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!