Allies Dinner
City Guide, Events

Equality Utah – Allies Dinner

A crowd described at “Fan-fucking-tastic” by this year’s keynote speaker, Gloria Steinem, gathered at the Salt Palace for Equality Utah’s annual Allies Dinner. Combining the LGBTQ community with their supporters, the event once again sold out.

In its 15th year, the event marked a major development – Equality Utah filed a lawsuit against the state’s “No Promo Homo” (or, more officially, Anti-Gay Curriculum) laws.

As it stands, public schools are forbidden to discuss anything that could be interpreted as a positive portrayal or support of homosexuality. This means there is simply no conversation regarding the matter in any club or class. Refusal to discuss the topic indicates there is something negative about the subject and in effect leaves homosexual students unheard and even unprotected.

While at least seven other states practice similar laws, this lawsuit is the first of its kind in the country.

To follow the case and learn more about Equality Utah and its mission, visit EqualityUtah.org.

allies-dinner

Photos taken at the 2014 and 2016 Equality Utah Allies Dinner

City Guide, Outdoors

Snowbird Oktoberfest

With last year’s collector steins at the ready, locals make the winding drive up Little Cottonwood just as the canyon fades to orange.

Founded in the 1970’s, Snowbird’s Oktoberfest is one of Utah’s most popular festivals. It received extra attention in 2014 when it almost went dry due to tightening of state liquor licenses. Despite some resistance, the festival continues to grow and was named one of the “10 Best Oktoberfest Celebrations in America” by Men’s Journal that same year.

newsnowbird

More than just great beer (local and non), attendees get to experience accordions, alphorns, and an early autumnal chill. Also, for those who enjoy a view after their brew, the chair lifts and trams are in operation to take passengers to the top of the mountain.

When: mid-August through mid-October – Saturday and Sunday 12PM – 6PM

Where: Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort

More: Snowbird.com

Oktoberfest_West

City Guide

Summer in Salt Lake – 2016

A list of the top festivities this summer throughout Utah.

FOOD
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS
MUSIC
ENTERTAINMENT 
SPORTS
Big Sur Julia Phieffer Burns
Outdoors, Travel

Big Sur

In town to cheer on a friend racing in the Big Sur marathon (while I ate my weight in buffalo wings and hung out with Smokey the Bear in the spectator’s tent), we made a long weekend of the event and spent a few extra days bumming around Monterey, Carmel, and the best stretch of highway in the country.

Lovers Point Big SurPacific Coast Highway California 101Big Sur California PCH

Travel tips:

  • While we got a great deal on the flights, hotel rates in Carmel are higher than I anticipated. If you’re flying into the area and are without a vehicle, opt for the cheaper hotel rates in Monterey then spend the extra cash on a rental car. There is so much to see and it is spread out.
  • But if I could stay anywhere, it would be here… and maybe here too.
  • Pack and dress in layers.
  • Oh–and if your name happens to be Andrew or Julia, the signage makes for a once in a lifetime kitschy photo op.

ndrew Molera and Julia Pheiffer State Parks

Snowbird The Summit
City Guide, eat, Outdoors, Travel

The Summit Restaurant – Snowbird Resort

The 1969 trailer for “Of Her Majesties Secret Service” touts not a new, but a “different Bond” as it was the first time Sean Connery did not play the role. Instead, George Lazenby stars in his only 007 film. This is significant because, until that point, Bond had never been on a pair of skis due to Connery’s adversity to the sport.

In the flick, Bond leaves sunny Portugal upon learning of the villain’s hideout. The next scene swiftly finds him at the hideout—A modern fortress built high in the snowy Swiss Alps. A fortress so remote and foreboding that it could only be constructed with the means and resources of an evildoer (truthfully, it was filmed at the Piz Gloria restaurant). One thing leads to another and the first Bond ski chase appears in a 007 film.

A similar quick contrast in scenery occurs when traveling from downtown SLC to Snowbird’s newest restaurant, The Summit. Within (a will-timed) hour, one can make if from the city to the top of  Hidden Peak—11,000 feet above sea level.

A major undertaking and a monumental accomplishment, the restaurant took decades to plan and two summers to build. In addition to the challenge of transporting all of the materials to the top of the mountain,  it was also crucial that no damage occurred on the surrounding environment.

The Summit is a cafeteria-style restaurant and the facility offers year-round service. It is the perfect quick escape and can also be rented for parties and such.

To learn more, visit Snowbird.com

Snowbird The SummitSnowbird The Summit The Summit Restaurant Snowbird

 

 

Zion in the Winter
Travel

Zion/Springdale, Utah

What the town of Springdale, Utah lacks in winter tourist numbers, it more than makes up for in twinkling Christmas lights. I don’t believe there is home, hotel, or cactus that doesn’t spend the holiday season covered in the stuff.

In (what I thought was) an attempt to spend our remaining PTO, Andrew suggested we make a trek to Zion mid-December. We stayed at the wonderful Cliffrose Lodge where we were treated to breakfast burritos in bed each morning—a surprise perk of the restaurant closing for the winter.

To end our days just as well as we began them, we traveled down the road (.2 miles) to the Spotted Dog Cafe each night for dinner and drinks.

Zion Park Utah Rock Zion DriveZION Waterfall

While we felt like one of the locals when in town (we even managed to crash the Town Hall Christmas meeting), we felt we had the place to ourselves when we entered Zion National Park. Averaging 40° during the day, the park is mostly quiet in comparison to warmer months. We stayed warm by hiking and on our last evening we packed blankets and wine to watch the sunset from the top of the Canyon Overlook Trail.

I had a few suspicions throughout the trip and, just as the sky started turning, Andrew surprised me by getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him. I will never forget the image of him like that with the canyon behind. I accepted his proposal and we spent the rest of the night in town toasting and calling our folks.

I can’t image a more surreal setting for such an incredible memory.

Zion Canyon Overlook Trail

ZIon Engagement

Canyon Overlook Zion

Based on the photos, you would think this was two entirely different trips. However, on our last morning we awoke to snow and it was a treat to see the park both ways. I managed to get a few final photos before we packed up the car and made the long, snowy drive back to SLC.

Zion Snow

Zion Engaged

 

 

Finns Restaurant Salt Lake City
Breakfast, City Guide, eat

Finn’s Cafe

Managing to dodge the typical juke-box retro vibe, Finn’s has instead found the perfect fresh and clean throwback atmosphere. It feels like what folks in the the 1940s would have pictured the future to look like; exciting, modern, yet still charming.

Top menu recommendations:
– Sourdough pancakes
– The occasional special omelette with chorizo sausage, fetta, and avocado.

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 7:30am to 2:30pm.
Web: finnscafe.net
Location: 1624 South 1100 East, Salt Lake City, UT
Phone: 801-467-4000

Antelope Island Great Salt Lake
City Guide, Outdoors, Travel

Antelope Island

My first time on Antelope Island was everything I thought it wouldn’t be.

Size:
I will forever associate islands with a small lump of sand only big enough for the two crossed palm trees and one really tan cast away. Actually, Antelope Island is pretty damn big.  A paved road will take you around most of the perimeter. We took my car but a bike would definitely be preferred.

Antelope Island  Utah

Water:
There was very little. Nearing its historic low set in 1961, 2015 has been a rough year for the Great Salt Lake.  It’s a little hard to make out, but the photo below shows where the waterline typically falls.

Antelope Island Utah

Animals:
It’s the closest thing you’ll come to a safari in the beehive state; Buffalo, antelope, two rabbits, and a bald-eagle.. not a bad day.

Antelope Island  Utah

Recommendation:
Go. Take your camera. And a picnic.

Delicate Arch Moab
Travel

‘Tis the off season – Moab

Although the majority of the beehive state boasts a four season calendar year, Moab only experiences two seasons; peak and off. After eight solid months of red-rock-t-shirt buying tourists, the town takes a well-deserved power nap November through February.

Travelers from out of state making a one time trip should brave the crowds and pay the peak season rate — it’s worth it. However, for those living in Salt Lake City, a short four-hour drive away from the winter inversion will find you a quieter version of the desert oasis.

While it surprisingly isn’t much warmer than Salt Lake City (pack your puff coat), you’ll be pleased to find that Pasta Jay’s is still open, the skies are still blue and, save for the occasional dusting of white, the rocks are still red.

Pros:

  • Hotels offer an off-season rate which is usually around 50% off.
  • You’ll walk right in to any of the open restaurants and find an open table.
  • The parks and trails are still open — and less crowded.

Cons:

  • Weather can be spotty. Take heed if you’re traveling via highway 6.
  • Many of the shops downtown are closed.

arches national park moab moab utah arches

Occasion

Sixties Sci-fi Halloween

There is no more novel an experience than a celebration of costume and when it comes the Halloween holiday, I have always favored masquerade to macabre.

COSTUME:
It was a moment light-years in the making. Andrew (already tall, dark-haired, and stoic) let me make a few minor adjustments to transform him into Spock from the original Star Trek series.

I, a loosely based Kirk, went for a 70’s glam vibe and traded in the Starfleet yellow for a glitzier gold. I bought this jumpsuit from ASOS with full intention to wear it again (maybe new years?). Andrew’s sweater was also an ASOS find and for the final touch, we ordered communicator pins from Amazon (similar here).

Spock and Kirk couples costume Star Trek Costumes

PARTY:
In an attempt to transform my one bedroom apartment into something with a little more drama, I based my theme on Rod Serling’s classic series, The Twilight Zone. All spirits and hors d’oeuvres were from the How to Serve Man cookbook, of course.

twilight zone party invitation twilight zone party guests