The community of Kayenta is a community designed sensitively to blend in with the desert landscape. All of the homes are in adobe looking in hues from chocolate to sand. The development is low density with native plant landscaping. We approached from St George passing through Ivins. Almost as soon as we entered the community we felt a kind of peace and tranquillity.
Also curiosity: how much do you think these homes sell for? Can you rent one on luxury homes for the week? It is hard to turn off the real estate orientation when you travel. You imagine yourself living there and of course wonder how much money it would take.
The first visit we stopped at the art village and most of the shops were shut. The Xetava Garden Cafe was open and I bought a coffee. It was free-trade, organic and a couple of other wholesome modifiers, including delicious. We wandered around looking at the chalk art on the ground from the competition from earlier in the week. I admired the driftwood horse and Carole admired the interesting garden benches.
The next visit we did some serious jewelry shopping. We browsed in several art galleries. And we ate lunch at the Xetava Garden Cafe. Carole enjoyed the waffles on the brunch menu and I had the tacos made with filet mignon. We both gave thumbs up to our choices. The service was excellent.
We also sympathized with this bubble of liberalism. We saw a poster for a marriage equality fundraiser and felt like cheering. St George is a lovely community with loads of friendly people. Seventy-five percent of them are Mormon and probably conservative. A friend shared how we could spot polygamist families and we saw at least one group watching the Triathalon. So we threw up a small cheer for the organizers of an event hoping for a long shot–or a Supreme Court decision.
St George is centrally located making it possible to do day trips to Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and the north rim of the Grand Canyon. An Ironman Triathlon made driving to Bryce Canyon complicated and we could not shift our spa appointments. Locals raved about Snow Canyon State Park, so we decided to give it a go.
From the Inn at Entrada on the Northwest side of St George it is just a few minutes drive. You drive past the Ivins roundabout with the beautiful sculptures of mustangs and Paiute Indians. The entrance fee is a modest $8 per car and it allows access all day, so you could plan an early morning hike and then return after dinner for some stargazing from the rocks at Upper Galoot picnic area.
The ranger at the gate gave us lots of good information about the hikes in the park. She also mentioned that if we came across a tortoise, and if it pees out of fear, then we need to bring him to her or the ranger station so they can rehydrate the tortoise. Turns out the only wildlife we saw in the park was Jake the Snake in the ranger station.
The ranger station at the campground is also a gem. It has high quality exhibits and gift shop. Volunteers man the desk and offer good information about the park.
We went back the next day to hike a little. A group was setting up for a wedding, people were enjoying the campground, and groups of hikers and cyclists were enjoying the trails.
You can easily combine a half day at Snow Canyon State Park and a visit to Kayenta art village and the Xetava Gardens Cafe.
The challenge is to rank all of the great places in St George and choose only 5. So I’ll just say it now, I plan to cheat a little and mention a few honorable mentions as well. Prices are very affordable for a vacation spot and low compared to California or Washington, DC.
We drove by the Iceberg Drive Inn on our way to Zion National Park. The sign “famous thick shakes” caught my eye. After a day hiking in Zion it was an easy choice. We stopped for dinner and bought the combo: hamburger, fries and mini shakes. We could have easily filled up on the shakes alone!
If you have read my blog you know that I break for pie. When I read taht there was a place called Croshaw’s Gourmet Pie I made my friend go there. We started with scrumptious pot pies. Then moved on to amazing dessert pies. So good.
We ended up at George’s Corner because few places are open on Sunday. Lucky for us the food and service is very good. There is live music on the weekends on the bottom floor. Enjoy it or ask to be seated upstairs where conversation is possible. Of course they also have awesome pie.
Meeting girlfriends for a spa weekend is a wonderful benefit of easy travel and personal resources. For a number of years we went to the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. This year we wanted to try a different place and I had read a few articles in travel magazines about Saint George, Utah. It had the advantage of being close to Zion National Park.
It turned out to be a terrific choice. First, it is inexpensive to fly into Las Vegas, Nevada and then it is a quick 2 hour drive to Saint George. Second, not surprisingly for a community with 75% Mormons, people are really friendly. Third, food and lodging are less expensive than in Sedona or Santa Fe.
We stayed at the Inn at Entrada in St George and close to Ivins. Our room had a fireplace, a small kitchen area with a bar and a roomy bathroom with huge tub. Plus we were able to park our car in the garage so it was always comfortable even in the heat. he Entrada’s spa is in the modern fitness center and the treatments were all terrific. We especially recommend the Heavenly Hair with extra massage. Our room was on the golf course and a pair of mallards visited us each morning to splash in the stream that went by our patio. Each day we received a fresh supply of water and cookies. The registration area offered sweet rolls.
The biggest advantage to Saint George is how beautiful it is in every direction. There are dramatic mountains, red rocks, and volcanic lava flows. Then the sky! The clouds, rainbows and stars are a continuous show. It is hot even in the beginning of May with temperatures in the low 90s.