Not every present comes in a box. For a unique holiday gift consider giving someone an experience. Here’s a few local gift certificates that offer memories to last a lifetime.Murder Mystery Weekend
The game “Clue” comes to life at Dayton’s Weinhard Hotel where a 15-room boutique hotel is the site for a murder-mystery weekend getaway. For $239 per couple, participants play roles in a two-day whodunit-themed “Murder at the Deadwood Saloon.” A week before the event participants receive a packet about their 1870s-era character so they can prepare their costume and story. The event starts with a 10 a.m. Saturday meet and greet and town-wide cash hunt for funny money. At a Saturday night wine and cheese social and catered four-course dinner, people mingle, blackmail, bribe and eventually solve a mystery. After an overnight stay at the hotel, a continental breakfast includes a slide show recap and awards. Upcoming events are Jan. 11, 25 and Feb. 8. Gift Certificates are available by calling (509) 382-4032. More information at: www.weinhard.com
Lewiston Ghost Tour
As one of the oldest cities in Idaho, Lewiston has quite a history and maybe a few ghosts. People can learn about both on a Lewiston Ghost Tour. Historian Garry Bush leads a 90-minute walking tour of downtown Lewiston that journeys under the streets where tunnels once offered discrete passage beneath the city. Some are as they were more than 100 years ago. The paranormal activity of each building is explored, along with architecture and history. The $19 tour is rated PG-13.
A 90-minute trolley tour features a ride on a replica trolley car that visits downtown Lewiston, the city’s original 1870s cemetery, and Normal Hill, where participants walk one block and view Victorian houses that have “ghostly stories.” Trolley Tours are $19 general admission, $17 seniors, $10 children 12 and younger and free for kids less than 5.
Regular tours begin in March but special tours for groups of 10 or more can be arranged in the meantime. Gift certificates or more information is available by contacting Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org, (208) 790-1257 or online at www.idahohistorytours.com.
Hells Canyon jet boat tour or guided fishing tour
Boat tours are an exciting way to experience Hells Canyon, North America’s deepest river gorge. Several jet boat companies offer daily guided tours into the canyon. Most start in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley and offer half-day or full-day tours. Some offer dinner tours or overnight stays at lodges and cabins. Experienced guides share stories of sinking steamboats, abandoned mining towns and the Nez Perce Indians, who drew still visible centuries-old petroglyphs. Tourists often see big horn sheep, eagles and even cougars. White sandy beaches and wild rapids offer thrills to the senses. Cost varies per tour. On average, a half-day tour for an adult is around $100. The following companies all offer guided fishing tours too.
Beamers Hells Canyon Tours, www.hellscanyontours.com
River Quest Excursions, www.riverquestexcursions.com
Snake Dancer Excursions, www.snakedancerexcursions.com
Snake River Adventures, www.snakeriveradventures.com
Tour the Inland Northwest by sky
Air tours offer a smooth ride and a bird’s-eye view of terrain most people will never see. In the Inland Northwest this means spectacular vistas of distant mountain ranges of three states, rolling grassy prairies, wooded valleys and plunging river canyons. Two companies offer year-round sky tours of the area.
–Kiwi Air Helicopters offers tours year-round for one to three passengers. Tours range from 15 minutes to two hours and can include the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, Waha, Moscow-Pullman, Dworshak Dam and Reservior, Hells Canyon, the Grande Ronde, Camas Prairie and the Salmon River. You can even build your own tour. Flights depart from the Port of Clarkston next to Basalt Winery and Riverport Brewery. If weather permits, the helicopter’s doors can be removed. Prices vary by flight time. A 15-minute tour starts around $130 for one person or $47 each for three people. A 120-minute tour can range from $960 for one person to $330 each for three people, according to the website, www.kiwiairhelicopters.com.
–Pac.Seaplanes features rides on a Helio Courier H-295 STOL, a plane designed to land and take off from water and fly very slow without stalling. The plane docks at Hells Canyon Resort Marina in Clarkston and the company offers three tours year-round for two to three passengers. The hourlong To Hell and Back Tour follows the Snake River south to Heller Bar ($110 each for three, $160 each for two); the Dam Tour takes in Lower Granite Dam and Boyer Park ($90 each for three, $135 each for two); and the City Tour is a 20-minute flight over the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley ($60 each for three, $75 each for two). Gift certificates are available by calling (855) 2GO-FLYING. More information is online at www.pacseaplanes.com.