Rustic furniture abounds in Cody, Wyoming, and interested homeowners can get some great finds at the annual Cody High Style event each September. Photo: Doug Nordstrom.
When the doors open each September at an annual event known as Cody High Style, furniture designer Doug Nordstrom anticipates a large group of other high-end furniture makers competing for the top prize. “There’s something about Cody,” says Nordstrom. “We find inspiration in the natural environment and in each other. If it’s made in Cody, it is superior quality.” For a town of less than 10,000 people, Cody, Wyoming is blessed with an inordinate number of custom furniture designers and artists of numerous media. More than 20 full-time furniture designers live and work here, making this a destination for authentic rustic home design. “In the world of Western furniture, this is the place to be,” says Nordstrom, who walked away with the top prize at the 2007 event.
Cody, Wyoming Panorama.
When William F. Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, first came to this region in the late 1880s, he, too, was inspired by the natural landscape — so much so that he chose to build a town that would bear his name. Much of what attracted Buffalo Bill to the area should appeal to those who appreciate the rugged beauty of timber-home living. Just 54 miles south of the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Cody maintains an authentic Old-West vibe, while offering a number of cultural amenities in the unsurpassed setting of the Big Horn Basin.
Waterfalls, lush meadows filled with grazing elk and powerful granite formations plunging into peaceful lakes showcase the region’s beauty in two scenic drives that depart from Cody. Small ranching communities and pristine farms nestle themselves into this landscape as naturally as the big horn sheep and herds of wild horses.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.
Although the Cody Recreation Complex brings in a number of sporting events and concerts to town, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center is the focus of many community activities, including guest lectures, art exhibits and other cultural programs. The whole community turns out for Buffalo Bill’s birthday party in February, where community leaders vie for the right to read aloud from the dime novels that helped make Buffalo Bill famous. The historical center is actually five well-done museums in one. These include wings devoted to firearms, Western art, Native American heritage and natural history.
The gallery devoted to the man and the legend of Buffalo Bill has just reopened after a $2.75-million facelift. In August 2011, the community’s most recent cultural attraction debuted. The Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center is located on the grounds of a former Japanese Internment Camp, built here during World War II. Not only does the center do a remarkable job of recreating and explaining a difficult time in our nation’s history, it also serves as an event space for the local community. Traveling art exhibits and educational programs are an important component of this one-of-a-kind center.
In the summer months, the population of Cody, Wyoming swells to about 30,000, accommodating those who not only enjoy nightly rodeo and music shows, but also those who come to hike, fish, ride horses and unwind at the eastern front of the Shoshone National Forest. Some of the West’s best outfitters and guides live and work in Cody, and they love the idea of showing you something you’ve never seen before.
In the winter, the Cody area is renowned as one of the nation’s premiere ice-climbing destinations. The area snowmobile association maintains about 70 miles of trail throughout Park County, and many of the region’s resorts maintain trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Add to that the miles of backcountry trails in the national forest and there’s no need to stay huddled indoors around a fire during the wintertime. Work at it a little bit, and you can find places around Cody where there is no cell signal or wireless Internet. After a few days “off grid,” you might not come back to the connected world, nor leave the community that helps sustain the legend of Buffalo Bill Cody. Vital Stats
(date August 2012, courtesy Census.gov)
Household median income: $40,497
Average house value: $176,700
For more information: Park County Travel Council 307-587-2297