I love the US Family Guide group! They are so good at finding opportunities for us to try new places. Oh, we have been to This is the Place before, just never at Christmas time.
I have been so excited for this visit. My new friend, Marion, even arranged for us to have 14 free tickets so that we could take all the kids with us. The one thing my kids couldn't seem to understand was that Saturday night was cold. The day had been nice, so some of them weren't really prepared for the fact that This is the Place is closer to the mountains and quite a bit colder than our end of the valley. We had only been there a few minutes when they all ran back to the vans to look for every jacket and blanket we had with us.
But in spite of the cold, we had a great time, and every building we entered was toasty warm and there were barrels of fire every few hundred feet so it was easy to find a quick spot to warm our hands. The first thing we did was climb on the train and ride over to the Huntsman Hotel. This whole village is a replica of a small town about the time the Salt Lake Valley was settled.
There were so many Christmas lights everywhere including on the sawmill near where we panned for gold in the summer. The kids were excited about the toys and candy shop, so we made that our first stop. The stores are small as you would expect from the era, but they are filled to the brim with toys and gadgets. They also had barrels of candy for 5-cents each. It's been a while since I have seen anything that reasonable.
We bought some of the 5-cent salt water taffy and root beer barrels for the kids and then we made our way back out into the cold. It was only a short distance to the Naughty and Nice building where we were given a chance to write our names on giant scrolls for Santa to see who was Naughty and who was Nice. I strongly recommend the Naughty list! We were given chocolate coal. The other side only got mini candy bars.
Several people had recommended a stop at the school house and the kids loved watching and then participating in the square dances. Another favorite was Brigham's Doughnuts. We watched them being fried right in front of us. I could have easily eaten a dozen of the tasty treats all by myself. Tell them you want powdered sugar AND cinnamon sugar.
We watched a woman baking gingerbread in an old fashioned cook stove and we munched samples on our way out the door. We decided to forgo the free wagon ride partly because of the cold and partly because the lines were long and we were afraid we would not be able to get everyone in a single trip.
One of my favorite parts was the Live Nativity. Watching the tiny babe squirm in the little manger made it all seem so real. If you get a chance, visit This is the Place Heritage State Park this year. If you mention my blog, Marion promised you would receive $2 off each ticket! You can find more info and the address and hours here.
I recommend bundling up and maybe even going a little earlier in the day than we did. Even though the lights were beautiful, the sunshine would have been a bit more tolerable for those of us who are always freezing. The other thing we passed on was seeing Father Christmas. That was only because the kids were hungry and in need of supper, but we heard good things from those around us who had made the trip upstairs. And that reminds me, their gift shop is amazing! If you are looking for unique presents to put beneath your tree, and a fun activity for your whole family,
This is the Place to go.