I’m not sure what’s happened over here in the last couple of months, but I think I may have been Yellowstoned. If you haven’t succumbed to the epic series starring Kevin Costner about modern ranch life in the American West, what are you waiting for? It’s beautifully shot and marries all the elements of family, business, politics, murder, oil, principles, loyalty, and love. Think Clint Eastwood meets Dallas meets a game of real-life Cowboys and Indians. But the shining star of the show is the backdrop and my soul has been summoned. A large log “cabin”, a roaring fire, wide-open mountain vistas as far as the eye can see? Fresh, clean air, a rolling river, rod and reel in hand, a couple of horses, boots, hat?? Sign me up.
After a couple of scary months of fire and brimstone here in California, we’re both feeling that a change of scenery and sensibility is what our future holds, so we decided to explore the region and were ready to be Yellowstoned for a few days. And let me tell you, the only thing that brought us back were kids and a job; otherwise, you’d find me throwing on a hat and hanging my antler chandelier somewhere in Wyoming.
After settling our oldest daughter into her freshman dorm at the University of Colorado-Boulder, we made our way north across the border into Wyoming and beelined for Jackson Hole. Four Seasons Jackson Hole Resort was home for a handful of nights, and it did not disappoint. Small and quiet on the edge of Teton Village, the property was private and understated with breathtaking mountain views on all sides and sweeping vistas out across the valley. It was exactly what we were seeking. We hiked in Teton National Park (highly recommend Jenny Lake), walked the village with coffee in the morning, napped by the pool in the afternoon, and dined in one of their restaurants, Westbank Grill, where bison tenderloin and elk chops complete a stand-up menu and excellent wine list. We had not been seated at a table inside of a restaurant in months, so it felt odd at times like we were doing something wrong, but we ultimately relaxed into our socially distanced table (we also booked a late dinner thinking it would be pretty empty) and had a fabulous meal.
Fueled by hearty fare and deep sleep, we set out for our next adventure- fly fishing. Both of us have always wanted to try our hand at casting and catching, so off we went down the beautiful Snake River in a float boat, led by a young Grizzly Adams with few words or patience for my tangles. He also didn’t seem to think hooking my husband mid cast in the front of the boat was as humorous as I did. Young Grizzly was far more concerned that my foot stamping and uncontrollable laughter were scaring away any potential bites, which is why I think I was permanently banished to the back of the boat. This subtle “punishment” clearly eliminated my ability to even the score, which near the end of the day was still a solid 3 to 1. But I had plenty of space in the back of the boat to perfect my cast, which is not unlike my tennis stroke- it looks really good with it’s pretty, fluid form, but not quite as likely to deliver winning points. Oh well, I’m okay “losing” our bet because sometimes it’s just more fun to float and let the other guy win.;)
The next day we allowed ourselves to sleep in as long as we wanted, and got a massage in the hotel spa, which after this period of quarantine was such a mental and physical luxury. I know some people are probably cringing at the level of unprecedented closeness and touch in this socially distanced world that a massage would require, but I tell you, it was so sanitary and safe and the spa took every precaution to deliver a relaxing, stellar experience. Please feel free to message me if you’re curious as to how they pulled it off in a time like this.
From the spa, we decided to explore the square in downtown Jackson. With a plethora of great shops and restaurants, Jackson is a sophisticated little slice of the west. Gone are the t-shirt shops, souvenir stores, and kitschy cowboy-themed restaurants. The square is now home to countless boutiques, home interior stores, spas, and upscale restaurants. To be fair, it was a touch crowded for our taste at this time, so we meandered around one side of the square so I could duck into Terra, grab a couple of luxe skincare items, then head on back to the hotel. Now was not the time, in my opinion, to be dodging in and out of summer crowds, but we will be back (maybe in the winter?) to do more investigating of what Jackson has to offer, on all fronts. If you’re headed there soon and want a sophisticated lineup of where to stay, what to do, and what to see, consult the Scout Guide for the latest.
Here’s my take, and I’ll be honest, it hits all the marks- Jackson Hole and it’s surrounding areas are a beautiful blend of sophistication and rusticity in a town where tradition, conservation, recreation, isolation without desolation, and beauty collide. There was actually an episode of Yellowstone called “Goin’ back to Cali”, and I ask, “do we have to?”