One of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring adventures I’ve ever been on happened about 2 months ago in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Before I get into all the details, watch this highlight video! (I am SO excited to share this with you guys…)
How it all came together is kind of surreal, so I’ll try to keep that part brief without leaving anything out. The Jeep brand had been on the hunt for a few social media influencers to bring out to Jackson Hole to experience the mountains and the community, all from behind the wheel of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. Of course they wanted us to get to know the vehicle itself, but the whole thing was supposed to be more about an adventure. One that created memories and stories — the kind we would take with us and share over and over again. So when they initially reached out to me and asked what things I would anticipate doing in a setting like the Grand Tetons, this was me.
In that moment, I dreamed up my ideal visit to Jackson Hole.
First and foremost, I wanted friends to experience it with me — Jana Roach andElizabeth Cauvel, some of my favorite girls (#sistors) in all the world. Then I told them I needed a few solid hours to drool and cry over the mountains (as it was the first time in my adult life I’d be standing next to actual mountains), and after that I would dig into the community — visit the shops and cafes, then put together a dinner for our new friends in a beautiful setting, ending the night with s’mores, a campfire and some glamping.
Well, in a magical little nutshell, that’s what happened.
Fast forward a few weeks to when the voyage began. I met up with Elizabeth at Dallas Airport, where we were connecting for the last leg of the trip to JH. We hopped and giggled and yelled in excitement when we saw each other at the gate. During the flight, I gushed about how excited I was to see mountains with my own eyeballs — and when the plane began its descent into Jackson Hole, I was beside myself.
The Grand Teton mountain range has every right to be called “Grand”. I actually teared up and may have hyperventilated a little bit at the sight of those snowcapped peaks.
The feeling you get as a tiny human being next to something that big — it’s beautifuland humbling to the core.
After we landed and made the 45 minute trip to the lodge we’d be staying at, we got to meet the team. It was so good to share a meal with them and talk about our plans for the next few days. We would be visiting a few local businesses, experiencing the people in their element, and inviting them to an outdoor dinner at our “glamp” site, which would be on Heart Six Ranch.
The next morning, things were officially under way. Our first stop was Mountain Dandy, a charming little home goods shop in Gaslight Alley. The owners (Jon and Christian) were wonderful and I fell in love with them instantly. We chatted for a while and they agreed to outfit our tent and decorate our table for the ranch dinner that evening!
Then we stopped in at Persephone Bakery. That place…oh my word. The space was stunning — white, cozy and minimal. Such a perfect spot to set up for work on a rainy day. The coffee, baked goods and food offerings were incredible. We heard that they were famous for their marshmallows, so Ali (one of the lovely owners) ended up taking us in the back and showing us how they’re made! That was so much fun. Ali would be joining us at the dinner with fresh ‘mallows in tow.
Our last visit was with Wes Hamilton, Executive Chef at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This part was unreal. We met him at Cosmic Apple Gardens, a gorgeous community farm located in Victor, Idaho. This is where Chef Wes sources all the produce for his menu. We picked beets, tomatoes, basil and carrots — all of which we’d be using for the meal that evening. I loved his sincere commitment to locally sourced food. It was so beautiful to witness that, and to know that the stuff we just pulled out of the ground was going to become a dish we’d be sharing with all our new friends.
Later that evening, we arrived at the ranch. The setting was captivating. We had decor from Mountain Dandy, sweets from Persephone, and food from Cosmic Apple being cooked by Chef Wes on the grill while horses wandered across the field. I couldn’t believe it was all happening.
When everyone arrived, we broke bread, made a toast, ate, shared stories and just soaked up every moment while the sun set over the mountains.
As the evening faded and we said goodbye to our new friends, Jana, Elizabeth and I gathered around a campfire with our homemade marshmallows and just giggled. And giggled. And giggled some more.
It was perfect, and so us.
My goal with this blog and on my Instagram feed has always been to share life and connect with people. I didn’t know what to expect from this trip, but flying into Jackson Hole as strangers, and departing with a community full of new friends and memories just solidified that sense of purpose, and how important it is to know people. To visit them where they create, where they live, to invest in them and share who we are together. It’s such a beautiful thing, and I’m so honored to have taken part in this journey.
If you want to see all of the photos we’ve been posting on Instagram about this, check out the #JacksonJourneys hashtag! If you haven’t visited Jackson Hole yet, you’re going to want to go ahead and book something ASAP, or at LEAST add it to your bucket list.
The most outstanding part of this trip to me was the local pride. I loved that we got to see some of the town’s most beloved places through the eyes of the community itself. If someone was going to visit your city and experience it like we experienced Jackson Hole, where would you tell them go? What would you tell them to eat? Please share in the comments! I can’t wait to hear from you!
And last but not least, here’s a recipe for “adventure-style” hot cocoa — inspired by the cocoa at Persephone Bakery!
4 cups of whole milk
6 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (at least 70%)
6 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the chocolate and sea salt until chocolate is fully melted. Serve piping hot with a dollop of salted maple whipped cream or a handful of marshmallows (homemade if you want it the Persephone way!).
Salted Maple Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Add all ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and with a hand mixer, whip on high speed until thick, silky and smooth. Add a few spoonfuls to your mug of hot cocoa and enjoy!
*If you want to get fancy, add a shot of your favorite bourbon or whiskey (I recommend Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey to complement the homemade whipped cream) to each mug, then add cocoa, top with cream and finish with a sprinkle of shaved chocolate and sea salt.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel.
See Offbeat & Originals original blog post here