Hats Off To Utah - As told by Tammy
Okay! It is no secret – I greatly dislike Utah (and the pissing off begins! ;-) I lived in the state from 2001 – 2006, and a practicing Mormon or not, I could hardly stand it. Being married in Utah, and a Mom On WheelZ in Utah merely cemented my discontent for strong Utah culture. [NOTE: The culture is very related to, but independent of “the Church”. The culture is Utah and crosses religious borders] When we were moving to Colorado, a dear friend advised us, “Don’t think it’s going to be greener on the other side.” Colorado has certainly proven greener than Utah, in just about every way imaginable. I am proud to report that our dear friend agrees.
I have so much freedom and independence here, I’m valued as a woman, wife and mother, and generally my presence does not alarm people here. By "here" I'm probably referring to the Metro Denver area. While far from perfect, the intensity of paternalism and discrimination that my family encounters here is minuscule to that in Utah. It is very difficult for me to visit Utah and put my “freak of nature/invalid” hat back on. It is a distinct transformation that begins just north of Fort Collins, CO in rural America. Wyoming is especially hard for me to travel through, as we make frequent stops along I-80 and folks are apparently stricken as my deformed mouth opens to speak. It is somewhat of a brutal introduction of the worst I can expect during my stay in Utah. Okay, no holding back…I hate it! After a taste of Colorado, Dustin hates it moreso. But we travel this route two to three times a year because Desty and Benny need to visit family. Many of our close friends from Utah travel here to visit, sometimes several times a year. But the kids need to go to Mee-maw’s house.
So, last Thursday, June 5th, we made the trek to Salt Lake City for the second annual kid weekend at Mee-maws. The kids stay at Mee-maws, and Dustin and I find our own accommodations. We spent Thursday evening and Friday morning in Salt Lake. I grew frustrated speedily as my attempts to do business were met with people walking away or ignoring me and speaking to Dustin. It wasn’t long, though, before we left the Great Valley for higher ground. We decided to take the opportunity to celebrate our FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY with three nights at a luxurious country resort in Midway, Utah. True, our half decade mark is not until next month, but it was a great excuse! As it turns out, I love Midway! Beautiful, peaceful and for some reason I cannot pinpoint, the folks both at the resort and in town readily accepted Dustin and I. It was nice, really nice. For just $119/night, we had amazing accommodations, spectacular scenery and friendly hospitality.
Okay! Yes, I dogged Utah and yes, I feel better, however, on a positive note: I have never seen Wyoming or Utah green until this trip! Utah, even the Salt Lake valley, was beautiful. The Wasatch Front was green! I was impressed. Let it rain!
I’ll close this blog with an admittedly crazy piece Dustin wrote up about some of the coincidental happenings of our stay…and an invitation to click here to view some pics from our weekend getaway.
An Evening of Coincidences – As recalled by Dustin It happened on the evening of Saturday June 7th, 2008. Tammy and I had just returned to the Homestead “One of America’s Classic Country Resorts” after an exclusive horse and carriage tour of Soldier Hollow – a quiet venue which hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. This horse and carriage ride is available through Rocky Mountain Outfitters. In the winter, they actually come to the Homestead and have runners instead of wheels.
Our plans for the evening included (1) checking out the famous “Crater” – an onsite 65 foot deep, natural warm water mineral dome where you can swim and scuba, (2) grabbing a bite to eat probably at Fanny’s, the only onsite restaurant and (3) finding out what other units at the resort were level entry and wheelchair accessible (since we’d noticed quite a few). Our simple plans got a jolt!
Walking toward the Lobby which was across the Main Lawn from our Guest House, our ears heard a band setting up and testing their sound system. At the Front Desk, we signed up for Brunch at Simon’s Restaurant (ok, so technically there are two on-site restaurants but Simon’s is only open for Sunday Brunch). Additionally at the Front Desk, we tried to learn more about wheelchair accessible and level entry units available at the Homestead, but eventually learned we knew more than they did (I plan to write them a letter because the resort is very wheelchair friendly and they could really promote that fact because it’s hard to find accessible inns).
On the counter I noticed a list of free concerts being held at the Homestead during Summer 2008 and next to the date of June 7th, I saw the familiar name of Cherie Call. This is the first coincidence of the evening. When I worked at Deseret Book, I had become a big fan of Cherie and purchased two of her CD’s. I had met Cherie in person five years previously and even given a Cherie Call CD to Tammy as a Christmas Gift before we got married.
So, we thought we’d continue to the “Crater” and then return and listen to part of the concert. However, coincidence struck for the second time as I glanced over and saw a familiar profile. I looked closer and told Tammy, “that man looks a lot like Bishop Cutler.” Tammy zoomed over and sure enough it was our good friends the Cutlers. While the Cutler’s knew we were in Utah and even knew that we were staying in Midway, they did not know we were staying at the Homestead and we already had plans to meet them in Salt Lake on Monday for lunch – this was quite the surprise!
It turned out the Cutlers happen to know Cherie pretty well and they had received an e-mail update that she would be having a concert at the Homestead in Midway, so they headed up the mountains. When we approached the Cutlers, they were talking to Cherie and her family so they introduced us and it turned out Cherie remembered me from meeting her five years previously. We stayed about an hour at the concert sitting next to the Cutlers (in the COLD!) until our tummies told us to get our fannies to Fanny’s Restaurant!
During the concert a third coincidence occurred when Cherie Call sang a Mary Chapin Carpenter song called Halley Came To Jackson.
This is a Coincidence because I wasn’t expecting it, Mary Chapin Carpenter is my favorite of favorite musical artists and because people just don’t sing Mary Chapin Carpenter songs enough! As we were finishing our meal at Fanny’s, the Cutler’s joined us with hot cocoa and the next day we were able to fully explore the famous “Crater”!
On the subject of Coincidences – earlier in the day, we were able to visit the Art Gallery and Studios of Robert Duncan, one of our favorite artists who just happens to live in Midway. We didn’t realize his studio was in Midway until we found a brochure in The Homestead Lobby. We were able to purchase two prints and several cards which we will matt and frame at a later time. Also, coincidently, after Robert Duncan Studios, we were able to find a very accessible and quiet little restaurant in Midway called the Cuckoo Café where we met my sister and her new husband.
Our experience in Midway, Utah was Amazing! A quiet, country Swiss village close to all the big stuff! If you’re thinking of staying in Midway or at the Homestead Resort, I’d say it’s a fantastic idea. And while you’re there you might as well check out a décor store called “All That Stuff in the Barn” where we purchased a wooden plaque that says “Our Family is a Circle of Love” for our wall. Coincidently, this plaque has picture openings for four photographs.