Oct 4, 2011

UNEXPECTED UTAH IN TRAVELGIRL MAGAZINE

My latest coverage from "travelgirl" magazine. The copy is my original, so mileage may vary slightly.

The Beehive State is mellowing its straight-laced, Mormon-settled vibe, showing its eccentric edge and pioneer pluck. Newly relaxed liquor laws encourage apr├Ęs ski celebrations. Add in a calendar packed with live concerts and indie films (thanks Sundance!). Hipsters now mingle in galleries, yoga studios and locavore restaurants. And – putting the cherry on top – Salt Lake City wraps up a $4.5bn revamp next year, anchored by 20-acre, walkable, sustainably designed community (www.downtownrising.com).

For a three-day sampler of the scene, start by ogling bison on Antelope Island, the largest of the Great Salt Lake’s landmasses. Check into The Peery, the state’s only hotel on the Historic Registry (www.peeryhotel.com). Then cross the street to Squatters Pub for carnitas, edamame or blackened tilapia salad with quinoa, washed down with house-brewed Full Suspension Pale Ale (www.squatters.com).

Day two, limber up at Centered City Yoga (www.centeredcityyoga.com), then head out to Homestead’s Crater, 47 miles southeast of the city. Swim or dive the beehive-shaped cavern, half-filled with kingfisher-blue waters the temperature of a hot tub (www.homesteadresort.com/Crater). Finish with a massage at the Swiss-themed Zermatt Resort next door (http://zermattresort.com) and anise-scented elk tenderloin at downtown’s chic Forage (http://foragerestaurant.com).

On your last day, ski or snowboard Big Cottonwood Canyon. Flatlanders may prefer Solitude Nordic Center (snowshoes also available; www.skisolitude.com). Afterwards, retire to the Whistler-style village for roasted-beet tortillas with a Polygamy Porter at Kimi’s Mountainside Bistro (www.kimismountainsidebistro.me).

Utah ladles on some serious charm. Should you decide to settle in, consider a bid on a replica of the pastel cottage that took flight in Disney’s Up. Bangerter Homes brought the CGI-fantasy to life in Herriman, right down to the hand-printed mailbox and custom garden-hose reel. And in typical, uplifting Utah style, part of the $399,000 price tag goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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