Intoxicating views

I love Jackson Hole and everything that surrounds this outdoor mecca. Somehow it remains authentic while still being a tourist gateway to the splendors of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. And one of my favorite stops in the Grand Teton National Park is Dornan’s

Dornan’s – Moose, WY

Great food and a terrific wine list served up on the deck overlooking the Grand Tetons.

The Dornans homesteaded Jackson Hole in the early 20th century, and as traffic picked up to the Tetons and Yellowstone, John P. Dornan started a roadside business to serve visitors with gas, beer, and food. JP had married a ‘local lady’ named Ellen Jones, whose family homesteaded near the town of Jackson.

As the park service bought the land to create the Grand Teton National Park, the Dornan family opted not to sell, and now are a unique privately owned spot in one of the most beautiful parks in the country.

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar – Jackson, WY

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar is no ordinary bar. Wyoming’s landmark watering hole for spirits, beer and wine, it is located right on the town square in the heart of Jackson. It is famous for its neon sign and western cowboy flare motif, complete with a large collection of western memorabilia, unique knobbled pine architecture, cowboy murals, animal mounts, and yes, genuine saddle barstools.

Some of the biggest names on the country music scene have been known to hit the stage here, including Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jr., Asleep at the Wheel, Hoyt Axton, Glen Campbell, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Commander Cody and the James Cotton Blues Band.

And, of course, they have a mighty fine souvenir shop.

Antler Arch – Jackson, WY

This is the standout landmark of Jackson. In 1968, arches fashioned from shed elk antlers were constructed at all four entrances of the town square. The arches are particularly appropriate, since Jackson lies on the perimeter of the Elk Refuge. Each year, local Boy Scouts collect the antlers, most of which are then sold at auction in the town square on the third Saturday of May.

Nora’s Fish Creek – Wilson, WY

(Yep – that’s the same cowboy! Go figure) Nora’s is known for their hearty breakfasts.  The huevos rancheros are especially good, as are the pancakes and bacon.  Their coffee is not. (probably to keep folks from lingering)

The decor is local, western, and authentic in a log cabin. Evening meals feature – you guessed is – trout! (And the elk tenderloin with blackberry-wine sauce isn’t to be missed.)