WITS 2024 Salt Lake City: Women in Travel Summit, Part 4

WITS usually takes place in a single location, but this year's was slightly different. The majority of the conference was in Salt Lake City, but on Saturday, April 13 we spent the whole day in Park City. 

Almost the whole day, that is. We had an early morning session in Salt Lake about mindfulness before heading to Park City. 

Then we loaded the buses and headed up to Park City. We'd each chosen a morning excursion from a list of about 20 options. They covered everything from horse yoga to snowboarding to whiskey tasting. I didn't choose any of those. I debated between a ride on a historic train versus a nature walk at a wetland preserve, but eventually chose the walk. It took place at Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.

Swaner is a 1,200-acre nature preserve and educational center, run by Utah State University. They host events and camps, plus welcome the public to explore their center or hike in the preserve. We started in the educational center, where we saw an interesting exhibit about snow. It closes on May 5, so hurry if you want to see it! 

There's a neat climbing wall at Swaner, but it wasn't open when we visited. 

It was very interesting learning about the protected wetlands and their inhabitants. 


Then it was time to head outdoors. When this outing was originally planned, they thought we'd be snowshoeing in the preserve, looking for animal tracks. But Mother Nature had different plans for mid-April. 

So instead of snowshoes, we put on muck boots...

... and instead of looking for tracks, we looked for scat! And the animals themselves, of course. There are sandhill cranes in this picture. 

After an hour of exploration, it was time to get out of the muck. We walked back to the Eco-Center and turned our muck boots in. 

Then we walked a short distance to Hearth and Hill for lunch. 

We got Cheddar Biscuits, Truffle Fries, Hummus, Beer Battered Cauliflower, and Scallion Pork Gyoza for the table. Everything was incredible. Soooo good. 


Then we each got our own entree. I had the Burrata Caprese and it was AMAZING. Seriously, one of the best things I've ever had. I'll be thinking about it for a long, long time. 

After our wonderful lunch, it was back to the bus and over to Historic Park City. It used to be a silver mining town and is now a fabulous collection of great places to eat and shop. 

We could choose to spend our time exploring on our own, or we could divide into small groups and try to solve a scavenger hunt. If you know me at all, there's no question what I chose. Without going on the scavenger hunt, I might not have noticed the Banksy artwork or the historic 9th Street Stairs


Sock City had some adorable socks waiting for us. I love my new fruit socks. (Use SOCKPARTY for a discount on your order!)

We saw so many other interesting things in City, like Alpenglow dining

I love these ski lift benches. 


But by far the most interesting thing to me was Town Lift. It is a triple chair ski lift, literally in the town. 

There are nets where it crosses over the road. 

They do scenic rides during the summer. That would be so neat!

The scavenger hunt was surprisingly difficult, but my trio managed to finish it. Yea, us! After that, it was back on the buses and up, up, up to 8300 feet and the Empire Canyon Lodge. 

There, we enjoyed a spectacular dinner. 

The highlight was the raclette, waiting for us fireside. 

Everything was so good! I tried my best not to overeat, but it was impossible. 


I mean, how do you not try a little of everything?!

And what a beautiful setting! The lodge itself is stunning and so grand. 

It was absolutely gorgeous outside and I loved sitting out on the patio, chatting with new friends. 

About two minutes after I went back inside, I missed a proposal, right there in the snow! Apparently that was a WITS first. Congratulations to the happy couple, who I would meet the following day during a tour. 

As the sun set, we headed back to the buses to return to Salt Lake City. I'm so glad we spent a day in Park City. What a special place it is!

The following day at WITS was full as well. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. 

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