A Weekend in Utah

Over the weekend the hubby and I headed by car up to Southern Utah to visit his parents. While it was a short trip (essentially just an extended weekend), we were able to pack in a lot. And as an added bonus, my brother-in-law (my husband’s brother, that is), sister-in-law, and our niece and nephew came into town a couple days before we had to leave. It was a great family reunion of sorts. Utah is an incredibly beautiful state, and we were even able to squeeze in an overnight trip to Park City.

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Once we got into Park City, we were starving and ended up finding a place called the No Name Saloon. I loved all the stuff they had hanging everywhere. Antiques, license plates…Utah_July060

Even a whole motocycle, just hanging from the ceiling.Utah_July059

And this buffalo head, directly under which I happily ate my buffalo burger with blue cheese and bacon with a cold beer. Yum!Utah_July053

After a meal we headed to the Deer Valley Resort for a concert: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers! It was all general admission lawn seating (a bring your own picnic kind of affair) and people were lined up all the way around the corner an hour before the doors opened just to get a good spot. Utah_July066

Steve Martin is an absolutely incredible banjo player, and the entire band was made up of extremely talented musicians. And Steve Martin delivered his jokes with hilarity in a way that only Steve Martin could pull of.
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Plus Edie Brickell made an appearance to sing with the band.Utah_July058

After we got back to Cedar City area (where the in-laws live), my mom-in-law had a reception for a local gallery display of watercolor paintings where a few of her pieces were displayed. It was such a treat to see her paintings on show for all to see!Utah_July001

One day we took a short hike through the land behind their house. They have an incredible view, and built the house to be mostly self sufficient: solar power, well water, and they even have a few gardens thriving around their property where they grow vegetables, fruit, and herbs.Utah_July015

We were able to get a pretty good view of a hawk’s nest in the rocks across the way from their property. We could hear baby hawks screeching, but couldn’t quite see their little faces.Utah_July019

There was an incredible wash of rocks and tree debris resulting from a huge flash flood about a year ago. It had a huge effect on the nearby area, and since it had been over a year since we were last there it made the landscape look quite different than when we last saw it!Utah_July021

Since it was a quick trip, we didn’t have a lot of time to hike around nearby Bryce and Zion National Parks, but we did do a quick hike with the whole family in the morning of the day we left. It was a great, easy hike to take our 5-year-old niece on. The path is near Kolob Canyon just on the edge of Zion National Park and wanders back and forth over this shallow stream. We were able to point out a few tadpoles to our niece, and she loved getting her feet wet on such a hot day!Utah_July039

The whole weekend was like a rock-hunting expedition for our niece, and I’m pretty sure she fancys herself an archeologist or paleontologist now!Utah_July036Have you been to any of the National Parks in Utah? What’s your favorite?

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Frank Lloyd Wright is Awesome

As you may know, I’m taking a class on sustainable design right now, and as such I have a paper to write in the next couple weeks! It will be on Frank Lloyd Wright, what he called “organic” design, and the ways in which it resulted in passive design. Ok, so what if I just wanted to use it as an excuse to pour over Wright’s designs for the next couple weeks. Well I won’t bore you now with the details of the paper, but I will share with you a few awesome Frank Lloyd Wright designs that I’ll be ogling over in the coming weeks.

Taliesen West

Located in Scottsdale, AZ, Taliesen West was Wright’s winter home and today it remains the winter home of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Being in the desert, there are a ton of passive design elements to keep up with the extreme temperatures. It is also a great example of how to condition a building to rely as much as possible on the available sunlight to light a room. I went on a tour through here about a year and a half ago, and the tour is well worth a trip to see it.

Taliesen

The first built of the two Taliesens, this one is located in Spring Green Wisconsin. It also houses the school of architecture students in the remaining season. In it’s history, the house has actually been destroyed by fire and rebuilt not once, but twice within Frank Lloyd Wright’s lifetime!

Chapel of the Holy Cross

Built into the rocks of Sedona, AZ, this is a fantastic example of what Wright’s idea of “organic design” meant aesthetically. This place is just as remarkable inside as it is from the outside. Yes, those are all windows you see, and yes the view from inside is pretty amazing!

The Guggenheim New York

This is a fantastic space for modern art. If you haven’t been here before, the spiral you see on the outside of the building is reflected within as well, gradually taking you up and up through the museum as you look at all the wonderful art exhibited on the way up.

Hollyhock House

Located here in Los Angeles (I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been to see it yet), Wright built this entire house out of poured molded concrete. Oh, and if you’ve seen the Rocketeer, you’ve seen the inside… it was the home of that dastardly Neville Sinclair (played by Timothy Dalton).

Gordon House

This was one of Wright’s many Usonian homes, designed for American families of “widely varying means” with his organic design philosophy, honoring the land on which they were built. This one is located in Silverton, OR.

Fallingwater

I hate to play favorites, but this is the one I am most dying to see in person! Doesn’t it just seem magical? It was built for the Kaufmann family in the 1930’s in Mill Run, PA, on top of a naturally occurring waterfall. What  a way to live in the woods, eh?

There are so many more incredible creations from Wright’s prolific career, and there is a plethora of information on each of them, so consider this a teaser.

Tell me, have you ever been to any of Frank Lloyd Wrights architectural creations? What were your thoughts?