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McCall ID for a Charming Lakeside Retreat

On a recent drive along the Payette River Scenic Byway, I enjoyed a leisurely route along the Payette River, the Boise and Payette National Forests, and quaint small towns in Southwest Idaho. My destination for the evening was historic McCall, a former logging town on the western edge of Valley County, Idaho.

McCall is surrounded by mountain views and set along the banks of Payette Lake. Downtown, visitors will note the rustic charms of this lakeside resort town sprinkled with modern amenities and services. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area for abundant access to hiking and biking trails, fishing, and golfing. Waterskiing and swimming are go-to sports for the summer, while winter athletes can enjoy the two ski resorts, Brundage Mountain and Tamarack Resort, just a few minutes away from downtown McCall.

In the heart of downtown, Hotel McCall ( is a picturesque historic inn located just off the lake. The inn has catered to guests since 1904 and a series of renovations and additions have upgraded and maintained the facilities, while holding onto its original charms. Accommodations range from standard and courtyard suites to condos for those who desire a little more space during a vacation.

I stayed in a Standard King room that welcomed me with its natural decor and contemporary comforts. The bedding was soft and plentiful, while the large bathroom provided a luxurious retreat with a deep soaker tub. DAMANA toiletries were provided, featuring juniper and white nettle. I loved that my room had a small fridge to chill beverages, a full-size microwave, and plenty of closet space to hang my things. Electric outlets were plentiful, so all my gadgets were recharged for the next day.

Hotel McCall is full of amenities and services. The heated indoor pool has a lovely garden courtyard overlooking Payette Lake. Coffee is available in the lobby throughout the day, and the evening introduced a tray of cookies to tempt guests. Continental breakfast and complementary newspapers are provided to get you moving in the morning.

On site, Rupert’s Restaurant features seasonal selections from Chef Gary Kucy. There is an abundance of cocktail and dining venues within steps of the main rooms, too, with tastes for everyone. Fogglifter Café is a busy spot for breakfast, while Bistro 45 packed people in for a casual dinner. Mountain Java, just around the corner at 501 Pine, serves Cafe D’ Arte coffee, along with an assortment of teas and sweets.

Coffee lovers should also keep an eye out for North Fork Coffee Roasters, operated by Corinne La Bella. Her all-new coffee roaster is sponsoring the Little Ski Hill Ski Swap in October. There, visitors will have the opportunity to try Corinne’s coffee and learn more about her roasting business. She also intends to be part of the Boise Farmers Market next season.

During my stay, my spouse and I dined at Steamer’s Steak & Seafood (, located at 308 East Lake Street, just down the block from Hotel McCall. I couldn’t resist the menu, which boasted Idaho Ruby Rainbow Trout. The fish was lightly coated with buttermilk and seasoned flour, pan-fried, and topped with lemon-caper butter. My spouse opted for the Top Sirloin Steak, a 9oz center cut marinated in olive oil, garlic, black pepper, and rosemary. Both meals were lovely and the restaurant was quite lively for a weekday night, so reservations are suggested.

My time in McCall was relaxing and engaging. I enjoyed exploring the area, including a quick stop at Ponderosa State Park where we saw deer enjoying the morning dew, and getting to know the town and its offerings. My stay at Hotel McCall was comfortable and welcoming, and it’s a definite go-to stop for centrally located accommodations. The hotel has a number of promotions, including Stay & Play packages for golf getaways, Gourmet Getaways for foodie lovers, and Relaxation Retreats for spa enthusiasts.

For more ideas and inspiration for your trip to McCall, visit

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