SUN VALLEY, Idaho — The best word to describe Sun Valley? Magical. Sounds effusive, but it's true. Sun Valley is one of those places where, the more you learn about its history, the more you meet the people that call the town home, and the more time you spend exploring, the more you quite simply fall in love with it. The same could be said for the resort's founder, W. Averell Harriman, who, in 1936, bought up 3,000 acres in Ketchum, Idaho, in search of a four-seasons resort town.
When Sun Valley Resort opened its doors in 1936, it welcomed a star-studded roster of celebrities: Clark Gable, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe (Bus Stop was filmed here), Gregory Peck. Splashy features in Life magazine and Look magazine followed. Very soon after, the tiny resort town with the country's first chairlifts was put on the map.
Sun Valley continues to attract moneyed and high-profile visitors, but its guests don't really come here for the glitz — they come for the snow and the terrain. To wit: there's not a Prada or Dior boutique in sight, and just two chain shops (a Lululemon and a Starbucks) live off the main drag. What's more, the town is full of unique, locally run boutiques, well-curated consignment shops, and a handful of top-notch restaurants using farm-to-table produce and serving up local charm.
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