Mountainside Resort in Park City Utah. This was incredible I have been able to already stay at an amazing resort in Park City by Marriott and now I was moving to another location. This was turning my 3 night vacation into 6 and making the flight out even more of a value.
Photo of the July 4th parade in Park City UT
Day One Arrival
In my travels as a travel writer, I had started to get smart with longer trips and book several resorts in the same general area or town back to back when possible. This meant much less time traveling and more time for fun.
I had just left another amazing resort at Summit Watch read about that location and part of my trip here. Now I was moving to the Mountainside Resort. This was great because I have fallen in fast love with Park City. The area has about 10,000 residents now.
I did a quick look at real estate in the area and you can not touch a property in town for under $300K and in surrounding areas for under 250K. This means for some in rural parts of the country moving here may not be an option but you can certainly visit. Especially if you travel with TZort.
Since I was just moving from one Marriott resort to another in the same town, the commute was more like moving my car from one parking area to another than a real commute. That almost felt like I was cheating compared to many of my travel experiences, and I liked it.
Between times of early check out and the later afternoon check in I went to grab lunch at another (new to me) spot. Many of the restaurants here are on main street. This makes finding your next spot easy, and a simple search. I am not a twig and berry kind of guy, more meat and potatoes. This area is very clean eating friendly, and vegan friendly. However, there are some great options for meat eaters like me.
For this meal I wanted to try out the no name saloon. I ordered a buffalo burger (yes, made with buffalo meat) and these are ½ pound giants. One note on buffalo burgers is that you have to go somewhere that knows how to cook the meat. Buffalo is a very lean meat I think it is 90% lean or more depending on the cut. This means you have to really be able to cook well to get the burger to come out juicy and good. Whomever was working the grill here was a master. You could tell that they did not push down on the meat here to try to make it cook faster. They also likely covered the meat during the sear stage to lock in the juice even faster.
Well, I know I am going in deep with the study of the burger here but it was so good it was worth day dreaming a little about. I commented on how much I liked it and asked a few questions of a manager and he was kind in answering a few for me.
When you go to the no name saloon, be aware that they also have a family friendly Annex Family Restaurant right next door that is intended to make sure everything stays G rated for the kids. Certainly, at dinner time I would take them up on this version, since this place likely gets fun later in the day, especially during the winter as more skiers return to town.
I had one of their bourbon old fashions with my lunch and it hit perfectly, then I moved on to a black and tan. They used Maker’s Mark in the old fashion, which was a surprise with a local distillery in town, but a welcomed choice anyway. (Technically I think I am still a Makers Mark Ambassador; they had an internet thing you could sign up for in the past).
After a huge lunch and a few drinks, all was right with the world again. I decided to take another stroll around town. Park City has some great local history and they do a good job of covering that and promoting it to visitors. During the summer if you are here on a Sunday, they shut down much of main street and bring out tables, chairs, and vendors to cover the street. You can still get where you want to go easy thanks to the smaller summer crowds and side streets. But it does make Sunday a special day in town.
They have set up special parking areas, and even buses from the local high school to make it very easy to dive into the fun on Sundays. See more details here. If, like me, you want to park closer to main street and forgo the bus situation, you pay for that privilege due to the limited space at $5hr after the first hour. Now this is a fun thing to do and main street with all the added tables, tents, vendors and chairs can get crowded so be ready for more people in one spot that you likely would have seen in this area before. I felt kind of like I was going through an amusement park as far as the size and make up of the crowds.
I had sorted out my parking early to eat at no name saloon so the parking thing was not an issue for me. They also cap the fee for parking at $18 so your parking tab does not continue at $5hr and become a small fortune if you stay all day. For me I was going to stay until check-in time at the Mountainside Resort, which is 3PM I believe.
I do enjoy checking out small business and local vendors’ items. Speaking to the owners and staff who are trying to make their small businesses work. It feels good to support the little guy. In park city you are doing just that on a Sunday. Having fun checking things out, and supporting small business.
At some point during the afternoon I stopped visiting the stalls and wanted to go inside somewhere and chill out for a bit. That is when I saw Barbarian Barbering Company. It had been a while since I had seen a barber, since I had been traveling a good deal lately. I thought before I hit the next resort, I would get them to freshen up my look. The staff here and the owner are fun and funny, and they clearly love what they do. I got a great old school shave and haircut and was a better man for it.
I like that feeling when you have a fresh cut and a shave (I call it getting my ears lowered). It kind of gives you the same feeling as putting on a nice suit when you have not worn one in a while. You feel light, and you know you have your act together, so you also might feel a little more confident. Note too self, consider pampering yourself more during your trips.
Next, it was time to move into the new resort and check it out. Here at Mountainside Resort the accommodations were much the same as the last resort at Summit Watch. They offered the guest room, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom villas. Each with a modern sense of finish, but mountain charm. The front desk and lobby here did have a more modern feel and look that the wood of Summit Watch, but it was still with a mountain theme. Check in was easy and fast. I was staying in the 1-bedroom villa again. It was similar to the Summit Watch location,, but these rooms seemed a tad smaller, maybe. Here the outside offers pools and hot tubs too, but with a view of the ski run and chair life that must be neat to see during the winter time. The hot tubs also have a waterfall effect that looked very cool. You would think that would make them a little cooler in the winter with cold air working on the heated water in the waterfall, but who knows. I remember when I got my first hot tub; I was out in that thing every time it snowed if I was not at work. It was the novelty of being in it with snow falling that I really enjoyed. That cold air on your face but your body warm and covered with the water.
I would certainly be checking those out tonight, and the heated pool as well. This resort also had a small theater they call the Silver King Theater. This resort is nice all year round I am certain but the pictures of the winters here are amazing because of the location and layout being so ski focused.
Of the two Marriott resorts I must say if I chose during winter time it would be hard to pick but this might win out for the location.
My day walking all around town and that large lunch had me ready to just take it easy tonight and enjoy the resort. I would eat something from the convenience store in the resort for tonight and enjoy the hot tubes and pool.
Video By Visit Utah
Day Two at Mountainside Resort
I woke quickly, remembering that nighttime snacks do not fill you. I was in search of another great breakfast and I wanted to try somewhere new today. Almost in the parking area for the resort was the Corner Store, and that is where I landed for breakfast. Here you can get breakfast burritos or breakfast favorites like my choice country fried steak. I added eggs to my order (could not imagine country fried steak without the eggs for breakfast) and it was a good breakfast. The gravy can make or break the country fried steak,, and this one was great.
One of the nice things about this resort was that parking was included. Sometimes in resort towns that do not boast a lot of parking you see fees added for that but here the first car was free. That was a plus. For groups they do offer additional offsite parking options for a second vehicle at just $20 a day. If you were staying in a two bedroom with another couple or family member that drove separately keep that in mind.
After breakfast, I wanted to check out more of the amazing nature in the area today. An amazing thing to do in the area in summer is to take some of the scenic drives available. Today I was going to drive to the Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway.
The drive itself is about an hour but if you are stopping to take photos, or really take in some of the spots I would at least double that time. It is time well spent for those that love nature. These roads are not plowed during the winter months so this is a summer and early fall activity only.
When in the area you may want to drive Mirror Lake Byway which passes several lakes and goes through the Unita Mountains. Including locations above 10,000 ft. If you have not been to that altitude skiing, or even checking out areas here via a ski lift yet be ready. 10,000 ft is not Everest, but it is more than 1/3 the height and your body feels it. You might get a mild headache, and you likely will discover how much wind is in your sails. Take that for a dual meaning. Breathing is harder at 10,000 ft and your body seems to respond by helping you remove any trapped air inside of you as well. Good times.
But it is worth it to see the area, and going up in your car is more gradual of an approach than a ski lift. Now Park City itself is at 7,000ft and I had been in town already for 3 days so the extra 3,000 ft was not as much as I would have been one day one. Our bodies are amazing and begin increasing your blood’s ability to produce oxygen the moment you get to this altitude. Just avoid sodas before a trip up to the top of the mountain. You do not need or want that level of carbonation.
If you like horses make sure you visit Boulder Mountain Ranch in Deer Valley. They offer horseback rides in this amazing setting and that is a life changing experience for sure. I went on a ride here to Aspen Grove, which was about an hour-long ride and it was amazing. They also offer a 2-hour ride to a lookout spot that I hear is amazing and they even include a pick neck lunch if you want. The minimum suggested age is 8 years old, what a special thing to do on a day of your trip with the kids. Talk about making memories.
A full day of traveling fun drives, and then a horseback ride, I was ready for dinner. Tonight, I had chosen Firewood for dinner. As the name suggests, this is a meat eater heaven with fresh grilled meats and eats.
This is one of those places that does not put their current menu or prices online. They react to the fresh meats available and the chef just does his thing. I was expecting this to be a signature experience in taste and price. For most this would mean a great place for adults to eat but maybe not the family that came into town to ski or play in the mountains due to the price. It is hard to get the value of a multi course meal when you are a preteen.
My meal was more of an experience than just dinner. The food was great, if even a little more over the top or chef special than I am used to. My pallet is not as well refined as many. I live a simple life with an unhealthy diet that I am happy with. But this was a neat experience to try new things. I find it interesting that on the more expensive end of the spectrum you do find chefs coming back to things like Oxtail and Bone Marrow which you find in less refined soul food or southern cooking as well. It is just the level of finish and the other ingredients that make the difference.
The meal was good and at times great, but again it was more of a journey into food and an experience than a simple meal. The cost was about the same as a night at the resort, so it was costly as well. But sometimes it is worth trying things new. I remember going to a restaurant near DC one time. It was great but also a costly experience where the person at the table next to you was likely to be a Senator or other high level Government influencer. So, I am used to trying things that I could not afford to do for regular meals just for the experience. This was one of those.
Day Three: my last day in Park City
I did not know what I wanted to do on my last day in the area. I was going to have the whole day because I was staying again tonight at the amazing Mountainside Resort. But there were so many things I had passed that I wanted to check out today before leaving the area. Mother Nature truly shows off in the mountains, and I wanted to see more of her handy work. Then I also wanted to see more of the locals and how they lived. Living here at altitude seemed special and something unique. Maybe they would feel the same way about my beach area living at sea level, but I am not sure.
One thing I had not really dug into yet was the Olympic connection with Park City. They maintain the Olympic Village here as a training facility and tourist attraction. What I wanted to try was the bobsled (that is if I could fit in one) at 6’4” and too many pounds I was truly not sure if I could fit. It is not like they make XXXXXL sleds. But I figured if I could not fit at least, I could see the sledding in person and check it out. In summer they have sleds that are modified with wheels to run much like the ice versions and on the same course.
When I got to the site and looked at a sled, I thought that getting in one was just not in my future. They are large and would work for most people. But as large as I am these days, I was not confident it would be comfortable enough even if I could fit. Hey when I went horseback riding, I felt sorry for the horse and would have swapped out with him if I could have carried his 1200lbs. I did ask the owner (horse trainer or guide) if I could feed him an apple or something as a thank you when we were done. Just imagine Hoss on a horse again or look it up if you do not understand the reference and you will get my inside comment they’re related to size. I even made Hoss Cartwright look tiny these days.
Well, no bobsled ride was happening but I could check out the site and all the things to do while I was here. Summer brings many options but the Olympic site really shines during the winter. If I was a snow sports person, I would make time to come and visit this area for the day on my vacation for sure. You can purchase a pass that will grant you access to more than a handful of experiences for one price and that looks like a dream deal for teens vacationing in the area.
Here you can purchase a 3.5-hour pass called a gold pass and access a ton of activities during that window of time. These are all high-powered activities so 3.5 hours even for the fit might be enough for anyone.
These summer passes are available May–Sept check for the dates on their website and consider booking online in advance of your trip this is popular.
Park City Utah and Mountainside Resort have been great I wish I could stay longer but even when your vacations are in part working ones, you still cannot vacation forever. This is a great place to visit no matter the season and one that ski lovers are sure to remember for years after their trip.
Just make sure you book with TZort for the very best rates.