Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I da ho? Oh no, you da ho

Summer tourist season is upon us. And thus, like every newspaper and magazine in the country, I suppose macaronimaniac should have special Travel Issue.

Or two, if I can figure out how to milk the topic again later in the week.

Let's start with this exciting vacation destination:
The Old Idaho State Penitentiary!

It must be a bona fide tourist site, as it has the three internationally recognized elements.

1. AAA discount on admission

2. Bronze plaque attesting to vague historical/
architectural/cultural importance you would never be able to detect were it not for the plaque on display

3. Jacked up cost of a bottle of water

But the Idaho Pen goes even further in welcoming visitors.

Especially return visitors.

By 1973, living conditions in the over 100 year-old penitentiary were so bad, the prisoners rioted, forcing the state to move them to a modern penitentiary south of Boise. Almost immediately after being closed as a prison, the facility was registered as a historic landmark and opened to the public.

Who apparently, weighed down as they are by their fanny packs and sunscreen, are not as quick to riot.

To further edify visitors, several of the prison buildings now house museum exhibits, on seemingly random topics: medieval weapons, electricity, and telephones.

Makes for a very strange version of One of These Things Is Not Like the Other, doesn't it?

Although it's hard to choose a best part of the exhibits, I'd vote for how incredibly outdated they are. A thick layer of dust covers both the treasures and the accompanying curatorial tags. Which is probably for the best, given their mutual obsolescence.

Of course, if you are the type who just likes to laze away the vacation day, you may find the Idaho Pen is not the place for you.

Or perhaps the loafing reference is an allusion to la cuisine d'hôtel . . . better known as bread and water.

Truth be told, the Pen no longer billets overnight visitors, although I suppose the accommodations are on par with the average youth hostel.

Note the can of Right Guard spray deodorant left by a former lodger, circa 1973.

What are you in for?

Crimes against the ozone.

Though we were only there for the day, my squeeze the Cheez and I felt the Idaho State Penitentiary was a highlight of our visit to the Spud State.

Draw your own conclusions about what that means regarding the relative attractions of Pocatello or Twin Falls.

Seriously, the Idaho Pen had a certain romance to it.

And by certain, I mean deeply morbid.

So if you're looking for a fascinating place to visit this summer, you really can't do better than the Idaho State Pen. Pick up your touch-tone Mickey Mouse phone, and make your reservation today!


Rachel said...

It's only a bona fide tourist attraction if you can get a souvenir spoon there.

M said...

you forgot to mention that Idaho has higher speed limits on the interstate than Oregon does.