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24hrs with a Local: Wellness Festival’s Heather LaMonica Deckard, August

In this monthly series, we check in with one of our adventurous locals to find out how they would spend a perfect 24 hours in Sun Valley.

The dog days of summer have arrived, and with them, our favorite combination of warm days, cool nights, and long evenings that beg to be enjoyed with close friends and a favorite beverage in hand.

For this August edition of 24hrs Sun Valley, we caught up with Heather LaMonica Deckard, the Executive Director of the Sun Valley Wellness Festival & Conference. This year’s conference, Sun Valley Wellness Virtual, takes place online from August 22-23. Speakers include Dr. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams; Seth Cohen, MD, MS, Director of Infectious Disease Medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center and lead of their COVID-19 clinical program; and Nora McInerny, award-winning host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking

In addition to the incredible speaker lineup, the Festival also includes guided meditations, movement classes, and sessions on finding happiness and nurturing creativity. Though hosting a virtual event wasn’t what Heather anticipated, she’s excited about the possibilities. “Because it’s virtual, participants can interact with the Festival in ways they haven’t been able to do before, including watching sessions for two weeks after the Festival itself,” she says.

Heather’s perfect August day in Sun Valley is a mix of great eats, time spent with family, and a morning walk with some miniature ponies. Oh, and there’s a swan, too. Here’s more:

What would you do first thing on your perfect August day?

My morning definitely involves coffee, and I usually try to do some kind of morning meditation. Recently, a swan took up residence in the slough that runs by my house, so I’ve been hiding in the bushes, drinking my coffee, and watching this swan. Their lives are so cool.

August edition of 24hrs in Sun Valley

Sounds like the perfect wake-up! What’s next?

I’d head over to my greenhouse and get my gardening done before it gets too hot. Then, on a perfect day, I’d take the miniature ponies for a walk before lunch.

Miniature ponies?

The farm that I live on has miniature ponies, and I like to walk them. It’s like walking a dog, but one that really heels. And they are so happy!

Anything Else?

Catching the virtual offerings from this years’ Sun Valley Wellness Festival and Conference would definitely be on my list of things to do. There is an incredible lineup of offerings to take in.

What’s for lunch?

If I’m going on an afternoon adventure, I will pick up lunch at Perry’s, but if I wanted to meet up with my sister in town, we’d go to the Konditorei at Sun Valley Resort. If we had our kids with us, we’d go to Despo’s.

When my perfect day falls on a Friday, I will get lunch at Rickshaw in Ketchum. They only serve lunch on Fridays and its one of my favorite treats.

What’s on the agenda for the afternoon?

I’d go paddleboarding at Redfish Lake; it makes me so happy. I also love foraging for wild blueberries and huckleberries. So, after paddleboarding, you’d probably find me in a berry patch harvesting fruit, with a bunch of berry stains on the back of my pants.

Any happy hour for you?

You’ll find me heading to the Limelight for a cocktail. If I had my kid with me, we’d reserve one of the fire pits on the Limelight’s patio and get the s’mores kit. We’d be outside, which is perfect for these COVID-times, and the kids can roast marshmallows while I relax with a drink.

What’s for dinner?

I love The Pio. It’s like Cheers; everybody knows your name! The kids like it there, too, and if I have friends or family in town, I always take them to the Pio. It’s my go-to in Ketchum.

If I’m in Bellevue, which is a bit closer to home, I will go to Fuego. The people there are great, and the food is really good.

How would you finish out your perfect 24 hours in August?

We’d project a movie on the side of my house and wait for the stars to come out. My sister would come over, the kids would hang out on the trampoline, and we’d watch The Princess Brideor The Goonies.

Once the stars come out…I sometimes forget that when you live in a city, you don’t get to see stars like this. There’s just really isn’t any light pollution here. The sky is filled with stars, and they are so bright that they look three dimensional. It’s amazing.

[Check out the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve]

Passes for Sun Valley Wellness Virtual are available now and include a “pay what you can” option. “We don’t want the cost to be an obstacle for people,” says Heather.

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