Tucked into the canyon between Provo and Heber, Utah, under the shadow of the mighty Mount Timpanogos, you’ll find a rustic resort called Sundance. You might know it because of its owner, the dashing Robert Redford. I know it because the most romantic moments of my life have happened there.
Sundance is beyond special. It’s cozy, homey- rugged and elegant at the same time. The year we first visited the resort, Utah had massive amounts of snow. We carefully made our way through a narrow, shoveled snow tunnel-slash-stairway to our perfect cabin. I was ruined forever- every birthday going forward must be celebrated with a glass of wine in front of a fire in a snow cave cabin in that magical canyon.
The second time we visited, John packed the car with a ridiculous amount of puppy toys, a tiny Cholula, and a diamond ring meant for me. With tears in his eyes, John asked me to be his wife at the top of Bishop’s Bowl. A happy birthday, indeed.
The third time we truly spent time here, we were joined by just about every person we love. Someone asked, “Do you?” And we said, “We do.” We added a couple more shiny rings to our fingers and drank all of the champagne in Utah. Now that was a party.
So when a Living Social deal came across my inbox for a three-course meal at Sundance’s famous Tree Room, I snatched it right up. Two nights ago, we packed up the car with far less puppy toys, a much larger Cholula, and plenty of wine and headed up the canyon to the place that lives in my heart.
We checked in and discovered that we happened to be staying right next door to the cabin we had when we got engaged. I was happy to see the giant hole that was create when Cholula learned about digging was filled with wildflowers now. Our little cabin was precious- a small kitchenette, a sitting area, one of Sundance’s ridiculously cozy beds, and a sweet little deck out back. A card welcoming us back accompanied a bag of goodies, courtesy of the concierge who remembered our families.
We unpacked and poured a drink to enjoy on the back patio, under the pines and aspens. Cholula became reacquainted with the area and devoured more than one stick. I spied a bird’s nest tucked under an eave as we listened to the bubbling creek nearby. Heaven!
After happy hour, we got dressed and headed to the Tree Room. Robert Redford named it that because he built it around a tree, which John sat next to. (Once, Bobby himself dined at a table near mine. I walked back and forth to the bathroom at least 12 times to see him. He didn’t look up once.) The vibe is upscale but comfortable, with western detail everywhere. The Living Social coupon meant we had a limited menu to choose from, but the options were scrumptious. My wild mushroom risotto didn’t last long!
We had talked about a visit to the Owl Bar after dinner, but the big, cozy bed was calling our names. We snuggled in and watched a movie, instead.
We awoke on the Fourth of July to evidence of an overnight storm. Miraculous! We took our time, sipping coffee and being lazy, enjoying our cabin for as long as we could. Finally, grumbling tummies motivated us toward the Foundry Grill for breakfast.
Sundance in summer is very different than Sundance in fall or winter- lush, colorful, full of life. The mighty Mount Timpanogos towered overhead. The last time I’d stood in that spot, I was wearing a stunning white dress and had just become Mrs. Howe.
The thing to get at the Foundry Grill for breakfast is the spicy eggs. It’s basically Huevos Rancheros. It was crisp enough to have the fireplace going on the Fourth of July, and we enjoyed our meal tucked into a quiet back corner.
Before we left this enchanted canyon, we walked over to the site of our wedding ceremony, then the reception. There’s no question why we decided to host our wedding weekend here- the grounds are stunning.
As we drove way from Sundance, I snapped one last photo of Timp. A pocket of snow remained among the green slopes, pressed up against a beautiful blue sky. As always, I hate to leave. But my birthday is less than 6 months away. As the majestic peaks grew smaller in the rearview mirror, I smiled. We’ll be back.
See you soon, Sundance. See you soon.