Our fall destination this year was to visit Jackson Hole, The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. After looking at the area airports and our accumulated Southwest Airlines miles, we figured out it would only cost $20 to fly into Salt Lake City, Utah and rent a car for our Wyoming tour. We had toyed with driving from Tennessee and taking all of our camping gear, but the thought of all that driving, the cold nights and grizzly bears scratching at the tent dispelled that fantasy.
Since we were going to be flying half the day, we wanted somewhere close to stay near Salt Lake City for our first night and Wally had heard Park City, Utah, home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, was a neat town. After getting our rental car, it was only a short 30-minute drive to Park City. Wally had picked out the Newpark Resort & Hotel – www.newparkresort.com/ at Kimball Junction, just off I-80 as our evening lodging.
We thought it was closer to the mountains, but the hotel is located in the middle of a large shopping center with everything a visitor or family could want within walking distance. There’s lots of restaurants, boutiques, franchise box stores, a movie theater, and a walking/biking trail right outside the hotel. The view from our suite looked towards the Utah Olympic Park and the mountains. The suite was large and luxurious and this would be a great hotel to stay at in the winter with its charming gas fireplace, comfy sofa and jacuzzi on the deck. They offer specials for consecutive night stays, as well as 15% discounts for return visitors.
It was time to get some lunch, so we drove about 10 minutes up into the hills to the historic little town of Park City. This charming ski resort town is located on a hill and there is parking on both sides of Main Street, as well as free public parking located one block to the left.
It was founded in the 1860s and was one of the richest silver mining towns in the West. Today, there’s a variety of specialty shops from high-end jewelry and clothing to western wear to western collectibles, art galleries, souvenirs, outdoors outfitters, consignment shops and more along the street. Since this is a resort ski town, prices are high, so don’t be shocked.
I had cruised Trip Advisor for recommended restaurants, and a cold beer and pizza sounded good after our travels, so we headed up the hill to Wasatch Brew Pub, http://www.wasatchbeers.com/. The colorful flowers on their outdoor patio was inviting and the temperature perfect for outdoor dining.
We started off with a pitcher of their “Evolution Ale” which was described as “a blend between lager and ale with a hint of hops,” and quite good. I ordered a buffalo burger and Wally the pepperoni and olive pizza. Service was great and thankfully for our grumbling bellies, our food arrived very quickly.
The burger was cooked just like I had ordered it and was very good, and Wally’s pizza was saucy and cheesy – just like we like it! The salad that came with the pizza was also nicely presented and tasty.
After lunch it was time to walk it off and shop! We have a pretty good system for shopping – Wally wanders in and out of shops that interest him and I do the same. If we lose track of each other, we call to get a meeting spot.
One of my favorite stores I browsed through was Southwest Indian Traders, which featured a wide variety of quality Indian jewelry, sand painting, pottery, Zapotec rugs, carved bears, western souvenirs, vintage skis and winter collectibles and much more. Here’s some snapshots:
I enjoyed looking at several of the art galleries, and discovered a clothing consignment shop down Swede Alley called The Exchange Consignment that had a variety of western clothing and accessories for men and women.
Our second choice for lunch was at No Name Saloon which was highly rated for their burgers – but the pizza won out.
So after enjoying their shops on the hill, I was ready to find Park City’s landmark High West Distillery & Saloon to see what it was all about. Wally’s a whiskey drinker, so I thought he would enjoy sampling their famous whiskey flight sampler to reward him for my shopping time. We found them at the bottom of the hill and one block over to the right side of Main Street when you are looking up Main Street.
High West is Utah’s first whiskey distillery in Utah since the 1870s, and still a popular watering hole today. They have the saloon and tasting room on one side and a restaurant located adjacent in a Victorian house. The distillery sits in the middle between the two buildings and they offer tours for visitors. Visit their website to learn more about their past and what they offer today: http://www.highwest.com
And their interior is just as inviting…
So our overall impression of High West was a pretty cool place to hang out, but on the high side for whiskey/vodka samplers (but this is a tourist town). They do offer a variety of popular whiskey choices from around the world, not just their own. If you like their offerings, you can load up in their sales room/gift shop.
After food, shopping and drinks, it was time to head back to the hotel and relax for the evening. The jacuzzi tub on the outdoor deck was tempting but I was too tired to drag myself off the couch and away from my book to enjoy it. The glass-fronted gas stove was an added bonus to crank up and knock off the chill and pretend it was really cold outside.
So that’s it for Day 1 of our Western tour… coming up are Sandhill cranes and our drive to Jackson Hole, Wyoming!