McCall, Idaho, a former mining and timber town, was founded in the 1880s and sits on the shore of glacier-carved Payette Lake surrounded by pine forests with the northern Rockies as a backdrop. There are just a handful of streets lined with rustic log-cabin-style buildings and old pickup trucks parked out front.
The small population is an interesting mix of old-timers, forest-service workers, nature lovers and wealthy Idahoan and Californian families with second homes on the lake. It's virtually chain-free—there's a Subway but no Starbucks or McDonald's.
The town is changing, however. Valley County is going through a building boom, brought on by the opening of Tamarack Resort, one of the Gem State's largest developments, in 2004. It will take the complex a decade to be complete.
Some locals have mixed feelings about the changes. Markets now sell organic foods, and therapists administer hot-stone massages, but despite the growth in the valley, the small-town atmosphere remains. There are still no-frills places to get a bite to eat, as well as a funky wine bar where patrons play board games while sipping merlot. There are a handful of motels along the main street.
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