Ever since my first stay at Tamarack last summer, the mountain resort has absolutely fascinated me.

Pulling on to the property, you begin question why you chose the resort for you family vacation, couples retreat or in our case, honeymoon.  Before you can enjoy the picturesque scenery behind the gorgeous Lodge at Osprey Meadows, you're greeted by a whole village of half finished buildings still covered in Tyvek wrap. They give off of a very eerie "ghost town" feel as a first impression.  It makes you scratch your head and wonder out loud "what exactly happened here?"

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

When Tamarack opened on December 15, 2004 it was the first four-season ski resort constructed from the ground up since Beaver Creek (CO) and Deer Valley (UT) opened in 1981. On opening day, the resort was very much still under construction but guests looked forward to when the $1.5 billion resort would be finished.  At the time, they believed it would happen sometime between 2014 and 2019. According to the New York Times, the vision included 62 runs, seven chair lifts, one or more 18-hole golf course, medical clinic, fire department, amphitheater and 34 stone/wood buildings in the base village.

Looking at present day Tamarack, you want to know what went wrong. Well for one, it's original developer, Jean-Pierre Boespflug, pretty much disappeared from the face of the planet after the real estate market took a dump in 2008.  According to the Coeur d'Alene Press, he missed multiple court dates connected to the resort's foreclosure case and a debtor's exam.  He stopped returning the AP's phone calls after telling them he needed "time to clear his head" but never returned to Boise. To this day, people aren't really sure where he's at.

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

At some point tennis star Andre Agassi and his wife planned to invest in the construction of the Fairmont Hotel which still appears on maps at present day Tamarack, even though they never broke ground on the project. In 2012, the resort also lost one of their high speed lifts, the Wildwood Express as a result of failing to make payments to Bank of America. A few short years later, the highly rated Osprey Meadows Golf Course behind the lodge closed. It's been reclaimed by nature so much that I didn't even realize the paved path I was running on daily was the old golf cart path, until I came across one of the stones stating what the par number for that hole was.

Despite all of it's troubles, there's something special about Tamarack...something that the homeowners on the mountain recognized and that's why they banded together to buy the once bankrupt resort's operations.  Together with the employees who keep properties like the lodge, Seven Devils Pub and Beachfront Cabana alive, this special group has earned the nickname TamFam...or as my husband and I now refer to them as, some of the most genuine, kind people you will ever meet.

We rented Tamarack's "Hot Toddy" cottage for a week and called it home for our Idaho honeymoon.  It was absolutely phenomenal and we can't wait to go back, not just for another summer vacation...but we really want to check it our during ski season as well! If pure curiosity doesn't make you want to visit yourself, here's five other reasons to check out the resort for your next couples retreat!

1) Affordability

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

It's no secret that McCall is one of my favorite places in the state and as the backdrop of our engagement, it's really special to us as a couple.  A friend of ours used to own a condo there and would let us use it from time to time, but recently sold it.  We totally understand and started looking for other places to stay in McCall for an "Idaho honeymoon."  Shore Lodge didn't have availability for the full duration of our trip and the Air BnBs were really expensive for how small they were.  Rather than get discouraged, I threw Tamarack out there as an option after really enjoying my stay at the Lodge at Osprey Meadows at Huckleberry Jam last year. We were absolutely thrilled to rent the "Hot Toddy" cottage Sunday-Saturday for less than $1200. The two bedroom, two and a half bath cottage was stocked with everything we could possibly need to really call it home for a week.  Dishes, washer/dryer, full sized appliances, full kitchen and a private patio with a grill.  Even better?  That private patio also includes your own private hot tub which was the absolute most perfect place to enjoy a beer and the Perseid Meteor Shower.

2) Surprise Perks

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

We didn't realize that when you book a Tamarack Resort-managed room or cottage, you get two Tamarack Passports per night, per room during the summer and winter months.  That Summer Tamarack Passport gave use free rentals of cruiser bikes, kayaks, beach chair, fishing poles and gave us access to free disc golf and scenic lift rides! In the winter, your passport word include an overnight hot wax, lift ride, snowshoe rental and Nordic trail pass.

3) Ziplining

For $99 a person, you get to experience the #1 zipline tour in the entire state of Idaho.  Not only does it give you an adrenaline rush, but the downhill hike between zips provides you a chance to experience how lush the mountainside really is.  In fact, a few people on our tour, stopped to pick and eat fresh huckleberries right off the bush.  The price might be a little more expensive than some other nearby zips, but this tour includes more zips and more suspensions bridges...and hanging out in a 105 foot tree house built on a tree that smells like vanilla!

4) Proximity

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

Like I mentioned, McCall is one of my favorite places in Idaho.  I'm training for the 30K Payette Lake Run that happens around the lake on Labor Day Weekend so it was great to only be a 25 minute car ride away from being able to go for a long run on the course.  It was easy for us to pop down for a day of relaxation on North Beach and to grab something to eat at some of our favorite restaurants like Lardo's, McCall Brewing Company and Anchor.

5) The People

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media

Seriously, the members of the TamFam are the absolute nicest people ever.  From the staff at the lodge, to our zip guides, to the staff and bar manager at Seven Devils, we experienced some of the best hospitality we've ever come across.  Not only did they offer sincere congratulations when we told them we were newly weds, they were more than happy to answer any questions we had about the resort's history and future. When the gal at the lodge's front desk teased my husband about how miserable he was when I "tried to kill him mountain biking," a few days after watching him hobble back in after our cruiser bike ride on the golf course...I knew we'd made some new friends!

I could go on, but you really need to experience Tamarack for yourself to truly understand how special this place is to Idaho! Check out more of what they have to offer, no matter what the season HERE!