Thank you, Tenaya Lodge, at Yosemite, for hosting The JetSet Family. We had an incredible time and can’t wait to visit again!
Yosemite With a Side of Luxury
For those of you who follow The JetSet Family on Instagram, you recently saw me completely leave my comfort zone and take a road trip with Kiddo to the mountains. Me! In the wilderness. Let that sink in for a minute. With mountains, and pinecones, and waterfalls, and all sorts of green stuff! Nothing has delivered me further from my comfort zone than my daughter and her quest for adventure. I always joke that there is no way we share the same DNA because we look absolutely nothing alike. Although, I’m certain we both have the wanderlust gene that fuels our desire to see the world.
As we pulled up to the valet, and I saw this gorgeous mean machine on wheels, I instantly knew, I might actually enjoy a place that lacks smog, noise, and light pollution. Imagine that? Oh, and if Santa reads JetSetFam, which, duh…I’m sure he does, could you please deliver this beautiful red sleigh to my driveway on Christmas? Thanks!
Coco is an adventurer, a thrill seeker, and me? Well, I’m more of a 5-star resort kind of gal who prefers spa treatments over dirt and critters. She loves being outside exploring nature, and besides white sandy beaches, I love concrete jungles.
She wants camping, and I want glamping. But I do it. Why? Because on each one of these trips, she pushes boundaries, tries something new, and takes on challenges like a champ. Having an adventurous daughter who lives to absorb life and cultures from every corner of the world has also nudged me deep outside of my comfort zone.
Experiencing Something New
There is a whole world out there waiting for us to experience and now is her time. I let her pick the destinations, and I tag along because many of these places and activities would never hit my radar in a million years. And seeing the world from her perspective is one of my life’s greatest gifts. For example, not too long ago we were driving along the freeway and she asked me if we could go to Wichita. Wichita? Why Wichita? Is she studying about it in school or something? Nope, she told me she heard it mentioned in a White Stripes song and she wanted to see what it’s like there. So I bet you’ll be seeing our “Greetings from Wichita” posts on Instagram before you know it.
As the years quickly go by, I’m beginning to see her travel plans take on a much more adventurous approach. There’s something about nature that she is deeply drawn to, while I, however, enjoy butlers and central air. My first inclination was during our trip to Mayakoba, Mexico. Kiddo may have liked the finer things in life-like larger than life soaking tubs, the Le Labo amenities, and fine dining, but it was her adventurous side that wanted to explore the jungle to spot monkeys and hunt for alligators while canoeing. I’m envious of her lack of fear and trepidation.
Our time in Mayakoba only exacerbated her lust for life. For the first time, she wasn’t simply vacationing, she was officially a “traveler.” Since that trip, Kiddo has surfed Panama in Central America, and ziplined through the rainforest of Chiquiri Highlands. Most recently she enjoyed ant eating (yes, you read that right, ants,) during a moonlight hike through Yosemite. It’s kind of funny because she’ll eat ants and grasshoppers, but refuses to step foot on a New York City subway. Then again, I can’t really blame her.
What Is The Best Hotel to Stay in Yosemite?
So this brings me to our latest trip. Coco has asked me to visit Yosemite National Park in California for some time now, but I continuously stalled the trip because I just wasn’t down for “roughing it.” I guess you could say the Sierra Nevada was not at the very top of my “must-see” list. Then Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite reached out and kindly invited us to see a different side of camping sans the roughing it part. Hmmm…”I can do this!” I thought to myself. Enjoy the great outdoors throughout the day, and retreat back to luxury accommodations. Sign us up!
Having the best of both worlds gave me an all-new appreciation for nature. I always thought I would be bored seeing trees and mountains for hours on end, but after spending a few days with Tenaya’s staff, I actually fell in love with the great outdoors. I guess it’s true when they say, “Try it, you might like it.”
The decor of Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite is quite unique because it brings the outside indoors. From beautiful bedroom suites with views of Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to fine-dining restaurants, an amazing Kids Club which Kiddo did not want to leave, and a spa where I had the best massage I’ve ever experienced. Needless to say, we will be back to visit again very soon, this time with JetSet Dad. I can only imagine how beautiful the snow-covered property is during the winter holidays.
But the best part was Coco’s perma-grin smile the entire time. She wanted to do it all. Moonlight hikes, waterfalls, climb rock walls, practice archery, look over the edge of giant cliffs, skipping stones, and sometimes I even just caught her sitting solo with no one around taking it all in deep thought.
How to See Yosemite In One Day
Tenaya Lodge chartered a Sprinter van for us to explore the major landmarks of Yosemite and it had a retractable roof. So we were able to bypass the crowds, and enjoy taking pictures at places the public might not normally see. My first “a-ha” moment was when I stepped off the van and saw Tunnel View. My heart sank. How have I never been here before? What took me so long? It was the moment I realized how special National Parks are, and why so many people love visiting them so much. From this particular vantage point, you could clearly see El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Falls. And this was just the first stop.
We set up a delicious picnic lunch on the valley floor between the most beautiful view of Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. I’ve never felt so at peace while on vacation. I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to take so many photos just so I would never forget how beautiful the surroundings were. And I wanted to remember not only Coco’s first time visiting Yosemite, but that she is the reason I loved it so much.
Then there was El Capitan. I was completely captivated by it. I couldn’t stop studying it. The shape, the angles, the way the sunlight hit the mountain during different times of the day. I thought about all the climbers who ventured to the top and rewarded with views that only some would ever see. I couldn’t peel my eyes away, and when it wasn’t in sight, I would wait patiently for the next glimpse.
Finding Peace + Serenity in Nature
Our next stop was Glacier Point, and I have a feeling this is where Kiddo fell even more madly in love with Yosemite. She absorbed every moment, climbed every rock, and felt invincible. For those of you who aren’t aware, Coco is very intrigued by the show, Sons of Anarchy. She’s not into the violence, or mature content, just about the bikes, the rough and tough men, and their club. Wouldn’t you know, a group of Hells Angels from Oslo pulls up right behind us? You would have thought it was Jax, Tig, Clay, and Chibs. She thought it was the coolest thing ever.
The bikers noticed her stare was one filled with curiosity and not one of judgment, and couldn’t have been nicer. They shared with us they were on a 17-day road trip to visit the National Parks on the west coast. It’s moments like these when strangers come together while traveling that make great memories. Normally, when we’re on the freeway and a motorcycle club starts to pass us, she always says, “Hi SOA!” But this was the first time she ever spoke to a member or saw their bikes up close.
Things to Do Near Yosemite National Park
But there is so much more to do in Yosemite than take hikes through the park or climb monstrosities. Tenaya Lodge sent Coco horseback riding and she loved every moment. She had not ridden in years, but the guides were wonderful and took such good care of her.
They went on a trail ride, and she and her horse named, “Bob.” Which was actually a girl, but that’s an entirely different story.. She got a kick out of crossing two streams, and I’m almost positive she’s going to ask for a horse for Christmas.
So now that we know I’m semi-petrified of nature, and the dark, I decided to put my fears aside and go on a moonlight flashlight hike — which is my version of The Blair Witch Project. It was an easy hike, but I did have a difficult time at certain points breathing because of the altitude, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. We had the best guides, and this is the part when my darling daughter snacked on carpenter ants. First grasshoppers in Mexico, and now ants which apparently taste just like blueberries.
I loved this hike so much. Looking up at a sky full of stars, and seeing these beautiful Dogwood trees in bloom after dark was a special experience I will not soon forget.
The Ultimate Adventure Kids Camp
One of our hiking guides was also a team member of the Kids Club and gave Coco the nickname Spidergirl because of her speed when she would take on the rock climbing wall. Not all Kids Camps are the same, and in a short period, she came back with stories, crafts, and gifts. The three caregivers brought her back to the lobby to meet me, and I couldn’t tell who had more fun, they all were so excited about their fun outings.
While visiting Tenaya Lodge, I highly recommend booking a service at their beautiful spa. It was one of, if not the best massages I have ever had. For 50-minutes I didn’t fall asleep, but I was definitely in another dimension. I booked it for the morning we were checking out, and let me just tell you, it prepared me beautifully for the 5.5 hour drive back. And if you make this a girls getaway, or romantic weekend sans the kiddos, then Tenaya Lodge has an entire “Spa Floor” dedicated to those looking to leave all of the hustle and bustle behind.
So the moral of this story is, if you aren’t an outdoorsy nature person like myself, and prefer beaches, sailing the high seas, and cities; however, you want to visit national parks, and tents aren’t exactly your forte, then I highly recommend Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite. It’s the stuff glamping dreams are made of, and just wait until you see the new cabins being built for 2019, Tenaya Lodge is bound to be your new favorite vacation destination.
Have You Visited Yosemite?
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