What’s a girl to do when big crowds and hot temperatures send her running for the hills?
Why she visits the iconic summer destinations in the winter, of course!
Living with severe environmental (sun and heat) and food (soy and yeast) allergies travel can be a real pain. In December 2015 my husband came to me with an idea. We needed to travel six hours north of Colorado Springs…Why?… Because, he explained, “we have been six hours or more in every other direction”. Makes total sense. Hubby did some research and we decided on our destination.
We went to Buffalo, Wyoming.
A place where old and new meld beautifully into a winter wonderland, rich in history yet hip and modern. No matter when you visit, there is history to be reveled in around every corner of the town.
From the Occidental hotel, to historic down town, everywhere you look you can catch a glimpse of the glory days for this small town.
Not the best lighting, but a wonderful historic building with literary ties.
A better view of the Occidental Hotel. Yes, you can still stay in this hotel. http://www.occidentalwyoming.com
For the literary buffs out there, you will know this gem as the place where, the Virginian got his man. While the historians will know it for the role it played in infamous story of Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and the Wild Bunch. For those who love the story lines of Craig Johnson in his Longmire series, especially if you have watched the show on A&E/Netflix you will recognize the scenery when you walk the paths in Buffalo Wyoming, as the fictional Longmire country.
And if you are in doubt that you’re in the right place, the “Longmire for Sheriff” signs all over town will confirm my description.
In summer time, locals and tourists a like, fill the streets to over flowing. Whether they are stopping over on their way to Mount Rushmore or Yellowstone the town more than doubles in size in the summer months, making a stay in Buffalo more expensive – and for me more stressful – than it is in the off season.
In the winter, however, the small town feel returns to Buffalo.
Hotels can take time to deep clean their rooms, as the Hampton Inn we stayed at were in the process of doing.
Also no matter where you decide to eat you can almost guarantee a seat without a wait. They have a variety of restaurants that would appeal to almost any pallet. They have steakhouses that can, not only work around food allergies, but will serve you a steak and potato meal worthy of a cowboy who had spent a long hard day in the saddle.
For those who prefer an organic option for their meals, take heart… they have that also. Organic BBQ is a thing, and it is better than one might think. Regardless of which you choose, prepare for the locals to give you a cursory once over, in the friendly small town way, and welcome you to town.
Buffalo Wyoming is a quintessential small town in winter. So out of towers stick out just as much in winter – if not more – than in the summer when out of towners are expected.
With my food allergies, the steakhouse and organic BBQ were a welcome sight. As I have come to realize the more hippy (a family term of endearment for food I can eat) the place is, the more choices I would have, and the Winchester Steakhouse and Up In Smoke, two places that were willing to work with me where my food allergies were concerned, were a breath of fresh air in the small town setting.
They also boast The Fix. The all import coffee house, where even the pickiest of coffee drinkers – me being among them – can find a worthy caffeinated beverage when one is needed. A very important part for any trip I am on, otherwise I am not my normal bubbly self.
They outsource their coffee and syrups so you know you aren’t getting a cup of Folgers for the price of a Starbucks coffee. Beans and syrups from Italy, the attention to detail was a wonderful addition to our trip.
The town is very pet friendly, over all.
We were traveling with our 9 month old 5 pound Multipoo, and other than eating establishments, which we expected, we were able to carry our small dog around while we reveled in the historic atmosphere.
Taking a short stroll around historic downtown.
The employees at the Hampton Inn fell in love with our little fluff ball, and did their best to spoil him with attention, as did most locals we happened upon in our exploring.
While we were not headed to another location we did drive through the Big Horn National Park.
We reveled in the clear blue sky, the white mountain peaks, and the wind – which Wyoming is known for – as it whipped the freshly fallen snow into puffy clouds before our very eyes.
Those clouds are actually snow being carried by the wind.
More snow being whipped into a cloud frenzy by the famous Wyoming winds.
Driving through Big Horn National Park, and Chaz is in his favorite (warm-up) spot. Sun is bright, but don’t let that fool you, it’s cold out there.
We also walked Clear Creek path for a bit.
I enjoyed the opportunity afforded by cold cloudy day to get out and walk a bit. Clear Creek runs through the town of Buffalo, and is filled with picturesque scenery. The locals call out a friendly hello as you pass one another on the path. While the Big Horn Mountains seem to suddenly appear out of nothing in the distance. It is easy to see how in the spring and summer this path would be a tranquil walk, filled with areas to stop and take a moment to enjoy the scenery and quiet the creek provides.
Crossing the creek afforded an amazing view of the semi-frozen creek.
A view often seen near Longmire’s home in the Television series.
Chaz enjoying walking where there wasn’t snow.
A path leading to the Big Horn mountain range.
We left our home in Colorado hoping to find an allergy friendly locale where I could relax and enjoy my time away from home, and we hit gold with Buffalo, Wyoming.
A cold, often overcast, place where hippy restaurants abounded so I could eat my meals without fear of reaction. To place icing on this already fabulous cake, it was also affordable. Something I had on good authority was not the case in the summer months.
If you are looking for an affordable winter get-a-way, think of heading west. Just keep in mind that winters in Wyoming are harsh. Which puts into perspective just what it took for settlers of this glorious state to survive each winter, let alone their first winter here.