adults, $9/youth, $5/kids
Hours: Sunday-Th 9am-5pm, Friday/Saturday open till 7pm
Situated near the junction of 1-15 and 1-70 in Utah, the site of Cove Fort is a one mile detour worth taking. I've driven past the fort dozens of times over the years, but had only been once and since Eden had never been we decided to pull off and have a look.
Beginning in 1847, pioneers began settling the high mountain valleys stretching from Idaho to California The fort was built at the request of Brigham Young, to offer protection and refreshment to travelers, it also became a stop along the Pony Express and was a stage coach stop.
The fort is made of lava rock, which workers hauled from west of the property. The fort is 100 square feet, 18.5 feet tall, 4 feet thick at the footings and 2.5 feet thick at the top. Ira Hinkley, who oversaw the fort with his family for 10 years, was determined to live peacefully with the indians and consequently never saw battle.
Eden and I stopped only intending to take a quick 10 minute break, but we ended up taking the 45 minute tour that included a video outlining the history and purpose of the fort. A sweet elderly woman then walked us around the site showing each room and giving us details about fort life. I am pretty sure even with the modern conveniences the fort had, prairie life would have been difficult and I am glad to be a woman living today.
Address: Cove Fort exit off 1-15/1-70
Tips: 45 minute guided tours are offered by knowledgable staff--Picnic tables and restrooms available
My name is Brooke and we've discovered that living the life of an expat has its privileges! We LOVE to travel and after 5 years in Germany we have just moved to Saudi Arabia. Join us as we begin this new adventure and discover new parts of the world.