As new parents, my wife and I are grateful for many things – among them is that our friends and family told us to take a Babymoon. (And they were right!)

While pregnancy and having a baby is nothing if not time consuming (and expensive), setting aside a little time for the two of us was one of the best investments we made.

And choosing to experience a Babymoon at the Four Season Jackson Hole, surrounded by the trappings of a top notch ski resort, stunning mountain views and the wonder of a grand national park a stones throw away….well it was pretty special. 

Here are nine reasons why it might be a good idea for you too!

Ted and Kalli on a road trip

1. You Haven’t Traveled Alone Since the Honeymoon

Traveling with your spouse, and only your spouse, isn’t always how it plays out!

You have a friend in every major city from Seattle to New York (and visiting without telling them just doesn’t feel right). Family holidays, weddings, and unfortunately funerals, take up a lot of available travel time and funds.

It’s difficult to find the time and place to escape with just your spouse, but it is so important to vacate together! The Babymoon is a great motivator to get something on the calendar that is just for two. And penciling in a few nights at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole gave us a lot to look forward to!

2. It's a Good Way to Clear Your Mind.

Sometimes a change of scenery (you can’t beat that views of the mighty Tetons) can give the brain a much-needed reboot. There are a lot of decisions to be made when you are expecting. Are you stuck on names? Maybe heading to a historical museum or local park can light your way – Bridger may be a popular name in Montana, but it would be unique in Arizona!

Kalli mom to be

3. Forget Your Baby?

Of course, that will never be an option. But it’s easy to get bogged down in baby registries, preparing the nursery, day care plans and the prospect of impending sleep deprivation.

Babymoons are vacations, and while you’re not exactly leaving pregnancy at home, you can enjoy doing things that don’t fall under the “nesting” category. Play cards, go shopping, enjoy a cocktail or mocktail together – do things that are fun for mom and dad-to-be before having to worry about when the baby needs to eat, sleep or bathe. We wanted to enjoy our DINK status while we still could.  

Hot stone massage heading Four Seasons Jackson Hole

4. Relax. 

Again: registries, nursery, stroller, day care, expenses, sleep deprivation. There are a ton of things that merit your attention and even add a little stress. But they will all still be there when you return. Taking time to relax (and committing to relaxing!) is healthy and revitalizing.

Let your brain, your feet, and all the baby-related worries take the weekend off. Having a baby is such an exciting time, it’s important to enjoy it. The first few months after the baby is around are rarely described as relaxing. So, take the time to listen to the birds, sleep in, take a long bath, and read a book while you can.

We were lucky enough to spend a great afternoon in the Four Seasons Spa where treatments are inspired by the mountain environment. My wife enjoyed a relaxing maternity massage designed to provide “gentle relief” for the unique aches and pains of pregnancy as well as to improve circulation. 

Guests (myself included) can also opt for healing native stone treatments, aromatherapy or sports massages. It all sounds good and feels even better.

Four Seasons Jackson Hole

5. Refocus On Each Other

When newly pregnant, it’s normal to focus on baby, baby, baby. It makes sense – you need to learn how to keep a human alive, which means acquiring a fair amount of knowledge, gear and gadgets; it’s stressful emotionally and financially. It is easy to stop prioritizing your partner and your relationship.

Babymoons are a great way to enjoy alone time with the person you love away from the daily stressors of the expecting. It’s not often you get to take a trip just the two of you – it’s a great time to kick the romance up another level.

Knowing that evenings would soon be a little more hectic, it was nice to linger over dinner and soak up the mountain lodge atmosphere. 

Grand Teton National Park

6. Explore Somewhere New

You might be past the “able to fly” portion of your pregnancy (we were).

That’s ok!

If you want to travel across the globe early on, go for it, but if you wait until you’re a little closer to “baby-watch,” it’s a good opportunity to explore places closer to home. Is there a resort town that you’ve been meaning to go to? A national park you’ve always wanted to see? While mom-to-be may not be up for camping or too many hikes, something involving a little more nature might be a fun adventure while the late-night scene is less of an option.

My wife and I live in Montana and took the opportunity to drive through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park on our way to the Jackson Hole Four Seasons. Neither of us had ever been to Jackson nor had we been through either park since moving back to Montana. It was a great opportunity to explore the incredible treasures that are right out our back door with a great destination resort in our sights. 

Jackson Hole WY

7. It Might Be a While Until You Travel Again

On the one hand, if travel is important to you, you’ll travel with your baby. He or she shouldn’t stop you. But travelling with a baby is different than travelling solo: the top Google search on “flying with your baby checklists” includes 60 items!

So no more walking through security with your carry on and a backpack. Traveling with a baby is intense and once you get to your destination, you’re in a new place with a baby. For many people, it’s going to be at least 18 months before you all get on a plane together – enjoy traveling with your partner while you can still carry on or travel light.

hike Grand Tetons

8. Get a Head Start on Daytime Activities

My wife and I enjoy good food and delicious cocktails. Two of our prerequisites for travel destinations have always been a progressive food and cocktail culture. While the time will come when we can prioritize those things again, having kids shifts the focus to daytime activities. The expecting mother probably isn’t up for any late nights or bar hopping anyway, so most of the Babymoon will be spent hanging out together and doing fun day activities – which is great! 

In our case, it was fun just to relax in our luxurious room and in the beautiful public spaces and soak up the alpine vibe of our five-star resort. Also, there are great trails (not too strenuous) in nearby Grand Teton National Park if you are up for outdoor fun. You can snag a pair of binocs from the concierge on your way out the door, too.

The town of Jackson Hole also has a slew of great shops and galleries for those who enjoy wandering through a great mountain town any time of year. 

The glitz and glam of urban nightlife may be alluring at some stages of life, but regardless of where you go there is lots of fun to be had during office hours – getting a head start on planning vacations with days that end at 6 (and finding out how fun they are!), will get you excited to plan your first trip with your baby.

mocktail

While the mother-to-be may not be able to indulge on everything on the cocktail menu, many bars or restaurants do have great mocktail options.  During our Babymoon at the Four Seasons, the bartender, Blake, made Kalli a ginger-mint mojito mocktail that hit the mark and made our Happy Hour experience that much more fun.

Babymoon at Four Seasons Jackson Hole

9. It’s a Good Excuse to Travel!

If you’re reading this article, you have an appreciation for travel. Work, family, expenses, and even maternity-leave-guilt can all be reasons not to take off. But, life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t take a second to hop on a plane or take a drive, you might miss the opportunity! Sometimes getting things on the calendar is the hardest part.

So, why not let your Babymoon be your motivation to go somewhere you have never been and start your new adventure with a new adventure? 

We’re glad we did!  

IF YOU GO 

We stayed at the Four Season Jackson Hole and enjoyed time at the onsite spa. You can find out more here.

You'll find the craggy, mountain town of Jackson Hole hidden in the shadow of the Tetons and adjacent to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Find details on how to get there and what to do here.

 

 

Published in Sleep
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re you ready for a getaway?

Plan your own classic American holiday. Here are fun-filled ideas to help you create an iconic family vacation:

Take a Road Trip.

A concept often parodied on television and in the movies, the family road trip continues to be a source of fun and happy memories for clans across the country. Play games, sing songs, tell stories along the way. Access the American Automobile Association’s plentiful and user-friendly information on road conditions, weather, deals, discounts, and gas prices. They can also help with roadside assistance, travel planning and maps.

Contact: 1 (800) 332-6119; www.AAA.com.

Make your way to the Mountains.

Fill your lungs with pine scented air. Raft the rivers, wonder at the wild life or travel by horseback into the backcountry. A visit to a mountain destination like Jackson, WY will offer you and your family the best of the great outdoors paired with a glimpse into our western heritage. Take in the rodeo, a cowboy cookout, visit the hot springs and the Grand Teton National Park.

Contact: 1 (888) 838-6606; www.jacksonholewy.com.

Head to the Beach.

You may have a family favorite or build sand castles on the beach closest to home. However, if you are looking for a new sandy spot, consider the annual list created by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. For the last 20 years, “Dr. Beach” has used 50 criteria, including water, sand quality, safety and environmental management, to rank seaside playgrounds. Beaches in New York, Florida, California, Hawaii and North Carolina top the lists. Contact: www.DrBeach.org.

Relax at the lake.

With more than 1,000 miles of shoreline, Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks is a family favorite. In addition to boating, swimming, fishing and a wide range of water sports, generations of lake lovers enjoy hiking in the nearby state park, biking, mini-golf and water parks as well as access to plenty of restaurants, music and other kid-friendly attractions.

In Montana, Whitefish Lake is a family favorite. With Glacier National Park in the neighborhood, you can't go wrong. 

Contact: 1 (800) 386-5253; www.funlake.com; www.ExploreWhitefish.com

Visit a National Park.

Celebrate our freedom and the beauty of our land within one of our 392 national parks. With so many historical and natural wonders to discover, consider heading to the National Park Service’s web pages, specifically designed to help regular and first time visitors plan a meaningful trip. There you research park activities as well as camping, back country, lodging and educational options. Across America each day there are special events, institute and field schools as well as volunteer opportunities. Check for fee free days and Junior Ranger programs for the kids.

Contact: www.nps.gov/pub_aff/plan_your_visit/index.htm

Get Sporting at the Wintergreen Resort. Wintergreen, VA.

Parents can join their kids for group golf lessons and then head to the course to refine their skills. This is a family-friendly resort on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers up a range of easily accessible sporting options. With 45 holes of championship golf as a cornerstone, families can enjoy a holiday that includes a children’s program at The Treehouse, hiking, fly-fishing and an award-winning tennis program.

Contact: 800-926-3723; www.wintergreenresort.com

Published in Gather

Visit America’s historic lodges and find rustic log exteriors, well-worn pine floors, or riverside ambience. Join your family in a walk back through time when you book lodging with a story of its own.

A sampling:

Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, OR.

Located in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, this magnificent lodge was built at the height of the Great Depression by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Federal Works Progress Administration. Completed on September 28, 1937, the lodge has long served as the centerpiece of a mountain playground where families ski, hike, dine, mountain bike, learn about the local flora and fauna and simply enjoy the high altitude natural beauty.

Contact: (800).547-1406; www.timberlinelodge.com/

Kalaloch Lodge, Forks, WA.

Visit the complex landscape that is protected within the Olympic National Park & Forest.  For bird watching, including the most significant habitat for bald eagles in the lower 48, beach combing, hiking and fishing, there are few destinations where families will find more beauty and opportunity to bond with nature. Consider the Kalaloch Lodge as a cozy home base. Serving up rustic yet charming accommodations, the Lodge offers tremendous views of the Pacific as well as the opportunity to spot puffins, sea otters, seals and a long list of other sea birds.  Tap into rich history by asking about the dozens of shipwrecks that have occurred in the area.

Contact: 888-896-3818; www.OlympicNationalParks.com.

Rapids Lodge and Restaurant, Grand Lake, CO.

Located on the banks of the scenic Tonahutu River, this charming lodge has been offering Rocky Mountain hospitality since 1915. Nearly a century ago the doors opened offering running water and electricity generated by a nearby water wheel.  Today, guests enjoy the outdoor wonderland that is Rocky Mountain National Park and then return to cozy lodge or cabin rooms and scenic dining overlooking the river.

Contact: 970-627-3707; www.rapidslodge.com.

Clay Hill Lodge. Lyons, OR.

Located  on Oregon’s Rogue River, this “off the grid” lodge offers families the chance to enjoy pristine wilderness, hiking, bird watching, rafting and fishing in the country that provided Zane Grey inspiration for many novels. Steeped in history, the lodge has served as base camp for scores of enthusiastic fishermen including Clark Gable, Herbert Hoover, Victor Moore and Ginger Rogers.

Contact: (503) 859-3772: www.ClayHillLodge.com

Garland Lodge and Resort. Lewiston, MI. 

Known as the largest log resort east of the Mississippi, this expansive playground is a family favorite for award winning golf, color tours, fishing, and hiking. A blend of old and new, sophistication and rustic charm, the AAA Four Diamond resort complex includes four championship golf courses. Ask about their family-friendly golf and spa packages. 

Contact: (800) 968 0042; www.GarlandUSA.com

Tarpon Lodge. Pinelands, FLA. 

Open since 1926, this charming waterfront lodge is located 30 minutes north of Fort Myers on Pine Island off Florida's Gulf Coast.  Enjoy the local art community, live music, bird watching and picturesque sunsets. Visit pre- Columbian mounds of the ancient Calusa people and paddle through the local waterways. The sport of tarpon fishing originated in Pine Island Sound in the late 1880s so you’ll want to grab a rod and try your luck with one of the local outfitters.

Contact: (239) 283-3999; www.tarponlodge.com.

Published in National Parks

Whether expecting your first child or your fifth, those days and months before the new baby arrives can be hectic. So why not plan a relaxing and romantic getaway so that parents can greet the new family member with renewed vigor.

Here are five places to enjoy a Babymoon:

1. Baby Me.

Expectant parents who book the Baby Me package at one of 12 W Hotels, will be treated to a copy of Bump it Up, Amy Tara Koch's pregnancy style bible for the chic mommy-to-be. You’ll also garner a pair of Baby Mocs and a cotton Onesie for the new arrival. Craving a little something to snack on? Order delectable goodies from the “Womb Service” menu.  Mom-to-be can also relax with a bump-friendly massage designed to relieve tired muscles and sluggish circulation. Contact:  888-625-4988; www.whotels.com.

2. Relax at Biscuit Hill.

Take time for yourselves in Texas Hill Country. Stay at this charming bed and breakfast nestled in a wooded hillside and overlooking a picturesque lake.   Tuck your toes into microwaveable, herb-filled slippers designed to provide relief for the expectant mom’s aching feet. Enjoy fruit, chocolate, sparkling juices and a spa bath tote filled with soothing products to take home. Relax by the fireplace or the cozy outdoor sitting area. Contact: 888-998-9909; www.biscuithill.com/babymoons.htm

3. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa.

Off the Florida Keys. For the ultimate pre-baby holiday, get cozy in an oceanfront, thatched-roof bungalow within this luxurious, 5 ½ acre resort only accessible by seaplane or boat.  Enjoy his and hers spa gifts and treatments. Then meet for an 80 minute couple’s massage. Relish in the television, telephone-free environment where the only sounds that may interrupt your rest are waves lapping outside the door or birds chirping overhead.  Contact:  1(800)343-8567; http://www.littlepalmisland.com/LittlePalmIsland_BabymoonPackage.aspx

4. Canadian Seaside Getaway. Just 20 minutes from downtown Victoria, observe whales, seals and otters frolicking in the ocean from your perch at Amore By The Sea.  Relish your stay within this award-winning bed and breakfast where elegant rooms, fine linens, jetted tubs, fireplaces and the quiet ambience combine with luxurious spa treatments, rich chocolates, and specialty lotions and soaps to relax and prepare parents-to-be for the arrival of their new baby. Contact: 1 (888) 828-4397; www.amorebythesea.com/index.html

5. Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. Birmingham, AL.

While future Dad explores the Robert Trent Jones Trail and the inherent championship golf,   Mom-to-be might indulge and relax within the resorts sprawling, 12,000 sq.ft. European Spa. The “Baby Love” massage will restore her energy enough to take in a night on the nearby town.  Before heading for home, enjoy an afternoon by the pool, and doze to the rhythmic pulse  of the signature waterfalls and fountains.1-888-236-242; www.marriott.com

Published in Sleep