Howl-a-ween on Main Street: Costumes, Kids, Candy and Canines

Park City is filled with dog lovers so its no surprise there is a Howl-a-Ween parade on Main Street for canines and their pint size (as well as full size) companions.  Since I love new experiences, dogs, kids, candy, costumes and Main St., I decided to attend.

Here are a few images of the event:

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“Wonder Pug”

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“Chia Dog”

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“Shark Dog”

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“Cowdog”

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With all these costumed canines coming out of the woodwork, it’s no wonder Park City is affectionately known as “Bark City.”

 

I Love a Parade!

EOD_july_paradeI think there is something special about the Fourth of July that sends out a different vibe then all other holidays.

Maybe it’s due to celebrating our country and our freedom.

I love the seemingly all day fly-overs of military planes and fighter jets. In high school I used to dream about becoming a fighter pilot. I bet you would never have guessed that! I wonder how I got diverted from that dream…? Unfortunately there were no fly-overs this year, much to my disappointment.

As I was watching the parade (waiting to see the Deer Valley float) a friend of mine said, “I love this holiday more than any other.” That statement got me thinking. Why is the Fourth of July better than Christmas or Thanksgiving? Then I realized that this is the only holiday that an entire town (and then some) come to the same place and gather to celebrate one day together (all day in the case of Park City)!

There is always a parade that makes its way down Main Street and Park Ave and each year has a different theme. This year’s theme was “Once Upon A 4th.” In recent years, Deer Valley floats have taken home the winning honors and this year was no exception!

While the Deer Valley team was preparing for this year’s parade, I went up to see the construction of the float. I thought it was coming together nicely and took some time to joke with our maintenance guys that I was sure this was exactly what they wanted to be doing. Not only do they fix everything that makes the resort operate they also help fabricate those winning floats.

Maintenance guys
To bring the theme to life, the float incorporated fairy tales such as Cinderella with the large clock, fairies and an enchanted forest. You may not be able to read the signs on the float, but they read Fire Swamp and Thieves Forest. These are the names of some of our mountain bike trails. Can you name that movie reference? Did you also know we have an enchanted forest at Deer Valley? You’ll have to come and find it.

Building float
So here’s the final product. Of course we won “Best in Theme” this year. We take our participation level to heart. Of course the girls who played fairies made the float with their cute smiles.

Girls on Float
I hope you all had a great Fourth of July! Keep enjoying the summer and come up to Deer Valley Resort and enjoy a hike, mountain bike ride or scenic chairlift ride then finish at Royal Street Cafe with a delicious meal or cocktails.

Tips for Shoulder Season in Park City

The weeks when the chairlifts are closed between our two seasons are often called “shoulder season” at the resort.  Sometimes, on very snowy and wet years, they are more likely to be referred to as “mud season” by the locals.

This year we have been blessed with an early and fairly warm spring offering us plenty of opportunities to get outside while we wait for the lifts to start spinning again. (Deer Valley opens for our summer season on Friday, June 14, which includes lift-served biking, hiking and scenic rides, deck dining and Royal Street Café and concerts in the Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater.)

While we wait for the resort to open, there are plenty of ways Park City locals keep busy.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to spend my weekend.

Trails, Trails, TrailsThe town of Park City has over 400 miles of trails for hiking and biking!  Many of these trail systems are maintained by Mountain Trails Foundation and are already accessible.

My first hike the season was the The Lost Prospector Loop, a very popular, mild trail that has expansive views of the resorts, Historic Main Street and Old Town.

Old Town, Park City

Old Town, Park City

 

Last weekend, I did the Iron Mountain trail behind the iconic White Barn on Hwy 224.  This is a shorter hike with a steady, steep incline. This trail is a great option for anyone looking for a good workout.

Iron Mountain HIke

Printed copies of the Park City summer trail map are available at:

  • Visitor’s Center
  • Museum on Main Street
  • ZB Sports
  • White Pine Touring
  • JANS Mountain Outfitters
  • Cole Sport
  • Pearl Izumi
  • Silver Star & Ski
  • Sports Authority
  • Dolly’s Bookstore
  • Starbucks

*A suggested donation of $5 is requested

Yoga at The Shop:  This is the perfect place to practice yoga for visitors.  This Anusara inspired studio encourages drop-in students and every class is donation based (suggested $7 minimum).  The space is a huge and beautiful place to practice with high ceilings, barn doors and wall-to-wall windows.  Don’t worry about brining your own mat, they provide everything including blankets, blocks and straps.  A complete class schedule can be found at http://parkcityyoga.com/classes.html  (Hint: If you can’t decide which class to try, my favorite instructors are Tiffany Wood and Sherri Russell)

Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Deer Valley Ponds: This is a new activity offered in the Snow Park area at Deer Valley, so new in fact, that I have yet to try it!  Stand Up Paddle Boarding has been coming increasingly popular and I can’t wait to get out and try it. (Future blog post?)  Rentals and demos are currently offered on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Starting in June, SUP yoga and paddle Pilates will also be offered seven days a week at 9 a.m. More info on SUP offerings and pricing can be found at http://pcsupcup.com/Home/About

SUP

City Park: On any sunny day, you will find half the town hanging out in Park City’s City Park.  With free access to grills, pavilions, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, a softball field and expansive lawns, you will find an array of activities to participate in.  Many area hotels may have lawn games or volleyballs for you to check out during your stay. (Hint: There are local softball leagues that utilize the field every night from 6 to 10 p.m.)

Volleyball in City ParkFly Fishing on the Provo River:  I grew up fishing in Michigan and I can say I had one of my best catches on this river last August (the stretch in Provo Canyon).  I spent a half day with a guide and two girlfriends and caught 6 whitefish and this gorgeous Brown Trout.  We are so lucky to have such easy access to the Provo and Weber Rivers which offer Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing!  I highly suggest hiring a guide from Jans Outfitters as they can provide all the gear and knowledge to get you catching fish like this in no time. http://www.jans.com/park-city-fly-fishing-tours

fly fishing

Park City Municipal Golf Course:  An 18-hole course and driving range in the heart of Park City.  This is where I learned to golf thanks to their amazing Twilight Deal.  Tee off after 6 p.m. (no reservation needed) and it is just $9 per person!  The course is nestled alongside Park City Mountain Resort, providing for gorgeous views of the ski resorts. http://www.parkcity.org/index.aspx?page=171

Park City Golf Course

Main Street: A well-known “secret” is that many restaurants on Park City’s Historic Main Street offer Local’s Discounts during shoulder season.  Luckily, these local’s only deals are available to everyone.  Check the ads in the Park Record newspaper for tips on where to find these deals or just ask your fly fishing or SUP guide, a local in City Park or your favorite bartender for their favorites. We all have our recommendations on where to find the best deals.  I’m a huge sushi fan, so I will always direct you to Yuki Arashi or Oishi for 50% off rolls.  Wrap up your night on main by visiting the rooftop deck at the The No Name Saloon.

Enjoy your fun-filled visit to Park City this spring!

Lego Maniacs

This time of year is what the locals call “shoulder season.”  The resorts are closed for skiing and the town quiets down quickly.  Here is a suggestion for what to do while exploring Main Street during the 2013 spring shoulder season:

photo (16)In my house, we speak three languages: English, Star Wars and Lego.

photo (14)Lego, often, is the predominant language, with my kids’ brick creations often expressing their every Star Wars fantasy, or say, their love for their mom. To wit: I came home one day to find that Seth had re-purposed the helicopter skids from one set, and the light sabers from another, plus the pirate’s ponytail from a third, to accessorize a mini figure into “Mom.” Perhaps my obsession with skiing is noticeable to my kids?

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(It is to everyone else, of course. Witness the sign I received as a 40th birthday gift from “Florida Keys Girl and Guy”, that reads simply: Eat. Sleep. Ski., that now hangs prominently in my home.)photo (19)

 Anyway, I knew we had a home run of a family activity when I saw that the Kimball Art Center (kimballartcenter.org) was hosting The Art of the Brick, an exhibition of the artist Nathan Sawaya’s sculptures that are made entirely out of our favorite molded bricks. We marveled at the skill with which he had created 3-D sculptures, optical illusions (“canvases” that looked, from afar, to be paintings, but turned out to be portraits rendered with the smooth sides of the bricks.)

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Naturally, the exhibit includes a play area in the gallery lobby for visitors to attempt their own creations on-site. (With Seth unable to pass up a chance to build, Lance, Jeff and I took turns visiting Mark Maziarz’s fascinating “geolines” exhibit, in which he has manipulated his signature nature images into a new art form.) http://www.kimballartcenter.org/?exhibit=geolines-by-mark-maziarz

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The Kimball is a great stop any week of the year, but if you have Lego fans in your life, get there before April 21, or log on to www.brickartist.com/exhibitions to see where the show is headed next.

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A Local’s View of Sundance Film Festival – Opening Weekend

Ticket holderSince moving to Park City, I suddenly find that I am extremely popular with my out-of-town friends.  This could be due to my outgoing personality or wonderful hospitality but it’s doubtful.  The real reason for the sudden surge in attention is my location—Park City, my home, is the host city of the Sundance Film Festival.  I don’t take this personally instead I simply roll with it and enjoy having so many visitors.  My husband and I are never lonely.

LA girls at Sundance resort

First dibs for the opening weekend of Sundance went to my LA girlfriends.  I think I enjoyed showing them around town even more than they enjoyed their first Sundance Film Festival and first time setting foot in the State of Utah.  Experiencing Sundance thorough their eyes made my own experience so much more fun especially since we started off our experience riding the city buses to Main Street and the High West Distillery for whiskey tasting.

Here are some highlights of my LA girls Sundance experience:

Seeing ice fisherman on drive to Sundance Resort –Our official Sundance experience started on Friday.  With some local’s tickets in our hands, we drove through Heber City and over to the Sundance Resort to view our first film. This gave the girls a chance to see Utah’s beauty but also to observe a sport they don’t have in Southern California – ice fishing.  The girls who had totally stressed over what clothes to bring since it was 10 degrees at night were shocked to see people voluntarily sitting on a frozen lake on a folding chair fishing.

Sundance Resort

First film –loved it.  We saw a film titled, “The Machine That Makes Things Disappear.”  The film was about hopes and dreams of young people in Georgia (not the state but the country).  The film was fascinating and haunting so we talked about it over a wonderful lunch at Sundance for hours afterwards and all agreed we’d like to see it again. They loved it!

tickets at sundance resort

Second film – not so much.  We won’t name names but our second film was a head scratcher for all of us.  We all were wondering how it passed the jury to be entered into the film festival.  Part of being a film buff at Sundance is to expect the unexpected and enjoy the experience regardless if the film suits your particular taste.

Sundance

Main Street. We hit all the sponsor venues we could: the HP technology and the lounge for drinks and music. The L’orel make-up bar and Adobe card making station. We were very impressed with the music cafe and became instant fans of an incredible singer, Kat Edmonson and chatted it up with her afterwards.  The LA girls spotted Josh Radnor also listening so we talked with him for a minute and he was kind enough to snap some photos with my friends.   We met the adorable Stella Artois girls handing out special glasses and gifts.

Stella girls

Riding the special event buses – the event buses are part of the Sundance experience because you definitely don’t want to try to park anywhere near Main St.  So those — well most– who ride the bus are in a great mood and super friendly.  We met all kinds of people in-between venues including film festival groupies from all over the world and a screen writer and his entourage from my girlfriend’s backyard in LA.

Bus stop

We now have some new friends and some great experiences from the Sundance Film Festival.  The girls have already put in a “reservation” to stay with us next year.

LA Girls

 

Halloween Tradition

 

We tend not to be sport fans and seldom attend spectator events, as we prefer to act it all out by staying very active. If there’s an exception to that behavior however, it would be Halloween, when we generally prefer to be watching, while giving away candies, instead of mingling in the street with the rest of the revelers.

Naturally, when our children were very small, we used to go out with them and participate around our neighborhood, with everyone, but this is a very long time ago! In fact, from the moment our own children became old enough to go on their own, we played that all-important role of standing by the house to warmly welcome and actively engage all the “Tricks or Treaters” that rang our door bell.

That’s right, we’ve done it for almost each one of the 28 years we’ve been in Park City and just regret that, over the years, we haven’t bothered to keep a count of our colorful visitors – we only begun that practice in 2006 and a pictorial account of the many spooky visitors we had the privilege to treat.

This year, for the very first time, I ventured into Main Street, Park City late afternoon to shoot a video about the incredible celebration in Historic Old Town. The street, closed to traffic, was literally mobbed with kids, parents and dogs all dressed up in wonderful costumes. An impressive sight that I must revisit next year!

Going back to our neighborhood, and starting just after dusk, it’s not uncommon to see up to 80 dressed-up visitors coming in 20 or more groups, most of them being young kids, sometime toddlers with the parents staying in the background. Teenagers are fewer and tend to show up later in the evening.

Attendance varies with the day of the week Halloween happens to fall on, sometime economic events and to a greater extent, weather; can have a huge influence upon the numbers of people we see. Last year, we didn’t stay at home as we went to the Salt Lake Valley to spend the festive evening with our four-year old grandson.

While some neighbors conspicuously make sure they’re not home for the occasion, we always make a point of welcoming all “Trick or Treaters.” Over the years, the treats we offered have run the gamut. For instance, while I was active in the ski industry, bright-colored Velcro ski ties would be part of the offering along with an assortment of candies. One year we proposed a choice of treats between processed Cliff Bar and all-natural banana so we could attend to everyone’s dietary concerns.

I also always make the extra effort of sporting my trademark French béret as a genuine gesture that I, too, am fully immersed into the costumed side of the celebration. Some outfits are sometime pretty creative and can catch us by surprise, although most of them are comfortably warm to address our cold late October evenings.

All goblins, spiders and other insects that come to our door are mostly very polite and have never smashed our token pumpkin. Halloween is a festivity that we plan for in advance, and take quite seriously. Like many other holidays, we find that most of the fun is in the anticipation and preparation of the event. That’s right; we never leave anything to chance or to the last minute.

Recently, my wife read somewhere that it’s not a great idea to purchase Halloween candies in advance. I asked her if the candies held for too long might eventually lose their taste, become rancid or just pass their expiration date for optimum freshness. She told me that it was simply that people who see a sizable supply of sugar treats lying around their house for an extended period of time can’t generally resist the temptation.

It never occurred to me, but I should have thought of that, as I am a typical offender who can’t help but help myself when I stand less than 10 feet away from our candy basket that is strategically placed next to my office. I shrug off any suggestion that I have an addiction by countering that sampling the supplies it’s a good way to make sure that the stuff we give away is delicious and also to gradually acclimate to the inevitable candy overdose I receive at this time of the year. I don’t usually get spooked by too much sugar, at least not around Halloween!

So while we “open shop” with great anticipation on Halloween night and welcome our first visitors while daylight still lingers, we also go to bed fairly early and never stay “open” till midnight. Generally, by 9:30 pm, as the visitors become scarcer, we turn-off the lights, set aside the left-over goodies and call it an evening. This way, the rest of the night is left for the ghosts and other Tommyknockers to freely roam wherever they please!

Park Silly Market Serious Enjoyment

We came to Park Silly Sunday Open Air Market for the music – specifically the George T. Gregory band who were playing at the Main Stage.  I had read the promo in the Park Record -they combine some of my favorite genres with blues, pop jazz, and rock so we wanted to check them out.  As we headed down Main St toward the stage, we ran into a few silly people.


Let me ask you this-If you saw a grown woman wearing a curly bond wig, and sporting a plastic inner tube around her waist with a froggy on it, would you stop and wonder or stop and stare?  How about a man with a blue face on one side but normal looking on the other?  A guy in a wide brim purple hat with feather trim and a purple tie dyed shirt? Usually yes, but not at Park Silly Market.  The volunteers and coordinator enjoy not taking themselves too seriously so when I asked the inner tube sporting lady to pose for a picture and couldn’t quite get out of my mouth why, she simply said, “because I am silly?” Yes, wonderfully silly.

I noticed that even though some of the volunteers were dressed in silly ways, they were doing serious work.  One was focusing on open areas to add more booths for the farmer’s market and another was working the sound board for the band.  The silliness set a relaxed vibe for the rest of us to enjoy the open air market with booths full of local artisans and food vendors as well as the shops and restaurants up and down historic Main St.


We came for the music and ended up walking home with a fresh loaf of Tuscan sour dough bread, lots of locally grown organic veggies, a big bag of kettle corn (after shamelessly stuffing our faces with samples) and a pink fish shaped bubble maker with a battery powered fan for our two year old granddaughter’s upcoming visit. We’ll probably play with it ourselves a few times before she comes — just to be silly. Seriously.

Park City Date Night

I got my first sunburn in Park City on a date night with my husband, the first Wednesday we lived here, in 2001. Yes, I said a sunburn, at night. It was my first glimpse that life at 7,500 feet was going to be even more of a change than I had expected.

By now, I’m a pro. So when I headed out for date night with Jeff last Saturday night to Royal Street Café’s table at Savor The Summit, I was prepared. To wit: in addition to a cute dress and lipgloss, I did a generous application of sunscreen, and made sure I had a cute hat for the occasion—thank you, gold, sparkly cowgirl chapeau—and big, glam shades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savor The Summit, you see, is a dinner party for the whole town. Restaurants set up long tables that span the length of Main Street, with a band rocking out at Miner’s Plaza, across from Cows.

And, because of the “mixer” style of the evening, there’s a chance you’ll get to spend time with new friends amidst the many familiar faces. Which is, I’m happy to report, exactly what happened to us. We not only enjoyed Deer Valley’s newest cocktails, Flower and Pine and Rosemary Radler, mixed and served by the resort’s award-winning mixologist, Bonnie Ulmer, but we got to indulge in some fun new preparations of Royal Street Café culinary faves—gazpacho shooters? Yes, please. Crawfish Bisque? But, of course. Ahi Tostada? Yummmm.

I’m proud to say, our table was an enthusiastic participant in the street-long “wave” that happened several times during the evening—and, because I’m competitive in all things, I made sure to give a friendly chide, via Tweet, to the adjacent table of Chimayo diners, whose “wave” was, to my expert eye, a bit, ahem, lackluster. We can’t all be awesome, though, can we?

Thrillingly, the evening has had many, wonderful, summery social aftershocks. I swiftly planned a walk with my friend Leslie Thatcher, KPCW’s news director, who’s still rehabbing her knee after surgery, and a “rookie” bike ride with Park City Magazine Editor Kristen Case—because, yes, eleven years in, I’m still a beginner. I’ll report back on the success of these and other summer adventures. For now, I’ll leave you with this very strong suggestion for your summer vacation planning: Save the date for Savor the Summit 2013.

A New Experience: Savor the Summit

“Try fifty two new things” was last year’s New Year’s resolution.  I chose it because I noticed that as people get older, they tend to get stuck in their ways and I didn’t want that to happen to me.

When Emily Summers, communications manager at Deer Valley Resort (and fellow blogger) invited me to “Savor the Summit”, I didn’t let her know that I had absolutely no idea what it was.  I just moved here less than a year ago and previously only came to Park City for the Fourth of July and a week in August so I never even knew about “Savor the Summit”.    

Even so, I immediately replied to Emily with a “Yes …plus guest” figuring it would be another new experience.  Also with the words “savor” and “summit” in the title as well as “Royal Street Cafe” being associated with the event, I figured the night would be something special.

I was not disappointed. When my husband, Jay, and I stepped on to Main Street, we saw what must have been the world’s largest dinner table with white linen table cloths, sparkling crystal glasses, and crisp folded napkins stretching from the top of Main Street as far down as I could see.  What a sight! When we made our way to the Royal St. Cafe table, Emily greeted us with a huge smile, introduced us all around and showed us our places.

Being a transplant from California, I pay close attention to the wine. I am not a wine snob by any means but I might be mistaken for one.  You see, I love the “nose” on a wine.  To sip a wine without swirling it and putting as much of my face as possible into the glass to breathe in the aroma seems like a waste to me. I’d be missing the best part!   You can see how someone observing me might think that I am some kind of wine expert but I am far from that.  I simply enjoy the olfactory experience. Before taking my first sip, I am sure to take my time and enjoy the bouquet the vintner has prepared.

Imagine my excitement when the Royal St. Cafe served a 2009 Etude Pinot Gris from the Carneros region in the Napa Valley.  It had a wonderful fruit filled nose and a crisp taste that went well with the seared tuna tostada.  No one at our table noticed me swirling and sniffing because they were all taking photos of the presentation of this first course and then, of course, tweeting the photos to their followers.

Our meal was only interrupted by two other things – the landing of a large butterfly on our centerpiece and a crowd wave which I assume was started by the Wasatch Brewery at the top of Main St.  Even though we were seated at an elegant meal, the wave seemed completely natural and our whole table participated enthusiastically.

After that, my attention was once again drawn the wine – a 2009 Greg Norman Estates Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia.  After enjoying my wine ritual, I was brought back to reality when the Niman Ranch Beef Filet with Cabernet reduction sauce, farmer’s market vegetables, foraged royal trumpet mushrooms, and crisp potato anna was served. I noticed there was music everywhere and the balconies up and down the street were full of people enjoying their own libations as well as observing the Grande Table from above.  

 

I don’t remember who gave me the idea a year ago to try fifty two new things but it was a good one.  That openness to new experiences and celebrating life put me in touch with my spirit of adventure.  I was open to my husband’s suggestion to moving to Park City and of course to attending a very special event like no other – Savor the Summit.