Second homes are materials of imagination. Not a necessity, like basic residences, they are often expressions of the ways homeowners like to spend their leisure time, whether in close proximity to theater, opera, museums and other urban attractions, a home on a secluded stretch of beach, an island getaway, or a luxury apartment on a playground Golf or multigenerational gathering place near the ski lifts. Whichever vacation home the family chooses, it tells us a lot about what they cherish in their spare time.
As we are isolated and confined by a disturbing new pandemic, an undeniable trend has risen to the top of real estate wish lists: We crave nature.
If we live in cities, we try to find places where we can walk, breathe fresh air, keep a garden and maybe even observe wildlife. If we can, we buy a second home that provides all of that, with room to gather during the school holidays. The most sought after homes are second homes that offer the amenities of five-star resorts, married to a low-key private sensibility.
The place that checks all of these boxes and then some is Tributary, the 1,500-acre private Idaho club that grows on the western side of the Grand Teton Mountains. A four-season community, the Tributary is part of the 15 million-acre Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the world’s safest landscapes and the only wildlife habitat in the United States where all species once existed before their arrival. Of the Europeans still live.
The development now called the Tributary began when members of the Huntsman family purchased land located between the Grand Tetons, the Big Hole Mountains, and the Snake River Range, with stunning views of all those mountains. The 2008 real estate crash put an end to the family’s plans and the property was sold, but not before the Huntsmans built a two-mile elevated trail on nearly 500 acres of designated wetland, which is managed and operated by the Teton Regional Land Trust. These wetlands, ponds, and streams are part of the tributary community, and the trail is a favorite place for jogging, wildlife watching, and picnicking.
Construction is progressing apace, outweighed by increased demand.
“When we started, we built two- and three-bedroom homes,” says Jeff Heilbrunn, property manager. “We soon learned that our clients wanted vacation homes with an all-season appeal. We are now building five- and six-bedroom homes, and we just can’t build them fast enough.”
The modern homes, outfitted with luxury items like Wolf stoves, Sub Zero refrigerators, wood floors, remote-operated blackout curtains, and luxury spa baths, were designed by Northworks, a Chicago-based national design firm with offices in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. . When completed, Rafed will provide 350 homes, all with extraordinary views. There’s also a five-acre pool, club and spa, an 18-hole championship golf course designed by David McLay-Kidd, and access to a myriad of outdoor activities. These activities include fly fishing, hiking, national parks, biking, snowboarding, boating, northern and alpine skiing.
Prices for single-family homes in Tributary start at $2.25 million. It is located equidistant between Jackson Hole Airport and Idaho Falls Regional Airport. Teton Aviation Center, a full-service FBO, is also a stone’s throw from the tributary.
Single home locations are also available for those who prefer to bring their own architect, designer and builder (subject to design review approval).
Less than 30 minutes from the front entrance to the Tributary, Grand Targhee is a 2,600-acre, Mediterranean-friendly, powder-rich ski resort founded by Teton Valley potato growers and ranchers in 1969. Membership in the Tributary includes transportation To Targhee, a private club at Basic Mountain Inn, refreshments and ski concierge.
“People who buy property here love nature, want to be outdoors at all times of the year, and want the luxury and amenities you get in a high-end private club,” Heilbrunn says. “This is what locals refer to as the ‘quiet side.’ We have easy access to hiking and fishing in all directions.”
The closest town to the tributary is Driggs, Idaho, a charming and historic mountain town. It is a short distance from the city centre. Moreover, there is Victor, another mountain town of great charm.
Under those purebred societies, the tributary blends into the surrounding wilderness to become unassuming. It truly is a place where luxury means being able to rebuild on some of the most beautiful natural lands that still exist in the United States today.