The Warm River Campground sits nine miles from Ashton, Idaho, population 1,211. At least, that’s what the sign says. This small town, situated between two scenic byways (the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway and the Teton Scenic Byway), caters to tourists, locals, and of course, the campers that visit our site and the other campgrounds in the Island Park area.
The local grocery store, Dave’s Jubilee, offers grocery and sundry items, has a deli and a really great produce department. Dave’s Jubilee is affiliated with Associated Foods, so we’re finding all the products we’re accustomed to buying. It also has a decent selection of beer and wine. We introduced ourselves on an early morning visit and they were happy to open their safe to make change for our petty cash fund. This was nice since the nearest Wells Fargo bank is in Rexburg, 28 miles away.
We've found three restaurants so far. El Rincon, the Mexican restaurant, was quite authentic. Of course, you know a Mexican restaurant is authentic when everyone is speaking Spanish but you. 511 Main has a classic soda fountain feel and features pizza, sandwiches and soups. We haven’t tried their pizza yet but the soups and sandwiches are quite good.
Our company orientation was held at the Trails End Restaurant. The interior is designed to resemble a hunting lodge, complete with the heads of animals on the far wall. They have a white buffalo head. I understand that Native Americans considered the white buffalo sacred, so I really hope it is a fake. But back to the food – we’ll have to reserve judgment as it is pretty tough to mess up turkey and cheese on white bread with lettuce and tomato, potato chips, and Chips Ahoy cookies.
For those of you who don’t camp, Ashton has two motels, a combined motel/RV park, and log cabin rentals.
We found a small liquor store on inside of Lenz Electronics on Main Street. The store owner was sitting on a lawn chair in front of the store, and as we approached he followed us in and directed us past the clothing and electronics to the liquor section. The store reminds me of the small general stores we saw in movies and on TV.
Ashton has two hardware stores, one of which sells fishing licenses. We’re still talking ourselves into buying the high-priced out-of-state fishing licenses, so we haven’t been there yet.
The library at Ashton charged us a mere $10 for a library card. We couldn't get our money out fast enough. It’s a small library, but it has everything we’re looking for – books, movies, and internet service, just in case our DSL decides to take a long vacation.
There are five churches here in Ashton. We had a very pleasant encounter with the Ashton Christian Fellowship when the pastor visited with us to arrange for baptisms in the Warm River. The baptisms happened last Sunday at site 13; the small group who had gathered to welcome three new believers also welcomed us to participate in the service. It was inspiring.
A bit of interesting trivia: Ashton hosts the American Dog Derby, which is the oldest dog sled race in the lower 48 states. This historic dog sled race runs from Ashton to Cascade Corner of Yellowstone Park. If you’re interested in watching the 97th running, it will be held February 13 – 15, 2014.
I think we’re going to enjoy being part of the extended community of Ashton.