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Pocatello, Idaho: Weekender

Mountain bikers, cross-country skiiers, and boarders enjoy snowy slopes in the great outdoors around "Poky." In-town lures include antique stores and unusual museums.

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  • Chief Theatre's neon sign in Pocatello, Idaho, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Nicole Morgenthau
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    One of Pocatello’s neon “ghost signs” once graced the Chief Theatre.
  • Vain & Vintage store in Pocatello, Idaho, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Nicole Morgenthau
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    Browse Vain & Vintage for housewares and clothes from the past.
  • Scout Mountain in Pocatello Idaho, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Charles R. Peterson
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    Scout Mountain sparkles above East Fork Mink Creek in Pocatello, Idaho.
  • exhibition of dust pans at Pocatello's Museum of Clean, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Nicole Morgenthau
    Photo caption
    Dustpans strike an artsy pose in a display at Pocatello's Museum of Clean.
  • bison skull at Museum of Natural History in Pocatello, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Nicole Morgenthau
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    The Museum of Natural History has over 500,000 objects, which includes this bison skull.

Once a gateway for fur trappers and gold miners heading west, “Poky” today lures powder hounds and fans of vintage treasure to the state’s southeast corner.

sights and events Idaho Museum of Natural History Gawk at more than 500,000 natural and cultural objects, including the massive bones of Bison latifrons, which stood eight feet at the shoulder, and the giant sloth, which used its sickle-shaped claws to snag leaves. Sound like a local with a copy of the Pronunciation Guide for the State of Idaho from the gift shop. 698 E. Dillon St. The Museum of Clean Celebrate the art of neatness at this 75,000-square-foot temple of tidiness, home to a spotless collection of antique vacuum cleaners, ornate chamber pots, and other quirky implements. 711 S. Second Ave. Old Town Pocatello For a glimpse of the storied railroad town’s past, stroll the historic district and appreciate the area’s numerous “ghost signs” advertising defunct businesses as they cling to the century-old buildings. On First Fridays, many businesses open their doors for an evening of refreshments and local art. Between Third and Hayes Avenues, from Wyeth Street to Benton Street.

shops Black Rail Antiques Try this Old Town store for furniture and collectibles, plus a selection of sparkly jewels and vinyl records. 312 W. Center St. The Paper Doll Duck into this women’s boutique for trendy clothing and accessories at smile-inducing prices. 119 S. Main St. Vain & Vintage Deal seekers head here for the assemblage of treasures, including Pyrex bowls and midcentury frocks. 318 E. Center St. Walrus & Carpenter Books It’s a pleasure getting lost in this bibliophile’s paradise of new and used titles. 251 N. Main St.

eats The Bridge Restaurant and Lounge This warm, spacious spot brings high-end dining to Pocatello’s warehouse district, offering tender steaks, bite-size towers of ahi tuna tartare, and perfectly chilled martinis. 815 S. First Ave. Efresh Meaty sandwiches come with house-made kettle chips at this downtown deli. Try the French Cobra, loaded with roasted turkey, Genoa salami, thick-cut bacon, and avocado. On Fridays and Saturdays, the late-night menu draws revelers until 3 a.m. 302 E. Center St. El Herradero Tortilla chips and fresh salsa verde accompany tasty staples such as carnitas tacos, pork tamales, and cheese-draped enchiladas at this low-key Mexican cantina. 123 Jefferson Ave. Portneuf Valley Brewing Slinging suds with names such as Twisted Stick Amber Ale and Ligertown Lager, the microbrewery also serves salads and handcrafted pizzas. Grab a pint and head upstairs for live music on Friday and Saturday nights. 615 S. First Ave. Sumisu Asian Fusion and Sushi Fans of raw fish will find a selection of sashimi and nigiri at this contemporary spot, along with bento boxes neatly packed with tonkatsu pork and teriyaki salmon. 309 E. Center St.

outdoors City Creek Management Area Trail System During mild winters, mountain and wide-tire bike riders roam the 50-mile network of hiking and riding trails dotted with bridges, all within Pocatello’s city limits. East Fork Mink Creek Nordic Center Along with classic and skate-style cross-country ski trails, the sports hub features separate snowshoe trails, a sledding hill, and a 30-foot warming yurt that doubles as an overnight rental. Wildlife lovers will enjoy touring the relatively flat Creekside Loop, where they’ll have chances to spot beavers, deer, and moose. East Fork Mink Creek Road. Lava Hot Springs Outside of the city, escape winter’s chill in this resort town that’s home to outdoor rock- and gravel-bottomed geothermal pools connected by heated walkways. 430 E. Main St., Lava Hot Springs. Pebble Creek Ski Area Twenty miles southeast of Pocatello atop Bonneville Peak, the highest point in the Portneuf Range, Pebble Creek attracts skiers and boarders with its 1,100 acres of steep terrain. Après ski, kick up your boots with a frosty pint at the Rock Bottom Saloon. 3340 E. Green Canyon Rd., Inkom.

Interested in hot springs? Idaho City's posh mountain getaway, The Springs, is open year-round.

 

This article was first published in Winter 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.