During September’s Western Design Exhibit + Sale, the great indoors complements the great outdoors for some quality mountain-town time in Wyoming.
The Tetons. Yellowstone. The Snake River. Galleries, good restaurants, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the National Elk Refuge, town square’s Antler Arches (a selfie hotspot if we’ve ever seen one).
There are plenty of reasons to visit Jackson, Wyoming, in pretty much any season. In summer, it’s all about nature and the great outdoors, from hiking and stargazing to rodeos and wildlife safaris. But toward the end of summer, it’s also all about the great indoors during the annual Western Design Exhibit + Sale. Previously known as the Western Design Conference, it sounds like an insiders’ gathering, but everyone is welcome to attend the four-day event that celebrates art and artists of the West.
From vintage Pendleton blanket-covered chairs to one-of-a-kind bronze sculptures, the 28,000 square feet of exhibit space at Snow King Center is filled with the work of 100 juried artists who specialize in wood, metal, leather, mixed media, fashion, jewelry, and home design. Throughout the space, pieces are showcased on pedestals, and there’s even a designer show home complete with a timbered front porch in the middle of it all.
“One of the things that makes this show unique is there are all different price points,” says executive director Allison Merritt. “Just because these items are one-of-a-kind doesn’t mean they’re not affordable. Plus, you get to meet the artists who made the pieces and can customize or commission something new, whether it’s a handbag or a forged fireplace screen.”
A Perfect Weekend in Jackson
The Western Design Exhibit + Sale is spread out over the weekend following the Labor Day holiday — a great time and opportunity to explore the area, says executive director Allison Merritt, who’s been living in Jackson since 2006. “I love it here,” she says. “The views, wildlife, and nature right outside your front door are intoxicating.”
Outside of the exhibit and sale, Merritt loves to shop at Belle Cose At Home, WRJ Home, Harker Design, and Fighting Bear Antiques. “All amazing,” she says. “They have fabulously unique pieces from cowboy to contemporary — everything from Arte Italica dinnerware to Navajo blankets — at all price points.”
Here are some more of Merritt’s top picks for enjoying a weekend in Jackson.
- Have a Big Breakfast and Hike
“I’d have coffee and eggs Benedict on the deck at Café Genevieve, located in a historical log cabin. Then, I’d hike up the switchbacks of Snow King Mountain for great views of the entire town of Jackson and the Tetons. For a route off the beaten path, try Ferrin’s Trail (watch for mountain bikers) or Josie’s Ridge.”
Café Genevieve, 135 E. Broadway Ave., 307.732.1910
- Go Out for Dinner and Dancing
“For dinner, Trio always stands out. You can’t go wrong beginning with their blood orange margaritas and blue cheese waffle fries. Then head to the Silver Dollar Bar at the Wort Hotel and the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for live music and country dancing.”
Trio, 45 S. Glenwood St., 307.734.8038, bistrotrio.com; Silver Dollar Bar at the Wort Hotel, 50 N. Glenwood St., 307.733.2190, worthotel.com; The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, 25 N. Cache St., 307.733.2207
- Hike Again on Sunday
“If you have more time, go to Jackson’s French-style Persephone Bakery for gourmet coffee and handmade kouign-amann pastries before driving to Grand Teton National Park for a hike through the Laurance S. Rockefeller Preserve up to Phelps Lake’s pristine turquoise water at the base of Death Canyon. On your return, sit on the decks of Dornan’s Chuckwagon under the Teton Range along the Snake River for an après-hike meal of artichoke dip, pizza, and beer.”
Persephone Bakery, 145 E. Broadway, 307.200.6708, persephonebakery.com; Dornan’s Chuckwagon, 12170 Dornans Road, Moose, 307.733.2415
- Consider a Big Adventure
“Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures offers breakfast with eagles, wooden-boat tours, guided fishing trips, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a full-service riverside tepee camp.”
Jackson Hole Vintage Adventures, 5455 Wyoming 22, Wilson, 307.732.2628
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep
“Stay in town at Snow King Resort, which is walkable to the Western Design conference and the town square. Or if you want to get away from it all, [just over] four miles outside of town is Spring Creek Ranch, which sits on a wildlife refuge a thousand feet above town with stunning mountain views.”
Snow King Resort, 400 E. Snow King Ave., 307.733.5200, snowking.com; Spring Creek Ranch, 1600 N. East Butte Road, 800.443.6139
The 27th annual Western Design Exhibit + Sale kicks off with a VIP fashion show and live auction Thursday, September 5, and runs until Sunday, September 8. For tickets and more information, call 307.690.9719 or visit westerndesignconference.com.
Photography: (all images) Courtesy visit Jackson Hole.
From the August/September 2019 issue.