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Babymoon - October 2010 - Yellowstone, Jackson Hole and Sun Valley

  • Oct 22, 2010
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We have a daughter coming in late January (YAY!!!) so we took this last opportunity to fly (hence the name "babymoon") and headed up to explore some big sky country. My list below is in order of our trip. We flew into Bozeman, drove down through the north entrance into Yellowstone, and out the south entrance through Grand Tetons National Park, then to Jackson Hole for a few days and finally on to Sun Valley Idaho before flying home from there. The list below shows some of the stops and should be really helpful to anyone planning a similar trip... i hope it helps!! btw... those are two moose across the river!!
1
Bozeman, Montana
We had to start our trip with a pic in front of the "Most Photographed Bear in Montana" according to the guy at the Hertz desk.
















We didn't know what to expect in Bozeman but i was anticipating something a little older, kind of like a mining town.  But from what we saw it fairly modern with a lot of new construction.  Seemed like it was going through a little growth spurt.
2
The Nova Cafe
After landing we were starving and wanted to see downtown Bozeman at the same time. We drove though downtown and just happened on this spot. It was great. They serve breakfast all day, and i crushed a breakfast burrito which powered me up for the full day of driving ahead. I'd highly recommend this local spot because they can deliver a hearty breakfast and all the servers were great too.  Everybody in Bozeman in fact seemed to be in a great mood.
3
Yellowstone National Park
We came in the North Entrance and covered most of the park over 2 days. We didn't get out and hike or walk very much. Mostly just driving... "stick and move" through the sites. See some pics in my full review.
See the full review, "Geography Changes Every 5 Miles".
4
Old Faithful Inn Hotel
Definitely worth a stop and peak in the lobby even if you aren't staying here. Classic, killer old hotel. My full review has tips on booking the best room.
See the full review, "Must See in Yellowstone".
5
Obsidian Room
Located in the Snow Lodge behind the Old Faithful Inn. We had to eat dinner there because Old Faithful had a wait in the dinning room. Ended up being a great call. Bison tenderloin was great!! We were thinking that we would be having a lot of bison tenderloin on this trip, but the Osidian Room was the only place that had a tenderloin. We also had the wild boar, but i wouldn't go with that option again. Bottom line: Other than the bison tenderloin, this place was average.
6
Grand Tetons National Park
As you leave Yellowstone, you almost immediately are in Grand Tetons National Park. In Yellowstone, the geography feels like it changes every 5 miles... it's so spectacular. But once you get to Grand Tetons, then you really know what change in geography looks like. Stunning, spectacular mountains. It almost gave me a feeling of uneasiness being in the presence of something so dramatic. Those peaks can be very intimidating.














Here's a less intimidating picture overlooking the Snake River:


7
Four Seasons Hotel - Jackson Hole WY
Loved it here.  Can't wait to go back in the winter and ski.  My full review has tips for saving in booking and picking the best room for the time of season.
See the full review, "Luxury Ski In Ski Out in Jackson Hole".
8
Westbank Grill
This is the restaurant in the Four Seasons. Food was great! View of the ski mountain was great too and would be awesome in the winter when there is snow. I had the bison rib eye and i was great! Susan had the 6oz natural beef filet and it was good, but comparing the beef to bison... we both started to fall for the bison. They have a nice wine list as well... everything you would expect at a Four Seasons.
9
Amangani
We planned our day of driving around the Jackson area to end at the Amangani at sunset for a drink to take in the view. Wow!! This view is a "must see" for anyone visiting Jackson Hole. It really puts the entire valley in perspective.

Check out my full review to see how to save thousands of $$ and I'll explain this photo as well ;)
See the full review, "Have it all at the Amangani without paying the price tag".
10
Snake River Grill
Local favorite in town. Every person in town we asked where the best place to eat was, all said The Snake River Grill. It's cozy and the service was great. Wine list was adequate and priced the same... no screaming deals on the wine, but not too outrageous either. We ate the buffalo pot roast and it was better than any beef pot roast i've ever had. It was delicious!!!

11
Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
After dinner we popped in to hit the dance floor and two-stepped a couple songs. Then took the obligatory picture sitting on the saddle bar stool. Not often you get to see a 6 month pregnant woman on a saddle bar stool. Good times!!


12
Ketchum Grill
Cozy little converted old house with all the tables close together. Homey feel to the place so we went with the meatloaf. I haven't had meatloaf in probably 10 years, but it seemed like the right call in this place... and it was!! Also, tried the prosciutto pizza and it was just alright. I'd stay away from the pizzas and stick to the meat and potato type dishes if I go back.
13
Sun Valley Lodge
This is the main resort and largest hotel in Sun Valley. Old school vibe (especially when you get down in the basement to bowl) Check out my follow-through!!  See my full review to save some $ booking!!
See the full review, "Family Friendly Old School Resort".
14
Kneadery
If you want to eat breakfast all day with a bunch of wildlife heads on the walls... then this is the place for you. We crushed eggs, french toast, and waffles. You just can't screw that up IMO. This place has a great local vibe and it fits perfectly in Sun Valley.
15
Cristina's Restaurant
Walking around town before we went to the airport to catch our flight home, we popped in here to get a late lunch. It was 3pm and slack (the dead time of year between summer and ski season) so we were literally the ONLY people in the place which can make you a little nervous. But we had couple soups (tomato bisque and the sausage barley) and the were no joke the best soups i've ever had. This place was so good i had to start grilling the servers on the whole story and i was trying to convince the owner to open a place in Manhattan Beach. They said everyone is always trying to get the owner to open another one, but she is such a perfectionist she can't do it. She hasn't taken a day off in 10 years and makes sure everything is perfect... and it is. After the soups we had salad and sandwiches. All great.

This place was so good that as we were leaving town we were in such a good mood.  Reflecting back, Sun Valley even looks like a better town because of that meal. Now that is a good restaurant!! I can't wait to go back and it's a must visit for anyone passing through Sun Valley.
See the full review, "Best Soup I've Ever Had".

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December 01, 2010
Woah! I feel like the last to know, since I have sucked at the Internet the past few months. : / Nonetheless, CONGRATS JR & Susan! This list is fab, too! I was in Bozeman for New Years last year and you definitely have captured the quaintness of that little, lovely town. Cheers to you and your newest member of the Johnson fam!
December 02, 2010
Thanks Aunny! We are very excited and feeling really fortunate. I hope you're doing well. Every time a see someone on a bike like yours i double take to see if it's you. Maybe i'll get luck one of these times. Ttys!
 
October 23, 2010
A great list JR.. lot of useful information for a traveler as well.
 
October 23, 2010
I'm happily reminiscing...but you found some gems that weren't there when we were last there - like a moose! And your pictures - priceless!!!
October 26, 2010
Thanks mom! The only thing we missed that i remembered as a kid was seeing the paint pots. We blew by them one night when it was getting dark so we didn't stop... 0h well... excuse to go back again!
 
October 23, 2010
i feel like i was with you on the trip!! ;-) i am a soup fanatic and will put cristina's on my bucket list. ;-)
October 26, 2010
you would have LOVED the trip... especially the Four Seasons part... that was a page out of your playbook ;)  Also, you should pick up that cookbook... her soup is unreal!!!
 
October 23, 2010
Christina's restaurant, run by Christina Ceccatelli, also has a cookbook which is supposed to be wonderful. http://www.lunch.com/Reviews/book/Cristina_s...Sun_Valley-1314227.html I can't wait to buy and try the cookbook!
 
October 22, 2010
Babymoon -- I like that! This looks like such a fun trip. I'll have to take some of these pointers one of these days! Nice pics. You guys look great!
 
October 22, 2010
Wow, that's beautiful! Susan looks so cute preggo! Our girl was born end of January too :) She'll be two soon. Good for you for taking a babymoon, wish we did!
 
October 22, 2010
Great list! Congrats on the baby on the way!!
October 26, 2010
hey!! thanks Carly! We are sooooooo stoked!!
 
October 22, 2010
Great list JR! I love the Yellowstone/Tetons/Jackson area. It amazing up there. The Old Faithful Inn was one of my favorite places in Yellowstone. The inside is amazing. I felt like I could look up at the ceiling for hours. Next time you're up there you should drive over to the Lamar Valley. I've never seen so many Buffalo before in my life!
October 26, 2010
Lamar valley next time... check. Seeing all those Bison might make me hungry though... i did seem to enjoy them quite a bit.
 
October 22, 2010
This is awesome! It makes me definitely want to go and check it out. I've been to Yellowstone but, wished I would've had this list first ;p Oh, BTW- a BIG Congrats to you and Susan. I loved how you included photos, made me almost feel as if I were there!
October 26, 2010
Awesome Sam! Thanks!! it was a great trip for sure!
 
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About the list creator
J.R. Johnson ()
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If you're looking for some more company related stuff about me... it's on my bio page here.      Also, here's a family surf video from our recent wedding. Family = good … more
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