In and Around Rexburg, ID

Rexburg, ID Rexburg, ID[/caption] I spent two weeks in Rexburg from March 11 thru March 25, 2013 working on a job possibility.  During my free time I spent a good deal of time in town and also looking around town and some of the surrounding areas. [caption id="attachment_2176" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Rexburg Temple Rexburg LDS Temple at sunrise[/caption] Perhaps Rexburg is best known for its LDS (Mormon) population, BYU-Idaho and the Rexburg Temple of the church (shown above). But Rexburg is also famous as the town that was practically destroyed by the Teton Dam Flood in June of 1976 (see story here).  The town has been totally rebuilt since that time. [caption id="attachment_2179" align="aligncenter" width="448"]More murals from downtown Rexburg More murals from downtown Rexburg[/caption] Rexburg is kind of in a bowl, with mountain ranges all around it.  To the east are the Grand Tetons, to the northwest is the Lemhi Range, which includes the 12,197 foot tall Diamond Peak. To the southeast are the mountains of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.  The Craters of the Moon National Monument is southwest of Rexburg. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to get there on this trip. [caption id="attachment_2178" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Old Rexburg Tabernacle which houses the Teton Flood Museum Old Rexburg Tabernacle which houses the Teton Flood Museum[/caption] There are a number of old things in and around town that have remained from the flood. [caption id="attachment_2175" align="aligncenter" width="199"]Teton Drive-in Teton Vu Drive-in[/caption] The Teton Vu Drive-in has had a few resurrections over the years.  It was reopened in 1999, closed again in 2006 and has since reopened again in 2009 under new ownership.  They offer shows and goodies.   I liked the drive in sign – totally vintage. [caption id="attachment_2251" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Frontier Pies in Rexburg Frontier Pies in Rexburg[/caption] In and around Rexburg there are a few great places to find goodies to eat.  I had dinner a couple of times at the Frontier Pies Restaurant, which not only has pies but some good home cooking. The pies were awesome… [caption id="attachment_2253" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Frontier Pies Frontier Pies[/caption] There is another famous place on the outskirts of Rexburg where giant burgers are the norm… [caption id="attachment_2243" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Big Jud'd Gourmet Burgers Big Jud’s Gourmet Burgers[/caption] Big Jud’s Country Diner is located in the small community of Archer, Idaho, a few miles south of Rexburg.  This place has the hugest hamburgers I have ever seen and has even been featured on the TV Show Man vs. Food. Here are a few shots from Big Jud’s: [caption id="attachment_2241" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Big Jud's Menu Big Jud’s Menu – notice the Man versus Food Burger!![/caption]

 Home of the 1 LB Burger

Home of the 1 LB Burger [caption id="attachment_2247" align="aligncenter" width="225"]My "small' burger My “small’ burger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2248" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Total indulgence in a Big Jud's "small" burger Total indulgence in a Big Jud’s “small” burger[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2249" align="aligncenter" width="225"]This guy ordered a medium This guy ordered a medium[/caption] Another notable place to get goodies in Rexburg is Florence’s Exquisite Candies Chocolate shop, which can be found downtown.  They hand make all of their chocolate offerings and the shop also has a unique interior. [caption id="attachment_2267" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Florence's Exquisite Candies Florence’s Exquisite Candies[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2264" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Florence's Exquisite Candies Florence’s Exquisite Candies – handmaking them[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2266" align="aligncenter" width="225"]One of the unique scenes in the candy shop One of the unique scenes in the candy shop[/caption] Another interesting item in and around Rexburg are the gas stations with “Coke Can” gas tanks.  Here are a couple of examples. [caption id="attachment_2236" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Coke Can Gas Tank Coke Can Gas Tank[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2177" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Another Coke Can Gas Tank Another Coke Can Gas Tank[/caption] There are other nearby communities that have some unique things to see as well. [caption id="attachment_2173" align="aligncenter" width="199"]Sugar City Silo Old Sugar City Grain Silo[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2174" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Welcome to Sugar City on the silo Welcome to Sugar City on the silo[/caption] Sugar City is a bedroom community to Rexburg. Like Rexburg, it went through some devastation during the Teton Flood.  The town was founded in 1903 to house sugar beet factory workers of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company.   The factory closed in the 1940s and then, after the devastation of the flood in 1976, most of the businesses did not reopen. [caption id="attachment_2172" align="aligncenter" width="273"]Elk Bull in Sugar City Elk Bull in Sugar City[/caption] The Rocky Mountain Elk Ranch is located in Sugar City and I got to take a drive by there and see all of the elk.  I only saw a couple of bulls with their antlers.  They breed the elk locally and then release them to some of the mountain areas for hunting trips, etc. [caption id="attachment_2171" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Another Elk Bull Another Elk Bull[/caption] One afternoon, while my wife was out in Rexburg, we took a drive north towards St. Anthony, Idaho, another nearby community.  We had as a goal to get to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes then, if possible, take a drive up the Mesa Falls Scenic Loop north of there, near Ashton, Idaho.  Following is a map of the exact route we ended up taking and some of the photos we took during the trip.

St. Anthony, Ashton and Driggs

[caption id="attachment_2187" align="aligncenter" width="640"]St. Anthony Sand Dunes St. Anthony Sand Dunes[/caption] St. Anthony is a small town of about 3500 just north of Rexburg and is the gateway to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, a unique area west of town and one of those unexpected discoveries.  I would have never thought about sand dunes in them as much as 400 feet tall.   To get there we had to go through Parker and then to the Egin Lakes area campground. [caption id="attachment_2184" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Unique Yard Art in Parker, Idaho Unique Yard Art in Parker, Idaho[/caption] Along the way we saw a house in Parker that has lined their fences with old highway signage.  Amazing how people do these things!! [caption id="attachment_2193" align="aligncenter" width="300"]St. Anthony Sand Dunes Sign St. Anthony Sand Dunes Sign[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2195" align="aligncenter" width="300"]St. Anthony Sand Dunes St. Anthony Sand Dunes[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2194" align="aligncenter" width="300"]St. Anthony Sand Dunes St. Anthony Sand Dunes[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2191" align="aligncenter" width="300"]St. Anthony Sand Dunes St. Anthony Sand Dunes[/caption] From the dunes we returned to St. Anthony and then headed north to Ashton, Idaho, which sits at the base of the mountains north of Rexburg and is the gateway to the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway, which we had hoped to take. [caption id="attachment_2196" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Welcome to Ashton Welcome to Ashton – the Potato Seed Capital of Idaho[/caption] Upon arrival in the small town, the first thing I noticed was the Frostop Drive In – a page out of nostalgic America. Frostop Root Beer is one of those old well known brands, having its start in Springfield, Ohio in 1926.  The diner in Ashton has been there since 1965 and has gone through a few owners. [caption id="attachment_2197" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Frostop Drive-in - Ashton, ID Frostop Drive-in – Ashton, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2268" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Frostop Mug Frostop Mug[/caption] The big root beer mug rotates and draws you in to the old style drive in.  We didn’t really want drive in fare, so we meandered across the street to a restaurant that looked like a huge log cabin. [caption id="attachment_2259" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Chriswell's Cafe - Ashton, ID Chriswell’s Trails Inn Restaurant – Ashton, ID[/caption] Chriswell’s Trails Inn Restaurant is rustic, homey and full of animal trophies.  Last time I was in a place like this was at Ole’s Big Game Steak house in Nebraska (see the blog post here).  I ordered a chicken fried steak, their speciality, and the thing was bigger than my plate.  Further, unlike the chicken fried steaks I have had in the past, this one was made with real steak, not ground steak!! [caption id="attachment_2262" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Sumoflam at Chriswell's with a Sand Crane Sumoflam at Chriswell’s with a Sand Crane[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2261" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Road Kill Beef Jerky sign at Chriswell's Road Kill Beef Jerky sign at Chriswell’s[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2260" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Some of the trophies Some of the trophies[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2258" align="aligncenter" width="432"]Digging into the Chicken Fried Steak - gravy was so good my nose wanted some too!! Digging into the Chicken Fried Steak – gravy was so good my nose wanted some too!![/caption] Like other small towns in the west, there are still plenty of nostalgic signs.  Here are a couple from Ashton. [caption id="attachment_2199" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Nostalgic sign in Ashton Nostalgic sign in Ashton – still have cabins for rent[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2198" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Otis's Place Otis Place nostalgic neon sign in Ashton[/caption] From Ashton we headed up north on Idaho Highway 47, which is the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway.  There were signs warning us that the road was closed ahead, so we followed it as far as we could go.  It took us up into Targhee National Forest, and as we climbed in altitude, the snow got ever deeper. Bear in mind that this was the end of March. [caption id="attachment_2201" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Idaho 47 north of Ashton Idaho 47 north of Ashton[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2202" align="aligncenter" width="300"]A snowy scene A snowy scene[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2206" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Along the Warm River on Meas Falls Scenic Byway Along the Warm River on Meas Falls Scenic Byway[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2210" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Snow Covered Cabins Snow Covered Cabins near Warm River resort[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2212" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Road Closed Road Closed – snowmobiles only[/caption] We finally hit the dead end where only snowmobiles were allowed, and had to turn around and head back to Ashton. [caption id="attachment_2215" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Another scene near the Warm River Another scene near the Warm River[/caption] Once back in Ashton we made our to Idaho Highway 32 which would take us through the small towns of Drummond and Felt, and hopefully would offer us a few glimpses of the Tetons from the west.  This was an extremely beautiful drive, particularly since we went through pristine snow covered hills…snow was very deep and practically untouched most of the way. [caption id="attachment_2225" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Snowy Scenes along highway 32 Snowy Scenes along highway 32[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2222" align="aligncenter" width="640"]The Tetons as seen from near Drummond, ID The Tetons as seen from near Drummond, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2217" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Nothing but snow and mountains Nothing but snow and mountains[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2229" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Cabin near Drummond Old Cabin near Drummond[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2231" align="aligncenter" width="640"]The Grand Tetons from Felt, Idaho The Grand Tetons from Felt, Idaho[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2226" align="aligncenter" width="640"]More snow and mountains from the road More snow and mountains from the road[/caption] All in all, that Sunday drive from Rexburg to Ashton and Drummond and back was marvelous. [caption id="attachment_2232" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Sugar Mill Old Sugar Mill Market[/caption] On another trip south of Rexburg, near Rigby, on US 20, you can see an old sugar mill off to the side of the road.  Someone has meticulously painted the facade and it was, apparently at one time, the Old Sugar Mill Market.  It appears to be out of business now, but it is eye catching from the highway. [caption id="attachment_2233" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Old Sugar Mill Market - all of the windows and flowers are hand painted Old Sugar Mill Market – all of the windows and flowers are hand painted[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2234" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Old Sugar Mill Market, near Rigby, ID Old Sugar Mill Market, near Rigby, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2256" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Old Sugar Mill Market - near Rigby, ID Old Sugar Mill Market – near Rigby, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2235" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Sugar Mill Smokestack Old Sugar Mill Smokestack[/caption] Also, Rigby, Idaho is noted as the birthplace of the television. Philo T. Farnsworth invented the television tube here and there is a museum dedicated to him (along with other items from the Rigby area.) [caption id="attachment_2283" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum - Rigby, ID Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum – Rigby, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2273" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Downtown Rigby, ID Downtown Rigby, ID[/caption] There are a few other places I visited in the area…here are some of the sights [caption id="attachment_2275" align="aligncenter" width="247"]An old truck in Ashby, ID An old truck in Archer, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2278" align="aligncenter" width="199"]An elk horn mailbox in Thornton, ID An elk horn mailbox in Thornton, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2279" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old wall sign in Thornton, ID Old wall sign in Thornton, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2274" align="aligncenter" width="300"]An old barn with junk on it near Thornton, ID An old barn with junk on it near Thornton, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2276" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Beautiful skies over SE Idaho Beautiful skies over SE Idaho[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2269" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Scary storm north of Rexburg Scary storm north of Rexburg[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2282" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Hay stacked in the fields near Ashby, ID Hay stacked in the fields near Archer, ID[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2277" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old Rail Road Bridge near Rigby Old Rail Road Bridge near Rigby[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2280" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Old tractor in Thornton Old tractor in Thornton[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2257" align="aligncenter" width="300"]My car after a late March snowstorm in Rexburg My car after a late March snowstorm in Rexburg[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2281" align="aligncenter" width="640"]One antlered elk bull on a breeding farm near Archer, ID One antlered elk bull on a breeding farm near Archer, ID[/caption]]]>