Quarter Century Birthday Celebration in the Tetons

As some of you may remember I celebrated my last birthday at an amazing cabin in Mount Hood, surrounded by the mountains and good friends. I had such a great time that I wanted to keep the same tradition going this year but decided to switch up the location. The Tetons have been on my list of places to see so the day before my birthday we hopped a flight to Jackson Hole to meet a group of friends from college. It just so happened that two of my friends were also turning twenty-five the coming week so we dubbed this our quarter-century birthday celebration.

We rented a beautiful vacation home on the outskirts Driggs, ID — just fifteen miles from the base of Grand Targhee ski resort. We were stunned when we got to the house – five bedrooms, four bathrooms, two kitchens fully stocked with any utensil or pan you could dream of, a grill, a hot tub, and enough beds to very comfortably sleep thirteen people.  The first night we enjoyed catching up over dinner, drinks, fooseball, and a nice soak in the hot tub. We got a late start in the morning so we settled on a half day of skiing at Targhee.  The mountain was extremely foggy so skiing was a bit nerve-wracking for me (if I had to guess I’d say visibility was less than 25 feet at the top…eek!) but we were able to get in a few good runs on some of the lower lifts. Then it was back to the house for a delicious dinner (bbq chicken and Mindy’s spicy potatoes) and some much-needed relaxation.

In the morning we reminisced about college and the weekend over breakfast, said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways. We headed into Jackson to do some exploring while the rest of the crew got on the road back to Montana. Our friend Shawn lives in Jackson so he was able to give us some “insider” recommendations for places to eat (Cadillac Grille for steaks, The D.O.G. for burritos, Merry Little Piglets for Mexican food, Thai Me Up for what other than Thai food, and Snake River Brewery for what other than their brews).

We had a few hours to kill before our flight back to Portland so we parked downtown and walked to Merry Little Piglets for some appetizers (try to Cowgirl dip) and cervesas — stopping to gawk at the elk antler arches and the beautiful bronze sculptures scattered throughout town square on our way. Afterwards we walked to the Snake River Brewery to grab a beer and late lunch, still gawking at the intricate sculptures and beautiful Western artwork of local artists displayed in galleries across town. When we got to the brewery I enjoyed a light IPA and the most deliciously spiced bison chili….YUM….the perfect way to end a great weekend and warm up on a brisk day!

My travel tips…
If you’re considering a vacation to the Jackson Hole area I would highly recommend lodging at the Teton Valley Vista. This vacation home is located on the outskirts of the small, friendly town of Driggs, ID – just forty miles across the pass from Jackson Hole. We were a little concerned about the pass due to the time of year but the roads were very well maintained (and that’s coming from a born and raised Montanan). If you are there during the winter months I would caution you watch for backcountry skiers walking back on the roads from their runs. As far as food and drink – there is grocery store in Driggs called Broulims and a little liquor store tucked away off main street. If you’re planning to kick back and have a few, save yourself some money and pick up your beer in Driggs, not Jackson.

Staying in Driggs was much more affordable option than staying in Jackson and it provided us with great access to skiing at Grand Targhee. Although it was foggy the day we skied, the mountain still boasted ridiculous powder and short lines. My recommendation is to check the forecast before you go. If fog is in the forecast you may want to consider skiing in Jackson (unless you don’t mind skiing into the white abyss of fog!). Not a skier? Don’t dismiss this location as a summer getaway. Driggs is just a ninety minute scenic drive from Yellowstone National Park and forty minutes from Jackson. Although Jackson is primarily known for its skiing, the mountains offer great hiking, fishing, and camping during the summer. You can also check out the Jackson Hole rodeo which takes place nearly every Wednesday and Sunday from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.  I’m thinking I’d like to go back in the summer!

A HUGE thank you to my friends for making my twenty-fifth birthday a weekend to remember! Love you guys!