Monday, April 26, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Top eight sites to see.

So. To wrap it all up, out of all the suggestions I've given you, what do you really need to see to experience Salt Lake City?
  • Temple Square and the Beehive House. Likewise the Church History museum. All right next to the FHL
  • Since it is spring, you have to drive down and see Thanksgiving Point and the tulips (Alternately, if you come back in the fall you need to drive the Alpine Loop.)
  • Second South tour that I talked about earlier.
  • This is the Place
  • Kennecott Bingham Copper Mine
  • And you can't come to Salt Lake without going out to see the Great Salt Lake, duh. Antelope Island is a unique place to explore.
  • Also check out the Humanitarian Center of the LDS church.
  • and there is still skiing at Snowbird.

Thanks to my social networking class for the ideas.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Bringing the Family

So what is there to do if you are bringing the family? I hope you are--and I hope you have signed up for the Kids Camp that is going on on Saturday. It is my passion in life to envelop my children in the larger picture--an extended family, and teach them about their heritage. And what better way than to bring them to a genealogy conference?

So--since I am telling you about traveling to Salt Lake, what is there for the family to do in and around the conference?

Two great resources are one trax stop, or about a two block walk west from the conference over at the Gateway Center. The Clark Planetarium is a favorite of our family's. There are interactive displays about the planets, laser shows and an Imax theatre, but my kids' favorite is "Newton's Daydream," a two story audio-kinetic maze of balls and bells and whistles that you can interact with. Exhibits are free, times and prices for the shows are at the website.

Likewise at the Gateway Center is the children's museum known as the Discovery Gateway. This museum is perfect for the 5-10 year old crowd, but all ages can find something interesting here. There is an interactive town with a store, farm and house and construction zone, a play area "beehive" of interactive ball chutes, a media center where kids can produce a newscast, a story telling stage with puppets and costumes, and much much more. Hours are Monday - Thursday 10 am - 6 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am - 8 pm, and Sunday Noon - 6 pm. General admission is $8.50

Up emigration canyon on the eastern side of Salt Lake City, Hogle Zoo covers 42 acres with over 800 animals. This is the perfect time of year to visit the zoo--not to hot or cold, and lots of baby animals. If you are sticking around until May 15th, a new exhibit called "Natures Nightmares" is opening with all sorts of "scary" animals. Don't know if I'm going to go see that one (I'm typically squeamish) but of course you should ;-).

I already talked about the Tracy Aviary, located on seven wooded acres of Liberty Park, it is the nation's oldest public aviary. This bird park hosts a collection of 400 birds including many endangered species. During the summer guests can see a free-flying bird show and hand feed colorful parrots at the Lory Walk exhibit. Admission is nominal and all proceeds benefit the birds. Open year-round. 589 East 1300 South. 801-596-8500.

My all time favorite places to take the kids though are the historical sites I already listed for you. This Is The Place Heritage Park, The Beehive House, and the Heber Creeper. I hope as I spend time with them, and invest them in their history, they will become genealogists too. Good luck creating your own genealogical descendants.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Day Trip Provo

I've already told you about the Family History Library at BYU and the Gardens at Thanksgiving Point. I'm going to give you a few other places to make a day trip out of Utah County. I think the Family History Library and the gardens would be the perfect day. So I'm pretty much just going to give you a few places to eat.

Thanksgiving Point has a really good restaurant called the Harvest Restaurant. It has fresh good food and the walls of the restaurant are painted with fun "trompe l'oeil" art on the walls. Right next to Thanksgiving Point is another favorite burger place--JCW's. A little further south on the BYU campus is the Museum of Art Cafe. The Cafe is only open from 11 to 2 for lunches, but they have wonderful salads and an amazing cold raspberry soup. Other fun places to stop include Cabelas where you can see the wildlife displays and aquariums and dine on buffalo or ostrich at the High Uintas grill. And if you ever come later in the fall, the most beautiful place on earth to see the leaves change is the Alpine Loop drive between American Fork Canyon (stop and see Timpanogos Cave) and Provo Canyon (home of Sundance Ski Resort).

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Day Trip Park City

Although Dear Myrtle already posted a bit about Park City's Historical Museum, I thought I would add my $.02.

Park City makes a fun day trip from Salt Lake. The ski areas have just closed for the season, but there are still lots of fun attractions to visit. The Olympic Park has tours and rides and a fun zip line that opens May 8th, the Tanger Factory Outlet is a great place for shopping deals and Main Street is a good place to wander through art galleries and especially enjoy the nightlife. Park City is about a 40 minute drive up Parley's Canyon on the I-80 freeway.

If you go, you have to eat at Stein Erickson or Grub Steak, both pricey but absolutely legendary.

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Day Trip Ogden

Ogden is about a 45 minute drive north on the I-15 freeway. I suppose I'm partial to Ogden for a family history day trip because my maternal grandfather's parents settled in Ogden for a time. But it has an amazing railroad history that is most fascinating. You can take the FrontRunner train up to Ogden in about 45 minutes and it will drop you off just a block or so from the Union Station. In 1869 when the transcontinental railroad was connected at Promontory Utah, Ogden became the central hub of transportation in the intermountain west. The station is not in use for trains anymore but houses three interesting museums: the John M Browning Firearms Museum, The Utah State Railroad Museum and the Browning-Kimball Classic Car museum. The station is open Monday-Saturday 10am to 5 pm and admission for all three museums is $5.

Or, if you would rather learn about Airplane history, make the stop on the way up to Ogden at Hill Air Force base and visit the Hill Aerospace Museum. The museum boasts one of the largest collections of vintage aircraft with over 90 military aircraft and military aerospace vehicles. Exhibits take you through the dawn of the airplane and the history of the Air Force with interesting stories about the people who were involved. The museum is open 9:30 am to 4:00 pm seven days a week and admission is free but donations are appreciated.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--What's Playing Now?

I know you are all going to be busy with the multitude of events surrounding the conference. But I thought I'd let you in on a couple of the other events going on in Salt Lake next week.

  • The Temptations are at the Abravanel Hall next weekend right next to the Family History Library and the Salt Palace.
  • 42nd Street is playing at the Pioneer Theatre Company up at the University of Utah.
  • Hale Centre Theatre--a local favorite theater in the round--is showing The Three Musketeers.
  • If Thursday night's performance leaves you wanting for more, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has several other events including organ recitals and their longest-running network television program Music and the Spoken Word started in 1929.
  • The Salt Lake Acting Company is performing Charm.
  • Pirates of the Car-Rib-eee-An Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Fun is being performed by the ever comical Desert Star Playhouse.
  • Regular movies can be seen downtown at the Mexaplex 12 at the Gateway Shopping Center.
  • And various other art shows and concerts can be found at the Now Playing Utah website.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--the weather/what should I pack.

We've been getting hit with erratic spring showers today. At one point the hail looked like snowballs on the windshield, then 10 minutes later it was a light shower. Common for spring, they don't last very long.

According to the weather channel, I have good news for Sheri. By this Saturday there are no more plans for showers. So Sheri, you might want to bring a sweater or a light jacket for cold classrooms and late night walks. But you can leave your coats and probably your umbrella at home. That should leave you more room for shoes. :-)

And Dick, I guess you have more room for electronics, and Randy you should be able to fit in more t-shirts. See you soon.

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--The Beautiful Mountains

The first thing you notice when you come to Salt Lake City is our beautiful mountains. You can see on this great satellite picture that they surround the Salt Lake Valley with the Great Salt Lake (and Antelope Island) in the Northwest corner of the valley. Downtown Salt Lake is in the Northern part of the valley and the suburbs stretch out to the south. You can see on the satellite image the I-15 main freeway corridor stretching through the middle of the valley (the white line) and down before you come to Utah Lake is the Point of the Mountain where the mountains come together before heading down into Utah Valley.

Salt Lake sits on the western edge of the Rockies. The mountains provide great opportunities for recreation such as rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and of course skiing. The highest mountain in the valley is Twin Peaks, which reaches 11,330 feet. This stretch of mountains with it's cities to the North of Salt Lake (Bountiful, Layton, Ogden, etc.) and it's cities to the South of Salt Lake (Alpine, Orem, Provo, etc.) are commonly called the "Wasatch front." The Oquirrh mountains that border the western edge of the valley are the home to Kennecott Copper Mine, the largest copper mine in the world. You can always tell where you are on the Wasatch front because the big mountains are to the East and the smaller mountains (the Oquirrh mountains) are to the west. And in fact once you spend a bit of time on the Wasatch front, you miss that instant location guide when you leave.

The main part of the valley is just over 100 square miles. City Creek, Emigration, Millcreek, Parley's, Big Cottonwood, and Little Cottonwood are the main canyons that stretch off to the East. Several of them are full of ski resorts. You can tell if the valley was cut by a stream or by a glacier by looking to see if the mouth of the canyon comes to a v or a u. U shaped canyons were cut by glaciers and V shaped canyons were cut by the river.

The valley was formed by Lake Bonneville, ancient lake that stretched out to the West. The foothills at the base of the mountains, or locally called the "benches," were once the beaches of this huge lake. At its largest, it was almost as large as Lake Michigan. Eventually though, the lake dried up and what is left of it is now the Great Salt Lake. Lake Bonneville's former beaches are now exclusive properties for homes with a sweeping view of the valley--especially beautiful at night.

Elevation in the valley is 4,330 feet/1,320 meters above sea level. There is usually clean fresh air except for when clouds get trapped up against the mountain and create an inversion. High elevation makes it harder to breathe while you are exercising (making it a great place for athletes to train) and alcohol has a stronger effect. It is good to drink more water to help with elevation adjustment. And you should add a little more flour to cakes so that they rise right. The valley isn't high enough to cause any real altitude problems in travelers.

I love being able to look up at the snow capped mountains when the summer starts to heat up. There will still be snow at the top when you arrive making the view just beautiful. But you'll be able to enjoy the warm spring weather and beautiful plants starting to wake up in the valley below.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--When are you leaving?

The registrations for NGS look great and we are exited to have lots of people coming from everywhere. While we have driven and flown many of these distances to meet with you, here are some mileage estimates for you since you are coming our way this time.

  • New York City to Salt Lake City is about 2190 miles
  • Oklahoma City to Salt Lake City is about 1100 miles
  • St Louis to Salt Lake City is about 1360 miles
  • San Diego to Salt Lake City is about 760 miles
  • Seattle to Salt Lake City is about 850 miles
  • Phoenix to Salt Lake City is about 650 miles
  • Nashville to Salt Lake City is about 1700 miles
  • Las Vegas to Salt Lake City is about 420 miles
  • Grand Junction to Salt Lake City is about 290 miles
  • Detroit to Salt Lake City is about 1670 miles
  • El Paso to Salt Lake City is about 870 miles
  • Houston to Salt Lake City is about 1440 miles
  • Kansas City to Salt Lake City is about 1110 miles
  • Columbus to Salt Lake City is about 1680 miles
  • Cheyenne to Salt Lake City is about 440 miles
  • Boston to Salt Lake City is about 2380 miles
  • Atlanta to Salt Lake City is about 1930 miles
  • Billings to Salt Lake City is about 640 miles
  • Boise to Salt Lake City is about 340 miles
  • Albuquerque to Salt Lake City is about 600 miles
  • Anchorage to Salt Lake City is about 3416 miles
  • Ottawa to Salt Lake City is about 2957 miles
  • Vancouver to Salt Lake City is about 1292 miles
  • Toronto to Salt Lake City is about 1671 miles

I actually love driving and getting to see the sites along the way. If you aren't so inclined, I hope you are flying. But if you are driving, there is another great list of driving distances from many of the western national and state parks.

We're vacuuming the red carpet. We'll see you soon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Parks

There is another reason that NGS picked the perfect week to come to Salt Lake City. And that is that the gardens around the city come alive with tulips and daffodils this time of year.

You'll get to see the beautiful tulips around the library pretty easily, but be sure to take a walk one block to the east and look around Temple Square. The sight is spectacular this time of year. It is an amazing place to take pictures.

Likewise. 26 miles to the south is Thanksgiving Point. The 35 acres of gardens boast 250,000 tulips. Until May 1st, they are hosting the Tulip Festival from 10 am to 8 pm Monday through Saturday. Entrance fees are $10 adults, $8 children and $9 seniors. It's hard to explain how beautiful the gardens are, you just have to go see them.

There are lots of other beautiful parks around Salt Lake too.

Liberty Park is Salt Lake's foremost park. There are all sorts of things to explore at the park. Tracy Aviary is a popular site for bird watching, my first birthday party was held at the amusement park, and more recently they have built a fun interactive playground map of the Salt Lake Valley with fountains and rock features. Liberty Park is at 11th South and 6th East.

Red Butte Garden
is also a popular place for locals to hike and go exploring. It is a 100 acre botanical garden that is part of the University of Utah and largely organized to help learn about local horticulture. It is open from 9am to 9pm throughout April.

And if you are downtown a great place to stretch your legs or have a picnic are the Brigham Young Park and City Creek Park. They are beautifully landscaped parks just east of State Street and on the corners of North Temple. Delightful places to get some air at lunch time.

And finally, Memory Grove is a serene place, close to downtown wonderful for a jog or bike ride. It stretches up city creek canyon to the east of the capitol.

Lots of beautiful places to see and to get some fresh air. Hope you enjoy them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Historical sites

There are several historical re-creation sites in Salt Lake and along the Wasatch Front. These make a fun trip if you are bringing kids or a nice side excursion to drink in.

A whole pioneer village has been recreated at This is the Place Heritage Park on the east bench in Salt Lake. My kids and I have enjoyed volunteering up there for a couple of summers and have learned lots of fun little historical facts and gotten to know some great people. We know how to play graces and are pretty good at hoop trundling, carding wool and stilts. The 450-acre park has a new Native American village and a mercantile with old-fashioned candy. Their spring program has started and hours are 9am-5pm Monday - Saturday, 11am-4pm Sunday with admissions being Adults $7.00, Children (3-11) $5.00, and Seniors (55+) $5.00.

Wheeler Historic Farm
is the restored turn-of-the-century dairy farm of Henry J. Wheeler. Right in the middle of the Salt Lake City metropolis is a haven of farm chores, tractor-drawn hay rides, and beautiful wildlife and wetlands. Open from dawn to dusk, it is at 6351 South 900 East in Salt Lake City. You can enjoy the farm machinery exhibit, milk a cow, feed the ducks, or have a picnic in this picturesque setting.

I think one of the most fascinating historic sites on the Wasatch Front is the Benson Grist Mill west of Salt Lake in Stansbury Park. You can tour the 150 year old structure and view close up the amazing construction methods and the complicated milling equipment used when the area was settled. Early mills were a vital part of farming communities and necessary for the making of bread--a staple of the frontier diet. Several other small cabins and displays surround the site as well. The Mill opens to the public on May 1st and will be open throughout the summer on Mondays - Saturdays 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

The Utah Heritage Foundation sponsors guided historic tours around the many fascinating neighborhoods and mansions of downtown Salt Lake. Tours can be scheduled for small groups two weeks in advance and cost $3 per person. They also offer several self-guided tours with downloadable audio for CD or mp3 players. I highly recommend the Historic South Temple Street tour. South Temple has always been Salt Lake's most prestigious address and many early mansions line the street with fascinating histories. The walking tour takes about 2.5 hours.

The Beehive House is Brigham Young's residence and is open for tours from Monday through Saturday 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. Free guided tours begin every 10 minutes. Brigham Young was the LDS leader who led the Mormons to the Salt Lake Valley and was the first territorial governor until 1858. The Beehive House is located on 67 East South Temple, just east of Temple Square.

And finally, a little further away is the Heber Valley Railroad. It is a historic steam railway which still travels through the Heber valley and down Provo canyon. The trains run Fridays and Saturdays in the spring and schedules can be found on the website. You can enjoy a slice of the "Golden Years" of US railroading and the beautiful scenery all at the same time. The ride starts at 450 South 600 West - Heber City, Utah 84032 about a 1 hour drive East of Salt Lake.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--You're invited to the Family ChArtist Debut Party

Come and participate in the grand premiere of a most exciting new genealogy chart tool — Family ChArtist by Generation Maps ( A celebration and premiere party will be held at the Generation Maps booth in the National Genealogy Society Conference vendor’s hall on Wednesday, April 28th from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. The NGS conference ( is being held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City April 28th through May 1st. Admisssion to the vendor’s hall is free to the public.

In addition to refreshments, there will be continual demonstrations of this easy-to-use, new program. Training computers will be available so that you can also try it out yourself. Create an 8.5 x 11 color print free of charge, or try your hand at a larger, frameable archival print which can be printed for a nominal fee. There will be drawings for two $50 gift cards as well as free consultations on printing large genealogy charts. Representatives will be available to answer questions about printing any kind of genealogy chart you need or want.

As you know if you've been reading this blog, Family ChArtist is a new, user-friendly web based program that will assist you in creating beautiful, personalized genealogy charts based on information either from your own genealogy computer files or from the New FamilySearch database. The website offers beautiful high quality graphics in modern, classic and colorful patterns, as well the ability to add as many of your own pictures as you would like. First time users can create beautiful charts in just a few minutes without the purchase, installation or advanced training of other design software programs, online databases and file formats. As with all Generation Maps charts, extra copies are always HALF PRICE. Order copies of your chart as meaningful gifts for your children and other family members.

Be sure to bring your genealogy computer file, genealogy information and/or your New FamilySearch ID with you to the NGS Vendors area so you can try out this new, easy-to-use program yourself. You'll be amazed at how easily you can create, share and display beautiful expressions of your family history. And if you can’t make it for the party, you’re welcome to take it for a spin online at Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Where to get a good burger.

Ok. There's one more part that I have to cover about restaurants in Salt Lake--where to get a good burger. I mentioned Crown Burger earlier, definitely a good and close place to get a burger and a good shake. But here's a few more recommendations.

Iggy's Sports Grill 423 West and Third South. Iggy's has great burgers--I love the "black and blue" with blue cheese, teriyaki sauce and skinny fried onions. But it also has the largest menu I've seen in recent memory. Lots of great stuff to sink your teeth into. So if your party can't decide what they want to eat--and you're craving a good burger, convince them to try out Iggys. I'm sure everyone will be able to find something they like.

Hires Big H Drive-in founded in 1959 on the corner of Fourth South and Seventh East. It is a Salt Lake landmark with their own root beer made into gorgeous root beer floats. This is the place for classic burgers and lots of fry sauce.

The Training Table is another old Salt Lake favorite with lots of gourmet burger combinations and deadly-but worth it-cheese fries. Once you've figured out what you want, you call in your order with the phone at your table. But the thing you have to try here is my favorite fry sauce--made with a somewhat spicy barbecue sauce instead of ketchup.

But the all time best burger I've ever eaten we just found last weekend by following the restaurant reviews I've been reading for this series of posts. It is in the Lucky 13 Bar at 135 West 1300 South. I don't know how to describe it--just an exquisite bun and good fresh hamburger and bacon. Lots of good options for toppings and you have to try the rosemary garlic fries.

Once you've tried these out, stop by the Generation Maps booth in the vendor's hall and let me know which one you think was best.

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Fast food

Did you know that the model for and first franchise of Kentucky Fried Chicken was built in Salt Lake City? It's still there today at 3900 South and State Street.

And did you ever hear of fry sauce? It's a sauce of mayo and ketchup and sometimes a few other secret ingredients that you dip french fries in. During the 2002 olympics visitors were all agog with this Utah staple. At that time Katie Couric said it was a good thing she didn't live here or she would weigh quite a bit more. Now you can find fry sauce all over the place.

And then, how about a pastrami burger common to Salt Lake City? Its roots are in Utah's Greek Immigrant population that came with the mining boom resulting from the completion of the Transcontinental railroad. Several of the children who grew up in Salt Lake's Greektown opened burger joints including Apollo Burger, Olympus Burger and the home of Utah's first pastrami burger--Crown Burger. Thus many burger joints in Utah boast Gyros and Baklava along with the fries and shakes. The pastrami burger is usually served with as much pastrami as beef and a slather of thousand island dressing and swiss cheese. You can find one to the west of the Family History Library at the corner of Third West and North Temple.

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Award Winning Restaurants

I've got some really good food for you here. This is my list of the BEST food in Salt Lake.

To start with I'd have to give a nod to the Diners Drive-ins and Dives picks for Salt Lake City. This is definitely the all time best stuff around and for good prices too. I am a DDD groupie, trying to catch as many as we can anytime we go to genealogy conferences. I can completely recommend the following.
  • Moochies--meatball sandwiches and philly cheesesteaks to die for. 232 East 800 South.
  • Red Iguana--there is usually such a wait for this one they opened a second one down the street. Skip the first at 736 West North Temple and go to the second at 866 W South Temple. Famous for outstanding moles.
  • Pat's Barbeque. Pulled pork and incredible deserts at 155 West Commonwealth Avenue (2125 South) .
Then a little further from downtown:
  • Blue Plate Diner--Five kinds of Eggs Benedict with other comfort foods and eclectic combinations. A little further out on 2041 South 2100 East.
  • Ruth's Diner--A tradition since 1930 in a beautiful setting up Emigration Canyon. (4160 Emigration Canyon Road.) Raspberry Chicken or Chicken Dijon are my favorites.
And thanks to this blog post, I've just found that there is a new one for Salt Lake that I need to go try. Lonestar Taqueria. I'm sure it will be another absolutely divine discovery. Again, a little further out at 2265 Fort Union Blvd.

And then I would recommend to you the Salt Lake Magazine's Dining Awards Hall of Fame list.
Again Red Iguana is there for the best Mexican. And there is also Takashi for best Japanese, Cucina Toscana (just south of the Salt Palace) for Best Italian, and Mazza for Best Mediterranean. Metropolitan and Bambara are also Salt Lake Magazine cosmopolitan restaurant favorites having won best chef several times and only a couple of blocks from the conference. They are all downtown except for Log Haven (best ambience--it has always been my favorite romantic restaurant) which is at 6451 East Milcreek Canyon Road.

And then Dining in Utah has several great suggestions including two barbeque places I want to try. Q 4 U has just moved out to 3951 West and 5400 South --a bit of a drive from downtown--but they say that voted them in the top 10 barbeque places in the US. And Sugarhouse Barbeque's site boasts the that it has been named the best barbeque place in Utah 10 years running. At 2207 South 700 East, it's not quite as far of a drive.

Now you have to stay for three weeks to try them all out ;-) But think of all the family history you'll accomplish while you are gaining all that weight. Trust me. With these restaurants it will be worth it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Shopping

My shopping post is going to be short and sweet. I know you are all going to be so busy working on your family history rather than going shopping, but just in case you get the inclination, my recommendation for shopping centers that are near downtown are the Gateway and Trolley Square.

The Gateway is just a couple of blocks to the west of the Library--you can hop on Trax and head down to the Gateway easily because it is in the free fare zone. Besides the food court, there are numerous good restaurants, The Happy Sumo, Fleming's Steakhouse, Tucanos Brazillian Grill, and McGrath's Fish House. And you definitely don't want to miss the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. But then there are some great stores there too. Everything from Ann Taylor and Coldwater Creek to Sanctuary Day Spa and The Walking Company.

Trolley Square is a 100 year old trolley depot that was turned into an upscale shopping area. It is over on Seventh East between Fifth and Sixth South. There are lots of exclusive little shops, jewelry stores and art galleries making Trolley Square a fun treasure hunt. Don't miss the Old Spaghetti Factory, Rodizio Grill or the Wiseguys Comedy Club.

And if you happen to need a regular drugstore, there is the RiteAid at 72 South Main (one block east of the conference) and the Walmart at 1300 South and 300 West. This Walmart is easily accessible--just a half block west of the 1300 South stop on Trax.

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--Food Close By the Library

For restaurants, I thought I'd start with the places to grab a bite that are closest to the conference and the Family History Library. There is a great map of downtown, showing a list of restaurants and nightlife on a wider range, but let me tell you about the places closest to the conference.

The closest, closest restaurant is JBs on the corner of West Temple and South Temple right in between the library and the Salt Palace. If you are not to picky, and just don't want to walk anywhere, JB's is your place.

But if you are willing to walk a block (1/8 of a mile), there are lots of other great options right near the library and the Salt Palace.

To the South, on Second south, is Toaster's Deli. With a wide assortment of sandwiches, soups and salads, this coffee shop is an award winning place to grab a bite and get back to the conference.

To the East of the Salt Palace there are lots of other great options too. Common chain restaurants within a block are the Olive Garden at the South East corner of the Convention Center, and Benihanas across the street to the East. A new restaurant winning high awards called the Naked Fish Bistro where you can get reservations on the website. It is right across the street from the Salt Palace on the corner of 1st South. I haven't tried it yet, but I've seen reviews all over the place. It is supposed to be fantastic Japanese cuisine. Just past the Naked Fish on First South is Cafe Molise, a good Italian restaurant with a nice garden patio and Jazz on Friday nights.

There are three favorites with the locals on the block between first and second south too. Siegfried's Delicatessen is one of my favorites from from my high school days and even though it has changed hands and changed locations it is still a great place to get authentic German food on Second South And Lamb's Grill, is like a step back in time and is a favorite for breakfast with locals, but really has great food all around. Lambs is on the other side of the block on Main Street between first and second south. Then of course there is Blue Iguana with big plates of great Mexican food in a basement place down in the middle of the block.

The hotels close by have some good restaurants too. To the South is the Marriott with Elevations Restaurant, Destinations Lounge, and Starbucks. Elevations is the Marriott's American/Continental restaurant. The Hilton is a favorite place with Spencer's for Steaks and Chops. You can book reservations on their website and I highly recommend it. And the Radisson to the North of the Conference Center has the Copper Canyon Grill House, another great place where you can't go wrong with most anything on the menu.

Then to the North and East along South Temple, on the East side of Temple Square you'll find the Joseph Smith Memorial Building with the Roof, Garden Restaurant and Nauvoo Cafe, and just beyond that in Brigham Young's historic home, the Lion House Pantry. The Roof is a fine restaurant on the tenth floor with sweeping views of Salt Lake and a large gourmet buffet. The Garden Restaurant is on the other side of the floor, but with a more casual setting and smaller prices. And the Nauvoo Cafe is on the main floor of the Joseph Smith Building with fabulous sandwiches and bread pudding to die for. Then the Lion House Pantry is your place for home style cooking with famous rolls and food that has inspired a popular line of cookbooks.

So there you have it. There are plenty of great options right next to the conference center and the library. You don't even have to go very far.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Janet's guide to Salt Lake City--Parking, Traffic and Construction oh my.

Ok, so reading this series on my blog, rather than the NGS blog isn't turning out to be that much different. They said they wanted a more casual tone of voice over there too, and I said, "I'm good with that." If you have any comments or think I've missed anything, please please please add a comment so that we can help everyone have a good time at the NGS conference.

One of the first things that is going to hit you in Salt Lake is the issue of transportation. Like any major city, there's good and bad for you there. Let me see if I can help.

I won't hide the bad news from you. There is a major construction project going on right next to the Salt Palace Convention Center and the Family History Library right now. It is going to be a fabulous addition to downtown Salt Lake, but right now its only contribution is orange cones and covered sidewalks. I don't get really frustrated with it though, because downtown Salt Lake is going to be so much more fabulous next time you come to visit with pedestrian malls, cafes, running streams and fountains and great shopping. You can see what they are planning at the City Creek Conceptual Tour video. It's actually the ending part of a huge master plan most of which is now finished with many other beautiful projects. I'll tell you about some of those in the next posts.

But the good news is that I've got lots of resources for you in traveling through Salt Lake and it really is an easy city to navigate. When the pioneers arrived, they mapped out Salt Lake from Temple Square in a perfect grid pattern that doesn't get messed up until you get out into the suburbs. Then the streets are numbered as to whether they are north, south, east or west of Temple Square in a latitude and longitude fashion. Philadelphia, Manhattan and Washington DC were laid out in a similar way, as well as Oklahoma City and Austin, Texas.

My elementary school teacher taught me that early pioneer leader Brigham Young wanted to be able to turn around a wagon with a team of four oxen to be able to do a u-turn in the street without using too much profanity. I've mused over the years how really quite brilliant that was because modern downtown Salt Lake doesn't have the tiny streets and many one way alleys that most modern cities have. Most of the time there is plenty of room for the traffic.

If you are coming to the airport and renting a car, you'll need a map from the airport to the Salt Palace. Salt Lake Valley has a fabulous traffic site called Commuter Link that has maps showing traffic and construction and even accidents, and has cameras throughout the valley where you can see the current traffic situations. You can always check there if you are traveling the freeways around the valley.

And then there's parking... The best place to park for the conference is at the Salt Palace itself. The entrance to the lot is on the South side of the building, and the cost is only $5 a day. That is the cheapest parking you'll find right by the Convention center. There is other nearby parking and the prices are reasonable. Or if you want to get a little walking in, here's a parking map that encompasses a larger section of downtown.

Or if you are staying further out in the valley from downtown, you can avoid parking all together and park along the Trax Light Rail Route. You can check the schedules if you want to, but I never do--they basically depart every 15 minutes. For $4 round trip, it is a quick on and off, a really easy way to avoid the traffic. If you are already parked, and want to explore a little downtown, there is a Free Fare Zone on Trax, where you can just hop on and off without paying anything, to visit restaurants and shopping or whatever, without having to look for another parking place.

And we'll get to the best of the restaurants and shopping coming up shortly...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Janet's Guide to Salt Lake City--NGS is at the perfect time.

There are at least two reasons NGS scheduled their conference on the perfect week in Salt Lake.

1) Sam Weller's bookstore is starting a massive moving sale.
If you are a bibliophile, or western history buff, or interested in any topic that has ever had a book written on it, you haven't lived until you've been to Sam Weller's Bookstore. This bookstore has one of the largest collections of used books west of the Mississippi with a large selection of nonfiction books about the West. It boasts over 1 million volumes, all subjects—new, used, rare and is one of America's finest and largest bookstores. I can happily get lost in there for hours and hours.
Last month, Sam Weller's announced that they would be changing locations. And to get ready for the move, they started a sale to thin their stock on March 16th. They started with offering all used books and most rare books at 25% off and then discounts will deepen as the move approaches. I think perusing the shelves there is a must for NGS conference goers.

2) The conference falls on Salt Lake City's restaurant week.
The week's Dine-o-Round celebration has 37 of the best restaurants in Salt Lake participating by offering dinner for either $15 or $30 and most of them have lunches for either $5 or $10. Many of the restaurants on the list are award winning places to eat. (more on that to come.) There are no coupons or punch cards, You can just ask for the Dine-o-round special. The website has links to each of the participating websites where you can check on menus and locations. I think the hard part is going to be picking which ones I want to go to.

So get ready to take advantage of these two great opportunities while you are learning about how to become an expert genealogist.

Janet's Guide To Salt Lake City--Getting Started

As a precursor to NGS in Salt Lake City in three weeks, I've decided to do a series of article posts I'm going to call "Janet's Genealogy Guide to Salt Lake City" I spent a large chunk of my growing up years here on the Wasatch Front and I also spent a large chunk of my growing up years traveling. Consequently, I want to make sure you make the most of your visit. As Vice President of UGA, I'm also going to be posting these to the NGS conference blog. But I thought I'd put it here because I should probably keep a certain level of decorum over there. And you know how hard that is going to be for me. Soooooo, it will probably be more fun to read here.

To start with, let me give you some of the best websites for touristy information. If you are the type who wants to know every detail (like I am sometimes), you'll want to get well acquainted with these sites. If you're busy packing and just want the highlights, (like I am other times) stay tuned and I'll make sure you know what you need to.

My favorite site for the how to of visiting Salt Lake is the Downtown Alliance. This site is chock full of events, shopping, eating, news and etc organized well and correlated with maps and crucial information. This website is especially useful if you are visiting the library because it focuses on downtown Salt Lake--the area right around the library and the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The Salt Lake Visitor's Bureau has a great site too with shopping, activities and eating and etc but covers the whole valley (Salt Lake and it's suburbs.) The cool thing about the Visitor's Bureau is that their offices are in the Salt Palace Convention Center, just next door to where NGS is held. So you'll easily be able to stop by there for directions and pamphlets and such. The site currently has a genealogy section right up front in conjunction with Who Do You Think You Are.

The Official Salt Lake City Government Site is a good site for all things Salt Lake, but the visitor's section of the site mainly points to other sites listed here. Since you won't be paying your water bill, you can pretty much pass this one up. Unless you are going to be paying for a traffic ticket, in which case you'll want to keep this one in mind.

If you are driving to the conference, you may want to take a look at the Utah State Office of Tourism website. It has wonderful resources on the other places you might want to stop off at on your way in or out of the state. Of course, if you are coming up from the South at all, you really need to take an extra day and visit some of the spectacular state parks that Utah is so proud of. Likewise Go-Utah is a great site for trip planning throughout the state.

Utah Travel Center is a conglomeration site with all sorts of information on Salt Lake City pulled from various sources. And Citysearch has user submited reviews on everything from shopping and resturaunts to bars and churches. So it's a useful one too.

Take a look at those, and stay tuned as I take you through the ins and outs of traveling to Salt Lake City.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Family ChArtist reviews and interviews.

It's been a funny month. We've launched Family ChArtist and while the reception has been great, we've been really surprised to see our custom chart sales spike. That has left us quite a bit busier in unexpected ways and all the plans we had for further information and marketing have gone out the window temporarily. You can watch here for announcements about new graphics (hopefully soon) and then once we get through the BYU and NGS conferences this month we are planning a series of webinars that will help people get their creative juices flowing with this new tool too. We'll keep you informed.

In the meantime though, we've been thrilled with all the attention it has gotten and the wonderful response we've seen from you. Thank you so much. Here are some of the great reviews and attention we've received.

Lisa Louise Cooke released her interview with me yesterday about Family ChArtist. You can hear it here. It is always great to talk to Lisa. And she is a great interviewer. If you've never listened to her, you'll find a great new friend with tons of genealogy knowledge to share. And there is a coupon there for Family ChArtist too.

We were also given the massive honor to be the first advertisement in Shades the magazine. Again, If you aren't already a fan, you should be. Each Shades issue comes with regular articles by, Denise Levenick, Sheri Fenley, George Geder and Craig Manson, as well as many other talented writers. Best wishes for quick recovery to dear Footnote Maven. She writes the most interesting/most beautiful genealogy information on the internet.

And, we've had some wonderful reviews that I've been slow to post. We're so thankful for all the attention the program has gotten, all of the great ideas people have shared for it and for all of the patience as we've worked the bugs out. We had a few opening day glitches that are fixed now and we know things are working smoothly, but there are still features we want to add. There probably always will be.

We were excited to be reviewed by the illustrious Tamura Jones. We were pleased to be one of his Mega reviews. Pages and pages :-) As always, Tamura was exceedingly meticulous. My favorite comment of his was made as he was bemoaning the lack of several detailed design options that some other programs have. He said "Less options provide less chance to make tasteless choices, but how is my good taste going to stand out if others aren’t given sufficient opportunity to foul up? That everyone can access this app, make a few random choices and still end up with a chart that looks good just ain’t right." I'm so glad he liked our sense of what is tasteful and what isn't. He sent it through his "torture tests," he called it right on our "dialogue drama," (we're going to work on that), he loves our graphics and it appears he survived having to use a flash program. He also said "Family ChArtist app sure is so simple and easy to use that the lack of a manual isn’t an issue." That's exactly what we were shooting for. As we communicated back and forth over email about various questions he had, I sure enjoyed talking to him.

And of course we are always thrilled to have input from one of our favorite bloggers, Randy Seaver. He reviewed Family ChArtist and said "For a new product, Family ChArtist is off to an auspicious start. I look forward to experimenting with it in future weeks. I do think I will like it!"
He caught us early on with a few glitches, but those have all been worked out now and things are running smoothly.

Carolyn Murphy reviewed it for the Phoenix Genealogy Examiner. I loved that she caught the bigger picture--the whole point. She said, "Framing and hanging a Family Tree Chart in a home has been found to have a lingering and stabilizing influence." So completely right.

James Tanner said it is an "easy to use interface with lots of choices for charts from your own files." and Renee Zamora said "They do a wonderful job of making order out of the chaos in our genealogy databases. The hardest part about using Family ChArtist is trying to choose amongst the gazillion gorgeous graphics available. You really need to take a look at them to appreciate what they have done." They both caught what most every reviewer has appreciated the most--the ease of use, and the beautiful graphics.

And we so appreciate everyone just helping us get the word out. They all seemed really excited about it. Diane Hadad, Dick Eastman (twice), Renee Husky, Paula Hinkle, Cheryl Palmer, Lynn Palermo, and I'm sure others that I'm missing (If so I'm sorry.) It is so gratifying to see other people so excited about what we've been doing.

So we're off and running. And we couldn't be more pleased. If you haven't played around with it yet, please do. We know you are going to like it too.