I lived there for a few months years ago, and my daughter recently spent a winter there.
More importantly, Ernest Hemingway lived there off and on and it is the place he chose to die. To commemorate Hemingway and honor his time in the Wood River Valley, there is an annual Hemingway Festival. I’ve never been, but it looks awesome.
This year’s theme is Hemingway in Paris, for all you Francophiles out there. The event features many scholars who have written books about Hem’s time in Paree. There are also readings, a screening of A Moveable Feast, and get this–a special dinner at Hemingway’s home. That would be Hemingway’s. Home. That alone makes it worthwhile.
Last time I was in Sun Valley, I visited a couple of places related to Hemingway. You can visit his grave at the city cemetery. Its i next to his last wife, Mary’s grave, a simple slab beneath two tall shady trees. Easy to find without directions. The day I was there, it was covered with pennies and a solitary rose. I tossed pennies for publishing luck for me and my other writer friends.
The other spot is the Hemingway Memorial. It is located off Trail Creek Road past the resort a little ways, again, not hard to find. And it is simply one of the most beautiful spots in the world. It features a bust of Hem above a sparkling stream and says the following:
Best of all he loved the fall
the leaves yellow on cottonwoods
leaves floating on trout streams
and above the hills
the high blue windless skies
…now he will be part of them forever
Oh, this makes me want to be there. Hemingway wrote this himself as a eulogy for a friend killed in a hunting accident.
For a nice description of all the Hemingway sites in Sun Valley and some literary and historical background, go here.
Photo of Bald Mountain by Greg L. Wright, published here under Creative Commons 2.5 license, via (where else?) Wikipedia.