There is No Place Like Home in Park City

The slender mountain town, popularized by Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival, is a year round resort within easy access of Los Angeles. In addition to its first class winter sports  — the 2002 Winter Olympics were held here — fine dining, craft libations, boutique design stores and a selection of five star lodgings makes this a natural choice, whether you’re considering a weekend away or a season-long stay.

SUNDAY NIGHT

A puddle jumper takes us on the hour and fifteen minute flight to Salt Lake City International Airport. No need for us to wait at the baggage carousel upon arrival — our bags, which have been valeted, are waiting for us at the gate when we disembark.  

THE WASHINGTON SCHOOL HOUSE, NOW A HOTEL, WAS BUILT AS A SCHOOLHOUSE IN 1889.

A black SUV speeds us up the mountain to Park City where we check in at The Washington School House (543 Park Ave). The former school house is located just one block up from Park City’s Main Street and the center of the action.  Though not technically a ski in / ski out destination — the building’s a short flight of steps down from the end of the ski run and just uphill from the Park City ski lift — the intimate hotel’s beautifully decorated spaces and personalized service make it an ideal choice if your itinerary includes activities beyond the slopes. After a bath in the claw foot tub, we don the Frette robes and slippers and are just about to slip in between the Parachute linens on our king-sized bed when the concierge, knowing we missed dinner, arrives with a charcuterie platter. On our bedside table: homemade sweets, a nightly treat.

IN WASHINGTON SCHOOL HOUSE’S TWO QUEEN ROOM, FRENCH WROUGHT IRON BEDS DRESSED IN PRATESI LUXURY LINENS FLANK A BURLED WOOD DRESSER FROM THE 19TH CENTURY.

A 10 FOOT TALL MIRROR, COURTESY OF AN OPERA HOUSE IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, AND AN ANTLER CHANDELIER SHINE BRIGHT IN WASHINGTON SCHOOL HOUSE’S MAIN LIVING AND DINING ROOM.

MONDAY

Moulton Brown products — shampoo, conditioner, soap, mouthwash — make our morning shower extra special. For breakfast at the hotel we choose the Farmer’s Market special, a scramble of fresh eggs, chicken sausage, feta and vegetables, made to order.  Two perfectly foamed lattes and a bowl of fresh cut fruit later and we’re ready for the day’s festivities.  

We slip into C|2 by Cake (511 Main Street), the apothecary and loungewear arm of fashion boutique Cake, to pick up a travel-sized tube of our favorite Marvis toothpaste in Ginger Mint before grabbing a spot along Main Street to watch the Running Of The Balls.  The annual Labor Day / Miners’ Day tradition, which sees 8,000 golf balls bouncing down the hill, raises money for charity. 

Though its only been a few hours since breakfast, the high altitude and steep street has worked up our appetite. Our lunch at cozy tupelo Park City (508 Main Street) begins with a Bloody Mary which we customize with smoky piece of bacon from their DIY Bloody Mary cart. We chose the Chicken & Biscuits, a generous portion of fried chicken served on a flaky biscuit with scrambled and eggs and creamy pepper gravy.  

After lunch we take the time to wander up and down Main Street and do a little shopping and sightseeing: At Root’d Home (596 Main Street), we fall in love with their clean-lined modern finds.  A box with a swirling agate design will add the perfect note of warm to our concrete coffee table back in LA.  At the two story Southwest Expressions (Main Street Mall, 312 Main Street) we get a head start on our holiday shopping with a set of animal topped bottle stoppers and pick up a couple of dream catchers at Crosby Collection (419 Main Street). Newport Beach-based Barclay Butera’s shop (255 Heber Avenue) demonstrates how to bring elegance to the cabin aestethic; strings of fairy lights dangle over the outdoor patio at Robert Redford’s Zoom Restaurant (660 Main Street), carved out of the old Union Pacific Railroad Station. On the wall of 4th Street Alley, we stumble across an original Banksy. At Park City Mercantile (523 Main Street), a modern take on a general store, beautiful home accessories including linen aprons, carved wooden spoons for the kitchen and hand-rolled beeswax candles; their clothing arm Prospect (509 Main Street) hides an old fashioned barber shop in the rear of the store. Satisfy your inner mountain man with a hide from Alaska Fur Gallery. At Artworks Gallery (461 Main Street), Bruce Larrabee’s colorful pottery and photographs by Brad Lewis, printed on aluminum, caught our eye.  

The primitive southwestern design at Chimayo doesn’t prepare us for the delicacy of the Sea Scallops “Puerto Nuevo” we order on the advice of our server. Delicate, fresh and delicious, we’re informed seafood’s regularly flown into Park City directly. 

TUESDAY

After just one day in Park City, we’re contemplating a longer stay so we head out to Victory Ranch, a private community set on 6700 acres, to check out our options. We buckle ourselves into an ATV, four wheeling it over mountain bike trails, by camp sites and along river banks. Every moment is Instagrammable to the point that our phone’s batteries die.  Luxurious accommodations, many designed by Barclay Butera, bring an elegant sheen to the expected rustic vibe. Families will be especially appreciate Victory Ranch’s full service; there are plenty of kid-related activities to keep the little ones happy, allowing their parents some much needed alone time.

A VIEW OF VICTORY RANCH’S INSPIRING AND UNSPOILED LANDSCAPE.

: A VIEW OF ONE OF THE PROPERTIES AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT VICTORY RANCH.

Windblown, we head back into town and over to High West Distillery’s Saloon for lunch. Located in one of the few two story Victorian homes in town, it includes a bar made from the Great Salt Lake Trestle Bridge. After a grilled cheese sandwich, a cup of chili and a Dead Man’s Boots, the restaurant’s take on a Moscow Mule, we’re ready to take a tour of the distillery. A short drive to Wanship takes us to the deep copper red building whose hue mirrors the golden tones of the rich whiskey produced within.   

AT HIGH WEST DISTILLERY’S SALOON, A WALL OF GLASS JAR CANDLE LAMPS ON ONE WALL OF THE MAIN DINING ROOM.

For our last dinner in Park City, we head on over to Handle. Hand-crafted tables, decoupage wallpaper created from the pages of old books and old miner’s lockers repurposed as wine storage set us up for Chef Briar Handly’s distinctive food including cauliflower Buffalo hot wings-style, crispy duck egg and prosciutto and lamb t-bone. We finish with the ritual chocolate mousse which arrives on a wooden slab dotted with strawberries and meringue crumbles.

THE DECOUPAGE WALLPAPER OF HANDLE, DESIGNED BY CO-OWNER MELISSA GRAY, WAS CREATED FROM THE PAGES OF OLD BOOKS.

HANDLE’S CAULIFLOWER IN BUFFALO HOT WING FASHION WITH BLUE CHEESE IS A STANDOUT DISH.

Wednesday

After breakfast, a black SUV comes to whisk us back to Salt Lake City Airport and our flight to Los Angeles. With the time difference, we arrive just an hour after we left.  We’re already planning our return visit! 

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