Summertime in Utah: Things to Do, Part 3

It's stunning in the winter AND in the summer. Photo credit: TripAdvisor
It’s stunning in the winter AND in the summer. Photo credit: TripAdvisor

Circling back to our home city, Salt Lake City has no shortage of great summertime activities. The capital city of Utah welcomes visitors and surrounding residents from all around the country and the world for its spectacular scenery and beautiful weather. With the nearby airport and road network, Salt Lake and VIP Limousine are ready for your summer adventures in our hometown.

For one, summer is known as concert season, and Salt Lake has no shortage of musical entertainment. The USANA Ampitheatre is hosting Kenny Chesney, Jack Johnson, the Utah Symphony, and Luke Bryan. A few miles further north is the Vivint Smart Home Arena, which is playing host to Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Drake, Shania Twain, Panic! At the Disco, Sam Smith, The Smashing Pumpkins, Maroon 5, J. Cole, Def Leppard & Journey, and J. Balvin. Along Main Street, Broadway at the Eccles is presenting Phantom of the Opera and Waitress: The Musical by Sara Bareilles.

If music is not your thing, the great outdoors continues to call. Salt Lake may be known as Ski City, but even without snow there’s plenty to do. Solitude, Brighton, Alta, and Snowbird all host, at minimum, hiking and cycling opportunities. Solitude, Alta, and Snowbird all have lift-served hiking, and each website also has a list of other activities such as lift rides and special events.

Outside of the resorts, Salt Lake has a myriad of hiking trails with spectacular views of the valley. Mount Olympus overlooks the city and is one of the taller peaks nearby. Above the University of Utah is the Living Room, and for quick jaunts there’s always Ensign Peak just above The Avenues and downtown.

If you’re in the need for food, Salt Lake also has no shortage of excellent local and national restaurants catering to a variety of tastes and group sizes. We at VIP Limousine have highlighted a few of our favorites here on the blog, including Pallet, Current Fish and Oyster, The New Yorker, Cafe Trio, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

Salt Lake City is not just a wintertime locale. Our beautiful home is a four-season inland paradise with lots to do and lots to offer with options for everybody. Let us take you where you want to go!

Summertime in Utah: Things to Do, Part 2

In various counties in Utah in the summertime, there’s quite a lot to do even though the snow is gone. One particular place which VIP Limousine is a fan of is Utah County, the growing area immediately south of Salt Lake County and a short drive from downtown Salt Lake City.

One of the most noticeable things about Utah County is the continuation of the Wasatch Mountain range heading south. In some places, it looks even more tall and imposing than those in Salt Lake. The most famous of these is Mount Timpanogos, a popular hiking spot with two very difficult routes to the summit. Aspen Grove and Timpooneke Trails go past waterfalls and wildflowers, ending with a stunning view of the valley below.

Timpanogos also has a cave system with tours within the Timpanogos Cave National Monument in American Fork Canyon. The hike is not extraordinarily difficult and the cave tours are fun for all ages.

On the backside of Timpanogos and tucked up inside a canyon in the Uinta National Forest is Sundance Resort, a year-round resort location with beautiful hikes and summertime chairlift rides. Sundance has great lodging and dining options on site and is continually a quiet retreat, with mountain homes, spas, and music events.

Further south and west, we get to the heart of the county and its activities. Provo is home to the annual Freedom Festival, complete with a parade, fireworks, and a concert at LaVell Edwards Stadium at BYU. Nearby is Utah Lake, a large body of water home to boating and swimming inside of Utah Lake State Park.

If you’re looking for more sedate activities, consider the offerings available at Thanksgiving Point. The vast acreage of this establishment include massive gardens and multiple museums, with special exhibits and calendar events throughout the year.

As if we needed more proof that we love our home area, Utah County has a lot to add during the summertime in Utah. We definitely believe it’s worth checking out.

Summertime in Utah: Things to Do, Part 1

For visitors and even some locals and residents in Utah, many of the best-known activities and events take place in the wintertime. These include the myriad of ski areas located a short distance from downtown Salt Lake, but there’s so much more than just skiing to find at these locations.

Our tour starts in Park City, the picturesque town just 40 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport. The farmers markets and parades along Main Street are a good place to start, in addition to the variety of public hiking and biking trails over at Trailside and amidst some of the residential areas above Kimball Junction and Jeremy Ranch.

Then there’s the resorts themselves. Deer Valley Resort offers a good number of activities where one can work a good sweat, such as hiking and chairlift rides, mountain biking, The Summer Adventure Camp, and a variety of summer concerts located at the resort base. Some of these performances come from the Utah Symphony and their summer series for the Deer Valley Music Festival.

Immediately next to Deer Valley is the vast Park City Mountain Resort, also open for summer operations. The Park City main village and Canyons village both offer different things to do during these months. The main village has summertime lift rides, mountain biking, hiking, zip lines, the alpine slide, alpine coaster, and minigolf. Just down the road at Canyons village is more lift riding, hiking, mountain biking, minigolf/putting, and zip line tours which cross deep canyons. Park City Mountain Resort also has a summer concert series at the base of the Canyons Village, taking place in a shell on the slopeside lawn.

With parking and traffic, some of these activities can be a bit challenging to access, but we at VIP Limousine are more than happy to handle the travel logistics and avoid the parking lots. Park City, Utah is a beautiful place year-round, and now is a fantastic time to enjoy its offerings.

Going Local: Doug Wright

Yes, we know it's just semi-retirement, but the voice of Utah will be dearly missed. Photo credit: Stitcher.com
Yes, we know it’s just semi-retirement, but the voice of Utah will be dearly missed. Photo credit: Stitcher.com

As consumers, users, and purveyors of local Utah media, we at VIP Limousine are constantly trying to keep up to speed with what’s going on in our backyard, whether in our office, at home, or on the road. May 31st, the day of this writing, marked the final news broadcast of a local legend with whom we are greatly familiar on the airwaves.

Before this company even came into existence, Doug Wright was already in the broadcast business as a DJ, and then moved over to talk radio initially to fill in as a replacement. However, for many of us, he is best known as the host of his eponymous radio program, “The Doug Wright Show,” broadcast on weekdays on KSL NewsRadio. So, what will we miss as he heads into semi-retirement?

Creating and building relationships. Doug has had a way of leaping into action to break stories and disrupt whatever was planned when needed, with a calm and level-headed approach to asking questions and getting answers. In the service industry, we definitely know what it’s like to try and cultivate relationships, even with those who see things differently than we do, but we still feel we could learn a thing or two from this man. Doug has managed to get to know people everywhere across the state, from local citizenry that phone in with their opinions to the movers and shakers at the top of Utah and beyond. Some of these include (retiring) State Senate Minority Leader Jim Dabakis (D), (retiring) Speaker of the Utah State Legislature Greg Hughes (R), various Utah governors, former governor and presidential candidate and current Senate candidate Mitt Romney (R), Salt Lake City mayors such as Ralph Becker and Jackie Biskupski, and the individuals who work at various agencies getting Utah on the move such as UDOT. Doug can talk to all of them and hold a great, informative conversation which serves to enlighten everyone who tunes in.

Local business outreach. Doug regularly partners with and broadcasts from companies in our backyard, including Harvest Right, a manufacturer of home freeze driers; Minky Couture, producer of designer blankets for the home; My Hearing Centers, providers of advanced hearing aids; and Megaplex Theatres, the locally-run movie theatre company under the Larry H. Miller Group. As a local business ourselves, it is with great pleasure that we hear these local success stories promoted on a regular basis. Doug also does ads for Ruth’s Chris Steak House, American Loans, and Kinetico, to name just a few.

Focus on the citizens. A staple of Doug’s show was interacting with people from around Utah who would call in to share their perspective and input. He took the time to highlight what we were thinking on a local level, and politely interacting with every caller as if they were a neighbor. However, he also could get tough when needed, whether it was on an issue most everyone agreed on (the infamous proposed UTA name change to TDU) or one which was extraordinarily divisive (the Bears Ears Monument).

While we know that nine to noon will not be quite the same anymore on KSL, we do still get him for the Movie Show, which is definitely a favorite segment for its light-heartedness, hilarious banter, presence of local businesses, and honest takes on entertainment today.

As Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic step up to the plate in his place, we as a local business want to say thank you to Doug for his years of hard work for all of us across the state of Utah. It’s been our privilege to tune in, and we hope he gets to spend his well-earned time off with the people he loves…and finish the bathroom in Eureka.

Note: all content and insights in this post have come courtesy of us actually listening to the show.

Going Local: Delta Air Lines

The “Going Local” blog series posts are meant to highlight local businesses and companies which have unique traits and drive the economy, culture, or both, across the Wasatch and Utah as a whole. However, with exceptions we will also focus on national or international companies which have chosen to root themselves here as well, even if they are based elsewhere. From one transportation company to another, we are more than happy to turn our attention to a major player in Salt Lake City: Delta Air Lines.

Do those mountains look familiar? With hundreds of daily flights around the world, Delta Air Lines is by far the largest carrier from the Salt Lake City International Airport: Photo credit: wikipedia.org
Do those mountains look familiar? With hundreds of daily flights around the world, Delta Air Lines is by far the largest carrier from the Salt Lake City International Airport: Photo credit: wikipedia.org

Initially a small crop-dusting operation started in the southern United States, Delta is now the eldest of the airline companies in the United States, weathering many storms over its lifetime. An intelligent business model coupled with some unorthodox approaches and innovations to travel have kept the company as a world leader in travel. It has grown from the company known as Huff Daland Dusters to the second-largest airline in the world, and one of the few to serve all six inhabited continents across the globe.

Delta’s story in Salt Lake City begins with a former subsidiary known as Western Airlines, which had begun to expand but ended up fully merging with Delta in 1987. Western originally started in 1925 as an air mail route under contract with the government between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, but grew to become an international carrier flying around the globe. In many cases, when airlines merge there are a lot of service cuts and hub reductions, to the detriment of travelers and the local and state economies. However, Delta did precisely the opposite, staking its ground with Salt Lake as a new western U.S. hub. Out of all of its airports, for Delta, Salt Lake City International Airport is their 5th busiest, ahead of JFK, LAX, and SeaTac.

Part of what makes Delta’s service stand out in Utah is the variety of places the airline serves. They have remained dedicated to the Intermountain West and surrounding region, and continue to serve small airports in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and Utah. It says a lot when a large company does not forget about the smaller areas which still demand service. On the other end of the scale, Delta also has far-flung direct flights from Salt Lake to international destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and France, making it even more convenient for global visitors to access all that Utah has to offer, and for locals to more easily explore the globe without having to go through the crowded coastal airports. Beyond Delta itself, the airline is a member of SkyTeam, a 20-member airline alliance with connections to over 1,000 destinations worldwide, plus codeshare agreements with Hawaiian, Jet Airways, Seaborne Airlines, Transavia, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, and WestJet.

As the Salt Lake City metro area grows, so has the traffic at Salt Lake City International Airport. Further underlining Delta’s commitment to Utah is their investment and support behind the brand new airport being built in Salt Lake City. Delta has done a lot of other community good as well, serving as a sponsor for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The airline also carries thousands of missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world from Salt Lake City as they leave from the Missionary Training Center.

Delta’s innovations as a company are far and wide, as the company collaborates with a wide variety of organizations. For instance, they partnered with the TSA to pilot an updated security screening system which is currently in place in Atlanta and JFK. This has already been proven to be much more efficient and faster at getting passengers through security. Delta also has switched to RFID tags for tracking checked luggage, which enables passengers to follow their bags on the Fly Delta app in real time. The company also finds creative ways to save costs which they can pass on to consumers, such as upgrading existing planes to bring them up to date or beyond. For this as well as their newest aircraft (a la Airbus A350 and Boeing 737-900 ER), Delta has won a multitude of accolades for passenger accommodation.

By connecting the world to Utah, and Utah to the world, Delta Air Lines is the airborne gateway to our home in Salt Lake. As Delta passengers utilize our service, and since we are also Delta customers ourselves when we travel, we would like to extend a sincere thank-you to the Atlanta-based company for what they do on the ground and in the air.

Service Questions

At VIP Limousine, we get a lot of questions about our services and why someone should do business with us. So we decided to make a video about it!

We answer a variety of questions, including:
-Is your chauffeur professionally dressed? Ours come in suit and tie every time.
-Does the chauffeur assist with luggage and doors without being asked? Yes, they are trained to provide a high caliber of customer service.
-Is water available in black cars for no extra cost? Yes, complimentary water is provided.
-Are charging/audio cables provided at no extra cost? Yes, chauffeurs carry their own to adapt to all different kinds of devices.
-Are the vehicles in a state of good repair and look like what was paid for? Yes, they are professionally maintained at standards above what is required.
-Are the vehicles washed by hand? Yes, with special attention to detail inside and out.
-Are the vehicles kept inside a warehouse away from the elements? Yes, they are stored inside an enclosed warehouse.
-Is there a wide variety of vehicle options? Yes, we have everything from luxury sedans to large SUV stretch limos.

All of these are completely fair questions in regards to getting what you pay for in the state of Utah, and VIP Limousine is the only transportation company which can say yes to all of the above questions day in and day out.

However, there are also a myriad of other things which one should consider. At VIP Limousine, safety of our passengers is our first priority each and every time, so regardless of which limousine company you choose, here are some additional details which are worth checking.

One of these is insurance. Livery company vehicles should be properly insured for all jobs advertised, regardless of where they travel. It should also be livery insurance, as opposed to just commercial, because livery is a step up and implies a higher caliber of service. We at VIP Limousine are in line with and exceed insurance requirements in case of the worst.

How about cost? Our pricing is competitive with other providers in the area as well as across the country. In fact, our rates even compete with the rideshare companies, while offering consistent quality, luxurious vehicles, and chauffeurs who know the area like the back of their hand. Furthermore, there are no hidden charges, taxes, or fees; what you see is what you pay.

How about service quality and gratuities/tips for chauffeurs? There are a lot of companies which charge an automatic gratuity for all of their services, often as high as 20%. However, this is the service industry, and we believe that professionals should be compensated based on the service they provide, not just because they checked a box and got passengers from A to B. Our limousine services do not have a gratuity automatically applied. Our black car services also leave room to compensate the chauffeur based on their performance.

Are there any questions you have for us which we did not answer? Please feel free to let us know in the comment section, give us a call, or send us an email.

Holladay. Utah: Our Home, Part 27

Trivia question: what is the longest continuously-inhabited city in Utah since the Pioneers arrived in 1847? Is it Salt Lake City? Nope! Salt Lake was temporarily abandoned after its founding due to a conflict. The longest continuously-inhabited city is that of the City of Holladay, and it’s a beautiful area with which to close out our Salt Lake County city overviews on our blog series.

The redeveloped "city center" of Holladay, with busy restaurants and local shops. Photo credit: Holladay Chamber of Commerce
The redeveloped “city center” of Holladay, with busy restaurants and local shops. Photo credit: Holladay Chamber of Commerce

Holladay was initially settled in 1847 due to the presence of flowing water in what was otherwise considered to be a high-altitude desert. However, it was not incorporated until 1999, but regardless has been considered to be a very important settlement in greater Salt Lake City. Its comparative lushness to the center of Salt Lake meant that it was one of the most important, with streams, flowers, ponds, springs, and land which could be tamed for agricultural use. John Holladay was a Pioneer who became a local LDS Church leader after arriving in Utah Territory, coming west from Alabama, and it is his name which now graces that of the incorporated city.

The natural features in the area are part of what has made Holladay an attractive place to live. Many of the homes here are larger, older, and beautiful. It’s a community which is welcome to any and all, but it’s also very upscale, clean, quiet, and ordered throughout.

This 24,000 square foot mansion is one of the many fine homes in Holladay. Photo credit: homesoftherich.net
This 24,000 square foot mansion is one of the many fine homes in Holladay. Photo credit: homesoftherich.net

The nice feel of the area has attracted more people to the area. Since the start of the new millennium, the population of Holladay has nearly doubled. It’s home to quite a few local businesses, including some very fine restaurants such as Layla Mediterranean Grill and Mezze along Holladay Boulevard.

Set between the Wasatch Mountains, Millcreek, Murray, and Cottonwood Heights, Holladay also has some of the most stunning mountain views around. The Wasatch sits directly behind the city with I-215 running behind it, and it is a gorgeous vista with the tall peaks, green trees, and snow-capped peaks. Looking westward, residents see the Oquirrh Mountains, also typically covered with snow at their highest elevations.

Besides being one of the first areas outside of downtown SLC to be established by the Pioneers, Holladay has another notable first for Utah: the first indoor mall, Cottonwood Mall, which opened in 1962. The area is currently being redeveloped into the next iteration of contributing to the local economy.

Holladay is home to a few people of significance. One of them is Olympian Jared Goldberg, a student at Westminster College whom was raised in nearby Sugar House. Goldberg has competed at events at both the Sochi and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as an alpine skier.

The other famous resident is former Massachusetts governor, presidential candidate, two-time Senate candidate (as of this writing), and mastermind of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Mitt Romney does live in Utah, specifically in Holladay. Among Utahns, Romney is and continues to be admired and respected, and carries a great deal of influence across the county, state, and arguably the nation. It’s pretty clear that Utah is home to many influential people, and we’re glad to have them in our midst.

With a history stretching back prior to the founding of the state, substantial natural beauty, great neighborhoods, excellent local business, and influential people, Holladay is a fantastic asset to the community of the Wasatch Front and greater Salt Lake City. It’s our privilege at VIP Limousine to serve the city and partake of all it has to offer.

South Jordan. Utah: Our Home, Part 26

At VIP Limousine, we could write seemingly endlessly about our home and how much we love it, including all of the cities in Salt Lake County. We have covered most of it, but there are a few Salt Lake suburbs we still want to write about.

This is a city which has quickly become a key player in the state’s economy for business, education, and residential purposes. It has some beautiful streets which will look even more so when the trees mature. It was the first city on earth to have two LDS temples. While it is newer than many of the neighboring areas, it is also quickly becoming one of the most desirable. This is South Jordan, the up-and-coming new favorite city in northern Utah.

The mostly residential and quiet South Jordan has several surprises in store. This is one of the two LDS Temples within the city limits. Photo credit: pinterest.com
The mostly residential and quiet South Jordan has several surprises in store. This is one of the two LDS Temples within the city limits. Photo credit: pinterest.com

In fairness, like its neighbors, South Jordan was settled by the Pioneers in the 1800s, but it was not incorporated until 1935. Sitting south of the bend in the Jordan River, it is bordered by West Jordan, Sandy, Draper, Riverton, Herriman, and the Oquirrh Mountains. The city began, like so many others, with agriculture being the primary industry and economic anchor. As the Salt Lake area’s population grew and changed, however, this also changed in South Jordan.

The city was ripe for development, so multiple neighborhoods and subdivisions began to spring up all around within its borders. The Utah Transit Authority established a FrontRunner commuter rail station and also extended the TRAX Red Line into the city limits, immensely helping access to and from the area. The District is now a humming multi-purpose mall situated near the heart of the city. Long dominated by the spire of the Jordan River Utah Temple, the skyline is now ruled by its neighbor, the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple, which sits on a hilltop overlooking the city. If there is any indication of a major population increased in part of Utah, look no further than Temple construction within a tight area. The Salt Lake valley has 4 alone, but South Jordan has half of them. Both are beautiful edifices which can be seen clearly day and night from around the valley.

Oquirrh Lake is nestled in the Daybreak development and features kayaking and a host of other activities. Photo credit: daybreakliving.com
Oquirrh Lake is nestled in the Daybreak development and features kayaking and a host of other activities. Photo credit: daybreakliving.com

South Jordan does have a reputation of being a bedroom community for Salt Lake City, and that is certainly true in part. The new transportation links and the freeway and highway system helps to move people to and from their jobs up north. However, the city itself is also becoming a location in which to work, not just live and play. Kennecott Utah Copper has their corporate offices in the city limits within striking distance of the mines. Ivanti, the IT company, Saygus, a smartphone manufacturer, Ultradent, Verscend, and a host of other businesses are all headquartered in South Jordan. Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah also have a strong presence, including a branch of The Huntsman Cancer Institute. Also tucked away in South Jordan is the Utah campus of Roseman University of Health Sciences, which has one of the highest-ranked dental schools in the United States.

The Daybreak Parkway TRAX station on the Red Line is one convenient way of accessing the surrounding area, and is at the heart of the Daybreak development. Photo credit: Wikipedia
The Daybreak Parkway TRAX station on the Red Line is one convenient way of accessing the surrounding area, and is at the heart of the Daybreak development. Photo credit: Wikipedia

The big story in South Jordan, though, is the people. The aforementioned dual LDS Temples, The District, and all of the transit lines serve the new and longtime residents of the city, but many are being drawn to the western side, which is home to Daybreak. This beautiful planned community sits at the end of the TRAX Red Line and is home to many upscale residences aimed at families and young people. The amenities include the TRAX stations, SoDa Row, Oquirrh Lake, outdoor recreation and trails, live music venues, and quiet streets with modern houses. It’s the new trending place to be in the Salt Lake valley and offers a slice of downtown SLC living in a quieter setting. Daybreak was started in 2004 and is still growing and building, creating its own identity within South Jordan.

Speaking of people, South Jordan was also the home to Apolo Anton Ohno, the American short track speedskater who rose to great prominence during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Much of his career and training focused on Utah, and he skated for Team USA during the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Winter Olympics.

How's that for a view? The Oquirrh Mountain Temple sits on a hilltop in the middle of South Jordan. Photo credit: ldschurchtemples.org
How’s that for a view? The Oquirrh Mountain Temple sits on a hilltop in the middle of South Jordan. Photo credit: ldschurchtemples.org

With stunning vistas and beautiful developments, South Jordan is becoming the place to be in the Salt Lake valley for living, working, and playing. It’s close but just far away enough to have its own identity, and it’s why we at VIP Limousine love serving there and taking advantage of all it has to offer.

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