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Sunday, September 21, 2014

What I learned so far- New England Native in SLC

Salt Lake City, Utah is a wonderful place.
But when you are from New England... it is such a different place. 

When you pack up your life in a little UHaul and move 2,300 miles across the country, away from the water and to a land locked state up in the mountains, life gets a little... different. I have been keeping little mental notes of all the little things I have learned here, and I finally have a good enough list to share with all of you.  To all of you who haven't been to SLC, 
Sit back and enjoy my little list of what a certain New England native learned so far.

Head phones are a must unless you want to have extensive conversations with the drunk homeless population riding the Trax (light rail, train, what ever you want to call it).  On that note - the homeless are harmless, but it breaks my heart every time I see them (especially with the dogs!).  Certainly something that takes a while to get used to. 

Liberty park is amazing: dogs, biking, roller blading, roller skating, scooters, dodgeball, frisbee volleyball, acro yoga, aviary, pool, tennis, free concerts, and even LARPING.

The parks.  There are so many parks and they are all so beautiful and well kept.  A lot of them have running trails so you can avoid running traffic light to traffic light.  Running is SO HARD HERE.  The air is so dry, the altitude is tough at first, and there are no hills, just mountains with insane and constant inclines.  And the decline is tough too!

The rail is PACKED at 7am (and even worst on game days).  Traveling 3.5 miles in a city takes 3x as long to bike walk or even drive compared to living in a small town- waiting for stoplights and pedestrians takes forever.  Biking to campus is a nightmare getting there- massive hill- and slightly suicidal heading home going down those hills

Utah has a lot of lakes and amazing hiking, but some of it does not allow dogs because it is a public water supply.  This can be very frustrating when trying to figure out dog friendly hikes. 

Mountain lions, moose, rattle snakes, and bears live in this area.  And rattle snakes are common.  And the babies are the worst because they don't know when to "let go".  And now I have rattle snake nightmares and jump at any sound while hiking.  Air is not free- $2 to fill up your bike tire at the gas station (what?)  A lot of people in the state of Utah "carry" (weapons) and it is odd to see "No Weapons Allowed" signs on certain buildings.....

This city is all about Festivals.  And there is a large Greek population here and the Greek festival is a big deal 

Everyone runs and bikes and is in impeccable shape.  Running a marathon seems to be a normal thing... and I even saw a kid on campus who had a tattoo tally of how many marathons he has run.  He was up to 7. According to my new Utah friend being active and hiking is called being "granola" a new Utah term for the books.

Free stuff and events everywhere Tuesday and Thursday concerts at the Gallivan Center are absolutely amazing- and free!  There is even a stage!  You can bring your own chairs, your own snacks and enjoy a free concert on a beautiful evening.  Did I mention free enough?

Bring a rain coat everywhere - and a bikini and a winter coat and sunscreen- because the weather is crazy and changes fast.

Sunscreen is a must- sometimes the sun can feel like you are under a broiler-  Bring your own shade everywhere in this state. Like EVERYWHERE.   We need more trees.

The University of Utah is GIGANTIC.   One of my classes is almost a mile walk from the Trax stop on campus.   Many days I walk a half a mile to the trax stop, ride the trax 3 miles to school, and then walk another .5 to a mile to class.  And I do this once in the morning and once at night. 

Fry sauce is a thing- and it's amazing.  Why doesn't CT have fry sauce? From Scratch has the best burger (and that amazing fry sauce).  But I will have to try all the burgers in this city to be sure.. you know... research. Oh and every single thing on this plate was made from scratch. Get it?

The malls here are gorgeous.  They are also outside with cute little rivers running through them, amazing restaurants, and the most adorable little places to sit and relax while shopping.  Did I mention they are all outdoors? Liquor stores sell ONLY warm beer wine and liquor- no fridges of cold beer, no ice, no mixers. BUT you can buy cold beer basically anywhere.  Even at Rite Aid (any beer up to 4%).

Rice Eccles football stadium is not allowed to serve beer, or any alcohol for that matter.
The amount of people that attend football games and how into the games they get is a CULTURE SHOCK to the 1999th degree.   It is so weird to be somewhere where winter is the highlight.  I no longer have to dread winter because the snow is useful here!

It is so nice to not depend on a car.  I walk and take the Trax to school, and drive my car about once a week, usually to drive to a park because Olive isn't allowed on the Trax. 

This city is stunning.  The most beautiful buildings, the most perfect parks, mountains, streams, and oh all the flowers!  Temple Square is simply beautiful and I now refer to it as the castle. The gardens, the square, the fountains.. all so beautiful!

You can run in to the most random things because there is always something going on.
  Like The Piano Guys filming a music video with the Batmobile at the Capital Building and a fog machine. And yes that is a little helicopter drone. 

Dogs who have never lived in an apartment are terrified of the elevator, and of the people that live above you. But there are a lot of great dog friendly events and locations in the city.  

I love having a balcony to sit on and enjoy a drink in the afternoons.  I just wish we had a better view.  Luckily we do get to see some lovely sunsets. 

It is really fun to be in a city with so much to do and actually have a reason to get dressed.  Living in your running clothes is not as popular as it was back at home for me! 

Utah is very on board with Adopt Dont Shop and has a big rescue scene (amazing!).  They host amazing events that support rescues, and even have some of their adoptable pups on billboards.  I attended this amazing "Yappy Hour" event at Pioneer Park that was a huge dog park with music, food, and beer. 

There are so many food trucks around the city and they are all so so SOO good.  
Elk slider and homemade potato chips good. 

While everyone automatically associates Salt Lake City to Mormons and no drinking-- it is such a myth.  Salt Lake City has some amazing bars (Phil dunfy owns one!).  They do have some funky draft beer rules I will admit, but they do have so many amazing local beers and bottled beer has no special percent rules. Beer Hive even had this amazing chiller on the bar to keep your drink cold.  BUT while we are talking about booze- their liquor laws are really annoying.  Every single bar has a special contraption they have to use on all their liquor bottles for evenly measured one shot pours. 

I guess all around... Salt Lake City is a pretty amazing place.  It is the perfect combination of clean safe city life and outdoor adventure.  

But don't get me wrong.   I miss the water, and diving, and the horses, and of course,
 I miss you friends and family so very much! I will keep updating my "What I Have Learned So Far" list  because I am fairly certain the best is yet to come :) 

Stay Tuned!


  1. I'm so glad you're getting to see and do so much! I know you must miss the horses terribly, but it's probably also nice to get a chance to do things normal people do (you know, the stuff you never get to because the horses don't feed themselves)!
    Also, as an aside, we use the term granola here too ;) Generally in reference to hippies though, and usually prefaced with the word "crunchy". I.E. My little brother is a crunchy granola.

    1. hahahahahah. Well I am going riding tomorrow YIPPE! more on that later

      and I had never heard granola (not in a reference to food) until I moved here so funny.

      I like it in reference to the crunch snack better. Because its delicious. I shall continue to use granola in a yogurt context only ;)

  2. Fry sauce! SO FUNNY! I've definitely heard of that since I work with so many people from Utah! Glad you've been able to try it :) and you're riding tomorrow?! can't wait to hear about it! I hope you're having a blast - you are missed tons and tons. xoxox

  3. Such a great post; I feel like I just visited SLC! Great idea keeping track of all the new stuff.. I wish I had done that when I moved to Mississippi because there were so many new cultural things and sayings, etc., that I just became used to, and now I have to try really hard to remember them. Sounds like you're having lots of fun exploring!


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