As most of my readers know, we love traveling during the shoulder season. Fewer crowds, cheaper car rentals, and more choices in hotels are just a few reasons why we love visiting famous tourist destinations. This past fall, we visited Yellowstone National Park and stayed at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins.
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Old Faithful Snow Lodge
After discussing that one of our favorite things in Yellowstone National Park is Old Faithful, we decided to splurge and book a room at the Snow Lodge. We booked the Premium Lodge room for three people. The room had one king bed and cost $298 per night for October 15-17,2017.
We were hesitant to spend so much money on a room for two nights, but we justified the cost by using points on our other stays and knowing how close to Old Faithful and the night sky we would be.
Our first impression of the Snow Lodge was “Man this thing is hard to find at night!” Our second reaction was that we were thoroughly impressed with how gorgeous the lobby
Pulling up to the Snow Lodge was quite tricky at night. I’m not sure if it was because we were so tired from an all-day adventure, or it if it is because how dark the night sky is in this area.
We stayed on the second floor in room 2012. When we first entered the room, we were surprised by the spacious room. Each Premium room has western lodge furnishings, full bathrooms, coffee makers, refrigerators.
Since we booked a king bed and had three people staying in the room, we set up an air mattress right under the window. Surprisingly, we had enough room to for everyone to sleep comfortably.
The bathroom was a decent size and instead of little bottles of shampoo, The Snow Lodge had shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in containers for mutli-stay use. Even though we travel with our own shampoo and soaps, I do think that this is a great idea for a hotel especially when the hotel is trying to be greener.
We did have a refrigerator in the room, which came in handy since we needed a cool place to store everything that was in our ice chest. There was also a pod-style coffee maker in our room (which made getting up early for our wildlife tour quite difficult).
Refreshingly, television, radios and air conditioning are not available at the lodge. After the past couple of trips, I love booking hotel rooms without TV or internet. It allows us to disconnect from work and everyday life.
Firehole Lounge and Obsidian Dining
Since there is not much open in the park during shoulder season, we opted to have appetizer and drinks at Firehole Lounge and dinner at Obsidian Dining room, both which are located in the hotel.
We could have made reservations, but figured not that many people would be in the park. We quickly found out we were wrong and ended up putting our name on the list. We opted to order an appetizer of Waffle Fries with Blue cheese sauce, peppercorns, and bacon. I also ordered the Wild Huckleberry Wheat Lager Beer from Whitefish, Montana.
Once we finished up our fries and drinks, we were called over to Obsidian for dinner. Deciding on our meals was tough, but mom ended up getting the Spinach Salad with dried cranberries, candied walnuts, red onion, blue cheese, and poppy seed dressing. Ally got the Sautéed Trout Belle Meuniere with capers, tomato, lemon juice, parsley, shrimp, potatoes, and vegetables. And I opted for the Linguine with spicy peanut sauce with broiled chicken.
Now the food and service weren’t all that great. If you have the option to eat elsewhere, I would go with that option. When we asked about the salads, we were told that they are all premade and that you cannot add or take away any ingredients without it being an annoyance. Ally didn’t have any complaints about her fish, but the chicken in my Linguine tasted a little off until it sat in the fridge for the whole next day. It was a pleasant linguine breakfast surprise.
Star Gazing and Old Faithful
Two of the main reasons why we blew our budget and booked this hotel room for two nights was Star Gazing and seeing Old Faithful.
Every time we are in a National Park I beg my family to Star Gaze, but for some reason or another we chicken out or have to drive over an hour to get to our hotel room. One time in Joshua Tree, we thought a man was hiding in the bushes and another chance in the Grand Canyon you couldn’t see any stars because of the clouds.
Lucky for us, we were able to star gaze and saw thousands of stars and the milky way. We were initially going to Star Gaze by Old Faithful but got a little scared. We decided to jump in the car and do some star peeping on the side of the road (probably not the smartest idea), but then some Bison made noises and spooked us. We eventually made it back to Old Faithful and finished out our National Park Star Gazing ritual.
The next morning, we called down to the front desk to find out the prediction of Old Faithful. The forecast was slated for right after the 7:30 am sunrise, and the Lindslys had a game plan. We walked over to Old Faithful in our plaid shirts, yoga pants, blankets, and jackets to witness the most spectacular natural phenomena in Yellowstone.
It was a cold morning around 22 degrees and breathtaking to see all the cold air mixing with the hot thermal features. Once it was getting closer to the time Old Faithful to erupt, the sun started to rise burning off any left-over steam that was going to block our view. We were one of only three families crazy enough to be out there in the cold watching the first eruption after sunrise.
Minutes after Old Faithful went off, a couple came running and exclaimed ‘We Missed It Again!” I’m not sure if they missed the sunrise or just the beauty Old Faithful, but lucky for them, Old Faithful was planning to erupt in just a short 90 minutes.
Stay in the Park?
Staying in the park for a few nights is worth the cost when it comes to amazing experiences like the one we had or if you booked a Wildlife Tour and it is more convenient. Usually, we can book hotel rooms for $100-$150 or on points outside of the park, but West Yellowstone is about an hour away. That extra travel time caused us to always miss the sunrise. Instead, staying in the park, we were able to go outside and enjoy the sunrise, not 100% ready and then casually get ready for the rest of the day.
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