Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Alpenhof Lodge is Grand Teton's answer to European chalet

The Moulton Barn, one of the world's most photographed, makes a picturesque day trip from Teton Village.  


Artful Alpenhof offers ambiance, location, spectacular mountain views, gourmet breakfast in friendly Teton Village


 Our early autumn visit to the Alpenhof
yielded hospitality, fine food and splendid weather.
STORY BY CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

IT MAKES perfect sense that Europeans love the Alpenhof Lodge, tucked against the spectacular Grand Teton Range in Wyoming.
The inn has the ambiance of a Swiss or Austrian chalet, with flowers in the window boxes, a full hot breakfast, and Old World hospitality. It even has a yodeling website!
The Alpenhof has charm, convenience and location. From a cordial welcome at the front desk, to help with dining bookings, theater reservations, and park tips, the lodge delivers.
I
Jenny Lake is one of the Grand Teton's loveliest.
It also offers spa services and a top, high-quality massage program which is enjoyed by hikers in summer and the ski crowd in winter.
JUST A DOZEN miles northwest of Jackson, the four-story Alpenhof boasts a casual bistro and a more formal restaurant called the Alpenrose  specializing in European dishes -- fondues, game dishes, schnitzels and the like.  An extensive wine list was attracting takers when we were there recently.
THERE ARE plenty of lovely hotels and inns in Jackson and Teton Village, but the Alpenhof is front and center at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain.  It's just steps to the aerial ski tram in winter.  In summer, the box office and staging area for the acclaimed Grand Teton Music Festival are a stone's throw away.
Rose hips signal the onset of fall.
For natural wonders, the Alpenhoff Lodge has proximity.  The Grand Teton National Park's southern entrance is just north of Jackson and you may do what we did -- start in Yellowstone National Park and wend your way south, then take side trips from Moran Junction in the Jackson Hole Valley. Once the parks are reopened, of course!
Meanwhile, here's a recap of the wonders we saw while based for a long weekend at Alpenhof. The inn is steeped in the hospitality of "gemutlichkeit," an Austrian word which conjures relaxation, laughter, music, fine food and wines and a leisurely pace.  All of that is offered at Alpenhof.
One of the many artful touches at Alpenhof.
IT'S A GOOD idea to stay two full days, as we did, so you can properly experience the wonders surrounding you
and give proper attention to the Alpenhof's amenities.
One day, we headed toward Dubois and traversed the rugged Togwotee Pass (the "w" is silent.)  This heavily wooded region is located on the continental divide in the Absaroka Mountains -- and recently experienced more than two feet of snow.
The drive from Montana through Yellowstone then 
the Tetons offers many opportunities to pause.
We were spared, thank goodness, by planning our trip in late September just before the big blizzard   and the national monetary crisis conspired to close parks, passes and many roads and highways.
WE HAD perfect weather as we headed toward Dubois.  We decided not to go all the way there, choosing instead to find the famous Moulton Barn, in the Grand
Eggs Benedict, perfectly done,
and fresh fruit: Alpenhof breakfast.
Tetons.  The structure is one of the most photographed barns in the world and is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.  It was constructed in Mormon Row, now a well visited historic district, by T. A. Moulton to shelter his horses in the harsh winters for which the area is infamous.
WE SPENT a peaceful hour there, talking to other writers and photographers, enjoying the plaques and historic photos and exploring the barns, fields and corrals in this Mormon settlement.
The Alpenhof in winter. 
 We enjoyed a drive past the lovely Jenny Lake Lodge, but didn't stop for a cuppa as planned, to enjoy the splendid view.  We were running out of time and sunlight.
The proximity of winter skiing and a world-class music
festival in summer are part of Teton Village's allure.  
THE PARK'S eight large lakes and many small ones, plus glaciers, snowfields and lush pine, fir and spruce forests entertained us for another day's leisurely drive. By chance, as we returned, the mayor of Jackson popped by the parking lot, on his way to a reception.  Mark Barron's greeting is typical of the friendly welcome we received.
Regrouping in our Alpenhof room, we decided on a soak in the hot tub, and a swim in the pool -- it was still warm enough to brave that.
The Alpenhof's artful touches include plants and photos, tasteful pictures
and prints, a "bring one and take one" library shelf, delightful plaques and Swiss-Austrian chalet hints.
Antique touches abound in the 
Alpenhof's breakfast parlor.
EACH MORNING, a tasty hot breakfast is served with all the traditional fixings, from homemade granola and muesli to fresh fruits, egg dishes, meats, cheeses, juices and yogurt.
The coffee is served in a carafe -- excellent and strong -- and there are daily specials such as a Belgian inspired waffle and delicious Eggs Benedict which we enjoyed as our farewell.
The Alpenhof is a real Alpine treasure, a picturesque entree to one of our nation's most revered national parks.  Warm, friendly service, cozy and quaint rooms and fabulous food in a gorgeous setting await.  All that and natural wonders.  A pleasant way to gild the lily!
Rates vary, depending on the season.   307 733-3242. www.alpenhoflodge.com.

Yellowstone National Park's many hot pools and
geysers attract worldwide attention. Once the
 parks are open again, an international clientele returns.
COMING SATURDAY: 
With the government shut-down, our national parks have sadly closed.  But the nation's first national park, Yellowstone, will soon be open for fans of winter wonderland.
Don't miss our look at Yellowstone National Park in its autumnal splendor and winter glory. Remember to explore, learn and live and visit us Saturdays and Wednesdays at:
www.whereiscookie.com

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