My family and I all went to lovely Chico Hot Springs, nestled in Paradise Valley, about 35 minutes south of Livingston, Montana, to celebrate my stepfather's 85th birthday. Basically, it was a gift to him and to the family from my mother. I had never been to Chico before, and it was a bit unexpected, as resorts go. I realized, at some point, that guests are expected to truly "get away from it all", and the resort is doing as little as possible to connect them to their lives at home. While the rooms are nice, they are not plush. There is no phone, no television, no air-conditioning (And that part, we missed most of all).
We gathered on a Sunday afternoon on the lawn outside of our row of adjoining rooms: my sister and her husband, my youngest brother and his wife and two daughters, and a cousin with her husband and twin boys. Unfortunately, one brother and one sister and their families weren't able to join us.
But it was a lovely autumn afternoon, the kind where the air is strangely soft and crisp at the same time. The sky was incredibly blue, with nary a cloud to be seen. The grass was soft, the company great, and the hard cider was cold and delicious.
Chico's restaurant, despite the rustic appearance, does its best to turn out 5-star food. For example, that night we variously dined on Oysters Rockefeller, escargot, lamb, and crab cakes. MMM, true to his Montana guy status, had a steak.
We spent the evening swimming in the hot springs. It was so much fun to spend time with my family. We don't get together often, and it was a real blessing to enjoy this time together.
Here are my brother's beautiful little girls:
Happy birthday, Fred. Here's to many more. Thanks so much, Mom. I love you. We all do, and we had a great time.
P.S. I have not been paid by anyone for anything I said in this post. Though Mom did pay for dinner and the room. Hmmmm.......? ;-)