Discover Jackson Hole

Beautiful, natural, and rich: Is Wyoming's 'Brokeback country' too good to be true?

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It's a warm summer night and the county fair is in town. The fair's climactic event, the demolition derby, is drawing big crowds to the fairgrounds. Crowded too is the upscale Old Yellowstone Garage, which hosts a pizza night on Sundays, when servers circulate with an ever-changing array of creations fresh out of wood-fired ovens. Shaking his head with a broad, disbelieving smile, the restaurant's owner, David Gilbert, comes wheeling past a table and declares, "This is just too crazy," before quickly disappearing again.

Across the Snake River in Wilson, the parking lot at the Stagecoach Bar is packed. There are Ford pickups with gun racks and Subarus with Thule bike racks. Inside, river guides in Tevas and Patagonia mingle with cowboys in Justins and Wranglers, all here to watch the house band run through Hank Williams and countrified Beatles.

The band rips into a gloriously ragged version of "Hey, Good Lookin'" before one member declares, "That was fun. That was so much fun we gotta take a break." You don't want to place the burden of metaphor on a joint that's really all about simple good times. But the bar is not unlike Jackson Hole. The things that bring people here are still bigger than the things that might otherwise keep them apart.

VITAL STATS

Population: 18,251 in Teton County

Growth: 63% between 1990 and 2000

Elevation: About 6,300 ft.

Average August High/Low: 80°/38°

Average January High/Low: 27°/5°

Median home price: $615,000

Median age: 35

FYI: Although it's the voting residence of Vice President Dick Cheney, Teton County was Wyoming's only county where John Kerry defeated President Bush (53% to 45% )

Moving to Jackson? 

You don't have to be Harrison Ford to live in Jackson Hole, but it doesn't hurt. Jonathan Schechter, executive director of the Charture Institute, offers a few points to consider.

Start with a thunderbolt. If there isn't something about this place that touches your soul, you're probably wasting your time. Jackson Hole is wonderful, but it's also remote, with long winters. You really have to want to be here.

Have a portable income. It helps if your job or business can be done from any location.

Have a financial cushion. If you hope to start a business, you'll need time to figure out your strategy after you arrive. Jackson has its opportunities, but fewer than in larger cities.

Manage expectations. Do you want a home on 5 acres with a stream? Or are you willing to consider a smaller property to live in Jackson Hole proper and enjoy a Teton view? Avoid disillusionment by understanding your goals.

See Jackson Hole 

 

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