The southern gateway to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the town of Jackson teems with hordes of tourists in summer. However, the area is equally renowned for its skiing. When in Jackson, you are also in Jackson Hole, the valley that separates the Teton and Gros Ventre mountain ranges. A glamorous playground for the rich and famous, Jackson walks a fine line between staying chic enough for the nouveau riche who come to ski and Western enough for the old-time cowboys who have always been around. Regardless of how it presents itself, the town can’t be beat as a base for hiking, biking, rafting, fishing, and exploring the Tetons and Snake River.
Downtown Jackson is centered on the intersection of Broadway (east-west) and Cache Street (north-south) and marked by Town Square Park, which is itself marked by the four enormous arches of antlers that frame each corner. Most shops and restaurants are within a four-block radius of this intersection. South of town, at the intersection with Route 22 West, Broadway becomes US 191/89/26. To get to Teton Village, take Rte. 22 to Route 390 (Teton Village Road) just before the town of Wilson. Winding back roads, unpaved at times, with close underbrush and frequent wildlife sightings, connect Teton Village to Moose and the southern entrance of the national park. North of Jackson, Cache St. turns into Route 89, leading directly into the park.
World-class skiiing and climbing lie within munites of Jackson, and whitewater rafting the legendary Snake River is an adrenaline rush. During winter months, skiiing enthusiasts flock to Jackson to experience pure Wyoming powder. Even after the snow melts, the aerial tram wisks tourists to the top of Rendezvous Mountiain for a view of the valley.
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In the US, good table manners means quiet eating. Loud chewing, talking with food in your mouth, or slurping are seen as rude, and burping or flatulence is not seen as complementary to the chef. Servers at sitdown restaurants usually expect to be tipped 15-20%.
Dress in the US tends to be more modest than in Europe. Toplessness, particularly in women, should be avoided. Many establishments will require a customer to wear a shirt and shoes. The most acceptable forms of public affection are hugging and holding hands; kissing in public will usually draw some glances. Although most cities are tolerant of homosexuality, gay or lesbian couples should be aware that they may receive unwanted attention for public displays of affection, especially in rural areas. Also, note that many American will say “see you later” without really intending to make future plans.
One of the most offensive gestures in the US is extending your middle finger at someone. Known as “giving someone the finger,” this gesture is considered not only rude, but obscene. On the other hand, a “thumbs up” gesture is a sign of approval and a widely recognized signal for hitchhiking, which Let’s Go does not recommend.