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Inn of the Month: South Fork Lodge

Inn of the Month: South Fork Lodge

By Chris Solomon
posted: 04/22/2003

South Fork, Idaho
More than 50 years ago, John D. Rockefeller Jr., son of the founder of Standard Oil, blessed America with the 35,000 acres of land that became Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Since then, stewardship of this region has been the Rockefeller clan's noblesse oblige.

Now, Mark Rockefeller, an avid flyfisher, has taken up the conservation torch. But he's perhaps best known hereabouts for a building in eastern Idaho's Swan Valley: South Fork Lodge, his monument to flyfishing and The Good Life.

The award-winning lodge sits on the banks of the South Fork of the Snake River, which anglers consider one of the world's premier trout rivers. In keeping with Rockefeller's wish for a refuge of denim elegance, the lodge's exterior recalls the silo-and-shed vernacular architecture of the Swan's ranchlands. Inside, rare Thomas Moran chromo-lithographs line the hallway to the eight attached guest rooms. The rooms are Jedediah Smith-meets-Ralph Lauren: peeled-pine beams, beds with Indian-pattern wool blankets and doors that open onto the Snake. Two "cabins" next to the lodge have five guest rooms each, fireplaces and kitchenettes. The funky silo, a 12-sided building clad in oxidized zinc, is the dining room, home to decidedly not-farm-table fare like medallions of caribou in a juniper-currant reduction. Diners watch the Snake curl past the room's 15-foot windows like a living mural.

Fishing the South Fork is an angler's pilgrimage; a writhing, 16-inch cutthroat is often the result of a nice cast with a Chernobyl Ant.

For fishing widows (or widowers), there's golf at seven area courses, horseback riding and day hikes to places like Pine Creek Pass, which has views of the Tetons and Big Hole mountains. For those who'd rather exercise the Visa card, Jackson is 53 miles east. Whether fishing or not, expect to be hooked.

Four-night packages for two people, including three days of guided flyfishing, meals and drinks, cost $3,650-$5,195, depending on room and season. Overnight vacation packages for two, including lodging, meals and alcohol cost $621-$996 per day. 877-347-4735;

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