The surefire sign of a good vacation is that before your trip comes to a close you’re already looking for a way to move there. While I had great expectations for my recent visit to Wyoming, I didn’t anticipate falling in love with the “Cowboy” state. But the moment our car rolled into charming Jackson Hole — nestled quietly beneath the mountains — I knew it was going to be a memorable week.
Our mad dash of a trip included four nights in Jackson Hole to attend a travel conference, followed by two nights in the Grand Teton National Park, with a quick visit to Yellowstone somewhere in between. We made the most of every minute and discovered landscapes that were simultaneously striking and serene. In the end, even the majestic mountains couldn’t compete with our wildlife encounters, which made us feel as if we were on an all-out American safari.
For a window into Wyoming, take a look at the following photos, which, along with the snapshot above, will give you nine good reasons to visit the Cowboy state now:
If you go to Jackson: Stay in the downtown area to take in all that the town has to offer. With views of the Snow King ski slopes, downtown lodging means easy walking distance to excellent restaurants, shops and more. And speaking of restaurants, you won’t go wrong if you choose any of these in Jackson:
The Bunnery Bakery & Restaurant: Old school-style restaurant — a true flashback to decades past — with a menu that has something for everyone. Offers outdoor patio dining, when weather permits, and indoor seating, too.
Bin22: When you walk through the front door, you’re in a wine shop, which quickly gives way to a contemporary-styled restaurant and bar with views into the kitchen. There’s outdoor seating as well. The food is very unique — their specialty is house-pulled mozzarella (a cheese ball, of sorts). It’s beautifully prepared, gourmet and delicious. Great wine selection, too!
Lotus Cafe: This bakery/bistro/lounge features fresh, organic food including meats, vegan and vegetarian dishes. Located in downtown Jackson, the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting, and the food is exceptional, with a wide range of healthy and tasty options.
Genevieve Cafe: This quaint little log cabin is a great place to stop for a meal in the heart of Jackson, with plenty of outdoor seating and a menu that won’t disappoint. It is a happening spot in town, offers “home-cooked” meals, and is very popular with locals and tourists alike.
Trio, An American Bistro: More upscale than the other restaurants we dined in, Trio is all about the presentation and the quality of food on their menu. We enjoyed fresh salads and beautifully prepared chicken and pasta (stuffed with salmon — delicious)!
Bon Appe Thai: We had an enjoyable and very spicy (our choice) Thai lunch at Bon Appe Thai (love the name). Also open for dinner, they serve a great selection of Thai food — from curry dishes and noodles, to stir-fry, soups and salads. You can’t go wrong here.
While Jackson seems to have an unlimited supply of restaurants, your choices are more limited in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Depending on whether you’re staying in the park lodges or not, you might find yourself skipping a meal or two and instead snacking on granola or nuts purchased from one of the general stores.
That said, we found the food to be quite good at the Yellowstone cafeteria. And in Grand Teton National Park, one of the highlights of our trip was dining in the Mural Room at the park lodge. With clear views from our table directly across to the jagged peaks of the Tetons, the restaurant’s location is stunning. Equally fabulous was the food!