Friday, June 26, 2015

Salt Lake City

Sunday morning we enjoyed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, both in rehearsal and for their weekly broadcast from the Tabernacle. Very impressive! During the broadcast we could see the monitor showing what was being broadcast and observe how it compared to what the gantry camera located just in front of us was recording.  (There were at least 4 cameras capturing the performance from different angles.) 

Choir & Orchestra...note changing lighting effects above the organ
Later we took the tour of the flower gardens in the Temple Center. Lunch options are limited in SLC on Sunday. Shopping options have improved but the luxe City Center shopping center that neighbors the temple was closed. In any event, we found Cafe Molise nearby and enjoyed a spinach salad with a sausage and pepper panini for lunch...and being bread pudding lovers, we succumbed to having dessert and dessert wine. 

In the evening we returned to their sister property. BTG (By The Glass) to sample more wine and tapas.

Monday we drove to Park City via the Guardsman and Empire Passes...some very narrow winding roads and a many photo ops..if only there were "ops" to stop. And, yes Bill is finally talking to Pat again…he had thought that after that drive in the wine region of Croatia in 2013 that she would have known to avoid the STEEP twisty-turny routes. Yet here we were again. We survived. We fueled up (gas, food and wine) and our attitudes improved. We lunched at Bistro 412 and then strolled and shopped along the  main street. Pat found yet another irresistible shirt and deemed the visit a success. 

View enroute to Park City

The "skyline" of Historic Park City
The trip back via the highway went quickly and calmly. Later we settled in for the evening with some popcorn, blue cheese and wine.

Learning more about the Mormon beliefs and their “history” in the western hemisphere was very interesting.  We spent much of the morning in the Conference Center and North Visitor Center admiring the art picturing the history of the religion and their way of life. Who knew that the Book of Mormon is about the VERY early Mormons who came to the Americas around 2200 BC to AD 421...  We had no idea but artwork surely looked pre-Columbian, note the Jaguars, and then our host told us more about the Book of Mormon.

Mormon appealing to the natives
The Conference Center can hold 21,000 guests...which requires some massive beams and "ground-breaking" architecture. Yet they managed to add great sky lights like this. 

The roof also accommodates a huge prairie garden with large trees and natural prairie plants. The views from there are nice as well.

Lunch at the Copper Onion consisted of steak fries, blistered Shishito Peppers (YUM!), grilled asparagus and a Cuban sandwich with a delightful Cote du Rhone wine.

Blistered Shishito Peppers - we've got to figure out how to replicate this.
Later we went to the “Meet the Mormon’s” video, stories about the lives of six Mormons. Very well done. Touching but not enough so that we converted. In the evening we went back to the Tabernacle to observe the Choir as they rehearsed for their upcoming East Coast Tour.  

A busy last day in Salt Lake City started with visiting the Red Butte Garden and the adjacent Natural History Museum. The gardens were beautiful with many types of flowers and greenery. 

"Distant drums" rose.  Love the changing colors.
The museum included exhibits on local native culture, the geological history of Utah and the prehistoric animals of the area with many actual (not replica) skeletons.

And there were more papoose carriers with the latest in baby safety features.
We went to a local wannabe shopping area (Trolley Square) for lunch at a brew pub (more Amber Ale for both Pat and Bill). The trout and nachos were also quite tasty. However, the real reason for visiting this area, was to visit Whole Foods and Trader Joe's to stock up for the visits to Page AZ and Monument Valley. We also stopped at the local State Wine Store and were really impressed by the number of wines the carried from all over the world.

What Lake?  Unless you were arriving in Salt Lake City by route by I80 from the west or flying into the airport you could miss the lake entirely. We had to see the Lake. The options were a 60 mile drive to Antelope Island (north of the city) or west on I80 to the south of the Lake. We chose the latter and visited the Great Salt Lake State Marina and nearby Great Saltair for a view of the lake and to learn of it’s history.

Bill documenting the fact that there is a Great Salt Lake
Pat really wanted to visit the Kennecott's Rio Tinto Copper Mine to see the HUGE equipment mining the copper and other ores. But it isn't open to visit currently. However the marina is near the Kennecott smelter and there was a series of signs about Kennecott's process.

Can you read the sign? The smelter stack is taller than the Empire State Building  (without it's antena).
And it is the world's cleanest smelter (this ignores the detail of just how clean is the competition...)
And this is the smelter in "real life"...
As mentioned above, we learned about the history of the area. And we learned that we should have paid more attention while at the "Great Saltair", a fomer resort and now concert venue/gift store. Walking through the facility we saw a huge replica of an extremely ornate, Indian (East Indian) looking facility that appeared to be what the current resort aspired to be. In fact, it was what it had been...until high waters. And this latest incarnation is actually the third version because the second was also destroyed by nature.

The very boring looking third incarnation of a resort that was
extremely popular and far more beautiful in the 19h Century
We returned to BTG (By the Glass) for a light evening repast and sampled their new menu (Seared Scallops and Brussel Sprouts with bacon) with a bottle of Cremant (sparkling wine from Burgundy) and finished the evening with two dessert wines, a Viognier and a Tokai.

Miscellaneous Note
The weather is apparently unusually hot. In Salt Lake City it reached the low nineties, And in Page AZ (our next destination) it was forecast to be around 100F, however we got lucky and mostly it was in the 90's. Fortunately there is low humidity although it seems to be somewhat higher than the even the locals are used to. 

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