The first morning in our new rental was glorious. While the girls slept, we brewed coffee and tea, and sat in the chairs by the huge windows, just staring at the Tetons as the sun came up and hit them.
The girls eventually emerged on their own and we all leisurely got dressed and headed into Jackson for breakfast. Picking restaurants is a joy for me, and when I read the reviews for Cultivate Cafe, I knew we had to try it.
It was such a hit! Located in the same space as a small, still running theater, the restaurant decor makes you feel like you are stepping back in time. It’s paired with the most delicious, modern food options though from oat milk match lattes to vegan breakfast tacos and a hearty avocado toast. We all enjoyed it, but mom and I adored it!
After breakfast we decided to stretch our legs and wander the town a bit. Personally, I think it’s a great size. Large enough to offer a lot of stores and restaurants, but small enough that we could cover almost half of it in a single morning.
We stopped by the iconic antler arch, of course, then spent time wandering in and out of gift shops, toy stores, and art galleries. The girls had an absolute ball! I guess we never go shopping because they thought it was a total blast.
Late morning, we decided to make the 15 minute drive north to go into The Grand Tetons National Park. We were all energized from our relaxed morning, and we decided we’d just do as much as we felt like, no pressure to make it to a certain hike or spot.
The wait into the park was less than 10 minutes and we made the Chapel of Transfiguration our first spot. It was breathtaking. We arrived at a time when only one other person was wandering around and it was so peaceful.
The sign said “come in and pray” and when we went inside Hailey asked is we could all sit on the front pew and say a prayer. It was such a sweet and beautiful moment!
After this stop we decided to drive up to see the famous architecture of Jackson Lake Lodge. We gawked at the number of cars overflowing from several popular park spots like Jenny Lake; it was quite busy!
When we arrived at Jackson Lake Lodge, we took the adjacent short (.5 miles) hike, Lunch Tree Hill, another spot famous for it’s history of John D. Rockefeller Jr falling in love with the area and committing to the efforts to make it a national park.
We realized our crew was running low on steam, as it was mid-afternoon at this point, so we got snacks and mid-day pick-me-up drinks, took in the view, and relaxed for bit.
Feeling refreshed, we made our way to Signal Mountain, a spot recommended to us on the Gypsy app. On the drive there, we saw a HUGE elk, that until Instagram corrected me, I swore was a moose. It was such a unique siting because not only was it right net to the road, but it also was at the stage of shedding the velvety lining of its antlers.
We were all giddy after the siting and it energized us for our short walks on top of Signal Mountain to view the entirety of Jackson “Hole” (the name for the valley between the mountain ranges.
It was late afternoon at this point, so we headed back to our place to shower and decide on dinner. I had several people recommend Teton Thai to me, and I was itching to give it a try. I knew it was located in Teton Village, but until we hopped in the car, I had no idea the drive to Teton Village was close to 40 minutes (with traffic)!
We were committed at that point, though, and I’m glad we were. Despite the wait at the restaurant, which is quite small and very popular, we eventually were sitting al fresco and devouring delicious Thai food.
With full and happy bellies, we felt we should at least take a look around Teton Village considering we had driven all the way there. We parked near the base of the ski lifts and wandered through the village. It was idyllic. A tiny stream wove through town, kids ran and played on playground equipment, adults chatted and laughed.
We made our way to the gondola (which is free after 5:00 PM). There was no line, so we road it up to the top. The views along the way were incredible, only to be outdone by the scene from Piste, the restaurant mid-mountain, at the top of the gondola.
The wheels were starting to come off for the kids by the time we made it back down the mountain. We loaded back up and starting making the trek back home. However, this time David wanted to see if we could take an alternative route through the national park for a shorter drive.
By distance, it was definitely shorter, but not by speed. It was an older, rocky road, but it was PRIME for an evening safari. We took our time weaving down the road and searching forest and field as we went. We ended up seeing several elk, including a baby, and a moose! And one big bush that we swore was a bear…
Later than we anticipated, we ended back at our rental and all crashed into bed hard after such a wonderful day!