Take part in a family fly-fishing adventure and you’ll wake up in some of the country’s most pristine places.
Here are a handful of fabulous places to consider:
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
For an extraordinary angling experience, consider an overnight trip on the South Fork of the Snake River. On day one, you’ll hone your skills floating through some of the most coveted water in the western United States.
Later, as the sun sets, arrive at the South Fork Hilton, a fully-outfitted camp ,tucked in the pines with a steep canyon wall as backdrop. The overnight includes a deluxe dinner, tall tales, roasted marshmallows around a campfire, and a good night’s rest in cozy platform tents.
The second day promises stunning scenery, 16 miles of braided waters and the opportunity to expand the adventure wading around gravel bars and up side channels. The trip is ideal for a multigenerational outing.
Stunning scenery, diversity of waterways, plentiful fish and an enthusiastic community of guides combine to make Montana a top notch base camp for your fly-fishing adventure. Spend a day on the Madison River with Joe Dilschneider, owner of Ennis, MT-based TroutStalkers and your family members will go home with more than basic casting skills. You’ll learn to “match the hatch”, fish pocket water from a raft and how to maximize a day on the famed Madison River. A day on the Yellowstone River, a long stretch of blue-ribbon trout habitat or nearby spring creeks will also make for great memories.
Formed by the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison rivers at Three Forks, the mighty Missouri River flows 700 miles across Montana, and is considered one of the most productive trout fisheries in the west.
The small town of Craig is among the numerous launch points from which families explore this storied river. Expect a picturesque landscape, trophy trout and the opportunity to imagine Lewis and Clark navigating the same waters.
Jackson County, North Carolina
With more than 3,000 miles of trout streams and 1,100 miles of hatchery-supported trout waters in the mountains alone, North Carolina is a fly-fishing haven. Home to the nation’s only designated fly-fishing trail, the Western North Carolina Fly-Fishing Trail takes anglers to 15 prime spots in the Great Smoky Mountains to cast a line. Expect a variety of options from wide-open rivers to small, secluded streams. The heart of the trail, the Tuckasegee River, or the “Tuck” as it’s known by locals, is the county’s largest body of water. Designed by two outdoorsmen and fly-fishing guides, the trail is an ideal way for fly-fishers of all skill levels and ages to learn the art of fly-fishing.
Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania
The Letort Spring Creek, Big Spring Creek and Yellow Breeches Creek, two classic limestone spring streams and one freestone stream are considered “hallowed waters” and have enticed fly fishers to the area since the 1800s. Enthusiasts can expect to cast for brook, brown and rainbow in the local streams where a variety of riparian ecosystems provide diverse fly-fishing opportunities. Consider a stay at the Orvis-endorsed Allenberry Resort where fly-fishing packages are offered. The Valley is also home to the Pennsylvania Fly- Fishing Museum.
Sun Valley, Idaho
This mountain town is perhaps best-known for its famous ski slopes. But the region’s gold-medal waters make for yet another reason to nudge Sun Valley higher on your family vacation list. You’ll be on the hunt for rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat trout on Silver Creek, the Big Lost and the Wood rivers as well as in pristine mountain lakes.
Tap into the town’s vibrant cultural scene or strap on skates for a whirl around the ice rink at the -famed Sun Valley Lodge.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
6. Explore Somewhere New
You might be past the “able to fly” portion of your pregnancy (we were).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The room is abuzz with a heady mix of excitement, appreciation and anticipation. Artists, admirers and acquirers, carefully sip wine as they move about the room, admiring the work. Alternately, they stand back, then move closer, assessing color, light, technique.
It is my first visit to Cody, WY and thus my first time to the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, a well-known fine art event with a Western theme. The original works, presented by dozens of talented artists, reflect the land, people and wildlife of the American West. Their creative expressions are presented in oil, watercolor, pastel, sculpture, ceramic and mixed media.
On this night, we are in the Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s John Bunker Sands Photography Gallery, viewing the participating artist’s work for the last time. We will soon move to the voluminous party tent where, along with several hundred others, we will have the opportunity to see the pieces one more time . As the evening unfolds, each will be bestowed to the highest bidder during, what I am told, is a spirited auction.
I have spent most of my adult life in the West. As a resident of Scottsdale, a major art center, I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy the work of many highly respected Western artists in our local galleries, museums and in the homes of friends who are serious collectors. While I have a few favorite pieces hanging in my Scottsdale home, my participation has been more about appreciation that acquisition. But tonight, the work of John Gawne catches my eye.
As our preview session concludes, we decide to cast our own Best of Show votes. We wonder aloud how our choices will compare with the larger group. Gawne’s haunting rendition of a Native American in colorful dress holds my interest and captures my vote.
Soon after, we wander through the cool night air to the festive tent, where we enjoy the company of other art lovers. Animated conversation shifts easily from the evening’s offerings to recent shows attended, to the splashy western-styled ensembles of fellow party-goers.
Once the auction is underway, the rapid fire skill of the auctioneer along with his young sons who offer assistance, is nearly as impressive as the artistic masterpieces that will sell to benefit the Buffalo Bill Museum. He holds the crowd’s attention as he moves across the stage, deftly reading the raised eyebrows and barely discernable head nods offered by participating patrons.
My heart skips a beat as the Gawne painting is presented. My paddle is in play early in the bidding. In no time, the piece moves out of my economic comfort range. It is my loss. But I am pleased for both the artist and the buyer who will enjoy such a beautiful work of art.
If final selling price is any indication, we feel good about our show favorites and are grateful that a shaky economy has stilled long enough for the participating artists and the museum to benefit from a lovely evening.
Tomorrow, many of tonight’s artists will join other colleagues in the Robbie PowWow Garden to participate in a Quick Draw. Guests will enjoy a plentiful breakfast and then observe the artists at work as they miraculously complete a painting or sculpture in just one hour. Then, another auction will take place. And perhaps, this time, with any luck at all, I will go home with a John Gawne painting.
If you go:
The Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale benefits the prestigious Buffalo Bill Historical Center and is held in conjunction with the Center's Patrons Ball and Cody High Style, all part of Cody, Wyoming's annual "Rendezvous Royale" arts celebration.
Many of the events are educational and would be enjoyable for family members of all ages. For more information about this year’s dates and the numerous events that take place before and during the weekend go to www.BuffaloBillArtShow.com or call 1.888.598.8119.
Lodging Pick: The Cody Hotel is a new and luxurious option in this decidedly western town. The Cody offers a deluxe array of services and amenities including a pool or spa, fitness center open 24 hrs, Chrysler touring bicycles, complimentary breakfast and evening refreshments. The 75 well-designed suites are well appointed, comfortable and include a flat screen TV, refrigerator, microwave and coffee/tea maker as well as high speed wireless internet, DVD player , iPod Docking Station, and safes. www.TheCody.com.
For more information and resources visit www.CodyChamber.com or call (307) 587-2297.