AA Pub Crawl: SLC

Last month we traveled to Salt Lake City, during the day while my husband spent hours inside a windowless conference room in a large franchise hotel while I lounged by the window of a sunny cafe and planned our adventures for the evenings. During one of these episodes I decided to design our very own SLC pub crawl.

I had booked us a condo via Air BnB called the Adventurist’s Urban Retreat. It was great, a very hip loft in a very hipster part of town. I likened it to what Gastown was about 20 years ago when it was just starting to get the attention of condo developers and restauranteurs. Our hosts, as the owners are called on Air BnB had complied a list of places near and far with brief descriptions on what to expect. From this list I formulated our pub crawl.

So one hot, hot afternoon we met at the BeerHive it was just around the corner from where my husband was attending his conference, perfect location to get our feet wet. BeerHive was everything I hoped for in our pub crawl. A long wooden bar backed by a wall of assorted bottled liquor and more taps than I could count. The dark interior environment illuminated mostly from the large front window was laden with wood features, formerly a barrister’s office, and accented with brick walls.

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The service was not too intrusive and just the right amount of help with the long, long list of beers to choose from. These bartenders knew how to bartend. We were handed our glistening pints of beer topped with the perfect amount of frothy foam onto the 3 inch strip of ice built into the middle of the bar and before you think otherwise this is a brilliant idea. My last gulp of beer was as cold and welcoming as my first.

From BeerHive we moved onto Bodega a few blocks down the road. Needing to fill our bellies with a bit of food we signed up for a few $2 soft tacos and $3 Tecates. Tecate is not exactly the best beer but at $3 a can, why not? Bodega has a tiny front room and apparently a back room as well although we found a spot in the front window to munch our tacos, sip our Tecates and watch the world of SLC walk by. Bodega is nestled into a former stock brokers office with minimalistic vintage Mexican decor and excellent cheap fish tacos it’s worth a stop.

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With a bit a food and a few more beer under our belt we merrily sauntered a few more blocks to Gracie’s.

Gracie’s was only a few blocks from our loft and may have been a bit disappointing after BeerHive and Bodegas. A large bar with an up and down stairs sports bar feel we initially opted to sit on the covered patio until I found the continuous spray of mist above our heads a bit too offensive, even in the heat it was weird being wet while sitting in a pub. The section of beer was adequate but we opted to stay for only one pint here.

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We would have moved onto Salt Lake Brewing Co, right next to Gracie’s but we were a bit too teetery and decided to pack it in for the night back at our loft. We did check out the graffiti art and peeked inside the brewery located in a beautifully restored old brick building.

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Besides these establishments we also hit up Red Rock Brewing on our first night in town, we had flown in late so our options were limited even on a Saturday night but it was a great introduction to SLC night life and we enjoyed great pizza along with a few brews.

As a side note In SLC you must have your photo identification with you at all times and are requested to present it everywhere you buy alcohol no matter how old you are. They even write down all your info.

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Getting Back to Nature: Little Huson Caves

I’ve been finding the summer days, although luxuriously long, have been falling through my grasp like fine dry sand. Looking back, well I don’t even want to do that right now because frankly it scares me a bit how fast days, weeks and then months disappear, gone.

I’ve also been needing a great big dose of nature. Just us in the wild, no one else but us with trees, a big body of water, blue skies (preferably) to just explore somewhere and it needed to be a new place.

I stumbled, online, onto Little Huson Caves. Just floating around the interweb thinking about exploring the north of Vancouver Island I found this site. The first opportunity I had to go was last weekend but my husband was out of town so I bribed a friend, with drink, to accompany me and my two wild boys on an adventure and what we found was unbelievable.

Little Huson Caves is about 90 minutes north of Campbell River. After taking the turn off to Zeballos you follow the well placed highly visible signs all the way into your parking spot at the trailhead. The trail is so easy my 3 year old could do it no sweat, both ways, while jabbering about anything and everything that crossed his mind. We took small glow in the dark sticks for the kids to explore the caves with and I highly recommend this if you go with children or headlamps at the very least. The caves are very open so taking a light source is not a requirement for having good time but let’s face it, it’s way more fun with light sticks!

This weekend my husband was here and my short burst of caving experience had given me an idea. I planned our over night lake/cave/canoe adventure.

When we left Saturday morning my husband looked at me from the driver’s side and said “so, where are we going?” I wasn’t exactly sure but I knew I wanted to find somewhere it could just be us with no influences, no noise. “North” I said with a confident shrug. I had some ideas in mind but with the camp fire ban finally lifted after many, many weeks I was certain we would be battling to find any kind of privacy. We started again down the road to Zeballos and I found myself thinking what have I gotten us into now, would we be spending all day looking for a camping spot? The kids were already getting a bit tired of being in the truck, placating them with copious amounts of snacks and finally, grudgingly, handing over my husband’s iPhone we pulled up and parked in a small gravelly parking lot. I had scouted this spot out the previous week but had wholeheartedly expected to be confronted with a well established camp filled with seasoned J Crew clad campers frolicking in their smoky camp fire scent. What I received was glorious space, filled with everything nature. A small lake, perfect for our relaxing family canoe paddle, enough wood, rocks, blue sky and trees to fill up my nature void.

Ok, sooooo the relaxing family canoe ride was, ummm, not exactly relaxing being only the second time my husband and I have canoed together. Broadside to the wind, actually paddling in circles, the kids yelling we are “going to crash” into some rocks at the edge of the lake was anything but relaxing but once our feet were firmly planted on firm ground we hit our stride, well right after the wasp sting.

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