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.