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Why This is the Year to Experience the...

February 5th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I realize the days are still short – but, yay, getting longer – and many of us are tired of winter, but it’s a great time to think of our summer plans.

Personally, I love spontaneous trips, but there are times when planning a vacation is just plain fun. My sister-in-law told me in the fall she had signed up for a group tour to visit China this spring. As we exchanged e-mails and spoke on the phone I found myself wishing I was going with her. She didn’t invite me, so I just had to make do with researching her itinerary and buying her some guidebooks for Christmas. I also added a similar trip to my “Some Day” list.

Last year I thoroughly enjoyed learning about some self-guided walking and biking tours in an unnamed location north and west of my beloved Cody, Wyoming, and I followed through with a vacation that was equal parts active, relaxing and educational. That sounds a lot like my life, except the vacation did not include cowboy musicians.

As part of my job, people ask me for recommendations for accommodations, food, shopping, hiking trails, fishing streams and the like. A common question revolves around “secret” times Read More


Why Didn’t I think of “National Plan...

January 16th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Whether they are ranchers, cowboy singers, hotel housekeepers, foodservice employees or are involved in the myriad jobs around here, people in Cody/Yellowstone Country work hard.

Some of us pretty go at it non-stop during the peak tourist season (and no, you don’t want to see the grindstone when we’re done with it) and then take time off during the shoulder season. Others work closer to traditional 40-hour weeks and play on weekends and vacations.

Whatever suits you best is my belief.

What I don’t like, however, are the people who think they are indispensable and leave vacation time on the table every year. You know who you are or you know the type.

Some are worried that the boss will think less of them if they are out of the office, store or restaurant instead of producing. Others cannot imagine the business surviving without them, and still more are worried about that ambitious young 20-something taking their jobs if they aren’t there to do it themselves.

I got some news for you. You aren’t doing anybody any favors by refusing your time off. We all need to get away from work, relax and recharge our batteries.

So when I heard about the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Read More


It’s Party Time

November 22nd, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

When I lived in the big city, the Christmas holidays were definitely different from what I was used to. The major department stores created wonderful displays, and friends and employers held parties most every Friday and Saturday (and several weeknights) from the beginning of December until the big day.

Since I moved back to my hometown, I have found the pace to be slower and more to my liking. The holiday events in Cody/Yellowstone Country are happening soon, and I am happy to report that I will be able to enjoy all of them at an easy pace that will allow for plenty of visiting, shopping and reflecting on the season.

Here’s my plan:

Powell Country Christmas will be held throughout the first weekend in December from Friday, Dec. 2 through Sunday, Dec. 4. Country Christmas is a holiday gift expo and craft showcase located in downtown Powell at the Commons at Pond Park. There will be gift booths, crafts, food booths and entertainment throughout the day as well as a lighted Christmas Parade downtown. The event concludes Sunday with the Tour of Homes Event. More information is available at www.powellchamber.org.

Cody Christmas Celebration will be Saturday, Dec. 3. We will enjoy ice carvings, roast marshmallows over Read More


For the Best Yellowstone Vacation, Start...

March 14th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As winter gives way to spring, I start to hear from old friends who are thinking about their summer vacations. Invariably, they ask for my counsel on planning a summer vacation to my slice of paradise. Specifically, they usually want my help visiting Yellowstone National Park and our area.

I am always happy to share my knowledge as well as my recommendations about what to do, where to stay and which cowboy musician is telephone number-worthy.

While each vacation will be different, there are several things I always recommend.

First of all, the best way to appreciate a Yellowstone vacation is to start it in Cody, Wyo., the wildest way in to the world’s first national park.

The first stop I recommend is to go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and head to the Draper Natural History Museum. At the Draper’s top level, you can look at a floor map of the region that helps you get your bearings and see where Cody, Park County, the park and the whole Yellowstone ecosystem fit together. From that top level are ramps that go down in a counter clockwise pattern with interpretive displays on specific topics such as the area’s wildlife, how forest Read More


Dude, I want to share a secret with you.

March 7th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Did you know the term “Dude” actually originated here in Cody, Wyo.? No, it’s not from the surfer beaches of California or a junior high locker room.

Back when the park – we locals refer to Yellowstone as “the park” – was still a baby in the 1870s the people who made a living taking tourists around the thermal features came up with the term to describe any visitor from the East. The term quickly evolved to describe anyone who hired a guide to show them the West and our lifestyle.

Being proud Westerners, ranchers often hosted guests who wanted to stay for a week or two or three and experience the cowboy life. It did not take long, however, before enough people started visiting that it became prohibitively costly for the ranchers to shelter and feed these visitors.

The answer to this dilemma? Ranchers began reluctantly asking their guests to pay a fee to stay and help with chores around the property. The guests were more than happy to pay these fees, and a new segment of the hospitality industry was born.

The first “dude ranch” dates back to the 1880s and was the Custer Trail Ranch in the Dakota Badlands east of Read More


Comparing Notes With Other Tourism Folks

February 28th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I don’t know about you, but I can always tell what time of year it is here in Cody without even looking at the calendar. Colorful lights means Christmas is approaching. The first day I see that huge car with the loudspeakers bolted on the roof and longhorns attached to the hood means the start of June and the Cody Nite Rodeo. Dan Miller walking down the street in a cupid outfit must mean that it’s Valentine’s Day.

Okay, I made that last one up. But I can hope…

Cody, the wildest way into Yellowstone.

If it’s late in February, it must mean that I have just gotten home from the Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Tourism. We all know that Wyoming is a big state, and I am reminded of our glorious open spaces, soaring mountain ranges and stunning beauty when I make my annual drive to our state capital of Cheyenne every year for the conference.

I lived in the big city where there are more people crammed into 10 square miles than we have in our whole state of almost 100,000 square miles (97,818 to be exact), and I am reminded of one of the main reasons I came home and Read More


A Ski Resort for the Rest of Us

February 22nd, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I’m a skier, and I think the sport is awesome. But I’m not an awesome skier. I like my meandering blues and greens, but my days of double-black moguls are long gone. In fact, they never really even existed. And when I drive west for a day of winter fun at Sleeping Giant Ski Area, none of this matters in the least.

Why the confession? Because as the unofficial ambassador for all things Yellowstone Country, I want to remind my readers Sleeping Giant Ski Area is one of the family-friendliest, prettiest, most well-managed ski areas you’ll ever want to visit. For those of us happily in the green- and blue-run category, there are more than enough runs to keep us energized and entertained. In fact, 55 percent of the entire mountain – 26 runs in all – are blue and green. My friends who love the moguls find plenty of challenging runs too, with 45 percent of the terrain and 21 runs in the expert category.

Events at Sleeping Giant are fun for the entire family.

And for stat-lovers, here are a few other fun facts about Sleeping Giant. It has a total of 184 skiable acres, 47 runs, a base elevation Read More


Walking my way through winter

February 8th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Although Cody winters are relatively mild compared to many parts of the country, by about February, some of my friends and neighbors in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country are starting to show signs of cabin fever.

My neighbor barely returned my wave when we were both out shoveling the other day, and when declining my invitation to join me for some prime rib at the Irma Hotel followed by a drink in the Chamberlin Inn’s solarium, my best friend informed me that she wasn’t emerging from her house until the first bears start emerging from theirs. (Last year the first den-exiting bear was sighted on Feb. 9, so my rather dramatic friend may not have long to wait.)

The Center of the West grounds offers great areas to walk.

But I have a better solution to grumbling or hiding until the end of winter: strap on your step-tracker and walk it off. Like nearly else everyone around here, I have a good pair of heavily treaded, waterproof hiking boots. And from now until spring I intend to wear them every day and go for a walk or hike.

Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is home to more than 25 developed parks and miles of trails. Read More


The Art of Cody

January 12th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Comments (2)

During the post-holiday winter months, I often find myself seeking inspiration. And I frequently find it in Cody’s art.

Ranging from a bold and richly detailed mural showing the history of the region’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) community to a whimsical painting of bare-bottomed cowgirls, the art that can be found in Cody reflects our wild Western town’s collective attitude of independence, ambition and respect for tradition and history. As a life-long student of history, I also enjoy that many of the town’s most famous pieces of art come with an interesting and sometimes quirky back story.

Here are a few of the places I visited on a recent free weekend.

The Cody Mural/Historic Site. A great example of artistic story-telling, the Cody Mural Historic Site is located in the rotunda of the LDS Church in downtown Cody, this ambitious painting by Chicago artist Edward Grigware depicts the beginning of the church and experiences of early members during their exodus from the East to Utah. The artist was not a member of the church so he spent nearly a year studying the history of the church and their expansion into the West, and his stunning interpretation draws visitors of Read More


What’s on my Cody calendar this winter

January 5th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

During this long holiday weekend in Yellowstone Country, I have two goals: clean and organize my house (isn’t that what everyone does?) and mark up my brand new 2016 calendar with important upcoming dates and events in Cody. The latter task is easy; there’s a handy calendar of events on the Yellowstone Country website. The first task could take me well in to March.

Those of us who live here as well as those hardy winter-season visitors who come to play know that there are great events year-round, including during the winter months. First up, at least for me, was a Yellowstone Quake hockey game in the Riley Arena on Saturday, Jan. 2. If you love hockey like I do, Yellowstone Quake is a great way to support our Cody team. The team is a USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior ice hockey team playing in the North American 3 Hockey League. You might be surprised just how exciting junior hockey can be, and I try never to miss a home game.

Watching a Yellowstone Quake hockey game is always a thrill.

Another one of the events I always look forward to in winter is the annual Ice Fishing Derby, this year scheduled Read More