Beards are everywhere these days. And I couldn’t be happier about it! They used to be a symbol of uncharted territory – a beacon of the unknown. They were for the wanderer. If you had a beard, you were going places, literally. You called no big-city home, because your home was the wilderness. And that’s what beards are representing again. Even in the big-city, they’re bringing meaning to the term “concrete jungle”.
But for today, let me take you to a place that was built by miners – so you know they had beards – the beautiful Park City, Utah. Home to three major ski resorts, an Olympic park, and plenty of beards, Park City is one of the most perfect places to go if you’re a fan of the bearded lifestyle. They love beards here so much, that my beard was fully fondled within the first hour of being in town. I’m not complaining; I always enjoy the attention that being blessed with the Gift of Beard brings me.
Utah is home to “The Greatest Snow on Earth” and we’ve got the license plate designs to prove it. If that doesn’t sell it for you though, go ahead and find out for yourself. Utah has 14 ski resorts, and three of those are in Park City: The Canyons Resort, Deer Valley Resort, and Park City Mountain Resort.
There are still several resorts within driving distance, but why venture further out of town when you can stay where the mountains are right outside your hotel window. You can’t go wrong with any of these gems, but Park City Mountain Resort is the perfect choice if you want to be able to have a quick transition from the mountain to Maine Street; and that’s because you can literally ski to town from the resort.
Now we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that’s something to be respected. So do what you were meant to do, and eat! This is where all of that hard work skiing down the mountain pays off – you can literally ski to breakfast, and trust me, you should. As you head down the back side of Park City Mountain Resort, you’ll run right into The Bridge Café. It gets its name from being located on precisely that, a bridge. As you ski down the mountain, or walk up the stairs from Main Street if you’re boring, you’ll come to a quaint little Brazilian café. And yes, you read that right, a Brazilian Café. But don’t let that fool you, they’ll feed you a breakfast fit for any nationality. If you happened to ski into this little corner of heaven, you can walk back over to the lift, and hitch a ride back up to the top of the mountain and head down the other side, back towards the rest of the resort, or ski back down for seconds…
If you walked to breakfast, you can keep on meandering up Main Street. Our first stop after breakfast was to grab a cup of Joe. Well, I don’t know what the more British version name for Joe is, Edmund perhaps, but we stopped to grab a cup of tea.
There’s a charming tea and coffee shop that’s ready to give you a break from, well everything, if you need it. With every flavor under the mountain sun, you can’t go wrong at Atticus. Do you like to read, or more importantly, do you know how to read? Atticus has shelves upon shelves of used books that you can purchase to accompany your tea-time. Oh, and if you have a used book that meets their criteria, you can sell them your book, and move on to your next adventure.
As we started up Main Street, we saw a familiar symbol – a barber’s pole. In the back of a local clothing store, Prospect, was Main Street’s best barber, Billy the Barber. Billy works with a clientele made up of about 40% bearded folk, and we assume the rest are kids… Billy will snip those straggling hairs that like to remind you that while you are bearded and beautiful, you’re not perfect. Don’t worry; no one is, but you are considerably closer.
There are some crazy rumors as far as Utah and its relationship with alcohol are concerned. Unfortunately some of those crazy rumors are true. For starters, if you want to throw a “kegger”, that keg better have root beer in it, because you can’t buy a keg of beer anywhere in the state (unless you have specific licenses that allow for the purchase of kegs, believe us, we’ve checked). Also, they keep the Sabbath day holy around here – you can’t buy booze by the bottle on Sundays, and you can’t buy beer that’s over 3.2% alcohol by volume anywhere other than a bar (we’ll discuss that later). But let’s not focus on the minutiae here, the important thing is that there’s still alcohol in Utah! Mazel Tov!
Not only does Utah have alcohol, but we visited a place that makes some of the best we’ve ever had. High West Distillery, Utah’s first distillery in 140 years, is home to some of the best whiskies that you can get – and this is coming from some well-seasoned whiskey drinkers.
Admittedly, I didn’t know much about how whisky is made, I’ve just consumed more than my fair share. But that was all about to change.
We met Ryan, head tour guide and bearded whisky connoisseur, who took us to school on the art of whisky production (and practically whisky consumption). This man knows more about whisky than you could ever hope to find at the bottom of a barrel. And I say that because we even learned about the science behind the barrel itself.
The tour takes you through the process of distilling whisky, and then some (that’s because High West also makes two kinds of vodka). In my opinion, however, the best part of the entire tour is the very end. After you’ve seen the fermentation tanks, the pot-distiller, and all other steps along the way, you’re led to a whisky tasting.
Shawn described some of their most popular whiskies and what they were blended from. Whether it’s “Campfire” which, you guessed it, tastes like you’re camping, or one of their “silver” whiskies, which tastes like gold to me, there’s a drink for everyone. Despite Utah’s unique liquor laws about booze on Sundays, a loophole allows them to sell their product on Sundays.
WARNING: Their first tour starts at noon. So if you like to hit it hard earlier in the day, they can make that happen. They also have a full scale restaurant and can pair the perfect whisky to accompany any meal, if whisky isn’t enough of a meal for you.
If you want to continue drinking, or eating, Main Street is littered with eateries and watering holes. We stopped off at a local favorite, No Name Saloon. This may be the most eclectic hodgepodge of all things you wouldn’t expect to find in a bar. From motorcycles and snowmobiles hanging from the ceiling, to a decorative toilet on the upstairs patio, this bar and grill dances to the beat of its own drum. They’re famous for their Buffalo Burgers.
If buffalo isn’t your choice of meat, don’t worry, there’s another bar and grill every few feet along Main Street. And if you’ve brought a member of the non-bearded persuasion, I’ve got good news! Park City is also home to some of the best shopping this side of Beverly Hills.
You can find everything from art to fur coats, and even a fur covered jockstrap, and I’m being 100% honest. If you prefer to keep your fur on your face, there are plenty of other places to shop in Park City. Tanger Outlets will probably have something for you; in fact, you won’t have a hard time finding more than you need.
If you’re sore from skiing, shopping, or just shuffling around, there are plenty of spas around to soak your soreness away. But I’d personally recommend heading a little out of the way to a town called Midway. The Midway Hot Pots are the perfect place to unwind from a long day of adventures. It’s also the perfect place to fluff your beard back out to full, mountain man magnificence. The water in these natural hot springs comes from the rain and snow that falls along the Wasatch Mountain Range, thus bringing your day full circle.
In summation, you are bearded, you are beautiful, and you are welcome in Park City.