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Home Is Where the Heart Is

Published in the February 2020 Issue Published online: Feb 11, 2020 Articles Gregg Losinski
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February is of course all about Valentine’s Day and what represents the holiday more than a heart? Back in the late ’70s, New York City created an advertising slogan that played on using a heart shape to replace the word love. The “I Heart NY” slogan was wildly popular and like all successful marketing gimmicks was copied and reused to death by just about every city and business on the planet. I imagine if you dig around in the drawers at the Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce you might even find some “I Heart IF” stickers.

Last year, while wandering on a genealogy adventure in a small town outside of Gdansk, Poland, I came across a brand-new display in huge letters that said “I Heart Slupsk.” The Poles, not being aware that they were jumping onto a quarter-century old advertising gimmick, were proud of their display. I’m sure that the dozens of tourists to Slupsk each year are proud to have their pictures taken with it.

Now Idaho Falls may not rank up there with New York, but we are arguably above Slupsk, Poland! While Gdansk is actually a lovely city, I dare say because of our proximity to Yellowstone, Idaho Falls certainly draws far more tourists than Slupsk. The ongoing boom in hotel building tells me that tourists are actually stopping to spend the night and not just speeding on to Yellowstone. If you look at the prices of hotels in the park, or even West Yellowstone, you can understand why we look so affordable.  

While we are certainly seeing more individual auto tourists, there has been a noticeable increase in tourist buses prowling the Greenbelt. Fortunately, we here in Idaho Falls are more aware of worldly things and would never resort to using such an outdated advertising prop as huge letters spelling out “I Heart Idaho Falls.” With the falls serving as a focal point, we luckily don’t need to. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve almost run over on the Broadway Bridge because they were backing into traffic to try and frame their loved ones in with the falls!

So aside from playing on the name of our town, what else is there for people to love about our city? For many, the fact that the Idaho Falls Temple is located in such a picture-perfect location is just icing on the cake. Its unique geographic location and elevation make it extremely picturesque. When the light is right, I dare say it rivals Notre Dame on the Seine

But it is not just the big things that cause people to enjoy Idaho Falls. There are plenty of other scenic stretches of the Greenbelt away from the falls that families enjoy and wedding photographers exploit. So many people find Tautphaus Park Zoo a fascinating place on par with much larger zoos, and the Museum of Idaho is growing in stature daily! Even the soon-to-be eliminated stockyards just off of Yellowstone Highway add a certain western flavor to the city that will be missed when they are gone.

In all my travels I’ve learned that while edifices like the Coliseum or Versailles are neat to visit, it’s the small neighborhoods and local scenes that are just as fascinating. Without a doubt, there are plenty of hidden treasures to discover that will make you heart Idaho Falls.

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