I spent some time walking around Downtown Boise last evening. The more time I spend here, the more I absolutely love this town.
More than a few people have asked me why I chose to move here. There were a lot of reasons. Here are my top 10 reasons for loving living where I do now, in no particular order:
Boise gets four distinct seasons, each with their own loveliness and annoyances. I like that. Also while it does get up to 100 degrees or a bit higher in the summer, there is very little humidity. (Having spent a week in Michigan recently I was reminded what a blessing that is!) Also while it we get some snow and freezing temperatures in the winter, it's not ever really freeze-your-boogers cold (again, thinking back to the 10 years I spent living near Kalamazoo).
First, relating to the climate - this is not a place that is at high risk for dangerous weather events. While NO PLACE on earth can guarantee that bad stuff won't happen, Boise is not known for earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, mudslides, major flooding or any other natural disaster that can be catastrophic.
Beyond the safety of the skies and waters, the crime rate in Boise is relatively low. It means a lot to me to be able to go walking alone along the city streets and encounter strangers who smile at me, knowing that as long as I use reasonably good judgment I am going to be safe.
Boise is my Baby-Bear Town. It's not too big. It's not too little. It's JUST RIGHT.
As the county seat of Ada County, it is the most populated city in the state, with a little over 205 thousand people in the city itself and more like 616,500 in the general metropolitan area (according to Wikipedia which I would NEVER accept as a source in my academic classes, but for this silly little blog is plenty good enough...)
I'm done with living in "quaint" podunk towns of 1,000 people where you have to travel to get to any sort of meaningful resources. But by the same token I have no desire to live in a huge city like Phoenix or Seattle. Portland is nice, and would probably be a close second choice for me if I didn't live here, but with 2,260,000 people in the greater metropolitan area there it's just to big for me.
Boise still has a feel of connection among the people who live here that sometimes gets lost in urban areas. People are friendly. The place is big enough that you don't have everyone trying to know your business but small enough that folks genuinely seem to care about their community and be willing to work together to keep it nice.
4. Resources & Services
Related to size, in a city of this size we have lots of good infrastructure and resources - health care, education, retail, restaurants, etc. We have a great parks system, a decent zoo, and lots of things to do from free concerts in the park to farmers market. You name it, just about anything a person might want access too can be found right here. Also I appreciate being in a place that has decent services like curb side recycling, community composting and the like. I do wish there was better public transportation, but overall I'm pretty happy with what is available to me here.
Boise is VERY easy to get around in. Whether I want to stay on back roads or jump on the connector and take the freeway, getting from point A to point B is pretty comfortable without any ugly bumper to bumper angst. (Of course Eagle Road is the exception - that's something to be avoided as much as possible! But other than that, most travel is lickety split.)
Boise is known as the "City of Trees". With good reason. For a community carved out of the desert of the Intermountain West, we have a phenomenal number of truly beautiful trees.
Add to that the Boise River that runs through town and the well maintained greenbelt for hiking, biking, etc it's just a downright PRETTY place to live.
7. Mountains & Wild Places
While I love living in a town with stores, schools, hospitals and good services, I also like it very much that within 20-30 minutes I can be up in the mountains or out on some trail where I can connect with nature. Larry has been finding several different places for fishing and we go out on hikes reasonably often in places so pretty they just plain make my heart sing.
8. LDS Temple
As an active member of the LDS faith, it is a wonderful blessing to have a temple so close. Unfortunately our temple just closed for major renovations and will remain so for about a year. So for the immediate future we'll visit the temple in Twin Falls - a couple hours away. Long term, however, we have our temple here which is 15 minutes from our house, and a second one is planned to be built in nearby Meridian. After living lots of places where we had to drive from 3-8 hours, this is huge for us.
9. Affordable Housing
No matter how wonderful a community may be, it would do me no good if I could not afford to live there. The flip side of the economy bust has been the radical drop in house prices. For those trying to sell a place, that's not good news. But for those trying to get into a home in Boise right now there are some amazing deals.
The one critical thing that Boise offered us that no other place on the planet would have is BOTH my beloved and I have a sibling close by. After spending most my adult life living in towns far from any sort of family connection, it has been a tremendous blessing to spend time with my brother and his wife and to visit Larry's sister during her frequent trips here. (She lives just a couple hours away but comes here once or twice a month to visit her daughter and grand kids in Meridian.)
While it has been an absolute delight over the past year to have closer family connection, it also gives us both a deeper sense of security as we approach our old age to know that if anything happened to either one of us, the other would have a support system close by.
I could go on and on. There is so much I like about living in Boise, Idaho. It took me over 50 years to get here. But now that I'm here, I couldn't possibly feel more at home.