Ketchum to Boise to Baker City



Sun Valley Swan

by cheri

Averell Harriman, Chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad from 1932-46, brought many celebrities, including Ernest Hemingway, to Sun Valley where an elegant lodge had been built in 1936. It was a way to let the world know that a special lodge and ski area were open for business.

Hemingway would return there when seeking solace away from the demolition derby that was his life.

In fact, he wrote the last chapter to For Whom the Bell Tolls in Room 206 of the Sun Valley Lodge. He was, according to the concierge who graciously offered to show us the room (now Suite 228), superstitious and visited Room 206 to ink the final sentences of many of the stories and books that came afterward.

Sadly, when the Sun Valley Resort was entirely updated two years ago, the Suite itself was updated.

But I thought you might like to see the room where his desk was, the deck outside the room,  and his grave at the Ketchum Cemetery.


The Room where Hemingway finished For Whom the Bell Tolls.


The deck from which he wrote


We walked about a mile on a cold blustery day to visit Hemingway’s grave


A party at the grave, for sure

We left Ketchum, drove up Highway 75 and through the Salmon Valley, which is bordered by the Sawtooth Moutains.


Sawtooth Mountains


We arrived in Boise, one of the most civil cities we have ever visited. Alas, it was a Monday and museums were closed.

“I know what we can do, Cheri! Let’s drive to Baker City, Oregon.”

A man with more stamina for his age than any other man I know, he coaxed me into the car for another 2 hour (4 round trip) drive and off we went.

Have you ever seen Baker City, Oregon? All I know is that it was on the 2017 Solar Eclipse path of totality. After walking around this small town, I tried to imagine what it was like when 20k people descended on it last month.

Can you believe another building there was named after my family?


Good Ol’ Alfred


The Geiser Grand Hotel


Mining made many men rich at the end of the 19th century.



Baker City, Oregon


And then back to Boise.


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My photography, Places and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Ketchum to Boise to Baker City

  1. What a fun trip. Lovely pictures.

  2. And yes. I know Baker City, Oregon. I’ll tell you how sometime.

  3. Brig says:

    Enjoyed getting to see Hemingway’s haunts.
    The Best Engineering Technology Teacher at Boise School District-Les Bois Junior and in the West for that matter is my nephew!
    Baker City reminds me of Red Bluff back in the day. I think there may be a Block in RB’s history as well. If I find it I’ll send you a pic.

    • Cheri says:

      I bet your nephew is a terrific teacher! Who knows, maybe he was having dinner with his family in downtown one of the nights we were there. What a family-friendly town. I would love to see a picture of a Block building in RB. I loved the pictures of the old houses you posted last year. Hope all is well. I have read your latest blogs but have not had time to respond. Hang in there! Hemingway could have used your TLC on his grave site.

  4. wkkortas says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about littering of grave stones with Budweiser-can-cum-tribute (although I can think of a few author’s resting places I would vengefully relieve myself upon); I understand talismans and all that, but it strikes my sensibilities as silly and a bit disrespectful. You want to pay tribute to Hemingway? Go out and write something worth a damn.

    • Cheri says:

      It’s funny how each of us has our own reaction to grave site enhancement/sullying. I loved accidentally happening upon Marc Chagall’s grave in St. Paul de Vence. The only things placed on his grave (the only Jewish guy in a Catholic grave yard…his last wife was Catholic, I think…) were the customary stones. Seeing the beer cans and cigar box did not surprise. The folks at the local Ketchum book store told me there had just been a Hemingway weekend celebration or something like that…

  5. shoreacres says:

    I love the tokens at Hemingway’s grave. When I visited Leadbelly’s grave, it was all guitar picks, and someone who visited another author’s grave in New England (I can’t remember which one) said it was covered in pennies. I found a Texas Ranger’s grave in Concan, Texas, that had toy guns on it.

    This video of Buffett’s “Havana Daydreamin'” is made up of photos of Hemingway. At 0:36 or so, and 2:58, there’s some scenery that might be the view from the deck you show here. It might not be, of course, but it’s still fun to imagine.

    The architecture in these towns is fabulous. Idaho has been a big blank space in my mind, as has eastern Oregon. It’s fun to fill in a few details through your travels.

    • Cheri says:

      Idaho is quite varied as are so many states. I didn’t find it as beautiful as Montana but I did find the quietest major airport I have ever been in–Boise Airport.

      I will watch the video! Thanks for posting it.

  6. Richard says:

    Thank you for keeping us up-to-date with your tour and providing such intereting pictures and descriptions.

    I’d have thought Hemingway’s room in its original condition twould have been a commercial asset, properly exploited. I was sad to see the state of his grave, although it would be wrong to make it more prominent. Delius’ grave is in Limpsfield Church cemetery, about ten miles from here, is non-descript and seems rarely visited – but none the worse for that. It is hard to find in the grass and gives you a sense of discovery.

    How do you qualify to have a building block named after [for] you?

    The picture of the swan might make a good painting?

    • Cheri says:

      Maybe. I haven’t figured out how to paint water and reflections yet. The tour is over. We came home two days early and after eating out for 10 days, I was ready!! Ron put on his customary 4 pounds. I gained no weight as I moderate what I eat while traveling. But being in the car for so long is rough on an aging body.

      I looked in London for a ” Block Building.” Perhaps I missed it!

      • Richard says:

        Actually, Alfred was from such a long line of building Blocks such that it became known as the Block Age. It was tragically brought to a sudden end by the Block head of the family, who’d made some worrying investments . The cream, though, had desserted to enter Ice Blocks and spent time in the cooler. We all know where the head of that branch ended up! Try Googling it.

        Your readers wll be relieved to know that the majority bearing the name have distinguished careers in the professions and military service and excel in writing and the arts.

        • Cheri says:

          One of your uber clever comments, Sir Richard. Let’s cheer the military wing!

          • Richard says:

            Did you see Uber has lost its London licence? It’s appealing the decision.

            • Cheri says:

              I did. And good for the London transportation department. Uber has grown too fast. You really DO NOT know with whom you are getting into a car. In the Bay Area, that’s dangerous. Ron left his fly rod in an Uber driver’s car in Anchorage. The guy refused to call back. Finally, after contacting a security specialist for a local bank ( a former policeman), the rod arrived last week. The driver, a total lowlife, capitulated because the security officer was going to contact the Anchorage police. This is Uber. I now take Lyft.

  7. Chris says:

    Cheri, you and Ron know how to take a road trip! Thanks for all the great pictures and the interesting tidbits.

  8. ShimonZ says:

    I remember the day Hemingway died… it seemed like the end of an era then… so much time has gone by, and our view of the world is so different now…

  9. Cheri says:

    I can imagine what you thought when the news of Hemingway’s suicide traveled around the world. I suppose I felt the same way when Steinbeck died in 1968. I was an English major at USC when he died. I remember wondering who would write the next great American novel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s