Sunday, October 2, 2022

One dozen destinations #6: Teton Village

Teton Village was such a let-down I did not
take any pictures there. This is from the tram
up Rendezvous Mountain.

     I don't think Teton Village is as well-known as some of the other places I'm serving up to you while I'm cooling my head in a pan of water. But it certainly was memorable when my boys and I visited it in 2009. This is from "The Quest for Pie," my unpublished memoir of that trip.

     Forced out of the lodge, we could have returned to the Virginian. But that seemed a failure of imagination. Been there, done that. I figured Teton Village would be worth exploring. I hadn’t done any research, but it had a nice sound to it: “Teton Village.” 
     Driving there, civilization certainly fell away — suddenly we were navigating a single lane dirt road cutting through the middle of a golden wood. That seemed promising. “Perhaps,” I told the boys, “we will be charmed by the Teton villagers and their rustic ways.” Okay, I didn’t really think there would be an indigenous people, wearing seal skins, demonstrating their totem pole carving techniques. But I thought maybe there would be local craft shops or something. 
     The moment we arrived at Teton Village I saw that coming here was a mistake — another mistake. We were at a ski resort in summer, one big, decaying 1970s lodge after another, with nothing else to recommend the place. Not rustic, but run-down, not uncrowded, but empty. There were no craft boutiques, there were hardly any stores of any kind. An abandoned bedroom community. 
      Our hotel had a pool with lots of chairs facing a huge parking lot as if it were the sea. Peeling paint and old dark brown stained redwood walls. In our room, a freestanding air-conditioner — an odd, unexpected device that made the place look foreign, like a hotel room in Bolivia. The boys flipped on the TV while I left to explore the town. 
      There was an alpine tram up Rendezvous Mountain but, given Kent’s balking at Inspiration Point, taking him up a far taller mountain did not seem wise. Beyond that, nothing, not even a decent place for dinner. There was one Italian restaurant, but it was fancy, the kind of restaurant you’d take your prom date to share a bottle of Lancers Rose. Just the idea of putting on a suit jacket was repulsive, and I couldn’t see us eating there in our hiking boots and shorts.
      Thinking about dinner, I stopped in the local grocery — the Mangy Moose — that was really a glorified liquor store with a small food section. The place smelled strongly of dog — there was an Irish setter prowling the aisles. I took a long walk through the liquor section, just looking at the bottles — this would be a good night for it — then shook off the thought with an actual shiver, rather dog-like myself, like a collie shaking off water, then gathered a chunk of cheese, a loaf of bread and a salami and beat it out of there. 
      The boys mashed together some nourishment in front of the television. I sat at the pool, looked at the Tetons, and realized we had to get busy tomorrow. The devil makes work for idle hands.

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