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Teton Springs Lodge & Spa and South Fork Lodge

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa and South Fork Lodge Both Share a Unique Place in Yellowstone-Teton Country!

We’ve all watched, clutching our tissues, news stories about siblings separated at birth finally being reunited, sometimes decades later. Well, at the risk of sounding too hokey, Teton Springs Lodge & Spa in the heart of Victor’s Teton Springs Resort community has also found its true sister, South Fork Lodge.  And, here she was all along, practically in the neighborhood, and what a beauty she is. But that’s only the beginning of this story.

In recent months, Teton Springs Lodge joined an international luxury travel company called Natural Retreats. South Fork Lodge has enjoyed Natural Retreats status for a number of years, and when Teton Springs joined this family, it too became part of a collection of stunning destinations of coastal, countryside and wilderness locations around the globe. Natural Retreat’s primary mission is to provide guests with adventures in the world’s most pristine and spectacular settings, and paramount to their vision is to provide unparalleled guest service driven by a unique and personal concierge service. These folks leave nothing to chance when individuals, families or groups are planning a vacation to one of their properties located in the most beautiful places on this continent, or to some exotic destination in the United Kingdom, Ireland or Canary Islands.

Yes, Natural Retreats certainly has a knack for picking the winners! The splendor and variety of outdoor recreation unique to the Yellowstone-Teton region has drawn visitors to Teton Springs Lodge & Spa since 2007, when it became the only full-service, year-round resort in eastern Idaho. With the Byron Nelson designed Headwaters Golf Club as its anchor, the Lodge quickly gained a reputation for its quality accommodations, on-site activities, access to the area’s best recreation, proximity to two of the nation’s most revered national parks, full service Spa & Salon and an uncompromised commitment to their guests. Therefore, it didn’t take long for Teton Springs Lodge to become the jewel of Idaho and why U.S. News & World Report has named Teton Springs Lodge the “Best Hotel in Idaho” for the past three years.

Like all “sisters,” The South Fork Lodge and Teton Springs Lodge & Spa definitely share the same DNA on many fronts. One is location, location, location. South Fork Lodge, a scenic 25 minute drive away in Swan Valley, Idaho, sits perched on the bank of one of America’s most esteemed rivers, the South Fork of the Snake. Just the location itself, “Swan Valley,” instantly conjures up an idyllic image, and the setting for the South Fork Lodge is truly right out of a movie set. It’s a place where guests can literally dangle their feet in the river while savoring their morning coffee (which is Starbucks by the way.) Or, take in panoramic views of the South Fork while feasting on Chef Tony’s home cooked breakfast and dinner in the lovely Riverside Bar & Grill, where every seat has a million dollar view.

Undoubtedly each of these destinations shares a value for unspoiled settings. At Teton Springs one of the main attractions is the Headwaters Course, considered by many in the golf industry to be one of the best classically designed golf courses in the most stellar of Northern Rockies settings. The Teton and Big Hole Mountains and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest envelop the resort and the distractions can be an issue; there’s so much beauty to take in around every bend. At Teton Springs, it’s not simply a round of golf; it’s a virtual date with Mother Nature. However, for many visitors it’s also the opportunity for discovery and adventure, a chance to be actively engaged with the outdoors in the purest sense. Fly fishing is one way to be so engaged.

A day of fly fishing on the area’s rivers has always been a priority for many visiting Teton Springs, and now they’ll have the industry’s most experienced South Fork guides to lead the charge. South Fork Outfitters enjoy private access to a 65 mile stretch of the South Fork, armed with 34 guides on staff, each with impeccable training and many with time honored experience guiding on this massive waterway. In fact, a few of these guides have been rowing and spotting fish for so long that between the top tier guides, there is a staggering 80 years of pulling the oars on the South Fork between them. I know from fishing myself for many years that experience is paramount to success on the South Fork; I almost feel a little sorry for people fishing without these guys.

In addition to your fishing gear, be sure to pack the binoculars. Distractions on this guided trip also include some of the best bird watching in the Lower 48 as the South Fork is home to over 120 species of birds, including raptors. This corridor is also where mountain goats, black bears and even mountain lions roam, although I’ve never had the pleasure, but moose, deer and elk are often spotted dining on the banks.

If you’re splitting your stay between Teton Springs and the South Fork Lodge, choosing the right lodging for you could present a dilemma; there are simply too many choices. Both resorts can legitimately lay claim to offering the most comfortable yet luxurious accommodations in the entire region. Options include a suite in the Lodge or a 3, 4 or 5 bedroom custom luxury mountain log home on the Headwaters Golf Course at Teton Springs. Choices at South Fork include a rustic Fishermen’s Cabin, a deluxe suite overflowing with amenities, lovely Lodge rooms and even a 4 bedroom home. All sport unobstructed views of the South Fork, this wild and scenic river ranked as one of the best dry fisheries in the entire country.

Or, and this hands down would be my choice. After a day of landing the big browns and rainbows, opt for literally sleeping on the bank of the South Fork in a roomy tent on a comfy cot, where the only sound you’ll hear after a day of landing the big browns and rainbows is the river flowing by. Relax & swap lies while the staff prepares a delicious meal. Fish, eat, sleep – wake and do it all over again, with the Overnight Camp program.

Teton Springs Lodge & Spa & South Fork Lodge – truly a family affair!

For the ultimate rod-bending days on the river and other world-class activities, call Teton Springs Lodge @877.787.8757 and South Fork Lodge Natural Retreats Reservations and Concierge @ 434.202.4590 concierge@naturalretreats.com.

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This Wildlife Safari is All About The Animals

I was excited when invited along with staff at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa to take a Wildlife Safari with Brushbuck Guide Services. This Jackson Hole based company has been guiding our guests through Teton National Park and Yellowstone for years, and always to rave reviews. It’s not difficult to understand why our guests, from both this country and those from across the pond, are fanatical about seeing wildlife in their natural habitat. It’s a thrill and not something most folks have easy access to in their own backyard. However, it’s easy to get a tad snobby about wildlife viewing when you live and play in Teton Valley. It’s practically a national past time here, and boy, do we love our critters. The thrill of seeing beautiful creatures stirs something in our imagination like nothing else can.

Teton Springs Resort sits adjacent to the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and the furry forest inhabitants tend to drift onto our Headwaters Golf Course with some regularity. It’s not at all unusual to be teeing off on the 9th hole and have to hold up play while the resident moose strolls through. It’s a delay of game no one ever complains about. Both Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles are also playing companions, and I never tire of watching them perched on one of the cabins lining the golf course, or soaking up the sun on a fairway rock.

So our guests have their own version of a wildlife safari right here at Teton Springs. However, to almost guarantee you’ll get to see abundant wildlife in the most staggering of settings, the Brushbuck Wildlife Safari is highly recommended. With the Teton Mountains as your backdrop on this particular tour, you’ll often find yourself mesmerized by the peaks when you should be looking for moose, bear and wolves. The largest Peak, the Grand Teton, reaches into the sky over a mile high and you’re in its shadow for this entire excursion.

Yes, there are plenty of ooh’s and ahh’s on this tour bus starting with your first step into Brushbuck’s van. It’s deluxe, comfortable, well equipped with spotting scopes, binoculars, raingear and a terrific variety of snacks and drinks. And, the van is definitely custom built for wildlife viewing with its expanse of windows and easy on and off access when it’s time to hop off to check out the animals.

Two Naturalists, Duane & Patrick, were our Brushbuck hosts and what extraordinary wildlife guides they are. Both were gracious, accommodating and boy did they ever know their stuff. While capturing wildlife in their natural surroundings is the top priority on this trip, you’re also treated to an extensive lesson on the entire Yellowstone-Teton ecosystem. They enrich the tour by giving us a history of the area, its rich western culture filled with trappers, explorers and early Mormon settlers, the geology, every bird, bug and mammal that coexists here, what they eat, and how they survive this challenging winter climate. It’s all on the information menu
provided by the guides. Each question asked by a one of our group was answered eloquently by either Duane or Patrick; you simply couldn’t stump these guys. My head was spinning, in a good way.

 

The tour starts on Spring Gulch, a back road I’ve travelled a thousand times, a turn one makes right before you hit the main drag and hustle and bustle of Jackson Hole Wyoming. The van stopped quickly and our guides swiftly went into operation wildlife viewing mode, quickly pulling out powerful spotting scopes that made the animals come to life right before our eyes. On the hillside were the biggest elk I have ever seen, with racks swaddled in velvet. Guess I simply never looked up before when driving this back way to the Jackson Hole Airport and other off-the-beaten-path Wyoming destinations.

Next stop was the Gros Ventre River which flows into the mighty Snake River. We were looking for a bear feeding on a carcass that was spotted earlier that week by our guides. The bear had apparently moved on to greener pastures but the most spectacular Bald Eagle accommodated us with his presence on the river bank. He even hung around for pictures.

We drove deeper into the main attraction, Grand Teton National Park, home to a whopping 61 specifies of mammals, big and small. We watched a herd of buffalo make their way across the sage brush, a huge Pronghorn Antelope standing majestically on the horizon, more elk, white tailed deer, mule deer and a fox taking his leisure early evening stroll. We made a stop to check out a massive beaver lodge and one its inhabitants even popped out to say hello.

As dusk was settling in, I was afraid I wouldn’t fulfill my top priority of the trip, and that was seeing a grizzly bear up close and personal. The later it got, I was resigned and not a bit disappointed; it has been a glorious tour. As we drove along the Jenny and Jackson Lake Loop Road, multiple cars were stopped and that only means one thing in this area, WILDLIFE ALERT! Sure enough, a bear cub was in a tree a few hundred yards away and with our spotting scopes we were able to watch as the cub figured out how to safely reach ground. It was exciting, and a tad daunting, knowing mom was close by. It was also a tad eerie as the sound of the cub crying ferociously was the only sound filling the night sky.

We left without seeing momma bear but Duane and Patrick were not about to give up quite yet; we simply loaded up and parked about an eighth of a mile up the road. We were barely out of the van and mom showed her face. With the spotting scope drawing her in, the sight of her gave goose bumps to everyone on our tour. She was huge, fabulous, gorgeous and wild, and within minutes, she was out of our sight and as it turns out, too close for comfort. In an instant, there was a look on our guides’ faces that said, "back in the van now," which we all gladly complied with. This grizzly mom was virtually within steps of us, apparently curious about us too. It was the highlight of the trip and now almost dark. I didn’t get to see my most favorite mammal, the moose, but it was time to call it a day.

As Duane & Patrick dropped me off, I told them I’d be back with friends and family. I think next time I’ll take the early morning tour that Brushbuck offers, when the light is truly magnificent and the animals are just beginning to stir. I drove slowly over Teton Pass on my way home to Victor, knowing that deer and elk also travel this road at night, and lo and behold, near the top of the pass a monster Bull Moose was casually strolling in the drainage ditch. I swear he returned my gaze as I crept by ever so slowly.

Ah, my checklist was complete; it was truly a great day – thanks Brushbuck!

Call Guest Services at Teton Springs Lodge & Spa, BY NATURAL RETREATS, to book your next vacation and don’t forget to schedule your wildlife tour, fly fishing expedition and more!

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Spring is Here and There’s Plenty to Celebrate

Spring is Here and There’s Plenty to Celebrate at Teton Springs Resort & Club

Yes, it’s that time of year when our thoughts stray from sliding on snow to swinging a club and casting a line. For some, this may seem a tad premature given that terrific skiing and snowboarding remains a viable option in the Teton Mountains well into April. However, even for those of us who embrace Teton Valley winters with every ounce of our being, there’s something magical that comes with the arrival of spring and the promise of warm weather pursuits. So now Grand Targhee’s current base depth of 145 inches takes on new significance, and that’s plenty of run-off this spring. We can expect big water flowing into our local rivers and we all know what that means – long hours at the fly-tying bench. It also means lush fairways and perfectly manicured greens on the Headwaters course at Teton Springs.

This is all great news for our guests, who will begin their journey to Teton Springs Lodge & Spa and Yellowstone-Teton country, starting May 1st, when the “Suite Knots” Summer get-away package makes its 2014 debut.

You don’t have to be a diehard fisherman to know that the early bird does indeed catch the worm, especially if that worm is a trophy size brown trout on the Henry’s Fork River. The lodge offers up one of the deluxe one-bedroom suites as bait in this early-season package, but the three, four and five bedroom luxury mountain log cabins should always be considered. These homes are elegant, yet homey, and surprisingly affordable. Guys with nothing but golf on their mind, families, corporate groups, ladies on their annual hiking getaway, you name it – these units are grabbed early.

Teton Springs once again joins forces with our region’s expert fly fishing guides; there’s practically a guarantee that you’ll fill your quota of trout with these pros behind the oars. And, it never hurts to arrive a day or two early. Take some time to get acclimated, savor a massage at the Stillwaters Spa, visit the local fishing shops to see what’s working, and spend some time on the resort’s private ponds.

There’s no better place to shake winter kinks from that fly casting technique so you’re battle ready to conquer the Northern Rockies most acclaimed rivers.

Another sign that winter is definitely in our rear-view mirror comes with the opening of the Headwaters Golf Club.  Depending on snow melt, we’ve teed it up on this extraordinary course as early as mid to late April. We can only hope. This summer they’ll be excitement buzzing; as Headwaters celebrates its 10th birthday! As with any milestone, it’s always impossible to believe so much time has passed. However, when one plays this world-class course, with its mature trees and thick lush grass, you get the sense Headwaters has been here forever.

It was the late 90′s when Byron Nelson, golf’s most legendary player, and definitely golf’s most revered ambassador, graced a local resident’s property, a large swath of farmland that was destined to become both the Headwaters 18-hole course, and the par-3 course. There was a groundbreaking event, quite the celebration, the golf course just the beginning of the full-service resort that Teton Springs would become, and thus a new era for the charming, sleepy town of Victor Idaho. I was lucky enough to attend this party and actually spent a few minutes talking to my all-time personal hero Byron Nelson. He was everything I imagined and more; sweet, genuine, humble, generous of heart and thrilled to be bringing his course design & such a dynamic project to eastern Idaho. Turns out,
Headwaters was sadly Bryon’s last course design. PGA touring professional Steve Jones and one of the top golf architects, Gary Stephenson, were also there. I’ll never forget it.

Sandwiched between the Teton and Big Hole Mountains, and with spectacular vistas in every direction, players are easily distracted by the views. There’s also the occasional moose or deer cruising through and it’s better to hold up play when the resident Bald Eagle decides to takes a break in the middle of the fairway. Headwaters is a championship level course for sure, and through the years has hosted its share of prestigious professional and amateur events. But the mark of a truly great course is how welcoming it is, user friendly for all ability levels. Headwaters personifies that. The set of five tee boxes on each hole insures that the high handicapper and scratch player will easily coexist here.

Both the 18-hole and part-3 Headwaters courses are private, but, guests staying in the Lodge or in one of the luxury mountain log homes that dot the resort are entitled to all of the club privileges typically afforded to the members only. Families often gravitate to the par-3, which is a total blast to play and forgiving for the beginner and the low handicapper looking to perfect their iron play. It’s relaxed and the perfect venue for setting up that corporate tournament. There are Spring vacation packages to suit everyone early season, particularly the ultra affordable spring Stay & Play Packages.

In between rounds, lodging guests can take a well-deserved dip in the 25 meter pool, or, soak up the rays on the sunning decks, where lunch service is also served by the new culinary team at Teton Springs. If you live in the area or, simply planning on spending part of your summer in the Tetons, membership to the Headwaters & Sports Club makes the most sense. Contact Headwaters general manager Sean to talk about living the dream at Teton Springs (208.787.8008). Check out all of our wonderful Spring and Summer activities in the Teton Valley.

Happy Anniversary Headwaters and hats off to you Mr. Byron Nelson. We’ll be sure to enjoy many more glorious years enjoying your brilliant creation at Teton Springs…

www.TetonSpringsLodge.com – email: guestservices@tetonspringslodge.com

 

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