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Weiser, Idaho: 5 Things We Love

Catch the finest fiddlers, follow an 85-mile-long river trail, and celebrate Idaho's rich history.

Contestants at the popular fiddling festival range in age from 8 to 90.

Nancy Grindstaff

Best known for the weeklong fiddle festival held here for more than 50 years, Weiser (population 5,500) stands on the Idaho-Oregon border at the confluence of the Snake and Weiser Rivers. Some handsome old buildings, including the 1907 train depot and 1904 Pythian Castle, can still be seen around town.

1. Weiser's population triples when the country's best fiddlers and their fans converge the week before the National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest. Open year-round, the Fiddlers Hall of Fame honors champions in eight contest divisions.

2. Walk or bike at least the southern section of the Weiser River Trail. The full trail stretches 84 miles from Weiser to Rubicon, crossing 62 trestles on the way and following the old Pacific and Northern Idaho Railway grade through fields, canyons, forests, and meadows.

3. Patrick Nauman fulfilled a childhood dream when he bought a local sweets shop, renaming it Weiser Classic Candy. Dizzying arrays of handmade treats—fudge, truffles, caramels, and chocolates—tempt customers, who also flock to the shop for deli fare, ice cream, and fruit smoothies.

4. Settle in with the regulars at Homestead Cafe, a classic diner that offers a variety of omelets (plus a build-your-own option) among its breakfast combos, burgers, and pie à la mode. Choose from dinner specials such as grilled prime rib on Fridays and Saturdays.

5. The Snake River Heritage Center, occupying a former schoolhouse, celebrates the area's history and culture with well-tended displays of everything from arrowheads and stone mortars to antique medical tools, mining gear, and vintage fashions.

This article was first published in Summer 2016 and updated in February 2019. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.