It may seem strange at first. As part of your magnificent 6-course supper, you feast on Dungeness crab cocktail and Antelope Schnitzel while dressed elegantly. Then you return to an 80-year-old rustic lodge at the foot of the spectacular Teton range to enjoy free champagne. After an hour or two of reading, you snuggle beneath your hand-made goose-down blanket and sink into the most deep slumber of your life, smelling the heady scent of spruce, lodgepole pine, and Douglas fir.
Jenny, Beaver Dick Leigh’s Shoshoni wife, would undoubtedly be proud of the lovely Mobil 4-star resort named after her. The Jenny Lake Lodge, half concealed in the forests in Grand Teton National Park’s Cascade Canyon, has served as a pleasant and serene refuge for the Rockefellers, Princess Grace, James Michener, and Presidents Reagan and Clinton over the last 80 years.
A visitor to the region in 1922 would have discovered five tiny cottages and a modest main lodge on a 160-acre farm owned by an early settler called Tony Grace. Grace’s Danny Ranch’s original structures are still standing as part of the Jenny Lake Lodge complex.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. started to work on his idea of building a world-class wilderness and recreational region north of Jackson Hole in the early 1930s. Danny Ranch was renamed Jenny Lake Ranch when he founded the Snake River Land Company to buy land for the Grand Teton National Park. The Grand Teton Lodge Company took over operations and erected eight additional cottages. Jenny Lake Ranch was renamed Jenny Lake Lodge in 1952.
The main structure (dining room, living room, specialised shop, and office) is now encircled by 37 rustic cottages. Each cottage is named after a local wildflower and has a hand-painted wooden sign depicting, among other things, blue bell, alpine astor, blue flax, and columbine. The flowers are also represented on shower tiles, along with their scientific names.
There are plenty of luxuries at the resort, including cedar sachets, huckleberry chocolates, and ice brought to your cabin each afternoon, champagne for return guests, and his and her terrycloth robes. “The objective is not to say ‘no’ to the visitors,” says resident manager Angela Beaumont. We make every effort to provide friendly service. I consider it a service that considers people as individuals.”
Jenny Lake Lodge offers free horseback riding and biking, as well as hiking and, of course, birding. Swainson’s Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pine Siskin, American Robin, and Chipping Sparrow are the most common summer birds in the resort.
Tennis, Snake River float excursions, white water rafting, guided lake and fly fishing, beautiful bus tours, and cruises on Jackson Lake are among nearby attractions. Guests of the lodge get free use to the swimming pools of the adjoining Jackson Lake Lodge and the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club.
Jenny Lake Lodge is located around 30 miles from Jackson. From late May until early October, it is open. Reservations for the months of July and August should be booked at least a year in advance. Call (307) 733-4647 for further information.