from the archives: jackson hole strikes a balance

spring creek ranch

Jackson Hole strikes that rare balance between nature and nurture. And for a town of such diminutive proportions that’s better known for its high-octane winter sports than its sedate summers, that’s surprising. But don’t question it; embrace it, and you’ll be richly rewarded by this incredibly scenic little corner of Wyoming. Jackson – the central town in the Jackson Hole valley – is tiny and encircled by the Grand Tetons, the youngest of the Rocky Mountain ranges, in what was once considered frontier territory. Yet one of the many myths it shatters is that size is an accurate reflection of quantity and quality. It’s not. Though the year-round population is a shade under 9,000, the spa choices alone are enough to make you do a double take: organic body treatments at the new LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the ultimate eco-friendly accolade) Hotel Terra‘s rooftop Chill Spa; local ingredients like mesquite-tree powder, sagebrush and red-clay mud put to good use in massages at Spring Creek Ranch‘s Wilderness Adventure Spa, and the inspiration of nearby glacial lakes found in Vichy Waterfall Rituals at Solitude Spa in Teton Mountain Lodge. If your fears are less psychic than political, spending time in Cheney country – the vice president has a place in the area – you’ll be shocked to discover that the valley is like a blue-state island in a sea of red-state dogma. A leaf through the Planet Jackson Hole newspaper gives an accurate portrait of this town’s priorities: Right-to-life ads are far outnumbered by those for the Hemp Film Festival. Read the full story HERE.

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summer of pride

Kimpton Hotels is honoring the LGBT community’s continued support with a “Summer of Pride” celebration from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Long an insider favorite for its collection of stylish boutique hotels and chef-driven restaurants, Kimpton has cemented its distinctive reputation by making travelers feel welcomed and comfortable while indulging in a bit of playful cheekiness. All summer long travelers gay and straight can plan a weekend retreat and take advantage of this value-driven promotion with perks like 15 percent off the best available overnight rate, a nightly $25 dining credit for the on-site Kimpton Restaurant, and a Pride-themed welcome gift at check-in. Of particular note is one of my favorites: Philadelphia’s LEED-certified Hotel Palomar adjacent to Rittenhouse Square. It features Guillermo Tellez’ standout restaurant, Square 1682, where eco-conscious design meets organic ingredients in a New American menu bolstered by world flavors. Plus, it’s only a stone’s throw to great shopping and all the historical sights. Rates from $194.65 per night. Reservations can be made at online by entering PRIDE in the rate code box.

Even more impressive: Kimpton recently garnered the 2010 Human Rights Campaign Workplace Equality Award and 2011 Equality Forum International Business Leadership Award for its pioneering LGBT employee benefits programs. Kimpton was the first hospitality company to score a 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index in 2004, and has maintained that perfect score every year since.

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