By Shelley Mika
Nearly 10 years ago, I fell in love…with Park City. I was a Nebraska girl traveling for work and it just happened – the instant I left, I wanted to come back. Fortunately, I did make it back a few more times, growing fonder with every visit.
Since that time, I’ve fallen in love again, this time with a handsome, kind, and endlessly entertaining man named Eric. He captured my heart much like Park City did; once I was with him, I never wanted to leave. And essentially, I never did. We were married in April.
With these two loves nestled securely in my heart, my mind kept going back to one place when it came time to plan our honeymoon: Park City.
When I first came to Park City I was on assignment for work. I would attend the company’s client workshops, then report on them for their magazine. It soon became apparent why the company had chosen this place for the location: it was gorgeous. People wanted to come to Park City regardless of whether they cared about our conference or not. I quickly became one of those people. Park City was the perfect combination of scenic bliss paired with coveted cuisine and abundant adventure. I was single at the time, but it also always struck me as such a romantic place — the kind of place you want to explore with your soul mate.
And so here I am in Park City once again, this time with my true love, my husband. Some details of our trip are reserved just for us, but to return the love Park City has given us, we wanted to share a 36-hour peek into our first vacation as newlyweds.
Gazing and Grazing | 11 a.m.
When it's lunch time in Park City there is no question of where to head! It’s time to head to Main Street and grab lunch. There are so many places to choose from, so we start at the top of the hill and work our way down.
We consider going to the No Name Saloon, which has a rooftop area perfect for gazing down at the people streaming up and down the hill. During the summer months, several places along Main Street offer patio seating, so you’re guaranteed good people watching regardless of your vantage point.
We end up at Bandits’ and aren’t disappointed. Eric’s burger comes adorned with fried pickle coins and a potato-chip bun, and we top it off with skillet cornbread with cinnamon honey butter. We are indulging, just the way honeymooners should. But the stars of the show are the garlic herb fries. I steal several from Eric’s plate. He knew what he was getting into when he married me!
Getting Silly | 12:30 p.m.
Full and content, we head back out on Main Street. A few blocks down the hill we run into a massive event — Park Silly Sunday Market.
White tents line both sides of the street and people fill the gaps in between. It’s the city’s farmer’s market, and the draw is huge. That’s probably because of the wide array of wares available (and the fact that it’s at least 10 degrees cooler at this altitude). At the top of the hill all sorts of edibles are for sale, from the traditional farmer’s market fruits and veggies to homemade bread, salsa, jerky, chili oil, and more. From there, countless vendors offer jewelry, bags, artwork, and all manner of crafts. At the bottom of the hill food vendors offer everything from cheesesteaks to Thai skewers.
Bistro Bites | 7:00 p.m.
All of our shopping and people watching required a nap. But now we’re rested and hungry. We stop at a cute corner café called 501 on Main that can best be described as bistro fare in a bar setting. We like the laid back atmosphere and the very friendly staff. The place is small, but the menu options are mighty. I get the vegetable risotto in a crisp potato basket (think “crispy hashbrown bowl” — yum!) with vegan chicken nuggets on top. Where else can you get such a dish? Every bite was heavenly.
Seasoned to Perfection | 11:30 a.m.
When it's time to start our day, we need eggs and we need them pronto. The Eating Establishment delivers. I get the Park City omelet (when in Rome, right?), a veggie omelet with the special addition of avocado slices tucked inside. Eric’s chicken fried steak is topped with the most delicious, sage-y gravy. Both are hearty and just what we need. The breakfast potatoes are a can’t-miss side — they are crispy and oh-so-perfectly seasoned. Again, the potatoes steal the show.
Accessorizing Along Main | 1:00 p.m.
We need to walk off our breakfast, and Main Street offers the perfect setting. It’s Monday, so it’s a lot less crowded, allowing us to take our time strolling in and out of the fabulous shops along the hill. Eric and I both have a weakness for footwear, so I buy the cutest new pair at Double Diamond Shoes. Olive and Tweed makes me the proud new owner of a lovely pair of earrings, and the corner chocolate shop offers sweet smells on our way into the bookstore behind it. So many loves in one place! Along the way we have the nicest conversation with the woman running Hilda, a boutique offering gorgeous women’s and men’s clothing. Perhaps our favorite stop is Sock City, an absolute palace of socks! Neither of us can resist a purchase; Eric’s pair features dinosaurs, mine are subtly adorned with cats. We are both nerds, but at least we are nerds together.
Mole and Memories | 8:00 p.m.
One last dinner in Park City. There are so many places to choose from, it’s hard to pick. I start thinking through the logistics of staying a few more days so we can try them all…but alas, we must choose.
Riverhorse on Main, Café Terigo, and Grappa all come highly recommended. 350 Main almost gets our vote for its original menu and many vegetarian options. But my man loves Mexican food, so we opt for Blue Iguana. If you think there is only one kind of molé, this place will provide much-needed education, as they did for us. We are offered a sampler plate with five flavors, each better than the next. We make quick work of them — and the accompanying basket of chips!
We sit on the balcony and take in Main Street one last time as the sun sets. We’ve had so many great meals, shopped to our hearts’ content, and enjoyed all of the romance for which I remember this place. But perhaps our best memory this time around is the kindness of all the people we met. Every person we encountered was so genuine and nice and made us feel at home. Park City is every bit as beautiful and embracing as I remember it to be. But even better, this time I have brand new memories made with my brand new husband. I bet they’ll keep us coming back.