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two years of dates

For Christmas of 2015, Carl and I decided to plan a year of dates. We alternated months and planned an activity around town (or at least within driving distance), trying to keep the overall budget down, but allowing for a splurge. We liked it so much that we did it again this last year and are planning on doing it this Christmas too. We haven’t done all of them, whether because of time constraints or budget constraints or something else, but we’ve managed to get to about 3/4 of them. Without further ado, here they are!

  • January 2016: curling lesson at the Olympic Oval. The Olympic Oval teaches beginning curling periodically, so we bundled up and learned about the sport. Using the broom turned out to require more effort than I expected! It was a fun event, and I’d highly recommend it. They also do Cosmic Curling sometimes, which could be fun to do.
  • February 2016: skipped
  • March 2016: dinner at the Viking yurt. This was Carl’s splurge for the year. It was expensive and kind of kitschy but really fun. You’re pulled up the mountain at Park City in a 32-person sleigh by a Cat, and then you eat dinner in a yurt that was built for the 2002 Olympics (where the Norwegian king ate dinner!) while a live piano player plays jazz and show tunes. The food (and grog) was good, the company was pretty nice, and the snow was gently falling while we ate and went back down the mountain. It was kind of silly but so much fun.
  • April 2016: breakfast at Ruth’s Diner and walking around Red Butte Gardens. Ruth’s Diner is kind of a legend around SLC, but we hadn’t been. They have gluten-free options, and we went for brunch on Sunday. Delicious. Red Butte is a beautifully-landscaped area with forest going up the mountain, and we spent time walking around, seeing all the flowers in bloom. Loved the herb garden. We still haven’t been there when the roses have been blooming. We must go back.
  • May 2016: skipped
  • June 2016: Utah Arts Festival. This is one of the premiere festivals in SLC annually, and it attracts a lot of musical talent (4 stages? 5?), lots of artists, and lots of food trucks. We went to some spoken word stuff, a ballet exhibition, and an Irish rock band playing, and it was just fun. You think of Utah as being pretty strait-laced, and yes, it is, but this is where all the people who don’t fit in come. We had so much fun that we went back in 2017 and plan on going again next year.
  • July 2016: skipped. We went to Antelope Island for another reason and thought it was awful, particularly in summer.
  • August 2016: camping in Nine Mile Canyon. This was a fun trip. We spent two nights camping at one end of the canyon, and we spent our day exploring petroglyphs and doing some small hikes. I think I sang on a cliff that had particularly nice acoustics.
  • September 2016: farmer’s market and lunch at Tin Angel. The downtown farmer’s market is pretty incredible. There are tons of booths, selling produce and art and everything in between. Tin Angel is just across the street, and we had brunch there, which was quite delicious. It made for a very pleasant morning and afternoon.
  • October 2016: Natural History Museum of Utah. Dinosaurs! The collection of dinosaurs here is astounding. It is really a great museum, particularly when you consider that it’s run by a university. There’s also stuff about geology and the environment, and it’s just neat. They were between special exhibits when we went, but we’ve since gone back for one (about poison – really cool).
  • November 2016: skipped
  • December 2016: dinner at Bambara. I was hoping for MoTab tickets, but alas. So we just went out for a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant downtown. It was really good, but not very adventurous.

And now for 2017 so far:

  • January 2017: Clark Planetarium. We actually did this one in the first week of February, when they had a lecture and demonstration of what to watch for in the coming weeks. The planetarium has fascinating exhibits and a great dome. And we heard about the eclipse, which made me find a campsite the following week (thank goodness!).
  • February 2017: moonlight snowshoeing at Sundance. On nights of the full moon, Sundance stays open later for snowshoeing. We went too early and didn’t experience the magic after sundown, but we had fun nonetheless. You get to be on the cross-country ski routes, which are/might be a little easier. It was the first time snowshoeing for both of us, and though I hurt myself about 45 minutes in, we had fun and would like to do this again. We’ll go later in the evening next time.
  • March 2017: virtual reality arcade. Okay, we didn’t do this one in March, but we eventually got around to it in… July? We went to a VR arcade and spent about an hour there. The first bit was video on a Gear VR, and then we played a dodgeball-type game on Vive together, and then we played games separately, though both of us played a space pirate game. It was pretty great, and Carl was so very excited about the whole adventure.
  • April 2017: Wheeler Farm. This is a farm in Murray, just south of SLC. They have tons of animals, and we were hoping to see baby lambs and cows and pigs, but there weren’t too many to be seen. It was a lovely afternoon just walking around.
  • May 2017: Timpanogos Cave. The hike to the top of the mountain was a beast (14% grade for 1.5 miles (1100-foot climb)), but the cave was totally worth it. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly and full of stories about the cave. There are some rare formations, and it was just really neat.
  • June 2017: skipped
  • July 2017: Utah Shakespeare Festival. This one broke the budget for the year, but it was totally worth it. We saw four shows (one Friday – Romeo and Juliet, two Saturday – Guys and Dolls and As You Like It, and one Monday – Midsummer Night’s Dream), and we spent Sunday at Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park. We also went to Cedar Breaks National Monument. We were going to camp, but we found a cheap motel near the festival and decided to do that instead. It was a fantastic getaway, and we plan on going back next year.
  • August 2017: eclipse. We intended to do something else for August, but the eclipse ended up being our date. We went up to Rexburg, Idaho (and took a friend), where we camped all weekend and had just a lovely time. The eclipse was gorgeous, as you would expect, and the only downside was the drive home, which took 11 hours instead of 3.
  • September 2017: Bonneville Salt Flats for World of Speed. This was a fun day trip. We got to see the salt flats and see cars racing against the clock. It was a beautiful day, and it was fun seeing all the cars in the pit and then seeing them whoosh by (from a very safe distance). If you go, take binoculars, and wash your car when you get back into town.
  • October 2017: Springville Museum of Art and the Alpine Loop. We drove down to Springville (near Provo) to check out the art museum there. It was excellent. The first floor was closed, but the second floor was still amazing. Apparently, they have the largest collection of Russian art in the western hemisphere. We had lunch at the Art City Trolley, a converted rail car. It was really good food, in addition to the novelty of being in a train car. And then we drove into Provo Canyon to see the fall colors. So beautiful!

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