Discover history, outdoor adventure, roadside attractions, and fine dining unique to Wyoming in Laramie, the “Gem City of the Plains”.
A French Canadian fur trader and mountain man, Jacques La Ramee, arrived in what is now the state of Wyoming in 1815. In 1820 or 1821, he departed for a season of trapping along the river that now bears his name and was never seen or heard from again. Details surrounding his disappearance are still unknown; but the town of Laramie, two rivers, a fort, a county, and a mountain peak bear his name today. Located in historic Downtown Laramie, The French Place features authentic French cuisine along with homemade baguettes and pastries.
Originally established as a military post on July 19, 1866, Fort Sanders was first known as Fort John Buford and later named for General William P. Sanders. Very little of the mostly wooden fort exists today other than some of the original stones of the guard house. This fort was built to protect travelers on the Overland Trail and workers who were constructing the Union Pacific Railway from hostile Indian attacks. Remnants can still be seen three miles south of Laramie on Highway 287. The Cavalryman Steakhouse is located on the parade grounds of historic Fort Sanders and features quality service and signature menu items.
Union Pacific construction crews laid the track connecting Laramie to the rest of the country on May 4, 1868; a few passengers arrived the same day and regular service began less than a week later. The arrival of the railroad inspired entrepreneurs to build more permanent structures in what had been described as a “hell on wheels” tent city. Laramie was the western terminal of the Union Pacific Railroad for just a few months, but even after track was laid to points further west, Laramie’s reputation and population continued to grow. A wide variety of cuisine is available among the four restaurants along the tracks on 1st Street. From burgers to wings, Born in a Barn and Lovejoy’s Bar & Grill have American food covered, Sweet Melissa’s offers a vegetarian menu, and authentic Thai is no further than Anong Thai Cuisine.
Thirty miles west of Laramie you will find a community known as Centennial which was originally settled by workers for the first Transcontinental Railroad. The nearby Medicine Bow National Forest provided the wood for the ties that would connect the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines. Later, the discovery of gold lured miners, prospectors, and merchants to the area. Centennial is now a rustic yet comfortable year-round resort which serves as the gateway to the Snowy Range. Take the Wyoming Highway 130 known as the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, and discover the high country of the Medicine Bow Mountains. A visit to the Centennial area isn’t complete without experiencing the area’s great restaurants. The Old Coral has amazing steaks, the Trading Post Restaurant and Saloon features a western atmosphere with family dining, The Bear Tree Cafe with famous pizza’s and burgers, the Historic Mountain View Hotel & Cafe offers fantastic specials as well as on-site roasted coffee, and the family owned Vee Bar Guest Ranch serves home cooked buffet meals that are made from scratch – travelers to the area feel right at home in Wyoming!
Those looking for peace and quiet amid the grandeur of the Snowy Range Mountains need look no further than the tiny hamlet of Woods Landing, twenty-five miles southwest of Laramie. Whether just passing through or hoping to stay a few days, Woods Landing offers the weary traveler a chance to step back in time and enjoy old-fashioned hospitality and family values while enjoying the spectacular scenery. Less than one hundred people are fortunate enough to call Albany home, but thousands of visitors each year experience authentic Wyoming at The Woods Landing Café on Highway 11 nestled in a canyon at the base of the soaring Snowy Range Mountains. Most travelers find their way to the Albany Lodge, where delicious food and comfortable accommodations await.
Visitors to Southeast Wyoming will discover all the amenities expected of a historic Western town. Cuisine ranges from vegetarian to steak-houses with Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese options. Historic Downtown Laramie is the place to enjoy a pint of locally brewed beer, shop antique stores and gift shops, satisfy early morning coffee cravings at one of six local coffee houses, and satiate hunger at a variety of cafes. Laramie boasts over a dozen museums best enjoyed by walking tour, brochures and maps can be obtained at the Laramie Area Visitor Center located at 210 E. Custer Street.