You may have gathered by now I’ve become quite fond of this part of the world - so much so that I’ve been looking at real estate here. I’m not even sure if I can legally buy property in the US or what the laws are for foreign investment, but I figure there’s no harm in dreaming and seeing what’s available, just in case.
One place I’m really taken with is a little community called Story, located halfway between Sheridan and Buffalo at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains. For a start, I love its name - what better place for a writer to live than Story, Wyoming? - but it’s also incredibly cute, right out of a storybook, pun intended.
Jammed up against the National Forest, Story is basically a collection of cabins and small cottages nestled amongst pine trees. Two creeks and several seasonal runoff streams provide the constant burbling of running water through aspen groves; and with just two main roads which go nowhere, it’s a peaceful enclave with a pine-scented, wildlife-strewn character all of its own.
Saddle maker Matt Moran, who has his studio at Story, told me “if Jimmy Buffet lived in Wyoming, he’d live in Story.” And of its 900 residents, many are artists, musicians and writers - that’s just the sort of people it attracts, those of independent means and a free spirit. Like me. This is the sort of place to retire, to create your next artistic masterpiece or to write the Great American novel; well, that’s what I intend doing, anyhoo!
From a visitor’s perspective, Story is well worth diverting off the I25. There are several top-notch restaurants in town including the Tunnel Inn, recently taken over by the former chef from The Virginian in Buffalo and offering fine dining in what appears to be a roadside pub. There are also several craft and art galleries, including a collective called Story Art Station where local artists display paintings, jewellery, designers clothing, western art and some really cool pots made from coiled rope. Then there’s the ever popular Fish Hatchery, open year round with an educational centre and hatchery trout ponds.
The town is also rich in history: for instance, there were several bloody battles in the area between Northern Plains tribesmen and the military, including the epic Wagon Box fight of 1837. A monument has been built to commemorate those lost in the battle, while visitors can also visit Fort Phil Kearny, a partially reconstructed army frontier post which now contains a museum and bookshop.