Saturday, January 22, 2011

Seeking Sanctuary at the Beehive Tea Room with Mindy Gledhill

Beehive Tea Room
12 West Broadway
Salt Lake City

In England in the 4th –17th centuries, people trying to avoid arrest could flee to a church and claim “sanctuary.” The law could not enter in to remove the supplicant. In modern times, I have places to which I retreat and cry “sanctuary.” The Beehive Tea Room is one of those places.

The premises of the Beehive Tea Room are segmented into intimate dining areas with dimmed lighting and retro furnishings. Music from the early 1900’s makes the ambiance complete. Singer Cameron Rafiti used the Beehive Tea Room as the backdrop for one of his videos which you can watch here.

The Beehive Tea Room has a vast array of black, green, herbal and fruit teas and a delicious assortment of scones, petit fours, cookies and cake. They also serve generous and healthy salads, sandwiches and soups made fresh each day. I highly recommend the shepherd’s pie and the spicy curry pasty.

The Beehive Tea Room does do a full tea service, but you’ll need to make reservations in advance. Check out their website for details about booking the tea room for events.

I myself am headed to the Beehive Tea Room for an event this Saturday (Jan. 22) at 8:00 p.m. Sublime singer and songwriter Mindy Gledhill will be performing as part of the line up affiliated with the Sundance Film Festival.

Mindy’s voice is clear, lovely, languid, wistful and joyful all at the same time. It provides sanctuary from the loud, noisy din that is everyday life. She was recently featured in Utah Valley Magazine. Turn to page 31. Check out the video to Mindy’s latest hit, Anchor, here. It’s masterful bit of film, a charming collage of vintage imagery as a modern day Alice in Wonderland pays tribute to the unnamed love that provides an anchor for her roving free spirit.

Look for me at the Beehive Tea Room this Saturday night. I’ll be the one with the pot of raspberry mint tea.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Midway Ice Castles

Midway Ice Castles
100 N. 200 W.

It’s mid-January which means the Christmas lights have been taken down (or at least turned off) and the snow that previously provided winter wonderland ambiance has now accumulated in grime-encrusted piles by the side of the road. In December, cold weather meant rosy cheeks and noses. In January, it just means stiff joints and dry chapped hands. What a difference the holidays make!

So how can you put a bit of jolly into January? Two words: Ice Castles. No, not the cheesy 1970’s movie featuring Robbie Benson and a previously--and subsequently--unknown actress Lynne-Holly Johnson. I’m talking about the magnificent structures constructed by master ice craftsman Brent Christensen.

I first saw one of his structures in a vacant lot on my block when I was lucky enough to be a neighbor of the Christensens. An amazing ice palace seemed to have risen out of the ice and snow. People driving down the street would pull over and whip out their cameras.

It caught the eye of someone from the Zermatt Resort in Midway as well, and the next year, Brent and his family were invited to live at the resort while he spent months constructing and grooming vast towering pillars and palaces of ice, some towers reaching as high as 30 feet.

This year, the ice palaces have been constructed in downtown Midway behind the city buildings and the outdoor ice rink. The structures have to be seen to be believed. They’re like towering cathedrals of ice. Two of the structures have been built so that people can walk through them.

Although the structures grow organically, formed by dripping water and freezing temperatures, their growth has to be pre-planned and guided. To one side of the pathway, you’ll actually see an icicle “farm” where Brent grows the icicles that will eventually become towering pillars of ice. The structures have to be maintained as well which means Brent and his crew literally scale the structures with special climbing gear like arctic explorers.

The varying textures and colors in the ice formations are fascinating. This really is like taking a walk through a mythical landscape.

I have visited the structures in the daytime and at night. Each experience is magical, but at night the towers become almost otherworldly. I highly recommend making the trip to Midway to see the ice castles. This is an excellent family activity. And Midway is such a charming spot, it all adds up to a festive winter outing, a suitable follow-up to the holiday season.

To read more about how Brent Christensen constructs the ice castles, and to see some amazing pictures, check out his blog here.

You can also read a review by the Provo Daily Herald here.