This year has been the year of domestic travel for The Honeymoon Concierge team and our clients alike. This past September, Megan headed out west for a 10 night trip through Wyoming & Montana to experience first hand some of the best resorts these states have to offer.
Here is a recap of some of the property & activity highlights as well as tips for planning your own itinerary with The Honeymoon Concierge team.
Flying in the time of Covid-19
It was my first flight in seven months and I couldn’t be happier, even with a layover due to reduced flight routes. Newark, NJ airport was bustling at 6 am like it was a normal day with long lines at bag drop & security. The only difference was masks are now required in the airport & on planes at all times, except while actively eating or drinking.
I was not sure what to expect or how safe I would feel flying in this new normal of a global pandemic but I have to say I felt zero risk throughout my 6 hour travel day. The new safety proctol includes airplanes sanitized between flights, sanitizing wipes handed out as you board & masks are absolutely mandatory throughout the flight.
The most stressful part of the travel day was leading up to the decision to check my bags to our final destination with only a 50 minute layover. I never travel with layovers so being forced to throw some unknowns into my planning. The requirement to note here is that you must check your bag at least 1 hour prior to take off, if you don’t allow yourself enough time to check in you will need to sign a waiver with the airline attendant that you understand your bag might be delayed. Thankfully I learned this lesson on a prior trip & my bags arrived to Jackson and back home without any issues! Another tip is to remember to keep your bag check receipt with tracking number to ensure your bags have been loaded onto the flight through your airlines travel app.
Day 1 – 4 in Jackson, Wyoming
Arriving in Jackson, Wyoming we picked up our rental car to begin our journey! A rental car is a must on this trip to ensure you are able to explore at your leisure & to get from one place to another as there is so much to see and do within a 10+ hour driving radius of Jackson.
Travel Tip: One of the key decisions we will make together upon building your custom itinerary is to decide what are the most important highlights for you. Based on what you want to see & experience, we will select the top rated accommodations in the immediate area.
Jackson, Wyoming is a hub for many travelers visiting the area’s National Parks & many attractions. When it comes to selecting accommodations we have two top recommendations based on your preferences and budget.
The Bentwood Inn: was our first stop for 2 nights, a Bed & Breakfast listed as one of National Geographics Unique Lodges of the World. This country inn features five uniquely decorated log cabin style accommodations with premium amenities like private fireplaces, king sized beds, luxe linens, and bay window seats perfect for enjoying the incredible views of the Tetons. Unique fact, the inn was constructed out of reclaimed wood from Yellowstone National Park’s great fire of 1988 and strives to add to, not detract from, the beautiful surroundings. I give the property 5 stars for their hospitality, wonderful breakfast & location for exploring the area.
Amangani: meaning “peaceful home” is Aman Resorts first North American property and was our second stop for 2 nights! A complete change of scenery from Bentwood only 5 miles down the road. Every room at Amangani has an incredible view nearly 7,000 feet above sea level overlooking valley meadows, the snake river and snow capped teton mountains. Luxury is in early detail from a welcome cocktail, heated pool & hot tub open 24 hours, peloton gym and in room amenities like dyson hair dryer, nespresso machine, deep soaking tub & fireplace. Another major highlight of the property is the array of local activities available to schedule from paragliding, river rafting and sunset horseback rides!
For our destination wedding clients, Amangani is the perfect location if you are planning to get married in the spring or late fall due to the fact the the building was constructed without central air.
Travel Tip: While in Jackson Hole not to miss stops are Beaver Creek Hats to purchase an authentic cowboy hat, homemade pasta at Glorietta and an ice cold beer in your bar stool saddle at Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
Exploring Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton is one of the most magical outdoor landscapes I have explored, each mile of hiking offering a different scenic wonder. Grand Teton is located about 20 minutes outside of Jackson Square and filled with wildlife, crystal clear lakes, meadows and the famous Teton Mountain ranges. After four days exploring the park here are my recommendations of what not to miss!
Travel Tip: Invest in some quality hiking boots, you’ll be happy you did after miles of walking over rocky terrain and through puddles.
Day 5 – 7 Yellowstone National Park
Time to pack up the car and drive two and a half hours to the entrance of Yellowstone! It’s a beautiful scenic ride and what made it even more fantastic was finding this app called GyPSy Guide that works without cell service (there is none through the mountains). There is a whole driving tour of the different areas you pass through on your way to Yellowstone and around the grand loop of once inside the park! Highly recommend the $10 dollars for your personal tour guide.
We spent the next three days exploring every inch of the park, here are my recommendations on what not to miss!
Travel Tip: There is so much to see throughout Yellowstone that its important to pace yourself and enjoy the beauty of the area you are discovering. You will need 3 full days to fully explore every area, you will be driving for full days making pit stops at all the sights. Don’t stress yourself out and try to see too much in one day.
Day 8 – 10 Big Sky Montana
After a week exploring the parks there is a decision to make where to settle before the flight home. After tons of research I decided on a private log cabin bungalow at the very top of the mountains of Big Sky Montana, the ski resort town established in the early 70’s. Although the ski slopes were not yet open in late September during our visit we still enjoyed sunrises by the fire pit & sunsets in our hot tub overlooking the valley below.
Travel Tip: Did you know The Honeymoon Concierge plans more than just romance itineraries? If you are interested in renting a family home or villa for your next vacation, send us a message! We would love to help you source the perfect location, we have tons of fantastic options domestic & abroad!
Here are my top recommendations for what not to miss in Big Sky Montana:
Big Sky is a great central location for many day trips, the most memorable of our trip being a day out on the Madison River learning to Fly Fish! You always hear that Montana is the home of world class fly fishing and while I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect it turned out to be a top 3 day of the entire vacation.
Tom from Wild Trout Outfitters took us out on a drift boat which is a small 3 person boat maneuvered by paddles down the winding river, anchoring down in spots by large rock piles trying your luck to hook a trout by just a very tiny hook and handmade fly at the end of your reel.
Let’s just say we had a day full of laughs trying to get down the rhythm of the fly fishing sequence – cast, drift, loop and hook! We had so much fun that we tried to book a second full day of fishing but unfortunately they were booked up – good lesson for our next trip! Book early & book in advance. This is a MUST DO experience in Montana!
Our final day in Big Sky we decided to head into downtown Bozeman Montana to shop local, visit the Museum of the Rockies and learn to shoot pistols at an indoor range! We loved the dinosaur exhibits at the Museum, most of the archaeological excavations taking place in the local area.
While our summer plans abroad might have had to be postponed until 2021, this trip
proved to be a vacation of a lifetime and solidified our interest in curating more US based itineraries for honeymooners to families alike looking to experience all that domestic travel has to offer!