Art Community near St George

Driftwood horse and chaulk artThe 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.Xetava Garden Cafe

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.

Gem of a Park: Snow Canyon State Park

Snow Canyon State Park is just the right size!
Snow Canyon State Park is just the right size!

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.

Jake the Snake at the Ranger station at the campground.
Jake the Snake at the Ranger station at the campground.

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.

A group hiking on the Petrified Dunes.
A group hiking on the Petrified Dunes.

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.

If you think Snow Canyon State Park looks familiar it is probably because it has been used as the setting for many popular films.
If you think Snow Canyon State Park looks familiar it is probably because it has been used as the setting for many popular films.

5 Top Places to Eat in St George, Utah

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.

Chocolate and strawberry
Mini shakes at Iceberg Diner.

1. Iceberg Drive Inn

Iceberg Drive InWe 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!

2. Xetava Garden Restaurant

Chocolate pie and cherry pie

Drive to Ivins outside of St George and keep going a little way to the Kayenta Art Village. Among the great places to shop is a cafe with terrific coffee and very good food.

3. Croshaw’s Gourmet Pie

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.Meat pie

4. George’s Corner

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.

Touch of chocolate at the bottom of banana cream pie is delish.
Touch of chocolate at the bottom of banana cream pie is delish.

5. Egg and I

The breakfast at the Egg and I was delicious. The portions were generous and the service was top notch.

Honorable mentions: Grandma Tobler’s Bakery is a solid place for breakfast or to pick up sandwiches before a hike. The women who work there are super nice.

Grandma's Bakery

Cliffside Restaurant is a place with a heck of a view.The food tasted great too–we split the Chicken fried chicken. Then both of us got upset stomachs and we were less enthusiastic about the place.

Glorious Spa Weekend in St. George, Utah

nn at Entrada in St George
Saint George is very peaceful, especially after Las Vegas!

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.

Our room was half of a duplex.
Our room was half of a duplex.

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.

golf course at Inn at Entrada
The view from our patio.

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.

Double rainbow 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.