Before moving to Salt Lake City four years ago, we lived in Houston, Texas, where it’s hot and humid for nine months every year. The only people who visited us were family members, and they only came voluntarily between the months of October and April. We’d trot them out to the beach, and to Central Market (a grocery store that is truly a sightseeing experience). We’d stuff ourselves sick at The Chocolate Bar and visit a few museums and parks, and then they’d get back on the plane and feel satisfied that they’d “done the Houston thing.”
Before that, we lived in Rochester, Minnesota, where the biggest sightseeing attractions was the hospital (impressive for a drive-by, but not really a place to visit unless you have a mysterious and dire illness). The Twin Cities, an hour and a half away, was too far for a satisfying day trip. And in the winter, we’d be buried under feet of snow. When people came to visit, it was only to see the grandkids.
It had been a long time since we’d lived somewhere cool enough that people actually wanted to visit, so we were in for a bit of a surprise when we moved to Salt Lake City a few years ago. Growing up in the NYC suburbs, I’m not sure that I would have considered a town of a couple hundred thousand way out in the middle of the mountains a popular destination, but once I became Mormon, all that changed. Utah was mecca, the promised land, the place you went when you loaded up the minivan and headed west.