Posts Tagged With: Yellowstone National Park

Where Rustic and Elegance Meet – Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Inn

The Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National park has been welcoming visitors in rustic style with elegance for 100 years. It was completed in 1904 and is still as grand and beautiful as it was then. Designed by Robert Reamer to fit in with the natural landscape of the area, it cost $165,000 to build – today that would be 4.45 million dollars!

The Inn is stunning on the outside, and welcomes you like a giant log cabin.

Welcome! Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Welcome!

Then as you step through the doorway, you can’t help but stop as your breath is taken away by openness, the size, the fireplace, and the strangely shaped wood everywhere. Seven stories high, the center piece is the 65 foot high ceiling with a massive stone fireplace holding a clock that is 14 feet long.

Fireplace and Clock, Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Fireplace and Clock

Looking up! Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Looking up!

Craftsman style is everywhere and the gnarled tree branches as bannisters are the most unusual architectural details you may ever see. The logs are all hand-hewn and locally-sourced. Expect to stand there with dropped-jaw, thinking about the people who built the Inn, how much work it had to take, but how it is so beautiful they must have been very proud when finished. The gnarled trees look like people standing with their arms upright.

Look at all the gnarled wood! Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Look at all the gnarled wood!

Visitors can sit comfortably in front of the fireplace and truly do “nothing.” Beautiful old Craftsman-style lamps and Craftsman style furniture are placed all throughout the building for guests to sit and relax.

Even kids enjoy the fireplace! Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Even kids enjoy the fireplace!

Looking down, lots of places to sit and relax. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Looking down, lots of places to sit and relax.

We never visit Yellowstone without stopping in the Inn and having a much-anticipated delicious dinner. This trip the boys hit the buffet but don’t think it is like any typical buffet. I decided to try the Quail with a Cherry Glaze and substituted mashed cauliflower for the potatoes, and of course, a refreshing glass of wine. The ambiance of the old dining room, the excitement of trying different food that is a reasonable price, and of course, the wonderful company, made the entire meal one to remember.

Mmmm - dinner! Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Mmmm – dinner!

After dinner, there was time to wander around and admire the craftsmanship more before Old Faithful was scheduled to erupt.

When is Old Faithful predicted to erupt? Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park.

When is Old Faithful predicted to erupt?

You can amble up the stairs to landings and enjoy the view looking down at the main floor.

The view of the dining room from one floor up. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

The view of the dining room from one floor up.

This night music was playing lightly in the background, adding to the romance of the Inn.

Beautiful music! Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Beautiful music!

After relaxing and enjoying our time inside, we headed out to covered balcony. It was pouring down rain this day but we stayed warm and dry under cover and still enjoyed the eruption.

Watching Old Faithful erupt. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

Watching Old Faithful erupt.

The Inn has a coffee shop and gift shops that you’ll want to be sure to hit up for those family souvenirs. The inn began with 140 rooms. Back then only the wealthy could afford to stay, but wings have been added and today there are now 327 rooms available to rent, some with private baths and others with shared baths, at varying costs that the average family can afford.

The Old Faithful Inn makes a great base camp to stay within Yellowstone and explore the surrounding area. Reservations need to be made well ahead of time (like a year) at http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lodging/reservations/ or if you can’t stay, at least enjoy an amazing meal. Reservations for dinner are strongly suggested and can be made online at http://www.xanterra.net/forms/pub/yellowstone_dinner.php, or calling 866-GEYSERLAND (866-439-7375) or 307-344-7311.

We stop one more time outside the old building to soak it in, sad at the thought of leaving. But we know that we will come back some day and we will always have the Old Faithful Inn on our agenda.

David and Josh ready to leave. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park

David and Josh ready to leave.

 

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Categories: Food, Wine, Cider, Historical, Keatons Out and About, Parks, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

On Top of the World! Mt. Washburn, Yellowstone National Park

1-100_2051You feel like you’re on top of the world. You can see forever. And you just walked there!

“There” is Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park. Located in the Washburn Mountains it is named after Henry Washburn who led an expedition to explore Wyoming in 1870. There are two trails to get up to the top. We took the easy route. Easy because it is really a gravel/partially blacktopped road and so it is wide with room for a lot of people. Now, ideally, you would like to take a hike where no one else goes, but forget about that happening in Yellowstone. Just go with it, because the nice part is that even though you climb in elevation, it is an easy, unobstructed walk so there were several more “mature” people walking and kids walking it as well. So it really is a friendly hike/walk for families.

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It is however, 3 miles one way so make sure you take plenty of water and a picnic lunch to have at the top while resting for the trip back down. Plan on taking 4-5 hours for the whole trip, you won’t want to rush it. Also, check ahead with the park before you go, to find out if the trail has cleared of snow yet. It can still have snow on it into June. Wear layered clothing as the weather can be unpredictable.

The trail we took is the Dunraven Pass trail so you get to by going to Dunraven Pass. There is plenty of parking. On this trail you will gain 1393 feet in elevation. The other trail is the Chittenden trail which is 2.25 miles one way and you gain 1491 feet in elevation. This trail is paved so you could ride your bike up it if you are in that kind of shape.

1-100_2023Along the way you can enjoy the various colorful mountain wildflowers such as Indian Paintbrush and lupines, as well as wildlife. Just before we got to the top we saw several mountain goats hanging around. They obviously weren’t afraid of people. I swear some of them even looked like they were posing for us!1-100_2062

At the top is the main fire lookout for the park and a park guide to answer any questions you may have. The lower part of the tower is open to visitors. But before you can ask questions, you will be made speechless from the beauty of everything that you can see from up there. Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley, the Grand Tetons. If you work in an office staring at a computer screen all day, the views will make your eyes thank you.

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It will be hard to leave. You will want to just sit there and look out at everything, taking it all in, watching as the sun moves across the sky and highlights areas you didn’t see just a few minutes earlier, shadowing other areas, bringing out the details of the landscape. So be sure you bring a camera. Words really can’t describe it and pictures can’t replace being there but they can help remind you of the way you felt when you were there. With so much to see and do in the massive park, it is easy to miss out on some things. But if you can, make the hike up to the top of Mt. Washburn a priority – because at 10,243 feet, you are on top of the world!1-100_2055

Categories: Outdoors, Parks | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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