A Toast to the Duchin Lounge

If you are over 21 and have visited Sun Valley once or spent your whole life here, chances are, you have memories of time spent at the Sun Valley Lodge’s elegant watering hole, the Duchin Lounge, commonly known as the Duchin Room.

Come to the storied, elegant Duchin Lounge on Sunday and toast the watering hole's rich history

Come to the storied, elegant Duchin Lounge on Sunday and toast the watering hole’s rich history

With the fabulous, imminent renovation of the iconic Lodge, the Duchin Room will close its doors until next June this Sunday night, August 31. But the doors are not closing quietly! From 8:30 p.m. until midnight the Duchin Lounge will host a big party featuring some of the best live music anywhere. The legendary Joe Fos Trio will delight the audience with stylings that draw fans from all over the world. Favorites Paul Tillotson and Brooks Hartell will also keep the jazz going as drinks are poured and the new era of the Sun Valley Lodge is toasted.

When the Lodge was being built, much focus was on the novel exterior but the interior got a good deal of TLC from bandleader Eddy Duchin's wife Marjorie

When the Lodge was being built, much focus was on the novel exterior but the interior, including the bar off the main lobby,  got a good deal of TLC from bandleader Eddy Duchin’s wife Marjorie

Revel in the tradition that started when the Lodge was first built more than 75 years ago. When Sun Valley was just taking shape as the preeminent year-round resort in America, Marjorie Oelrichs Duchin was hard at work envisioning interiors to welcome the notable guests she knew would flock to rural Idaho once the resort was built. Wife of famed bandleader Eddy Duchin, Majorie created a colorful, simple and comfortable environment. Sun Valley visionary Averell Harriman was so pleased with her efforts, he honored her by naming the bar just off the main lobby in her honor. Bet you thought it was named for her husband. I know I did!

Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders are a big part of the Duchin experience and why people come back time and again

Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders are a big part of the Duchin experience and why people come back time and again

From that time on, the Duchin Room became a favorite gathering place for all the beautiful people – whether they were from Hollywood or just down the road. In the ensuing years, the lounge gone through numerous incarnations, sometimes incorporating a restaurant, other times acting primarily as a bar, but it was always a central part of the Sun Valley experience.

Dancing to the best live music has always been part of the Duchin experience

Dancing to the best live music has always been part of the Duchin experience

I have many fond memories of the Duchin Room. In the winter, it is the perfect place to gather with friends après ski to compare runs, enjoy a toe-warming coffee drink (Frangelico is my favorite) and listen to live music. In the summer, I have spent many a night sipping drinks like the signature “Stumbling Islander,” (described as “a Mai Tai on steroids) on the Duchin deck admiring the figure skaters and just taking in the beautiful environs. Many special birthday parties have started or ended in the Duchin Lounge as have celebrations of every stripe. If you want to go somewhere where you are just as welcome in ski boots as stilettos, this is the place. My particular favorite spot to survey the scene was the high booths in the back of the room. This perch offered a great view of the entire room and a lot of privacy

Don't miss the incomparable Paul Tillotson Sunday night

Don’t miss the incomparable Paul Tillotson Sunday night

Joe Fos' loyal fan base stretches around the world. He will play with his Trio Sunday night

Joe Fos’ loyal fan base stretches around the world. He will play with his Trio Sunday night

I am not certain what the “new” Duchin Room will look like when it reopens June 2015, but it is sure to be elegant, comfortable and true to its long history

Let’s raise a glass to the Duchin Room and all the memories that have been created there. But even grande dames occasionally benefit from a little facelit and I look forward to seeing how the Duchin Room emerges after the spring.

Raise a glass to the Duchin before it temporarily shuts its doors on Sunday. Thanks for the memories!

Raise a glass to the Duchin before it temporarily shuts its doors on Sunday. Thanks for the memories!

And don’t worry. The Ram Bar at the Sun Valley Inn will remain open and pouring the best libations all fall, winter and spring. This warm, comfortable room offers a different feel than the Duchin but it a wonderful place to sip and savor the Sun Valley experience.

Cheers!

–RES

Clint Black and Much, Much More

The hills in Sun Valley are alive with late summer sounds of music. Even though the mad pace of high season has slowed down a bit, two amazing shows are coming to the Sun Valley Pavilion this week that should not be missed!

On Friday, high energy, country-based favorites, Reckless Kelly take to the stage at the Sun Valley Pavilion for a concert sure to get the audience on its feet. A limited number of tickets are still available by calling 208.622.2135 or by clicking HERE.

Then, on Thursday, September 12, the one and only Clint Black will perform an intimate, acoustic concert at the Pavilion, presenting a side of his vast talent that few get to see. Here, this award winning singer-songwriter will perform with only four other musicians, while in many venues, Black plays for audiences of thousands. In Sun Valley, you will see him up close and personal. The concert, sponsored by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, promises to be a memorable one. Black is known for a classic, traditional country style. His debut album, Killin’ Time, produced four straight number one singles and the hits just kept coming. He will perform at 7 p.m.

The Sun Valley Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy Clint Black's intimate, acoustic show

The Sun Valley Pavilion is the perfect place to enjoy Clint Black's intimate, acoustic show

Before ducking into the Pavilion to enjoy a pre-show glass of wine and conversation with friends new and old, be sure to spend some time in the Sun Valley Village getting the most of the late summer offerings. Sales at Village specialty shops are unbeatable in September. Both the elegant Brass Ranch and sporty Pete Lane’s are offering sportswear and ski wear at as much as 75 percent off. Logo apparel, holiday décor, gifts and wine and picnic essentials are discounted right now at the Sun Valley Signature Shop. The fashion forward ladies’ boutique, Panache, is also enticing shoppers with end-of-season prices. At Pete Lane’s, gear is also priced to sell with bikes, demos and rentals and bike apparel available. There are still weeks and weeks of fabulous weather ahead so if you have been considering buying a new bike, now is the time.

Pop into the Sun Valley Signature Shop to pick up a warm top for cool September nights

Pop into the Sun Valley Signature Shop to pick up a warm top for cool September nights

Be sure to also plan to enjoy a pre-concert dinner at one of the Sun Valley’s acclaimed restaurants. In Idaho, gardens are right now at their peak and menus are filled with and embarrassment of fresh vegetables and local delights. Just steps from the Pavilion, take a seat on the decks of the Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta or Gretchen’s and soak up the early evening sun. Just up the road, Trail Creek Cabin provides a unique venue that is rustic yet sophisticated and very special. The signature Konditorei Restaurant will also be serving dinner until 9 p.m. beginning September 8.

Dinner on the deck of Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is casual and delicious

Dinner on the deck of Bald Mountain Pizza and Pasta is casual and delicious

Sun Valley Resort is offering special room rates the night of Clint Black’s performance. Shop, savor and soak up the sounds of this country music superstar before retiring to the Inn or the Lodge. Order a nightcap at the Duchin Room or the Ram Lounge before turning in for a restful night. No driving, no worries, just relaxation. The package includes one night’s lodging and two show tickets for $129 per person double occupancy. Call 800-786-8259 for reservations or click HERE for more information.

Early fall is in full swing in Sun Valley! Enjoy!

–RES

Make ‘em Laugh

Come on in, it's comedy night at the Duchin Room!

Come on in, it's comedy night at the Duchin Room!

It is widely held that laughter is medicine for the soul. If this is the case, dozens and dozens of people in Sun Valley Saturday night got a strong dose of life affirming laughter at the Duchin Room Comedy Series. An overflow crowd packed the historic lounge at the Sun Valley Lodge, laughing out loud, clapping and cheering for the stand-up comedy of Dwight Slade.

Slade, a comedian of international repute and a frequent visitor to the Sun Valley area, went right at local culture. Nothing was off-limits, from the strictly enforced 25 mph speed limit through Bellevue on the way to Sun Valley that drives him nuts, to the locals need to one-up each another when it comes to athletic pursuits. He delivered a hilariously funny account of a “typical” morning at a local coffee shop. To paraphrase, Slade explained, even if you closed down the bars on Main Street the night before, all you need to do the following day to redeem yourself is pull on some Spandex, wipe a little “sweat” onto your forehead and loudly explain the epic 50k loop you just completed. Whether or not you actually did it is totally beside the point.

Dwight Slade had the large audience cheering

Funny man Dwight Slade had the large crowd roaring

The headliner earned a five-star review from Scotland’s Minister of Culture at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has performed in Afghanistan for US troops and at many comedy festivals. His credits also include a Tonight Show feature and a Hi-Def Comedy Special.  But what really resonated with the audience of well over a hundred Saturday night, were his ties to the Valley.

Stefan Davis, another very funny man, warmed up the crowd before Slade took the stage, gathering a standing room only crowd. His conversational and self-effacing style won everyone over immediately.

The comedy series will continue for the next two weekends and runs from approximately 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. There is no cover charge. If past weeks are any indication, be sure to arrive early to secure your seat, order a specialty cocktail and even some food. Then sit back and prepare to laugh the night away.

Have a cocktail and relax

Have a cocktail and relax. The comedy is really good

Next up is Patrick Keane, who boasts multiple appearances on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and appearances on Comedy Central. He will light up the Duchin Room on February 15 and 16 along with Leif Skyving.  On February 22 and 23, don’t miss the antics of Claude Stuart who has appeared on the Tonight Show and Last Comic Standing. Opening for Claude is Gary Cannon.

Come on out. It’s free. It’s really, really funny. And it feels good to laugh.

–RES

 

 

 

It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing

Opening night of the 2012 Sun Valley Jazz Jamboree was a high-energy cacophony of color, smiles and the sweet sounds of jazz. From the Inn to the Lodge to the Indoor Ice Rink, converted into a vast performance hall for the weekend, the Resort was crowded with folks poised for a great time. Every chair was occupied in the cozy Duchin Lounge during a show featuring Jerry and Gary, battling banjo players. The rink was filled to capacity while 12 world-class performers, under the banner of Little Big Band N’Awlins Style, bebop’d and blew, improvised and grooved. Though early in the evening, many began to venture to the floating dance floor, one of the most appreciated and talked about features of this Jamboree.

Banjos battle in the Duchin Room

“People love the floating dance floor,” explained Scott Irvine who manages the Sun Valley Ice Rinks and is responsible for converting the indoor rink into a nightclub for the Jamboree. “The floor is sprung, almost like a tumbling floor in gymnastics, and people can dance for four hours and feel like it’s been one hour. It’s really fun – try it!” We bounced a bit among the dancers. It is fun.

Big Band fun

Back in the Lodge, the warmly lit lobby was full of festival-goers, on their way to or from of the dozens of evening events around the Resort. A helpful volunteer from Wood River High School, a musician herself, answered questions with a smile. The famous men’s singing group from Yale University, the Whiffenpoofs, congregated in the lobby, taking in the scene following their performance. Many grabbed a bite at the bar in the Duchin Room (myself included – I highly recommend the vegetable quesadilla) surrounded by hep cats of all varieties, including some of the weekend’s talented and smartly dressed musicians.

One of the helpful volunteers at the Jamboree

Welcome!

This was my first foray into the Jazz Jamboree and I plan to go back for more this weekend. It was terrific to see the Resort so crowded during shoulder season and it was terrific to see all the participants having such a tremendous time. People travel from all over (some I spoke with were from Kansas, Oregon, British Columbia) to be entertained, spend time with old friends and make new ones.

Things are in full swing in Sun Valley. Break out the boas, lace up those dancing shoes and get in on the fun. In addition to music and dancing, there is great food to eat and room specials if you want to relax through the last acts (that run until 1 a.m.) and then just roll into a comfortable bed, ready to start again the next morning.

The Jazz Jamboree runs through Sunday, October 21. Click here for a full schedule and get your jazz on!

– RES

Dressing the part

Dancing is a huge part of the festival