Park City, UT, was the first stop on our year-long adventure, and it couldn’t have been a better place to kick-start our trip. It is like the Disneyland of the Rocky Mountains. No place I’ve been to in the Rockies compares in terms of the sheer number of outdoor attractions in such close proximity to each other.
Within a 5-10 mile radius, you can ride ski lifts to amazing mountain biking and hiking trails (or use your own power to get to the top); cycle the tens of miles of paved paths between Park City Mountain Resort and surrounding communities; fly down mountainsides on zip lines and alpine slides; ride hot air balloons and horses; or (if you dare) catapult yourself down bobsled runs and towering ski jumps (into a whirling swimming pool) at the Utah Olympic Park. And this is just what you can do in the summer. We enjoyed many of these adventures and more during our week in Park City.
Our hosts for the week were our dear friends Robbi and Brandon Hendricks and their sweet daughter Kiera. You can’t help but feel like a rock star when visiting the Hendricks. They work in the luxury hotel industry, so we were fortunate to get VIP treatment and ride the ski lifts at Deer Valley for free, watch world class ski jumpers fly through the air from the pool deck, and rub shoulders with current and former Olympians.
Brandon also showed Brian some of his favorite single track mountain bike trails, and the Hendricks planned an amazing gourmet picnic for all of us to enjoy at an outdoor concert at Deer Valley Resort. Even from the Hendricks’ backyard, we were in immediate proximity to outdoor activities like mountain biking, trail running and more. Every day was a new adventure, I even saw a moose on one of my runs – so close I had to turn back down the trail!
Here is a slideshow of some of our Park City highlights.
We were so impressed with Park City (and our hosts), that we seriously contemplated stopping our trip right then and there and just live in Park City for a year. We even scoped out some condos that we could imagine ourselves living in one day.
Our last night in town was an eclectic, gastronomic, cultural and spiritual (in more sense than one) tour of Salt Lake City. We and the Hendricks headed out sans kids to downtown with no set plan but to wander where our moods and appetites took us. We started out at BTG wine bar – a fantastic bistro with an amazing wine and appetizer menu where we sampled flights of wine from around the world. Afterward, we wandered through Temple Square and into the Assembly Hall were there just happened to be a classical concert starting that very moment. We stayed for 20 minutes and heard soprano-mezzo soloist Suzanne Hansen belt out an assortment of American history-themed tunes, accompanied by a pianist and cellist.
After that beautiful, yet sobering interlude, we set out on a hunt for SLC’s new, hip speakeasy, the Rest. After a few wrong turns down various alleyways, we found the Bodega – the street-side entry point to the unmarked, underground Rest bar. The Bodega could sit maybe 10 people max. There was no indication or sign to let you know you were in the right place. To gain entry to the Rest, you had to ask the bartender at the Bodega if you could go “downstairs”, to which he replied, “Do you have reservations?” We didn’t.
But luckily they had room for us at the bar. We were led down a full flight of stairs to a cave-like room. The Rest is a converted bank vault with a thick, ancient-looking wooden bar top, tables and floors, heavy metal doors, and low ceilings. Taxidermy animals adorned the walls and stairwells throughout. The bartender, Zade, mixed amazing cocktails and served up incredible food. After that evening, we had truly gotten our fill of food and fun for the week.
For all the great times we had with the Hendricks and in Park City, and despite how much we wanted to stay, we know we have more fun times to look forward to and wonderful friends and family to visit along our journey. So, we are back on the road and headed for our next destination: Lake Tahoe and our dear friends the Wright family!
Sounds like a magical interlude – how wonderful to share it with you through your blog. Your family’s absence really set in for me this last week. The lazy days of summer have arrived and I keep wanting to hop over to say hi. We walked past your house last night and saw the new neighbors out on the deck. I am sure they are delightful, and I look forward to getting to know them, but I really miss you guys. Thank you for writing about your adventures – it makes you seem closer. Big hugs from me.
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Awww, Kristin! We miss you guys so much too! 🙂 Hugs to your girls from us!
Looks like you guys are on your way! Have a great trip, Slobes. FYI, just writing to update Brian that I took Boston by storm and won 2 gold medals – 1 in patterns and the other in….. sparring! I taught those over-40-ladies a thing or two! Lol. Be safe out there! Teachers went back this week to MK8. Interpreters don’t report until next Wednesday, but I’m sure your presence is being missed over there!
– Jenny Ballew
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