Layin' Low 

There’s a nice bit of paradise waiting just up (or down) the road.

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“Staycation?” Who came up with that lame term? The same people who tried to convince us that “fat-free” tastes just as good as the real thing? Sure, most of us don’t have the bank account we had a couple of summers ago for planes, trains and automobiles, but does that mean we have to stay home and do something that sounds like we’re settling, or worse, depriving ourselves? The good news is that if you’re going to hang around the Wasatch Front this summer, there are places where you actually will want to stay. Here are four suggestions for nearby places to enjoy.

Park City: Washington School Inn
During the winter, people the world over want a peek at our peaks for Olympic sports venues, international film festivals and the greatest snow on earth. Once that snow melts, accommodations usually filled with jet-setters drop their prices to points locals can afford.

This schoolhouse, dating back to 1889, has been converted into a quaint bed and breakfast with a variety of rooms along with a sauna and Jacuzzi spa. In addition to excellent breakfasts created from homestyle recipes, fresh-baked cookies along with drinks and other treats are served on the main floor every afternoon. One summer special to take advantage of is the BYOF (Bring Your Own Friends or Family for free), where you can get one room at the regular rate and a second for free.

The Inn is located on Park Avenue, close to the hustle and bustle of Main Street. Consider walking a couple of blocks to Butcher’s Chop House & Bar and take advantage of the bar menu by ordering reasonably priced items such as the primerib sandwich, Monterey bleu-cheese chips or Vermont white cheddar mac & cheese.

Washington School Inn 543 Park Ave. Park City 435-649-3800 WashingtonSchoolInn.com

Butcher’s Chop House and Bar 751 Main St. Park City 435-647-0040 ButchersChopHouse.com

Heber Valley: Zermatt Resort and Spa
Zermatt continues Midway’s heritage of celebrating the Alps with a resort designed to make visitors feel they’ve just stepped off a flight and arrived in Switzerland. In addition to the chaletstyle five-story hotel with 226 rooms, Zermatt also contains a 17,000 square-foot spa where one can get signature treatments such as the “Caviar and Pearls anti-aging facial” or “Monte Rosa full-body rejuvenation” before hitting the Aromatherapy Steam Grotto or 13-head Swiss Shower.

Package deals are available during the summer, including the “Golf on a Budget Package,” starting at $114 per person, or the “Sound of Music Package,” which provides a room, tickets to a local production of the musical, picnic and breakfast starting at $195 per couple.

In the evenings, visitors will find Heber Valley’s recent growth has brought about a number of good dining opportunities. A unique restaurant to consider is the Spicy Lady, which serves comfort foods from across the globe, including a tandoori panini or kangaroo brochette.

Zermatt Resort and Spa 784 W. Resort Drive Midway 435-657-0180 1-800-57-Dolce ZermattResort.com

The Spicy Lady 139 North Main Street Heber City, Utah 84032 435-654-4288 SpicyLady.net

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Ogden Valley: Wolf Creek Resort

In the winter, the Ogden Valley, comprising the three towns of Huntsville, Liberty and Eden, offers three great ski resorts—Powder Mountain, Wolf Mountain and Snow Basin, which become great places for hiking and mountain biking during the summer. The valley also features Pine View Reservoir for water activities while the valley itself has opportunities for fishing, river rafting, geo-caching, golf, horseback riding and even hot-air ballooning. Such activities can be easily booked when staying at Wolf Creek Resort, which has options for every size group and price range, since it has hotel rooms, condos and even luxury homes. Wolf Creek currently offers a midweek golf package with lodging and 18 holes for $79 per person, or try the “Music in the Mountains Package” and get admission to the annual concert series, golf, a horseback adventure, $50 dining certificate and lodging for $199 per couple.

Wolf Creek Resort 3900 N. Wolf Creek Drive Eden 877-492-1061 wolfcreekutah.com

Downtown Salt Lake City: Hotel Monaco
The chance to stay at a hip, funky and unique hotel that feels miles away from normal is actually just a TRAX ride away to downtown Salt Lake City. Hotel Monaco is part of the Kimpton series of properties sporting fun amenities (you can even request that a goldfish be sent up to your room) and pet-friendly options.

The hotel is currently offering the “Breakfast for Just $1 More” package, where a mere 100 pennies in addition to the room price also gets breakfast for two in the in-house Bambara Restaurant where you can try Atlantic salmon hash or eggs Benedict. The restaurant is also a great choice for lunch, dinner or late night drinks.

In the evening, hit the wine-hour reception in the Monaco lobby before heading around the corner and walking a block-and-a-half down Main Street for fondue dinner and dessert at the Melting Pot.

Staying close to home for the summer saves money in these difficult economic times, but if done right, it can also give you a sense of time off in a beautiful place while rejuvenating the spirit before returning to “normal” life.

Hotel Monaco 15 W. 200 S. Salt Lake City 801-595-0000 or 877-294-9710 monaco-saltlakecity.com

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