Baedeker's United States 4/5/2021
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July 28th at 11:47pm
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In September, 2019, we took a trip out west.
Our vacation consisted of stops in: Salt Lake City, UT, Blackfoot, ID, Yellowstone National Park, Idaho Falls, ID, Arco, ID and Craters-of-the-Moon National Monument, Boise, ID, and Twin Falls, ID.
This is a postcard from Salt Lake City.
I cashed in several nights from a rewards program so we could stay at The Grand America, one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever been to (Elton John stayed here when his tour was in town - more on that later).
Our room was gorgeous, Francis loved the toy store, and we all appreciated the large, mostly empty pool. It was so nice to come home to.
We put aside our thoughts on religion, Christianity, and Mormons and simply went as no-baggage guests. (Now members of the church say they belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; no nicknames such as "Mormon" or "LDS" are allowed.)
Temple Square was extraordinary. We found our Mormon hosts to be unfailingly pleasant, and the grounds were spotless. Gina checked closely but did not see a weed anywhere. Architecturally, the buildings on the square were unique - especially the temple.
Because iCloud is lamentable, we lost the pictures we took of the tabernacle, the temple, and most of the grounds. We recovered one picture of the temple, but iCloud is still dreadful!
Slightly off the square, we passed the Lion House and visited the Beehive House. The docent was thrilled that we spoke French to Francis. We showed off a little bit - Où sont tes mains? De quelle couleur est cette chaise? - and then went next door for lunch.
The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an office building and event space. It also has a gift shop and a casual restaurant called the Nauvoo Cafe, where they serve a delicious turkey pot pie. (Apparently those are a thing in Utah.)
Red Butte Garden
The theme of one garden was "Cancer Fighting Flora." Francis played in the children's garden, and we all enjoyed the water pavilion garden. A waterfall gurgled softly on the other side of the pavilion lake.
Discovery Gateway Children's Museum
We made sure not to bore Francis with too many attractions for grown-ups, and visited a museum for children. He had a blast playing on construction toys, splashing in water fountains, and shoving plastic colored balls down chutes, as kids do.
The Utah Capitol
A trifecta conspired to exhaust us prior to our visit to the capitol. Not a single cloud protected us from the sun, our route was a steep climb on foot, and our son was cranky. But we made it.
The Utah capitol is massive. It looks exactly like you would want a statehouse to look. Francis loved running through the enormous routunda and up and down the open marble staircases.
Pioneer Memorial Museum
I was not expecting to like this museum as much as I did.
Imagine a place where almost every possession of Utah pioneer families ended up. Like... everything. Guns, furniture of every type and sort, artwork, bric-à-brac, vehicles. It's all here.
Once again, people were polite and welcoming. The director of the museum greeted us personally and spoke to Francis. She told him about a turn-of-the century fire truck at one end of the museum - which, sadly, he didn't like as much as we hoped he would.
A babysitting service came to the hotel to watch Francis while Gina and I went out.
After eating, we saw Elton John at Vivint Smart Arena. We splurged on floor seats and sat (well, mostly we stood) about fifteen rows from the stage. The concert was jaw-dropping. If you have a chance to see Sir Elton at all - the tour is winding down a bit and, well... COVID-19 - do it.
Great Mexican food
The last item to report: excellent Mexican food can be had at The Red Iguana. Rumor has it that if the main store is busy, there's a second one down the street that's always less crowded! I wish I had known before we went - we waited 45 minutes, but it was worth it.
We loved Salt Lake City. It was beautiful and clean, there was plenty to do, the food was great, and the people were friendly. If we hadn't been so excited about going to Yellowstone, we might have stayed longer.
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The Sex Lives of Cannibals 2/17/2021
Confronting Insanity 11/30/2020
Postcard: Yellowstone 11/17/2020
Mirzapur Season 2 10/22/2020
The Woke and the Bourgeois 10/16/2020
A Better Loyalty Program 10/8/2020
Postcard: Rockland, Maine 9/15/2020
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