The summer season is upon us, and our riding stables will soon be offering guided trail rides right here in the heart of the Tetons! Read up on what past guests have had to say about this top-ranked Jackson Hole attraction on Trip Advisor, and be sure to check out our recreation pages for more details on this popular summertime activity.
Dishing Magazine urges readers to “Get Wild on Wednesdays” by dining at the National Museum of Wildlife Art:
“Every Wednesday from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m., have dinner in the museum’s Rising Sage Cafe and explore the art in all the galleries, all while listening to piano music by Teton Virtuoso (Francis Koerber). It feels like a little vacation just a five minute drive from town…”
Jackson is full of really cool people. You can easily run into pro snowboarders like Travis Rice or celebrities like Harrison Ford. In my opinion though, the coolest guy in Jackson is the bassist Bill Plummer. Lucky for Spring Creek Ranch guests, he’s easy to track down because he plays at the Granary on Friday nights.
Plummer is the sort of guy who whispers follow. Every time I see him play, someone is leaning over to me whispering, “that guy played with the Rolling Stones,” or “that guy played with the Grateful Dead.”He’s been playing jazz since his elementary school days in the 1940s and it seems like the man has played with everyone. I’ve always wanted to corner him on one of his breaks during a set at the Granary and get an in-depth conversation going. I mean, the man was in the studio with the Rolling Stones as they recorded the album “Exile on Main St.” He’s got to have some incredible stories floating just below the surface of his cool jazz persona. I always say hi. I believe I’ve even attempted some prying phrases, like, “wow, so, you’ve played with everyone!?” The thing is, they guy is just too darn cool. The idea of pushing him for information on musical greats makes me feel like a band geek.
I’ve noticed a trend in really cool people over the years. People who have absolutely fascinating lives always seem to be fully immersed in the present moment and not all that interested in spending hours reminiscing about their fascinating past. This is probably what has made them so successful. They keep moving forward, working, looking ahead and, therefore, their life is always becoming more interesting. New great things are always in the works because they don’t spend a ton of time dwelling on the past.
So, as I’m asking dopey, subtle questions, trying to get Plummer to spill his juicy stories to me, he’s just being a normal, cool guy. He’s talking about the night, the weather, the audience, and the music. He’s talking about Pam or Keith Phillips or any of his other fellow musicians on the stage that night. He’s being so fricken cool as everyone geeks out around him.
Here’s the basic scoop. Plummer has played with Willie Nelson, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Quincy Jones and Tony Bennett. That is list is just some highlights from a long, long list. He’s studied with Mony Budwig, Herman Reinshang, the principal bassist for the New York Philharmonic, and Ravi Shankar’s school for Indian music. He was constantly learning. In between all the learning he was consistently working, something that he says was easy to do in those days. He went on the road with clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and flutist Paul Horn. He was part of the groups Hindustani Jazz Sextet, Cosmic Brotherhood, Jazz Corps, Gas Food and Lodging, Wild Rose Ramblers, and Spanky and Our Gang. He also played with Tony Bennett’s band, usually at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. The man was busy!
Now, he lives in Felt, Idaho and plays at the Granary where we are all lucky enough to get to hear a true music aficionado. I’m not cool enough to do it but somebody needs to sit Plummer down and get all the gritty, behind the scenes stories out of him. I’ve tried. I can’t. Please, one of you cool people, go to the Granary on Friday night and find out all the insider information for me and report back. I know there are some really good stories to be heard but I’m not cool enough to procure them.
One of Spring Creek Ranch’s own was featured on Wyoming Public Radio! SCR Naturalist Kurt Johnson spoke with WY Public Radio’s Willow Belden on the topic of his recently published field guide for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
I’m not a small town girl; so living in Jackson Hole can leave me wanting in variety in cultural experiences. For the size of the town, Jackson has an incredible amount of art and music. At first glace, the choices seem to be overwhelming. Many of the choices repeat weekly however, and it doesn’t take long to realize that you will have to look off the beaten path to find quality new attractions.
Luckily for me, my parents also live in Jackson Hole and expose me to experiences most locals in their twenties miss. A few years ago my dad called and invited me to a Friday night dinner at the Granary. With excitement in his voice, he said, “Oh, man! Do they have good jazz.” My curiosity was peaked. Raised outside of Chicago, my father is a jazz fan from way back and when he says there is good jazz I believe him.
When I first moved to Jackson Hole, six years ago, I worked at the Mangy Moose Saloon and was constantly answering questions about the upcoming bands. I found that I could always say, “It’s sorta a mix of rock, blue-grass, funk.” I could know nothing about the band, but with this trusty statement I was usually on target. I love music, rock, blue grass and funk included, but the repetitive nature of the music available in the valley can grow stale. It’s Pam Drew Phillips unique offering as well as her skill as a musician that makes her such a stand out in the music selection of Jackson Hole.
The first time I saw Pam perform up at the Granary I was completely charmed by the entire experience. This bright, petite blonde was chopping away at a grand piano and singing her heart out. She played standards I’d typically associated with Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole as well as a variety of other jazz, sometimes even swaying toward rag-time that were all new to me. Pam was enthralling and engaging, taking requests and joking around with the audience.
Now I’ve been numerous times. Most memorably one fantastic New Year’s Eve where we only intended to stay until 9:30 or so, but ended up toasting in the New Year with champagne, jazz and Pam. Usually, there is at least a trio performing. Sometimes musicians seem to show up half way through the set and magically blending into the group. I’ve always been impressed by the quality of music that is performed. My dad is always leaning over, saying, “This is quality stuff, kid. You can’t find better in Chicago or New York.” I’m prone to believe him.
Pam started her career in her in her hometown of Chicago. Moving to New York City, she established herself as a respected musician. She worked as a conductor on Broadway, including the shows “Evita” and “Crazy For You”. While in New York, she also played the keyboard for Broadway shows and films. While there she also performed with notable companies such as the American Symphony and the New York City Ballet Orchestra. Some high points in her jazz career include working with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and Manhattan Rhythm Kings. After cementing her career in New York City, she moved to Jackson in 1996 to raise her son.
If you are looking for talented musicians or love jazz, you need to head up to the Granary on Friday nights to see the trio or Saturday to see Pam solo. Take advantage of the view, great food and wonderful music. If you are visiting from out of town, be ready to be surprised by the quality of music. Come prepared to request your favorite jazz standard and shimmy your shoulders. I hope I see you there.
As a resident of Jackson, I know first hand about the never-ending supply of natural wonder that the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park host. Even after living here for six years, I’m constantly discovering new plants and animals. Locals know that having a field guide to reference new discoveries in this vast ecosystem is imperative. I have a separate book for flowers, birds and scat but it is time to consolidate with the publication of “A Farcountry Field Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park” by Kurt Johnson.
Johnson’s new book includes everything you could want in a field guide covering rocks, minerals, geysers, waterfalls, mushrooms, trees, wildflowers, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, mammals, tracks and scat. If you can look upon it in the parks, you can look it up in this guide. Thank you Kurt Johnson for putting together this fabulous book and making my future Christmas shopping a no-brainer.
At Spring Creek Ranch you can take a wildlife safari designed by the man who literally wrote the book on Jackson Hole wildlife. Kurt Johnson, the author, naturalist, photographer, and wildlife guide is also the Program Director of Spring Creek Ranch’s wildlife safaris. A Farcountry Field Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park is the culmination of 10 years of work on behalf of Johnson. He say’s he didn’t expect writing the book to take so long but, looking at the book, it seems like a miracle that one person was able to amass such a comprehensive guide to the parks in one lifetime.
Johnson knew he wanted to work with wildlife since the young age of four. After earning his Masters of Science in Natural Resources at Utah State University, Johnson has spent over 16 years in the field of wildlife conservation and natural history. For over eight of those years, he’s been a resident of the Jackson area. Before that, he spent time in Africa and Mexico studying wildlife biology. He now leads natural history programs in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, including wildlife safaris through Spring Creek Ranch, photography safaris, nature hikes, Yellowstone excursions and astronomy nights.
The book is designed to help people identify what they are seeing and also provides the natural history. It includes around 1,200 color photos taken by Johnson himself. Johnson says that his favorite part of writing the book was becoming more aware of the interdependency of the total ecosystem. Grand Teton and Yellow Stone National Park are host to some stunning large animals such as grizzly bears and wolverines. At the same time the smaller elements of nature such as the wildflowers, mushrooms and insects can be just as fascinating and a lot less intimidating. Learning about the interconnectedness of all aspects of the ecosystem is just one of the great reasons to take a wildlife safari. An expert can help the amateur eye to see all of the wonders, from big to small the parks offer.
Spring Creek Ranch offers a variety of summer wildlife safaris including Dawn to Dusk, The Best of Yellowstone, Grand Teton Photo Safari, Astronomy at Night and more. A Farcountry Field Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park can be purchased at the Spring Creek Ranch gift shop.
Granary Chef Jason Mitchell started cooking professionally at the age of seventeen, back in 1988 in Sacramento California at an Italian restaurant called Piatti. It was an open kitchen with a wood fired brick oven, with beautiful Italian frescoes on the walls, and extensive open air eating area and wonderful tile flooring. Lots of light and good patronage, Piatti was the place to eat, watch people and be seen. I was his first experience with high volume, great atmosphere and top shelf fresh cuisine, Italian style.
Now, nearing the age of forty, after an extensive country-wide search sponsored by Spring Creek Ranch, Chef Jason Mitchell is the Executive Chef for the Granary restaurant at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he has been extremely successful for the past three years since 2006. After stints in the Mid-west, New York and San Francisco in award-winning restaurants like The Vintage in St. Paul, The French Laundry in Yountville, The Beacon in Manhattan, The Twisted Grille in Hudson Wisconsin and the Private Chef for the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, he has had many of the local patrons in Teton County as his adoring fans.
Teton County boasts the wealthiest residents in the States, and the Granary clientèle caters to them all, being the place to go for fine cuisine and fantastic views of the Teton Range and the only restaurant on a Wildlife Refuge.
Chef Jason’s food has been covered in Gourmet Magazine, USA Today and Ski Magazine and has been published in A Taste of Wyoming, Favorite Recipes From The Cowboy State, available through Amazon by Farcountry Press. He will be published again in 2011 in Destinations, A Five Star Guide to Five Star Resorts, alongside such greats as Jean George, Daniel Baloud and Alain Ducasse.
Jason Mitchell is an adjunct faculty member for Central Wyoming College and currently teaches food two days a week, using the kitchen at The Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, where his friend Chef Simon Purvis is the Executive Chef and another adjunct faculty member of the college. Jason is also the host of a weekly radio program on KHOL Jackson Community Radio, called The Grand Table, which covers different aspects of kitchen life, food and recipes, every Sunday morning. And Chef still finds the time to ski!
Jason is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, arguably the finest cooking school in the world, where in three years of hard study gained two degrees, one in Culinary Arts and one in Restaurant Management.
Jason Mitchell is a single father, his son Charlie, 12, enjoys spending time with his Dad at the restaurant and the radio station and they both are avid skiers and outdoors men. They feel very lucky to be living and working in Jackson Hole, and are very serious when it comes to giving back to their community and going that extra mile for those who need it.