Salt Lake City

We flew to Salt Lake City to see some friends we had met in April at Vaughan Town, Danielle and Ken. Our friend’s mission was to show us that Utah was not what people thought it was, just a Mormon state, they would show us the “Dark Side”. During our stay we would experience some of the food and drink available as well as driving and camping throughout the vast desert and mountains. Just enough to get a taste of Utah’s possibilities.

Toddson, vintage book artisanWe drove out to Park City for the Kimball Arts Festival which had taken over Main Street. We started at the top of the hill and made our way down looking at literally hundreds of stalls covering ceramics, jewellery, sculpture, drawing, painting, photography and more. One of the problems I have with kind of festival is much the same as I have with some art galleries; sometimes they are too loaded with similar art that it all blurs together. There were however a few standouts that I would like to mention.

First up was Pop Art Popcorn, a great stall offering tastings of their delightful alternative flavours of popcorn. If you see their stall at a festival or any of their products on a shelf somewhere, I recommend you give them a go.

Another was Julie Ann Caramels, offering a delightful selection of caramels, in a variety of flavours including jalapeno. They are well crafted and taste great.

An interesting artist I came across was Toddson, a vintage book artisan. I overheard him talking to another person regarding how he spends a great amount of time searching for vintage books with interesting names and covers to create a piece. It was an interesting artistic expression.

Wayne Trinklein, ArtistAnother artist that I really enjoyed was Wayne Trinklein, a sculptor of trees. From a distance his work looks nice but when you get up close it becomes brilliant and beautiful. Wayne’s trees are intricately detailed and anatomically correct through the use a variety of materials to represent the organics such as lignin. His work is definitely exquisite.

During our stay, Danielle and Ken hosted a dinner for some international guests as part of a US Agriculture Trade and Safety program. At this dinner we had the pleasure of meeting visitors from Japan, Hungary and Uzbekistan. Over BBQ’d salmon and local wine, we shared stories of our homes and cultures as well as discussing topics such as agricultural philosophy of the different countries, the use and ethics of GMOs, and cultural practices. That night was something we had not expected and was a wonderful experience for all of us. While we only had their company for a few hours, I believe we could have spent many more conversing and enjoying each other’s company.

Salt Lake City has the Mormon version of Vatican City called Temple Square. It has two opulent visitors centres, each a different introduction to their faith. The northern centre has three floors, the lower two are filled with paintings and dioramas highlighting their distinct version of biblical history, while the upper floor has a giant statue of Jesus under a dome painted with a representation of the cosmos. The standout for most people though would be the Tabernacle.

New Friends at a dinner for US Agriculture Trade and Safety programThe Tabernacle is an architecturally impressive structure; the roof was built with almost no nails due to their scarcity in the 1860’s, and the acoustics allow the audience to hear a pin drop on the stage (which was demonstrated at the organ recital), thus allowing to speaker to fill the room with his voice. The tabernacle contains one the largest pipe organs in the world and recitals are provided every day and once a week visitors can also see the choir practice. The recital is quite good, and the organist showcased his skills and the capabilities of the organ.

Salt Lake City is a good jumping off point to begin your exploration. With easy access to the mountains for hiking or skiing, and with its bar and restaurant scene evolving, there are slowly becoming more non-Mormon reasons to visit.

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