I love family reunions, plain and simple. In fact, I love family reunions so much that it doesn’t even have to be my own clan for me to get excited about relatives getting together. I can definitely live vicariously through others, especially when it’s easy to see how thrilled particular family members are to be all gathered together in one place. It’s more or less an unspoken rule of nature that parents and siblings are literally the only people in our lives who simply have to give us unconditional love, whether we always deserve it or not. This love is permanent and trustworthy and all encompassing. Watching our friends Garret & Susie Rose interact with their sons Riley & Casey, and other immediate family members, gives compelling testament to the kind of love only families will ever know.
The group picture from the Rose family reunion at Teton Springs a few weeks back could very well be a promotional poster selling such critical get togethers. The smiles reflect the genuine joy the Rose gang exhibited throughout their time together at Teton Springs. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words and it’s evident how the true essence of this group was captured on film, primarily from Susie, albeit young, but definitely the matriarch of this family unit. And also, the self-designated photophile. Thank God for photo enthusiasts like Susie, keeping the memories alive into eternity. Of course, the physical backdrop didn’t hurt. It’s next to impossible to take anything but a beautiful picture anywhere here in Yellowstone-Teton territory, and the physical setting of Teton Springs is undoubtedly one of the most stunning in the Northern Rockies for anyone to visit, at any time, for any reason.
Garret & Susie Rose and the gracious patriarch Charlie, arrived a day earlier than the rest of the Rose party, giving my husband and I a chance to play with our friends before the rest of the family descended upon Teton Springs. Charlie is an amazingly fit 83-year-old, a man who can easily shame people half his age with his vigor, athleticism and overall youthful & gracious spirit (footnote: Charlie just completed a personal best of riding 441 miles in his home state of Washington during the month of July!). The extra bike we needed for the day was easily accommodated by the Guest Service staff at Teton Springs Lodge. In fact, there isn’t much this staff won’t say yes to.
However, a word of caution for guests planning a trip to Teton Springs who may want to spin some tires at this bike friendly resort. The Lodge has a new & terrific partner, Wheel Wranglers, who can set up all members of the group with every flavor of bike. It’s a no fuss, no muss arrangement with Wheel Wranglers. Terrific guest service is certainly their motto and this commitment to new clients is clearly evident from the moment Katie picks up their phone. They couldn’t be more accommodating and will deliver bikes to Teton Springs Lodge, the front door of your cabin or a designated location in Teton Valley or nearby Jackson Hole. After supplying whatever assistance you may need with the bikes, you’re off! If hilly terrain is on your riding agenda, you may want to try an e-bike. That extra propulsion gives you a lovely boost on any terrain. And flatlanders not accustomed to riding at this altitude will certainly appreciate the extra power as they conquer the hills in and around the valley of the Tetons.
We picked up the Rose crew at the Cushman Cabin. Always makes me smile when the resort uses the term “cabin” to describe the gorgeous mountain log homes that dot this Teton Springs Resort landscape. Each custom home in the Teton Springs Lodge & Spa cache is the epitome of elegance and grace with a western flare; fireplace, well-equipped kitchen, outdoor patio barbeque, massive living rooms, and large private decks (optimum for family gatherings and extraordinary wildlife viewing). All homes are close to the trails in the adjoining Caribou-Targhee National Forest, allowing easy access to mountain biking and hiking.
But the first day agenda for the Rose crew was a more leisure excursion, a ride to downtown Victor, where we picked up the bike trail running north & south from Victor to Driggs. After stopping along the way to visit a mutual friend, we headed back into Victor and cruised the Old Jackson Highway, taking us into the heart of Victor’s quaint and charming neighborhoods. This roadway dead ends at the Teton Pass Trail, the Victor to Moose Creek section. If time permitted, we would have continued on down this trail because as the name implies, it’s reputed to be a great place to see a moose. Another day.
While we certainly felt deserving of a cold microbrew at Grand Teton Brewing, situated at the base of Teton Pass, unfortunately it was indeed a tad early to imbibe. Created with locally grown barley and Teton glacier water, this is no ordinary beer and the folks at Grand Teton Brewing have figured out a way to make socially distancing outdoor seating very appealing. We instead opted to reward ourselves with a huckleberry shake at the famous Victor Emporium. This lovely establishment has served their famous shakes to US presidents and other celebrities visiting this unassuming hamlet and Emporium shakes have been awarded “best milkshake in Idaho” by more than one travel site. It’s not much of a stretch to say that the Grand Teton Mountains and the Victor Emporium share billing for attractions that have put Teton Valley on the map.
Once the rest of the Rose family arrived it was a dizzying schedule of nonstop action. Given that hiking is akin to breathing for this family, a trek into Grand Teton National Park’s Phelps Lake was first on the agenda. This is an incredibly scenic hike classified as moderate but there is nothing moderate about the mountain and scenic lake views. They are clearly over-the-top spectacular! Take a dip if you dare, many do! Most summer visitors to Teton Springs looking for unparalleled Teton Mountain views from the western side of these peaks will head to nearby Grand Targhee Resort for a scenic chairlift ride. At the 10,000 summit the unobstructed views of the Grand Tetons and accompanying vistas are extraordinary. While most mortals ride the chair up and down, heartier visitors will often enjoy the leisure ride up and opt to hike down one of Targhee’s many trails surrounded by flower drenched slopes. Naturally most in the Rose family preferred the oxygen flow garnished by propelling themselves both up and down on their own power.
In between hikes, lawn games prevailed at #10 Cushman Cabin as well as attempts to lure trout to the surface on one of the many lakes and ponds at Teton Springs. A trip to the treasured Teton River was also squeezed into this non-stop itinerary. The Cushman Cabin is also a stone’s throw from the Stillwaters Spa located in at Teton Springs Lodge, and given their level of nonstop activity I would imagine a few literally limped into this delightful facility for a well-deserved sports massage or at the very least, a cooling off period at the resort pool. Unfortunately for the golfers in this group there wasn’t time, on this trip anyway, to sample the links at Teton Springs at the Bronze Buffalo Club. Golf icon Byron Nelson designed this 18-hole course and it is widely regarded as one of the finest courses in the region. It’s a private facility but Teton Springs Lodge and cabin guests are welcome to book t-times.
Personally, I can’t think of a better place to hold a family reunion than Teton Springs Resort. The cabins allow for plenty of space to spread out and the great outdoors is steps away. Its location makes it the optimum home base for playing, on either side of the Tetons. In reality, one would never have to leave the gates of Teton Springs to fill their days with activities under sunny days and crystal-clear nights. But the siren song of adventure lures you to the lakes and mountains surrounding the resort. Just ask the 4 generations of the Rose family!