Thanks to the previous day’s bus tour, we had decided we wanted to head back into the foothills and explore the botanical garden & natural history museum. So Maryland mom arranged for a one day car rental and took off after breakfast to the airport to go retrieve what would truly be our own personal van (because sometimes the hotel van was actually out shuttling OTHER clients around – how rude!).
Oh, another note as to how we decided what to do on Sunday – thanks to the dominance of the Mormon church in SLC, a vast swath of the city is closed on Sunday. So we had to plan our outing and our meals around those closures.
Our first stop was the botanical gardens. It was cold, windy & sometimes threatened to rain, but never did thankfully. There were also some gorgeous looking running/hiking trails right behind the museum which would have been much more palatable for me to complete my morning run, but I didn’t find out about them in time (hence the misery of the treadmill which I shall never repeat). I had to complete 4 miles that weekend and I am GLAD it was only 4! My knees & ankles hurt for 3 days after that awful run.
Anyway….it was a gorgeous day and as you can see from the dozens of photos below, the gardens were beautiful. The highlight for us was playing Pooh Leaves at the bridge over the creek (it’s Pooh Sticks in the original story, but we didn’t have any sticks handy so we settled for leaves). I just love that photo that Seattle mom took of the rest of us peering over the railing to see which leaf came out from under the bridge first! Of course, my most favorite photo is the one of all of us in front of the most enormous canopy of bright yellow leaves I’ve ever seen on one tree. It just worked out nicely that we chose our own clothing colors wisely to perfectly set off the yellow background :)
The Natural History museum is right next store and they had a lovely soup/sandwich cafe in it so we stopped there for lunch and then wandered through their exhibits learning a bit about the Great Salt Lake and many of the dinosaur fossils found there. The museum also boasted a special History of Horses exhibit which really interested Maine Mom since her youngest is quite passionate about horses and riding. Then there was the rooftop terrace with the most sweeping view of the Salt Lake City basin out to the lake itself. Breathtaking.
Dinner that night was at a lovely little indoor/outdoor cafe/bar that Florida mom found (after figuring out what was actually open on Sunday nights!) I do remember what I ate there but sadly that’s because it wasn’t all that good :( Kind of rare for one to complain that there’s TOO much flavor, but that was how it was with this stuffed chicken breast dish. Ah well, the fancy beer and the creme brulee for dessert made up for that quite nicely!
As always, we wrapped up the night chatting away in one of our rooms feeling a bit sad knowing it was our last night. We did come up with a long list of potential east coast locations for next years gathering which gave us something to look forward to.