I accidentally scheduled this post for last week, so sorry if you saw it then…
While away on vacation, my husband and I stopped in a small town near Provo for dinner. The Art City Trolley in Springville, looked to be about as close to a New Jersey Diner that we could get.
Art City Trolley Atmosphere: B
The Art City Trolley is located on the main road. There is a train car, which is attached to a restaurant. Similar to the Clinton Station Diner, you can sit in the train car or building, depending on where the hostess sat you. We were lucky enough to sit in the old train car.
The tables at the Art City Trolley were outdated, and ours was wobbling. It made for an awkward time eating between both of us, but other than that it was a nice restaurant. It had the character of an old diner.
Art City Trolley Coffee:
Since it was later at night, I wanted to order decaf coffee, so I wasn’t up. The waitress informed me that the Art City Trolley only serves “caffeinated coffee”. It’s one of the only restaurants I’ve been too, that doesn’t serve decaf coffee along with their caffeinated.
Art City Trolley Service: B
The waitress was friendly, but our food took a little while to come out for the number of people in the restaurant.
Art City Trolley Food: A
The Art City Trolley menu has several options and a lot of unique and healthy options. They also have items like burgers and baby back ribs. The Art City Trolley menu is well known for its salads, so I decided to order that.
My salad at the Art City Trolley was good. It was filled with plenty of greens and toppings. I was pleasantly surprised with how big the portion was too. It was one of the better restaurant salads I’ve had.
I also ordered chili, which was a white and creamy base. I’ve never had anything like that, but it wasn’t bad. I always enjoy food with a bit of kick to it.
Art City Trolley Cost:
For my salad, the price was $15. One of the cheaper meals I’ve had, but I didn’t order a drink or appetizer either.
Overall Summary/Would I Come Back to the Art City Trolley:
I liked the Art City Trolley, and if I’m around the area, I will come back. I do wish they had decaf coffee, but I wonder how many people ask for that. I always appreciate diners that are in an old trolley or train car.
Atmosphere: B Coffee: — Food: A Service: B Cost: $10-12 Overall: B
It’s taken over a month to finally recap my entire vacation. I still have a few lingering diner reviews left, but with one phase of life over and the next moving forward, I figured it would be best to wrap finally wrap the trip up.
As I mentioned a month ago, my husband and I had no plans when we went out there. We booked two plane tickets and a rental car. We had no hotels booked, no plans of which towns and cities we would see, but figured we would wing it. We didn’t imagine we would drive to four different states and put over 2600 miles on our car…but we did.
So where to begin?
We flew into Denver.
We stayed for a few days in Denver. We explored the city a bit, and went for a few gorgeous runs. We also got to see my good friend Kevin and his wife which I haen’t seen in a while.
While in Denver, we drove up and went hiking at Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. We went to a few diners including Sams 3 which was on the Food Network as well as the brand new Snooze Cafe.
Next, we headed out West towards Utah. My good friend Janae had said there were a fun 5k/13.1 and we thought…why not. It’s only about 400 miles, right? Plus, we would see what we would see.
Earlier in the year one of my closest friends, Angela, moved to Colorado (from South Jersey). The route to Utah went right through her town which we had been planning to do anyway. We stayed the night at Angela and her husband’s house, went for a gorgeous run, and of course at her local diner: The New Castle Diner.
Then we continued towards Utah. It was a scenic and beautiful drive. Most of the time we didn’t have cell service which was actually nice. No internet, blogging, or Facebooking. Just the road and rocks on either side.
We got into Provo late that night, found a nice hotel near the race. Since there was a half marathon, packet pickup was the night before at the mall. We overheard some locals talking about the “lazy people” doing the 5k…YAY for being lazy.
The race itself was tough. NJ is at sea level, Utah is 4000-5000 above (I can’t remember). There was also a massive hill at the end of the race, and I finished in 19:40 dry heaving the whole way. You can read more about the Haunted Half 5k here.
Janae, who just had her baby, finished and placed in her age group. It was great to hang out, and the morning was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Another state I’ve raced in, not that I’m even sure how many that is.
Both were beautiful, and we could have spent days, weeks, and probably months in either. I hope one day to get back and spend more time and each. Both have half and full marathons too, which would be fun to run if we trained appropriately (IE: at elevation). Judging from the 5k, it might be awhile. We went to Meme’s cafe for lunch in Zion, which was an “interesting” experience.
After that, we stayed overnight and headed down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We were only a few hours away, and I’ve always wanted to see it. A few hours away is a lot closer than NJ, so we decided to just drive down there. It was absolutely breathtaking!
After the Grand Canyon, we progressed east towards Colorado. We wanted to make a stop at the Four Corners: where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. It’s a bucket list item, just to say you did. It wasn’t too crowded when we got there. You can stand in all Four Corners or lay there…
For the next couple of days, we just enjoyed the drive, view, and hanging out. We saw a lot of cute towns. We drove through Uncompahgre National Forest and over a terrifying mountain pass in which it was snowing. We decided to stop and take a photo at the top. It was one of the most incredible views of the trip.
Afterwards, we headed to Tim’s relative’s house in Montrose, Colorado. It was nice to see family, and they took us for a 10+ mile four wheeling expedition up a mountain. I’ve never been four wheeling before, so it was a brand new but so much fun experience. The mountain in the background is actually the mountain we drove over and took the photo (above).
After an enjoyable visit in Montrose, we headed back towards Denver. We stopped in Colorado Springs for a couple of days. Initially, we wanted to go walk around the Air Force Academy, but there were essential meetings, and we weren’t allowed on. We should have started our trip that way! We decided to hike the Seven Bridges Trail (yes, you cross 7 bridges) as well as the Grey Back Peak Trail.
We also stopped (of course) at the King Chef Diner which was featured on the Food Network. If you’ve never been, you have to go. It is definitely one of my favorite diners that I’ve been too, including in NJ! There are two locations but we chose the 13 seat, small purple castle.
They are most known for their Burritos. Even with running and hiking, I left full.
Finally, we wrapped our way back to Denver, and it was time to go. At the airport, I ended up getting food poisoning which I’m still dealing with but that is a blog post for another day.
The Thunderbird Restaurant in Mount Carmel Junction is one of the most small-town diners I’ve been too. It’s attached to the Best Western, and when we stopped in, it seemed like the happening spot to stop. We had opted to stay at the Best Western and didn’t know there was a restaurant/diner attached.
We decided to go in the morning when they opened at 7. For the short time, we were there, we were the only people in the entire restaurant!
If you are looking for a small town diner, where everyone knows everyone, this is your diner. The Thunderbird Café is cute, and they are known for their “Ho-Made” pies. It’s attached to the Best Western so you can see it from the side of the road. The inside has plenty of booths and tables.
Our waitress was friendly, brought plenty of refills, and our food came out quickly. She was great.
The coffee at the Thunderbird Café was strong and tasted good. I could have used a few more refills but other than that, I had no issues. Strong coffee in the morning is important.
For breakfast, I decided to order two eggs, toast, and a blueberry muffin. Since it was a bit early to order a pie, I thought a muffin would suffice in trying their homemade baked goods. The muffin was delicious. It was cooked just enough that the top was crispy.
The bread was homemade and thick. It was some of the best diner bread I’ve had, and the eggs were cooked well too.
In all, my food was excellent.
For the coffee, breakfast, and muffin, the cost was $14, which was a little bit more expensive than I expected.
Overall/Would I Come Back?
I liked the Thunderbird Café, and if I’m ever traveling through, I would go back. I had a positive experience there, and it’s a great stop. If you’re looking for a local stop, and a friendly hotel too, this is your place.
Atmosphere: A Service: A Coffee: B Food: A Cost: $10-$20 Overall: A
Questions for you: What is your favorite type of muffin? Have you ever been to a local favorite?
While hiking through Zion National Park, my husband and I decided to stop at Meme’s Cafe (Zion National Park) in Springdale, Utah. There are a lot of small restaurants in Zion National Park With little cell service and other things to do, I didn’t scout out restaurants. We saw a few listed and just chose Memes Cafe.
We arrived around 11:30 on a Sunday and Meme’s Cafe was crowded. That is one of the busiest times to eat out so if they aren’t crowded, that is never a good sign. There is indoor and outdoor seating. I wanted to eat outdoors. However, there was no room. We sat inside at the closest table near the door.
The coffee came in a huge mug, with plenty of whipped cream. It was brewed hot. I noticed a sign on the front that said that one of their coffee machines weren’t working, but that was fine as the coffee was great.
Meme’s café in Zion is known for the crepes, so I decided to order the “Poppa’s Harvest Crepe” which came with apples, caramel, and topped with whipped cream. I can’t remember the last time I had a crepe, but the food was good. It was stuffed with baked apples and topped with whipped cream. So how could I hate it?
The service at Meme’s Cafe was terrible. We came at peak time, which was no big deal and we are easily able to wait, however, our waitress was not friendly. After waiting for several minutes, another waitress said: “your waitress will be right with you”. Then another 5 minutes passed, and she came over. We were in the restaurant for at least 20 minutes before ordering. We watched as every other waitress was much more friendly and prompt with guests. Finally, when it was time to pay the bill, the waitress brought back the credit card with food all over it.
For the crepe and coffee, the cost was $11.
Overall/Would I Come Back?
I liked the food and coffee at Meme’s Cafe. However, the service was terrible. I’m not sure I would go back.
Atmosphere: B Coffee: B Food: A Service: F Overall: C
After visiting Utah, my husband and I drove back towards Colorado. One thing we wanted to do was see the Grand Canyon. While it was a little bit out of our way, being so close it was hard to say no. Where we stayed in Utah, it made the most sense to go to the North Rim. I’ve always wanted to go the Grand Canyon, I mean who doesn’t?
The first and possibly most crucial stop we made, was when we saw the wild Buffalo. I have always wanted to see them, and it was cool to see them in person. No, I had no intentions of getting any closer than that, as who knows with wild creatures.
After driving about 20 miles into the park, we came up to the lodging area and the actual canyon. We had been warned the lodging was not open but that was fine by us because it was much quieter at the North Rim versus the South. In fact, there were maybe about 20 people there.
It was honestly breathtaking to just look out and see nothing but the canyon for miles. It was also terrifying to look down and know you were over a mile high.
The daredevil and clumsy person in me, said that was far enough.
My husband was a little bit more adventurous.
In total, we spent about 2 hours just walking around. Like with Zion and the Grand Canyon, we wanted to see the Grand Canyon, but we also wanted to do other things too. It is definitely somewhere we could (and eventually plan too) spend more time at.
After the Grand Canyon, we took to the road for the day and drove over to the Four Corners Monument. It’s where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet. It’s definitely a bucket list item.
Like many monuments, you stand in line for a chance to take a photo there. Or look at it, whatever you want to do. I decided to lay there. Keep in mind it is a $5 fee that goes towards the Navajo Nation, which isn’t included with Park passes.