While the internet is invaluable for researching destinations and itineraries, it’s still a good idea to slip a current guidebook into your carry-on luggage. The barrage of choices in an unfamiliar location can overwhelm; a little hand-holding in the form of a decent guidebook can make the difference. My best travel books travel with me, get heavy use and generally return home in a slightly disheveled, bent-paged state.
“Jackson Hole: A Comprehensive Guide to Jackson and the Grand Tetons” by Nina Lary and published by Tourist Town Guides is such a book -and I haven’t even gotten back to Wyoming yet! The guide is thorough without being overwhelming. It includes a history of the locale, transportation suggestions and effective descriptions of the area’s ambience, season by season. The author makes recommendations on accomodations, activities/tour operators and restaurants -helpfully sharing the “sway” factors so that the reader may more easily make his personal choice. For instance, under motel listings: “If those amenities are irrelevant to you, **** is not worth the extra money,” and, “The cozy lobby is a converted living room… Some may find this too close for comfort.”
There’s plenty of “local” insight included, and Nina excels at including the details that matter. Helpful sections include: Area Orientation, Outdoor Activities, Snow Sports, Teton Village, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Each segment is very well-organized and brimming with descriptive and engaging narratives.
The pluses: Listings include phone numbers, addresses and website information. The author includes follow-up resources for in-depth information on virtually all listed categories. Geological and social histories are related in easy-to-understand terms. The negative: My personal preference would be to include more specific trail and hiking information, but this guide is meant to be a thorough overview of the area -and it quite competently achieves that. As noted above, follow-up resources are included and allow the reader to flesh out the areas that interest them most.