Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ensign Peak

If you’re in Salt Lake and you’d like to go for a quick hike, but you don’t have a lot of gear or time, Ensign Peak is perfect.
The trail head is just five minutes’ drive directly north of downtown Salt Lake City, behind the Capital Building and up the hill.
The hike is less than one mile round trip, and anyone can do it.
The view here is spectacular.
Ensign Peak is a prominent hill on the northern edge of the Salt Lake Valley. On July 26, 1847, two days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young and seven other pioneer leaders climbed the hill to survey the valley. From its summit they laid out in their minds the city they intended to build.
The men fastened a yellow bandanna to a cane and waved it from the mountain peak. Brigham Young named the spot Ensign Peak. The pioneers had carried two American flags with them across the plains. Within a short time a flagpole was erected and one of those flags was flown from the peak.
Utah's state capitol building stands on a shelf part way up the hill. Efforts to preserve the summit as a park began in 1908. In 1934 a monument was built, honoring the men who climbed the hill in 1847.
The view from Ensign Peak is amazing.
Brigham Young hiked this peak when the pioneers first arrived to get a view of the layout of the valley.  There’s a small monument at the top commemorating this event.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Boating in Utah, Bear Lake

I was talking with a good friend many years ago about boating. This friend was a recent transplant to Utah from Oregon. He was shocked to hear me talk about boating.
“Who in Utah has ever really been boating? Utah is a desert!”
But Utahns love to boat! You’ll see boats next to many homes in Utah. And there really is a large choice of available lakes in Utah for boating, water sports and fishing.
So this is a short entry, hopefully in a longer series of entries about boating in Utah. Our first stop is Bear Lake.

Bear Lake is very beautiful. Coming over that mountain pass and catching that first sight of Bear Lake is an unforgettable experience.  The water is an amazing color of blue.
Bear Lake is twenty miles long and eight miles wide. It’s kind of a rectangle or oval. It’s big enough that no matter how many people are out on the lake, it never seems crowded.

The water activity season is relatively short. The elevation at Bear Lake is high, and the lake is surrounded by alpine mountains. We like to go in August, rent a boat for a couple hours, and do some water skiing and wakeboarding.
There are other activities in the areas, like ATV trails and caves to explore and camping.
Garden City and Laketown have lots of good entertainment, and the area is famous for raspberry shakes. People come to Bear Lake just for the ice cream.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


People will tell you different things about Lagoon.
It’s an amusement park.
It’s got rides.
It’s a great place.
Some will even say that Lagoon is lame and that Lagoon is just a smaller version of Disneyland.
Okay, we’re all impressed that you’ve been to Disneyland.
But here in Utah, Lagoon is a tradition of fun that goes back to the 1800’s.
Here in Utah you’ll mostly hear people say: “Let’s go to Lagoon this year!”
Lagoon is an amusement park in Farmington Utah. Lagoon has been around for a long time. The original park was opened in 1886 and was moved in 1896 to its present location.
Just about every year a new ride is introduced in the park. For example, Lagoon has nine roller coasters.  
The oldest attraction in the park is the original carousel that was purchased and installed in 1906. But it was built in 1893.

You’ll find all kinds of rides at Lagoon.  There is an entire section of rides just for little children.

The water park, Lagoon-a-beach is large, and crowded. But there are lots of good water slides.
In the 50’s and 60’s all the big name singers and bands came to Lagoon.  The Beach Boys performed here many times when they were just starting out. Jimi Hendrix performed here. The Rolling Stones performed here.
I personally love the atmosphere at Lagoon. The food concessions and carnival games on the midway make just walking through Lagoon fun. They try to keep it the same year to year, only adding to the attractions while trying to preserve the traditions.

We went with our family in July this year, and we all had our “bounce back” passes validated, and so we’ll be able to go back for $11.00.
My wife and I will go there on a date.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Oaks

There was never a more beautiful setting for a restaurant. The menu isn’t the most exciting you’ve ever seen, but a visit to The Oaks is an experience you’ll talk about for years.

Ogden is about half hour’s drive north from Salt Lake City, and Ogden Canyon can be accessed by taking the 12th Street exit. 12th Street goes right up Ogden Canyon.
The Oaks is set on the Ogden River there is lots of outside dining. The tables are set into cozy nooks with wonderful string lighting. The sound of the water rushing by is very soothing. The hummingbirds flit around from table to table. Because of the canyon setting, the temperatures are always cool and refreshing in the summer time. In the Autumn the Fall colors are spectacular.  

The Oaks is open year round and the inside dining is very lovely.
The menu is great. This isn’t fast food. There are sandwiches and soups and salads and burgers. Everything is great.
Farther up the canyon is Pineview Reservoir and two great ski resorts, Powder Mountain and Snow Basin. The towns of Huntsville and Eden offer other fun dining choices that will be discussed here later.
Don’t miss dining at The Oaks. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fishing Strawberry Reservoir

In June I had a few days off, so I took my family to Strawberry Reservoir for some fishing. Strawberry Reservoir is about half an hour’s drive south east of Heber City. It’s in a beautiful high mountain valley. Strawberry is famous for great fishing in Utah, but it’s also a place for people who really know their fishing, as we learned in June.

We’re definitely amateurs at fishing. But we’re trying to learn. We decided to try our luck with power bait at Strawberry. We were fishing near the lodge and boat ramp. There were fish jumping all over the place. Apparently they weren’t impressed with our power bait.

But it was a beautiful day of fishing. A forest fire was burning south of the reservoir, and that gave an eerie smokiness to the atmosphere. Ironically it was kind of beautiful. I know that the forest fire was a tragedy, but the sun shining through the smoke gave a red glow to the day.
So, we didn’t catch anything.
But we left with more resolve to learn more about fishing and to try it all again as soon as possible. As darkness fell my son and son-in-law went hunting for crawdads. They were able to fill a bucket with the little critters, and we boiled them and ate them, mostly to say that we ate something we caught at Strawberry.
We ended the day with a night around the campfire, quietly chatting and planning more fishing trips, and eating hot dogs and crawdads.

Salt Lake Archery Company

Archery and the archery deer hunt were like religion to my family. My father and grandfather bow hunted together, and my great-grandfather bow hunted before them.  I ended that tradition because I didn’t want to hunt. But in our family we love archery just the same.
Salt Lake Archery is located on 2200 South just above Highland Drive in Sugarhouse.  We go frequently to the range to shoot. My daughter especially loves archery and even talks of trying to hunt one day.

At Salt Lake Archery they have compound bows and traditional recurve and long bows. The pro shop is well stocked with supplies and accessories for both.
Expert advice and instruction is always available and there are leagues and clubs to join.

The range is affordable and there is always room to shoot.
Archery is growing in popularity due to movies like The Hunger Games and Brave. We see lots of teenage girls out learning to shoot, and that’s great! Archery is good for anyone, at any age. It’s a sport that is relaxing, quiet, and challenging at the same time. Progress is immediately measurable. It’s not difficult to learn, or expensive to set up. Compound bows are more expensive, and arrows can get pricey depending upon the materials involved.
But you could get set up with a recurve bow, arrows, and other accessories you might need for less than $200.00.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Downtown Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City has undergone dramatic changes in the last few years, yet remains very recognizable.  Salt Lake is beautiful and organized. The city is framed by some of the most beautiful mountain peaks in the Wasatch Range.
Most recently the new City Creek Center has altered the face of downtown Salt Lake City.  Where ZCMI and Crossroads Malls once stood, the City Creek Center now meanders from West Temple Street to State Street, just across the street from Temple Square.
I plan several blog posts about downtown Salt Lake City, and this one will obviously focus on the new City Creek Center. The City Creek center was completed and opened in March of 2012. Business has been brisk and people have come in droves. This is our first visit to City Creek Center, so we just did a walk through. We’ll get to know the shops and restaurants soon.
Temple Square, The Joseph Smith Memorial building and the LDS Church offices sit at the top of downtown, and the principle streets run south from Temple Square.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Temple Square

I’m doing an entry about Temple Square that is separate from my entry about Mormons because I believe that Temple Square is worth a visit no matter what you believe about Mormons.
The Mormon pioneers who settled Utah started work on Temple Square almost as soon as they got here.  They used Temple Square as a reference point for all other addresses in the city. It’s still that way today. North Temple Street runs from east to west on the North side of Temple Square. South Temple does the same on the south side of the block. West temple runs from north to south on the west side of the block. You’ll suppose now that I’m going to talk about East Temple Street, but there is no East Temple Street. Main Street runs from North to South on the east side of the block.
The Tabernacle should be a key part of your visit to Temple Square. The acoustics are famous and you will probably be given a demonstration. A sister missionary will go to the pulpit or stand near the organ and drop a straight pin. You’ll hear it clearly as it hits the floor.
There are two visitor centers, one on the north side, and one on the south side of the square, with displays on the history of Mormonism, and displays about Mormon beliefs. The north visitor’s center contains the famous statue of The Christus.
The building in the southwest corner of Temple Square is The Assembly Hall. This is a beautiful old building that is used for smaller meetings and concerts.
In front of the Assembly Hall is the Monument of the Seagulls. The early Mormon pioneers told of a summer when crickets started eating their crops. Disaster seemed certain. Then suddenly, seagulls came from the Great Salt Lake and began to eat the crickets. The crops were saved. The Seagull is now Utah’s state bird.
Temple square has many assorted statues, monuments and historical memorabilia.
Many people are surprised that tourists are not permitted to enter the Temple. This is because the temple is very sacred to Mormons. Members of the Church prepare themselves to serve in the temple.
Christmas time is an incredible time to visit Temple Square. Temple Square is light up with hundreds of thousands of lights during the holidays.
Sister missionaries are always waiting to give a tour of any of the buildings on Temple Square.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

25th Street in Ogden

Ogden has lots of history, and 25th street is a very interesting place. Lots of shops and restaurants. Lots of clubs and bars, too. That’s in keeping with the historic tradition. 25th Street gained the nick name of “two-bit street”.
25th street began with the appearance of the Union Pacific railroad and started to grow in the 1890’s. 25th Street starts with the Union Station. The arrival of the train to Utah made Ogden a major junction when traveling across the country. Travelers found food, lodging and lots of excitement on 25th street.  
Many of the businesses, restaurants and bars, had brothels above the main floor. 25th Street in Ogden was the place to go in Utah to be free from Mormon influence.
There is a story that Al Capone visited 25th Street and found it too wild for his taste.
Today the old buildings preserve the history, and the feeling here is the same, though I don’t believe you would be in any mortal, or moral, danger here. The shops on 25th street are intriguing, fun, and the shop owners are friendly and accommodating. There are a few art galleries that are really interesting.
The restaurants are amazing.  I want to do individual blog entries on each one. They all are decked out in period atmosphere.
At the far west end of 25th Street sits the Union Station. There are interesting museums here at the Union Station. The Browning museum is here, with all the history of Browning Arms.
Weddings, concerts and other special events happen at the Union Station.
There is more to see here than could be seen in an afternoon, or even a day. But with wonderful art galleries, a great variety of shops, fun restaurants, and exciting clubs, there is more than enough to do and see on Historic 25th Street in Ogden Utah to make a visit here more than worth your time.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Front Runner

The Front Runner train runs up and down the Wasatch Front. Front runner is a commuter train. Currently it runs from Salt Lake City to Ogden, but soon the route from Salt Lake City to Provo will open.
The train moves swiftly from station to station and doesn’t stop at every town. I took the train from the Woodscross station, and we passed the Farmington station, and the Layton station, and the Clearfield station, and the Roy station, and finally arrived that the Ogden station.
The cars are comfortable and quiet. The views are spectacular. I especially love riding on the upper level. To the west you see quiet communities and a vast vista. Beautiful wetlands stretch on forever and Antelope Island looms in the distance in the Great Salt Lake. On the other side of the train to the east, the famous Rocky Mountains, the section we call the Wasatch Front, tower high in the sky. The mountains are snowcapped well into June.
At the Ogden station there are museums and train yard with historic trains and related sights to see. The Ogden depot is fun to see and has lots of local history.
The Front Runner train began service in 2008. At the time service began, the train ran from Salt Lake City to Ogden. That’s the way things still are. Work has continued since 2008 to finish the second section that will run from Salt Lake City to Provo. As of 2012, the work is almost finished. A new station will be added at North Temple Street in Salt Lake City that will connect passengers with the Trax trains, specifically the line that goes to Salt Lake City International airport.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Café Rio

Although Café Rio is quickly spreading throughout the U.S., it got its start right here in Utah.
Café Rio is great Mexican food. My wife, who is from Mexico, loves Café Rio and if it’s up to her to choose a restaurant for an evening out, she’s sure to pick Café Rio.
The Burritos and Tacos are bulging, large, and generous. We especially love the steak tostadas on a corn tortilla.
My wife also loves the Horchata. It’s not easy to find good Horchata here in the U.S. Café Rio has great Horchata.
The restaurant is festive and colorful. There is always a large crowd, but we’ve never had trouble finding a table. The food service is fast and effective, and your dinner selection is made to your specifications. The price is perfect. Café Rio is a little more expensive than fast food, but not like a “sit down” restaurant. Very affordable for a quick lunch, with great atmosphere for a special evening out.
There are many Café Rio locations along the Wasatch Front.


Dylan’s is our favorite hamburger restaurant.
Located in Kaysville, Utah, right on Main Street. Kaysville is convenient to all points along the Wasatch Front. About a half hour’s drive north from Salt Lake City, getting to Dylan’s is not a problem if you want a great burger.
And great burgers are what we like most about Dylan’s. I personally recommend anything with bacon. The bacon is real, quality bacon fried up especially for your burger. I like the smoky bacon burger, but you can have the blue bacon burger if you like blue cheese dressing.
Besides burgers, Dylan’s offers a great selection of good sandwiches. And the ice cream is worth a visit all by itself.
The restaurant is clean and attractive, and the price isn’t bad. It’s a little more expensive than a common fast food chain burger place, but the extra cost is easily justified when you see the big, delicious burgers made one at a time to your liking.
My mouth waters just writing about it.
Be sure to try the sweet potato fries.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Utah State Capitol building

This building has always been a favorite place of mine. I love to visit here. My wife and I used to come here just to hold hands, and stroll the grounds and chat when we were dating.
The Capitol building serves all three branches of government in Utah.
The capitol building was designed in 1912 by Utah architect Richard K.A. Kletting and completed in 1916. It’s really a beautiful building, in a beautiful location.
The interior dome is fun to see. It’s 165 feet at its highest point. The paintings and decorations of Utah history in the dome are beautiful. The background is painted like a clear blue sky with seagulls flying across. The dome is held up on four piers, each supporting ten million pounds.
There are lots of displays about Utah and Utah history, including lots of art and sculpture. The Governor’s suite contains a desk, table and cabinets that were made from trees that were toppled when a disastrous windstorm hit the Capitol in 1999. They represent Utah’s spirit and resilient nature.
When I was a kid there was a large museum in the basement that was fun to see, but that has changed since the remodeling.
In 2004 the Capitol building was refurbished. Pilings were installed under the building to help stabilize the Capitol in case of earthquake.
Local high schools frequently hold their formal dances here under the dome. The Capitol building in Salt Lake City is beautiful and definitely worth a visit.  

In Utah

This is a blog about what’s going on in Utah. If you’re interesting in visiting, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
There’s no denying that Utah is a beautiful place.  There’s a great variety of landscape here from desert to alpine mountains. And the scenery changes with the seasons. There’s tons of fascinating history here. You’ll also find amazing things to do and see here in Utah.
One of the main reasons I’m putting this blog together is to provide information about Utah to those who are planning on visiting Utah as tourists. As I’ve researched information for this blog, I’ve been surprised to find that there is little information in blogs and internet videos about all the great things going on in Utah.
I happen to love Utah.
I’m the product of generations of people who lived in and loved the state of Utah. I have Mormon pioneers in all parts of my family tree. My personal feeling about Utah is that I am happy to live here, and I want to contribute to my community and make it a better place.  I don’t suppose I’m different from anyone else who is happy with the place where they live.
Our family tries to take advantage of all the beauty and action available in this state.
I love to ski when I can afford it. Skiing was different when I was a kid. We got on the lifts for about $10.00. Skipping school was a required part of skiing for my generation. We skied in our jeans and drank soup out of a thermos to keep warm.
It’s a little different now. The equipment is very high tech, and the outfits are expensive, and passes are more than $60.00,  but I’ll be posting all about the resorts and the best deals for skiing.
We like to get out and go camping. Our family has dirt bikes and we love to explore the trails in the mountains and out in the desert. Utah is famous for endless off road trails. I love to golf in Utah, and we try to get involved in all the community events that we can.
So I want to spend some time here on this blog talking about Utah and things that are going on in Utah. We’ll do resort reviews, product reviews, restaurant reviews, and we’ll talk about the sights.