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Step in to the Wyoming Wilderness in Style at the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park

OFI an Old Faithful

One of the oft-overlooked aspects of an active vacation is the experience you’ll have off the road, walking path or ski trail. At the end of an adventure filled day we want our guests to slip in to the lap of luxury. A delicious meal, a few laughs with some new friends over a drink, a toasty fire to unwind near and an inviting, comfortable bed to rest up for the next day’s experiences. One of our favorite accommodations is featured on our new Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Walking America’s Wilderness vacation and where guests will stay on their last night, the iconic Old Faithful Inn.

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Construction
The Old Faithful Inn is a rustic-style lodge, with a log and wood shingle exterior in close proximity to the world famous 736px-OldFaithfulInnLobby1904FJHaynesOld Faithful Geyser in the heart of Yellowstone National Park.  Initial construction on the Inn began in the fall of 1903 to replace the Upper Geyser Basin Hotel which had burned down. Robert Reamer, a 29 year old architect known for designing train depots, was hired to design the new lodge.  Reamer’s enormous vision was inspired by the rustic camps of the Adirondacks, just on a much grander scale, as the seven-story log and frame lobby is quite unique in American architecture.  Most of the building materials used, including lodge pole pine and rhyolite stone, were found within a 5 mile radius of the Inn and a temporary sawmill was built to assist in the log preparation. When the Old Faithful Inn first opened in the spring of 1904, it boasted electric lights and steam heat. 

Famous Features
The Old Faithful Inn, a designated National Historic Landmark, is one of the few remaining log hotels in the United States and is the largest of its kind in the world. The Inn is a masterpiece of rustic architecture with its unique design and fine craftsmanship and has even hosted six presidents and all Three Stooges. Its influence on American architecture, particularly park architecture, was immeasurable due to the use of natural materials to create a feeling of high-style Old Faithful Inn Lobby.rusticity. In fact, in 2007 the American Institute of Architects conducted a survey to determine the 150 favorite buildings in America and the Old Faithful Inn ranked 36. Recently the Inn was featured on Travel + Leisure’s list of Great National Park Lodges.

Of course the most famous “feature” of the inn is its location within Yellowstone National Park.  At a mere eighth of a mile from the most famous geyser in the world, guests can use the viewing platform on the porch’s roof to see Old Faithful’s eruptions , while the front of the Inn faces Geyser Hill across the Firehole River. But let’s get back to the Inn itself. The century-old heart of the inn, known as the “Old House,” features a cavernous 7-story lobby with a handmade copper, wood and wrought iron clock and an 85-foot stone fireplace in the center -classic examples of the “Golden Age” of rustic resort architecture. Guests can stand in the middle of the lobby and look up at the exposed structure, or climb up a gnarled log staircase to one of the balconies and look up, down, or across. Visitors could even climb up to the roof via the staircases before the 1959 earthquake damaged the hotel. In the lobby, you’ll enjoy relaxing by the magnificent fireplace or take in the sunset on one of the giant porches with spectacular views

Old Faithful Inn exterior.

Modern Day
Despite its 109 year history, the Old Faithful Inn features many modern amenities complimenting its rustic charm, making it an attractive place to stay and not simply visit. It remains the most requested hotel in all of Yellowstone Park and the east and west wings where the rooms are, built in the 1920’s, have been remodeled in recent years. The Old_Faithful_Inn_interior_wideGeyserside premium rooms look out on the geyser basin, and include one or two queen beds.  There is also a full service dining room as well as the Bear Pit Lounge, where guests can enjoy appetizers and drinks while discussing the day with friends. A deli, gift store and interpretive tours are also available at the Inn.

We are very excited to share this new Yellowstone & Grand Teton: Walking America’s Wilderness vacation with you. We hope learning a bit more about this gorgeous lodge piques your interest and you know that while you’ll spend your days in the vast Wyoming wilderness, you’ll have wonderful accommodations waiting for you at days end, as with all VBT vacations. To learn more about this vacation please visit the tour page on our website.

Stuffed Clams Recipe

Most New Englanders have three categories for the Atlantic hard-shell Quahog clam. Little necks, usually eaten on the half-shell with cocktail sauce, or cooked in various ways and served with pasta, are the smallest – usually about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. The next size up are called cherrystones, and they average 2-1/2 inches in diameter. The largest are called quahogs, which is derived from the Narragansett word “poquauhock”, and they are thick and about 3 inches in diameter or more.

Many recipes for baked clams exist in New England. Our Marketing Director, Paul Williams, hails from Lil Rhody and offered up his preferred recipe for stuffed clams. It uses cherrystones and includes a combination of both Italian and Portuguese ingredients that are readily available in southern New England.

Ingredients (serves four)

16 cherrystone clams

1 cup of bread crumbsPublic domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

½ cup of chopped large Bermuda onion

½ pound of Chourico sausage

1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese

1 tsp. of dried oregano

¼ tsp. of black pepper

3 tsp. of butter

2 tsp. of olive oil

Directions: I would recommend using cherrystones that are as close to 2-1/2 inches in diameter as you can find. If larger, you will have to increase the quantities of ingredients listed for this recipe to make enough stuffing.  Fish markets in New England will let you select the ones you want.  As you open them in preparation for stuffing and cooking, the clam meat inside will be cut in half. I scrape the clam meat from one side into the other, so 20 clams would make 20 half-shelled stuffed clams. Open them over a bowl to catch the clam juice, as you can use it in the stuffing as it flavors the stuffed clam.

For bread crumbs, I like to make my own, using dried Italian bread.  If available (and it is in many southern New England markets), you can use dried Portuguese sweet bread or muffins.  Leave it on the counter to dry for a day, and then chop it in a food processor. Use enough to make one cup of bread crumbs.

Chourico sausage is also available in most New England markets. If you can’t find it you may use Andouille or Italian sausage, as long as there is some spice and/or a bit of heat.  I take about a half pound of Chourico (remember to remove the casing first) and grill or cook it in a skillet. After grilling, finely chop in a food processor and set it aside.

Finely chop half of a large red Bermuda onion. Hand chopping is best, not in the food processer, as you don’t want it to liquefy.

Steps:

- Open the clams. Save the clam juice. Place the opened clams on a cookie sheet or baking dish.

- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

- In a large pre-heated skillet, add the olive oil and when the oil is hot, add the onion.

- Once they are translucent (about 4 minutes) add the chopped sausage, mixing with the onion while the sausage heats for a couple of minutes.

- Add the butter to the sausage/onion mixture and as soon as it is melted, remove from the heat and add the bread crumbs, pepper and oregano.  Mix all. Add whatever clam juice you collected. If mixture is really dry, add just a bit of water as you don’t want to stuffing to be soggy, but a bit moist so it can be formed is fine. Once fully blended, mix in the cheese.

- Top each clam with an equal portion of the stuffing mix.

- Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until clam is cooked.

- Serve with lemon slices, as a touch of fresh-squeezed lemon juice adds a lot.

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