Driving east from Boise, Idaho, I headed on a five and a half hour trek toward Grand Tetons National Park, those ethereal crystalline mountains in northwestern Wyoming. Although driving alone, I felt enveloped by “big sky” almost the entire trip.  Raised on the East Coast, I was not used to the sheer openness of landscape and it produced a profound sense of awe. I felt small and humbled by the grandeur of nature all around me.

Surrounded by "big sky" while driving in Idaho.

Surrounded by “big sky” while driving in Idaho.

When I left the interstate for the back roads, I encountered such dramatic scenery, all I wanted to do was stop the car, get out and take photos.

I did, in fact, do that often but was under a bit of pressure to get to my room before dark. However, I am glad I made time; scenic stops are some of life’s treasured moments.

Tetons area Landscape

Tetons area Landscape

Soon, I drove through the cutesy town of Victor, Idaho, a very little downtown indeed, and arrived at Teton Springs Lodge where I found serenity and beauty. The surrounding valley, dwarfed by the magnificent snow-capped, 12,000-foot Tetons- just 30 minutes away, lies scattered with upscale log cabin homes. The Lodge was exactly what I’d hoped for: a steadfast wooden structure that exuded warmth and welcome.

Teton Springs Log Cabins

Teton Springs Log Cabins

Teton Springs Lodge is a full service hotel on 780 acres and includes a total of 52 rooms: 15 lodge rooms, approximately 400 square feet, 22 one bedroom suites at 784 square feet and 15 two bedroom suites with a whopping 1140 square feet. The facility also rents three, four and five bedroom cabins.

My one-bedroom suite on the third floor of the lodge was beyond expectations: richly painted red walls, dark wood trim, leather upholstery, and rustic western type decor with all the upscale amenities one could desire.

Teton Springs Lodge Suite

Teton Springs Lodge Suite

The designer kitchen would have been a dream to work in, but I only needed to open a bottle of wine and enjoy the fruit and cheese tray left for me. My living room featured floor to ceiling windows at one end, naturally with valley and mountain views, and a soft as silk sofa, chairs and ottomans. I stepped outside the sliding glass doors, but felt a little chilly on the deck, so I returned inside and flicked on the gas fireplace and immediately enjoyed cozy comfort.

Headwaters-Grill-and-Dining

Headwaters-Grill-and-Dining

After some wine, I walked over to the Headwaters Grille for dinner which overlooks the first fairway of the golf course. The restaurant has the feel of a country club. I nibbled on a pork chop that was so thick there was enough meat on it for two, maybe three diners. Walking back, I passed by the Stillwaters Spa, which I wish I’d had time to use. (Being a photographer doesn’t leave much free time when you are a place as magnificent as this.)

 

Bedtime beckoned and the gigantic king size bed overwhelmed me with six huge pillows. I even had my choice of two bathrooms; one which enticed me with a two person jetted tub, but sleep won over as I was getting up for a sunrise shoot.

HHeadwaters Grille pork chop

Headwaters Grille pork chop

I certainly did not have ample free to indulge myself in this year round resort. In addition to golf, this section of Idaho offers some of the best fly fishing in the country, whitewater rafting and kayaking. The outdoor pool is heated. Winter activities include nearby Jackson Hotel Ski Mountain and local Nordic and snowmobiling trails. If I ever return, I would surely unpack here for a few days, if not a week.  No wonder US News  and World Report named Teton Springs Lodge and Spa the top Idaho Hotel in 2012 and 2013. I give it my personal five stars.

All photography copyright Debi Lander, except Headwaters Grille photo by resort.

Distant view of the Tetons

Distant view of the Tetons