The town of Jackson, in Teton County, Wyoming is one of those places where people come and go, but time can stay still. The passing of time is only noticeable by the dust gathered in between the cracks of the wooden buildings in town.
If you look at the Playhouse for a while you might not even know what year it is. You enter it, you’re totally confused about time. Go to the town square in summer and watch the daily shoot out – if it weren’t for the photo cameras that everyone carries around, you wouldn’t believe it is the 21st century. Look towards the Tetons while driving on the Moose-Wilson road – you’ll see the farms, the horses and the carriages – your car only reminds you of the era you live in.
When it comes to aspect, Jackson is a faithful entity – it perfectly illustrates the saying: “The last and best of the Old West”. Architecture, interior design, food and even clothing are all dictated by the western influences, the cowboy style, the heavy rustic, timeless beauty of the wood, leather and turquoise gems.
Sometimes, some of us need to take a break from the western life style, but escaping the Jackson atmosphere is a challenge here, in a tourist town, widely renowned for preserving the Old West. Still, there are a few places that take you into another dimension, that create a unique atmosphere, reminding you what times we actually live in.
Old clothes, new feelings
When I first entered Queeenie & Co, I thought I had, through some sort of invisible portal, landed in the 60’s. It smells like wonderful old times, filled with jazz music, beautiful women and exquisite perfumes. There are clothes everywhere, arranged by color or type. The racks look inviting, the clothes, even if worn, smell good, are not wrinkled, torn or dirty. You can find the most special and expensive pieces in the middle of the store, but there are real treasures covering each wall. From fur and leather coats, to skirts and dresses of all sorts, to hosiery and scarves, this little boutique is the dream of every girl fan of chick lit novels, of color, clothes and quality things. You think it cannot get better than this. But then you see the walls and the shelves that are adorned with accesories – leather bags, sequined shoes, vintage jewelry and silk scarves. Forget the bills, let’s buy ourselves something nice…
Only once did I walk out of Queenie & Co without buying something and, trust me, that was a difficult test of my self-control. I almost cringed at the thought that I didn’t buy anything. I fooled myself that happened because the red vintage Steve Madden shoes were a size too big for me and the black leather bag hanging up front was making me look older than my age. I consoled myself Ithinking of my share of preowned treasures: a black dress with leather top part, a cream and brown leather bag, a wonderful oversized ring and a few sweaters, one of which is a lovely pink cashmere.
Why is Queenie so special? One of my arguments is that, even though there are no men’s clothes, it appeals to them too. It’s a splash of color and scent, of textures and shapes, a celebration of quality and beauty and it smells divine. My fiance goes in just to look at the clothes and feel the smell of the shop. He says it’s completely different from everything he’s experienced before. And he’s not the only one, I’ve seen others just enjoying the athmosphere.
Love for coffee and cocoa and chocolate – Coco Love by Atelier Ortega
As I have often stated, I don’t like American coffee and I am not curious about trying new places until at least one of my friends has tried it. This Tuesday, I made an exception. Due to lack of coffee, I was having a terrible headache and I decided to have coffee. Now, where would I get a good coffee in Jackson?
Well, in a small coffee shop, crammed between a leather store and a stationery shop, across the street from the Wort Hotel. It’s called Coco Love and it doesn’t need to be explained. Starting with the simple design that uses basic furniture and contrasting colors – orange and black – and moving to the armonious look of the pastries and to the coffee aroma, everything exudes excellence. You’re not in Jackson, but in one of the most refined places of a cosmopolitan area – you are among the privileged that get to taste Atelier Ortega. And you enjoy it every single bite and sip at a time. Let me tell you something – the Tiramisu is out of this world. I’ll say no more, but here’s another review of the place I found on yelp.com:
To say that Atelier Ortega’s chocolates are good would be to miss the point. These chocolates are otherworldly: otherworldly in the Platonic sense, meaning each flavor nearly perfectly embodies the flavor from which Oscar Ortega took his inspiration. As Willy Wonka would say, “his snazberries taste like snazberries.” With truffles such as Goat Milk Caramel and Cabernet Reduction, he sets the bar pretty high.
A friend of ours, a food critic in Jackson known locally as “Crumbs” actually fed-exed a box of these magnificent artisan chocolates to us while we were on our honeymoon. It was that little bit of extra insurance that we would enjoy ourselves. To him and Mr. Ortega I say, “Thank you for making our world a better place.”
Bottom line: If you’re in Jackson Hole, WY you owe it to yourself to stop in to this shop.
We spent almost an hour inside and we talked about all things dear: home, family, childhood. We left with a wonderful feeling of contentment and well-being, a smile on our faces and a relaxed mind.
This place are just two more reasons to come to Jackson. It’s a place special in itself, but made even more special by the work that people put into it. It’s nature and craft, combined with love for beauty.
Author’s note: this post is not a paid advert, but a personal review of two of the places that I love in Jackson.