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.

Uncover the cultural and historical highlights of Normandy and Brittany with VBT

France, Normandy, Normandie, Mont Saint-Michel, Abbey, Unesco World Heritage

At VBT we pride ourselves on providing active vacations that not only take you to wondrous locales throughout the world, but immerse you in the culture, cuisine and history of your destination. We have a brand new vacation in 2014 that is brimming with all three. For over a thousand years the French regions of Normandy & Brittany have impacted the course of European history. On this extraordinary VBT vacation you’ll visit historic WWII landmarks, medieval relics, an ancient island Abbey and even the home of Louis the IX’s favorite bivalves. Combined with deluxe accommodations and delectable French cuisine, it’s all for you to discover with us on our new Bicycling France: Normandy & Brittany vacation.

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D-Day
The biggest historical event in the region in recent history is the famous Normandy invasion on the shores of northern France and the many remembrances that have occurred subsequently. We’ll visit the coastal town of Arromanches – aka “Gold Beach” in the invasion – which played a vital role in the battle of Normandy. For it was here that the Allies built one of their famous Mulberry harbors—a portable, temporary structure that facilitated the transfer of troops and supplies from the water to the beach—the remains of which still can be seen at low tide today.  Learn more about the harbor, and the historic June 6, 1944 landings, at the D-Day Museum.

Nearby “Omaha Beach” to the west is perhaps the best-known of the D-Day beaches. You’ll have free time for lunch here 800px-Omaha-beach-cemeterybefore we join Guillaume Marie, a World War II expert and our local guide. His passion for his subject will be evident as he leads us along these now-tranquil shores and shares with us the dramatic events that once took place here. We’ll also cycle to the American Cemetery, a 170-acre, meticulously landscaped memorial overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel. The site contains 9,387 perfectly aligned white crosses and Stars of David marking the graves of the brave American servicemen and women who perished in Europe during World War II.

Saint-Malo
800px-Saint-Malo_remparts_003Our final destination on Day 7 of our Normandy & Brittany vacation is Saint-Malo, a beautiful medieval city along the Brittany coast. Saint-Malo became notorious in the 18th century as the home of the corsairs who were privateers, authorized by the French crown to conduct raids on the ships of any nation at war with France. Saint-Malo is also the birthplace of Jacques Cartier, who sailed the St Lawrence River and is credited with discovering Canada. After exploring the ancient walled city we’ll treat ourselves with modern day amenities at our luxurious hotel located outside the Old Town, resting at the edge of the beach. It features several spa and therapy rooms, including an indoor, seawater swimming pool.

Cancale Oysters
One of our favorite stops on our journey is the tiny fishing port of Cancale, nestled along the beautifully rugged Brittany800px-Huitres_Cancale coast. The town is known for its superior huîtres –oysters – in fact, King Louis XIV was reportedly so enamored of these briny bivalves that he had fresh oysters brought daily from Cancale to Versailles! Today these oyster beds harvest about 25,000 tons of oysters each year and we’ll have the opportunity to taste these acclaimed huîtres for ourselves during a visit to an oyster market.

Mont Saint-Michel
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Our last – but certainly not least – favorite location that we’ll visit is the spectacular island commune of Mont Saint-Michel.  Accompanied by a local guide, we’ll venture across the cone-shaped islet in the Gulf of Saint-Malo, connected by a causeway with the mainland. The island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is best known for the spectacular and well-preserved Benedictine abbey that sits at its peak. The abbey is surrounded by the winding streets and architecture characteristic of a medieval town. Small houses, shops and street stalls are found on its lowest level mimicking the hierarchy of the feudal society during which it was built.

These are just a few of the historical and cultural highlights we’ll visit on this awe inspiring trip to France’s northern coast. With multiple departures from May – October of 2014 there are plenty of opportunities for you to experience this incredible corner of the world with VBT. For more information about the scenic bike routes, world-class accommodations and unsurpassed value of our Bicycling France: Normandy & Brittany vacation, simply click HERE