THE BEST SUMMER GETAWAY IS ONE FILLED WITH ADVENTURES SHARED WITH OUR BEST GAL PALS!
It was an easy sell talking a few of my best girlfriends into visiting me in Teton Valley this summer. A trip to Idaho and Wyoming was especially enticing for those from the east coast. They were literally wilting on the vine, like Iowa corn, and thus crazed to escape the heat and humidity that overtook the country with vengeance this summer. It’s been almost unbearable everywhere but here. I never take it for granted how lucky we are to live in the Teton Mountains and how silly it is for others not to put this area on the top of their bucket list for places to visit. Pick a season, any season. They’re all special for the unique adventures they offer, but summer – ah, I definitely have a soft spot in my heart for summer in the Tetons.
This was not the first rodeo for most of my guests but their past excursions to the Rockies have always entailed ski parkas, snow boots and powder ski lessons. They had never experienced green grass under their feet or have been lulled to sleep from the comforting sound the aspens make on a breezy summer night. They were also thrilled at the chance to don the latest outdoor warm-weather, mountain-worthy apparel; shorts, shirts and even hats properly sealed with SPF 45, brand spankin’ new hiking boots worthy of scaling Mount Everest, and back packs so technical I feared we would never figure out what all the secret pockets were really intended for. I had to chuckle when I saw them depart the plane on a recent perfect late July afternoon in Jackson Hole, greeted in a full embrace by the Tetons and the legendary cloudless Wyoming sky.
Each and every one of the ladies arrived looking like models in a photo shoot for Patagonia, Mountain Hardware or NorthFace, all outdoor product companies known for their wilderness chic. Bewildered, I had to wonder, where were my old familiar friends, who not too long ago would have greeted me in consignment store t-shirts, worn sneaks and battered Yankee caps? However, the same infectious enthusiasm for pursuing anything outdoors was still there; I was relieved. If the old adage that "the clothing makes the man" is true, than we were now ready to tackle anything this Yellowstone-Teton area had to throw at us!
The group rented a cabin at Teton Springs Resort. Please note, I use the word "cabin" lightly here; these log mountain homes are, how do I put it – Ooh La La! Teton Springs Lodge & Spa has a great mix of 3, 4 and 5 bedroom cabins to choose from and they’re all unique, incredibly elegant but cozy too. But the best part, Teton Springs prices these accommodations insuring you don’t have to incur heavy debt to sample the lap of luxury; it’s truly amazing how affordable they are for a family or group of friends.
You also have the option of staying in one of the Lodge guest rooms or an elegant one and two-bedroom suite, which come equipped with a full kitchen, living room, fireplace, large balcony and your own whirlpool tub (with lodge accommodations you’re also only steps away from the Stillwaters Spa!)
The gorgeous kitchens in the cabins provided a homey atmosphere but my friends never pulled out a single pot or pan. After all, this was a real vacation right?! The Headwaters Grille consistently provided a delicious break from our action packed visit, and the view was so easy on the eye. This cozy eatery overlooks the first fairway of the Headwaters Golf Club and there were plenty of interesting menu selections, keeping us happy and content for days. There’s also the new Sage Gourmet Café, an intimate and relaxing bistro that is quickly becoming a popular hangout for anyone looking for a unique snack, lighter dinner fare and signature cocktail. The Sage turned into our very own clubhouse of sorts, and between delectable nibbles created by Chef Jenna; we enjoyed a competitive game of bean bag toss on the expansive lawn in front of the lodge (no athletic skill required).
It’s no surprise that the hiking in this area is world-class, and no, you don’t need expedition worthy hiking boots. Tennis shoes will suffice on most regional hikes.
Road trips with the girls naturally included exploring the town of Jackson Hole, definitely an adventure in itself. The ride over is almost worth the price of admission, truly breathtaking. Be sure to stop at the 10,000 foot summit for that group photo and a panorama that duly impressed even my gaggle of seasoned travelers. Hiking to the top of Snow King Mountain can be a grunt for sea level dwellers but the ladies were game. It’s just steps from downtown Jackson and so green and lush as you traverse this 1.8 mike trail ascending 1,500 vertical feet. Luckily there is a snack shop at the top and the ice cream treat was definitely justified. There’s a lot to explore in Jackson and believe me, we didn’t miss much. The luggage going home was stuffed with delicious custom turquoise baubles, hand stitched cowboy hats, and western boots decorated with every crazy color of the rainbow. My friends no doubt made a fashion statement at the local rodeo.
FLY FISHING IN YOUR FUTURE…
Fly fishing for the neophyte can be challenging until you get the hang of it. The folks at Teton Springs make the learning curve as painless as possible with instruction offered thru the resort’s Sport Club. You’ll quickly pick up the tricks of the trade from the local and good spirited fly fishing aficionados. The resort’s numerous private ponds and lakes offer an unintimidating and mellow environment to show off that perfect cast. My friends are now feeling pretty cocky about their new skill set and ready to snag that giant rainbow trout on the nearby Snake River. We’ll see.
After a few days of exploring the region, my friends were more than ready for a few days at the pool and ready to sample the activities in the Teton Springs neighborhood: golfing on the Headwaters Course (my pals loved the par 3 course!), mountain biking and hiking in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest that borders this property, tennis, hot tubing, Yoga (private sessions for just you and your pals can be arranged), basketball, weight lifting, wine tasting, and more.
The girls weren’t prepared for just how enticing the Stillwaters Spa truly is at Teton Springs. They were mentally committed to spending literally every minute they were here pursuing outdoor adventures – that is until they stepped inside the spa. Suffice to say, a few of our planned hikes had to be rescheduled to make time for a deep tissue massage and the ever mind blowing hydraquench.
The list of things to do is indeed mind boggling – whitewater & scenic river rafting, canoeing, scenic chairlift rides, hot air ballooning, kayaking, more mountain biking, even more hiking, museums, rodeos and music festivals.
It was tough saying good-bye to my good buddies, but comfort in knowing they’ll be back. There’s already talk of a future autumn trip, when the mountains scream with color and the air crystal clear. The girls will again be forced to make the tough decisions every day they’re here: what to do, what to do, what to do next?!
I also hear rumblings that their husbands are now scheming and planning their own guys’ trip to the Tetons. Who could blame them?!