Announcement of Winners: To kick off today’s post I’d like to congratulate the three winners of the e-book giveaway of Timothy McKinney’s The Power of Happiness. Thank you to all the commenters! And congratulations to August McLaughlin, Coleen Patrick, and Renee Schuls-Jacobson!
Picking up from where we left off, after camping in Yellowstone National Park, an adventure that ended with 30° weather in a tiny tent on a deflated air mattress, I
begged coerced Joe it was time for a nice hotel stay at our next stop, Salt Lake City.
I got my wish!
Our hotel was awesome! With food recommendations from my best friend’s sister, we ate at Bayou the first night – a pub atmosphere with cajun food. And at night we cracked open a bottle of Red Ass Rhubarb wine from the Prairie Berry Winery in South Dakota.
Salt Lake City is definitely a city I would go back to. It’s architecture is beautiful, mountains in the distance, and of course, the Great Salt Lake itself. It’s roads, however, are set up in a grid form and confused the living daylights out of me!
*Turn right on East 900 South, then turn left on South 900 East…*
WHAT??? Where am I supposed to go? My inner Anne Shirley is coming out. Let’s call this road the Avenue of Mormons and Mountains!
A metro city for sure, Salt Lake is a great place for SHOPPING! So all you ladies you humdrummed at camping in Yellowstone, could vacay in style at Salt Lake City! Several malls, many of which are outdoor outlets full of fountains and garden overlooks, grace the downtown area. High end shops for clothing as well as fun touristy shops of souvenirs that show Salt Lake’s got a sense of humor!
If you’re going to visit Salt Lake City, you should probably visit Temple Square.
Our first day we decided we needed to check out Temple Square, home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Temple. While visitors can’t go inside the actual Temple, the grounds have many of other buildings to view including the assembly room, Tabernacle, two visitors centers, and the Brigham Young Memorial which is now a hotel.
Temple Square is full of monuments and statues commemorating the early pioneers who traveled from Nauvoo, Illinois to Salt Lake City, Utah. They arrived on July 24th, 1847, which is now recognized as Pioneers Day in Utah.
Regardless what you think of the Mormon religion, I admit their temple grounds are beautiful and their pride is strong. Everyone we spoke to was incredibly nice and welcoming. Parts of the visitor’s center were creepy for me, too religious if that makes sense, but overall very well put together.
The gardens on the grounds were GORGEOUS!
Behold! The Mormon Temple!
As I said before, visitors aren’t allowed in the temple, but in the South Visitor’s Center there is a diorama that shows you what the rooms inside look like. They do look impressive and full of craftsmanship and artful color.
Funny story while in Temple Square. The Mormons hold a huge percentage of the country’s genealogy records, and their visitor’s center offers computer access for researching your family history. But look what I found!!!
So above the computers was a poster showing the Howland Family tree. My 17th great grandfather was John Howland, an indentured servant who came to America via the Mayflower. And apparently, his son John Jr. gave birth to the line that would be Joseph Smith Jr., the founder of the Mormon religion. Who knew? He’s like a long lost really really really distant cousin… Huh.
The Hand-Cart Pioneer Movement
One of the most famous historical triumphs of the Mormons was the Hand-Cart Pioneer Movement. I feel whether or not you agree with this religion’s practices, their nomadic journey in the name of faith was quite the exodus. Not many would be able to endure the harsh conditions these people did to make a new home.
The Lion House
If you’re looking for a place to eat, might I recommend the Lion House, converted to a cafeteria style restaurant and their french toast is amazing. The inside is full of photos of the Young family and early Mormon settlers.
The Mormon Tabernacle Organ
Periodically throughout the day, the Mormons offer organ recitals inside the Tabernacle. Joe and I attended and it was really something to hear. Before the organist begins, he discusses the acoustics inside the room and demonstrates by tearing a single sheet of paper, dropping a nail, and then dropping several pins. All I can tell you is…WOW.
The Random Best Dessert Award Goes To:
Leaving Temple Square, we had lunch at the Tin Angel Cafe’ which features mostly organic foods and an artsy atmosphere. Their pear brulee with caramel drizzle was to die for! Best “meal” I had all vacation! Drool Fest!
What to do on a hot summer day? Visit the Tracy Aviary!
That concludes our tour, folks. Feel free to tip your guide by leaving a comment below!
What do you think? Have you ever been to Salt Lake City? Do you want to go? What city do you think Joe and I should head to next?