Postprandial Stroll: Pounding the Pavement in Salt Lake City

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The Minion and I had a total blast in Salt Lake City. Not only were our clients complete dolls and ideal business-folk who made our work easier and told us the best places to check out on the tourist side, but this old town appealed to our mutual delight in architectural weirdness and we spent much of our time wandering the perfectly straight, majorly wide avenues, snapping pictures of all of the fantastic buildings that we found. This is the state legislature.

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Former city hall.

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A GIANT CHURCH. Well, the corporate office for the Church that seems to own most of the city.

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The former Hotel Utah, which is incredible inside and out.

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The Public Library, which reminds me of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in its construction.

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You can go up on the roof and see the mountains.

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“New” City Hall.

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The old Union Pacific Railway station, which is now part of the Gateway Mall.

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And let’s not forget the Tabernacle, inside and out.

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And the Mormon Temple itself, the highlight of the city.

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Which also looks spectacular at night.

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And stuff doesn’t need to be old in the city to look nice. All the malls for example have water features in them. This is in the City Creek Mall after dark. It’s a great place to walk around and see pretty things!

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Evening Tipple: Drinks at the Haye Loft

If you’re ever toodling around Long Boat Key in Florida you may pass an old restaurant hidden behind a mess of palm trees on the one road on and off the island. This is Euphemia Haye. Feel free to make a reservation and enjoy sumptuous dining on the ground floor, but the real fun is to be found upstairs.

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In the Haye Loft, the bar above Euphemia Haye, you’ll find (at least four nights out of seven) a dashing older gentleman with a suave moustache mixing drinks and cracking jokes behind the counter. This is my uncle Eric. Go and tell him I say hi! Eric’s been a fixture behind the bar at the Haye Loft since its inception, and people come from all over to chat with him and sample his excellent cocktails and top shelf liquors. Here’s a nice rum with a delightful colour (not that I had any, but my dad said it was delicious).

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After finding out that the Pie’s favourite cocktail was the White Russian, Eric made him up a Smith and Kearns, which might be his new favourite.

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While you’re tippling away, avail yourself of the bar menu and give the hummus a try – it’s worth the experience.

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The Caesar salad is made up daily and bursts with flavour.

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And our unanimous favourite snack (which we never thought we would like) was the fried green tomatoes in a roasted red pepper sauce. It’s weird and not what you expect, but so good.

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If you still have room after all of that, go next door to the Dessert Bar. All these puppies are made fresh daily and differ depending on the season and the whims of the kitchen.

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The fruit crumbles shown here are the perennial favourite, though we preferred the berry crumble over the top-rated apple.

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If you’re in town, stop by and say hi!

Day Tripper: Greensboro Science Center

Now that I’m back and unpacked from all my trips I’m going to give you a one-post summary of the highlights of each trip. First: Greensboro, North Carolina. I didn’t much enjoy Greensboro. The downtown was pretty lifeless save for a few eccentric old buildings and the suburban area where we were staying was just a series of box stores and low-end chain restaurants. But our clients were lovely, and when we finished up with them a day ahead of schedule they suggested we check out the Greensboro Science Center on our extra day. So we did.

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This place is a combination of museum, aquarium, and zoo, and it’s all arranged in a very haphazard fashion, but I think that it is very appealing to the young folks who have short attention spans.

We got to cozy up to some otters.

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Then we visited some dinosaur bones.

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And a fully functioning TWO-HEADED TURTLE. One half was eating and the other half was scratching its face when I first found them.

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In the zoo there was also a collection of domesticated livestock from around the world. This Silkie Chicken had some fancy pants. It name was CLUCK NORRIS.

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But the real highlight was hanging out with this family of gibbons: an older male (in this picture), a female with a small baby, and an adolescent male.

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Here’s the teenager showing off a bit.

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So if you’ve got an afternoon free, and you’re in the area, I recommend checking it out. They also have a sky walk adventure thing that looks terrifying but also fun if you’re into that stuff.

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Sweet Endings

We ended up finishing our work with our smart-as-whips clients a day ahead of schedule, so the Minion and I celebrated with dinner at the Green Valley Grill. We’d had a take-out lunch from there on Monday and thoroughly enjoyed it and wanted to taste their dinner menu before we left. For dessert I picked this chocolate cheesecake, which came with a house-made banana salted caramel ice cream. I picked it because of the Pie’s Banana Rule (“everything is better with a banana”), and I was not disappointed.

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Also, anyone know what kind of trees these are? They were at the GVG and I’ve been seeing them in various places around town.

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I’d assume that they were fake trees but they seem to be growing out of the soil so I’m confused …

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Uber Fun

After having some truly awful experiences with cabs and cab drivers in this city, the Minion and I took the advice of our clients and tried Uber for the first time. And now it’s our favourite thing! In Greensboro at least, all of our drivers were retired gentlemen with some great stories and some lovely and clean cars who told us all sorts of things about the town, including the fact that it plays host to EIGHT colleges. That’s nuts. What’s also nuts is that most of the state has been under tornado warnings for the past couple days, but yesterday afternoon, after a giant but brief thunderstorm with pouring rain, the sun came out!

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After we’d finished off our work for today we headed out as soon as we could to try to absorb some vitamin D after four days of miserable rain. While we waited for our third Uber of the day we admired the ornamental kale that appears to be growing outside most hotels in this town.

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And we finally headed downtown! Despite there being no tornadoes nearby it was still plenty windy and the downtown area is full of tall buildings that create some hefty wind tunnels. They did have some pretty architecture though:

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And a Woolworth’s, like when I was a kid!

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And some weird stuff!

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And some railroad tracks!

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And some other stuff I didn’t put in here but you can see in my Flickr pics if you select from the menu at the left.

Finding Some Charm

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Still poking around in suburbia, but we’re starting to take some enjoyment out of the little things we are seeing. For instance, this gorgeous old cab out in front of a trendy hotel in our ‘hood.

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That and the already-blooming magnolia tree. I want a magnolia tree. It would never survive an Ottawa winter.

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Dinner at Ruby Tuesday, which wasn’t much to write home about, but I did have this drink: apple fizz. With a bit of moderation on my part I’d make it at home. It’s basically a bit of apple cider, some Sprite, and some apple pieces. It could be quite refreshing, with some tweaks!

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Livin’ in America

Greensboro feels like a very American place to be. Everyone seems to drive enormous cars. Don’t see a lot of pedestrians – and in fact there aren’t that many sidewalks.

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We ate at an Applebee’s in the pouring rain. Been craving some sweets so I had the Salted Caramel Shorty Shake, a truly delightful wee concoction.

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And then a banana pudding/banana cheesecake thing. With Cracker Jack. It was good but I’m not sure I’d eat it again.

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Tomorrow we’re going to try to venture to downtown Greensboro to see if there’s things to be seen aside from suburban America. Hopefully it won’t disappoint!

In Transit

Spent a good chunk of Sunday traveling from Ottawa to Greensboro, North Carolina, via the Dulles Airport in Washington DC. First thing we saw when coming out of our gate in Dulles was this, in case we were uncertain as to what country we were in:

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Then we were crammed aboard this wee puddle-jumper. The Minion was NOT amused at the size of the plane. I told her to get used to it because we always end up in strange small towns …

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Just a Ramblin’ Soul

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Hi everyone! I am traveling a TON for work in the next three weeks and that means that I’m not around the house much for making things. But I don’t want you to miss out on your regularly scheduled doses of Ali Does It, so I am going to do the same thing I did when the Pie and I went to Portland and give you a daily snippet of travel just to keep you interested. So stay tuned!

A Wee Vacation: Part Two

By drawing this out into two posts I’m hoping you kind of feel like you’re traveling along with us. Plus it gives me time to recover from my rest and relaxation enough to come up with some new content for you!

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After our day in Niagara we headed south across the border to Cooperstown, which is about four hours away. It’s a beautiful drive on the back roads, especially with the fall colours shining in the sun. The weather was totally amazing the whole time we were there, about 22°C most days, so all the sweaters I packed went unworn.

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Cooperstown was founded by American literary great James Fenimore Cooper‘s dad and is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s chock full of beautiful old buildings and colonial houses and everything is pretty as a picture.

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Great food can be had here.

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It sits on the shores of Otsego Lake, otherwise known as Glimmerglass for its smooth surface and high reflectivity. There’s an opera house and a state park by that name in the neighbourhood.

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We stayed at the absolutely delightful Landmark Inn, right downtown in Cooperstown and loved every minute of being pampered by the staff there. The Pie adored all the baseball touches around the place like baseball checkers, a hat from every team in the front hall, and I loved the peanuts and Cracker Jack on offer  on the front hall table. I highly recommend staying there – they even have wheelchair accessible rooms and will make any accommodations they can to any of your dietary restrictions.

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Landmark Inn, built 1906

If you’re into baseball memorabilia, then this is your mecca. Every store is full-to-bursting with signed baseball cards, photos, bats … you name it. The Pie and I are much more into picking up locally crafted artisanal items when we travel so we were a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of that in Cooperstown itself (or even a bookstore for the literary travelers), but it was still fun.

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One thing we really did appreciate about Cooperstown was that everything was locally made and sourced. All the restaurants served products that were raised locally, or beverages distilled locally (there are a ton of breweries and distilleries around). At the Inn we were treated daily to hot apple cider from the Fly Creek Cider Mill, just a few miles out of town, so we had to go and check it out for ourselves.

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The Pie thinks the sign is inaccurate. I think he’s just shrinking in his old age.

We liked it so much we went back again the next day. The place is a giant store of goodies, each one with a little sample plate so you can taste before you buy (booze too). And they had ducks you could feed!

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These ones looked like Donald Trump.

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This duck looks better than Donald Trump.

We also found an epic antiques place in Milford called Wood Bull, which is a giant barn converted to be a repository of absolutely everything you can think of. I only took the one picture but if you watch the intro video in the link above you’ll get an idea of how insane this place is. It seemed like absolute chaos until you walked around a corner and found a room that had been perfectly curated to contain only tin trucks from the early 20th century, or only Fiestaware. Or a room entirely filled with white objects only.

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I almost bought my dad this tin pig but it was a bit pricey for my taste. Plus apparently he already has a tin pig.

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So if you’re looking for a relaxing place to putter and appreciate the beautiful scenery, you’ll want to check this little gem out!