I have nine more states to visit in the United States before I can honestly say that I’ve been everywhere. Making an airport stop without leaving the building doesn’t count.
Sheridan, Wyoming was at the top of my list, not just because I have friends there, but because the appeal of the West and anything John Wayne-ish was a temptation I couldn’t refuse.
Let’s put this in perspective.
I’m anything but a cowgirl. I live in New York City and sometimes in the nearby country or rather suburbs. I take subways and taxis wherever I go, and steak and fries aren’t usually my menu faves.
A Visit to Sheridan, Wyoming
But I relished a possible visit to Sheridan, Wyoming (named one of the country’s “Best Small Towns”) where I could get a taste of small-town Western America, done cowboy-style.
I offer you a city slicker’s guide to how to immerse yourself in this truly American experience.
Walk the Streets of the Town
At every turn in this historic town, there are sculptures signifying important aspects of the Wild West, from eagles and moose to fishermen and Native Americans.
These are part of the city’s public arts initiative to creatively add art to the town while also explaining the markers that create its history. You’ll learn about the history, as well, about legends like Buffalo Bill and the iconic places they frequented.
Speaking of Buffalo Bill, pop into the Sheridan Inn which opened in 1892, where Bill and his buddies downed more than a few. William “Buffalo Bill” Cody was intimately involved in the creation of the inn, and the 22 rooms each commemorate an aspect of his life.
Find other hotels accommodations in Wyoming here.
You can also drink at the original bar that Buffalo Bill frequented on his many “Wild West Show” trips to Sheridan.
Shop ‘til You Drop
Yes, that’s a cliché, but here the shopping is different. You can enter a world of ropes and saddles, where buckle art and lasso creation lends an important eye to the why’s and wherefore’s of these sale items.
Schedule a tour at King’s Saddlery and the Don King Museum, too, to learn more about Western history and ropes. If you like home goods, the small shops here offer a plethora of choices to decorate your country house or make your apartment homier. For souvenirs and clothing, check out the Crazy Woman Trading Co.
Soak Up the History at Museums in Sheridan
Just outside the city limits in Big Horn, the Brinton Art Museum displays 19th-, 20th– and 21st-century Western and American Indian art in a gorgeous eco-friendly building with views of the Bighorn Mountains.
Find different museums and book unique tours here.
Don’t miss the Native American galleries where costumes and headdresses are displayed in magnificent cases showing their full-feathered glory. The Brinton Ranch House, just a short walk away and also on the grounds, is an authentic period home from 1892, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Of note to me were the bathrooms, reminiscent of many of the pre-war bathrooms in New York City.
Dining in Sheridan
Brews, beef and bounty are the calling card here. New-fangled brewery Black Tooth Brewing brings the city into the present with artisanal beers like Black Eagle Baltic Porter and Little Goose Lager.
Step around the corner for a Western saloon experience at the 114-year-old Mint Bar and enjoy traditional cowboy meals at restaurants like Frackelton’s where generous portions of chicken-fried steak, ribeyes and ruby red trout headline the menu.
Commune with Nature and Locals
Within the city limits, you can join in where the buffalo roam by the grounds of the Kendrick Elk and Buffalo Park. Antelope and deer are spottable too.
Or drive a short way up Bighorn Mountain to Spear-O-Wigwam Mountain Getaway, a socially distanced place for retreats and relaxation with cabin-style living, roaming moose, and the simple joys of reading, hiking and watching the sunrise over the lake.
Capture the memories with a Canon camera during the end of year sale here.
Ask to stay in the cabin where 29-year-old Ernest Hemingway spent his days musing and creating. Just be sure to keep your windows shut – I had an unwelcome encounter with a swarm of flies that were attracted to the warmth of the stove inside the cabin! If you call ahead, you should be able to arrange horseback riding and rowing on the lake.