Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Home Adventures Travel Weekend Getaway: Helper is on the Way

Weekend Getaway: Helper is on the Way

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Photo by Kirk Marshall

Helper is a strange name for a small town, but it actually makes more sense than some as it is home to many engines that ‘help’ trains over the steep grades of nearby Soldier Summit.

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Photo by Kirk Marshall

When plentiful coal was found in the area, the town sprouted, providing the manpower and fuel for the Denver and Rio Grande Railways. Mining camps sprung up in the 1890s and the European and Asian immigrants who came to make their fortunes helped make Helper the commercial hub for the area. In its heyday, Helper was a town of 20,000 with 33 bars and 19 houses of ill repute (Not bad for small town Utah). Today trains still ply the rails through this historic hamlet. The Western Mining and Railroad Museum is a must see for the full story.

In recent years, Helper has become a hub for miners of a different ilk. Once an economically depressed town with a decaying main street, the town has been rejuvenated by an influx of artists who search for peace and quiet to practice their craft. One such man is David Dornan. Credited with Helper’s rebirth, he holds summer workshops and master classes in a building he bought and renovated 15 years ago. The former brothel turned hotel turned studio, now houses students who can fully focus on art without big-city distractions.

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Photo by Pippa Keene 

Helper is easily explored on foot, and a path by the Price River is a wonderful place to stroll. A swinging bridge begs to be explored, benches provide rest in the shade and plaques erected to the area’s history stimulate the brain while the walk stretches your legs. Heading back to Main Street, look for Big John, a giant miner. Painted coal black, he is one of the Muffler Men statues from the 1960s. He stands proudly in front of the Civic Auditorium, pick in hand.

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Photo by Kirk Marshall

If your walk kicked up your appetite, head to The Balance Rock Eatery. They may possibly have the best potato chips you will ever eat; made to order from scratch, they are dusted with a special seasoning blend that is a well-guarded house secret. Across the street the Happiness Within Coffee Shop will make you a cup of java and a believer that luxuries can be found in unexpected places.

Many side trips can be made from Helper. Price, just seven miles south, hosts the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum. The Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, where much of the museum’s bounty was discovered just 20 miles away. Scenic Huntington Canyon, Nine Mile Canyon, Buckhorn Draw and the Wedge Overlook are all within striking distance.

You know it's spring in Utah when cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the @utstatecapitol ⁠🌸😍⁠

Photo by @gravesstuart
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Inspired by @oldsaltlake, we're celebrating #throwbackthursday with a favorite snapshot of early 20th century Salt Lake City. 🏖️⁠

Photos shared by @oldsaltlake are inspiring millennials and zoomers decades later with visions of a different city: one with easily accessible public transportation, walkable streets, local businesses (open late) and distinctive architecture.⁠

See more photos at the link in our bio. ⁠

Pictured: Women relax at what is believed to be Saltair Beach, date unknown
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Why did Utah's only Titanic passenger not survive her journey?⁠

The descendants of Irene Corbett believe that the 30-year-old teacher sacrificed her life to save others. It's one of the many ways this remarkable figure bucked tradition and forged her own trail.⁠

Read more about Irene at the link in our bio!
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One year ago today: a Salt Lake earthquake that even shook Moroni 👼⁠

Photo by @gravesstuart
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"We must have done something right, cause you guys kept coming back."⁠

@bluepelatedinerslc, one of Salt Lake's signature spots for everyone from hungover college kids to vegan food lovers, will be closing its doors this May after more than two decades of service. It's the latest casualty in a brutal year for the restaurant industry. ⁠

Head to the link in our bio for a tribute to Blue Plate Diner. (And keep supporting your favorite local restaurants. ❤️)
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Tony Caputo, a food evangelist and founding father of today’s SLC food community, passed away last night.⁠

Tony started @caputosmarket in 1997, bringing his passion for the cuisine of his heritage to Utah tables. Most days during the lunch rush you’d find Tony behind the counter slicing meat and cheeses and then, after it wound down, holding court out front. He’d often rush back behind the counter and holler over his shoulder, “you have to try this!" only to return with a sample bite of veiny cheese, a paper-thin leaf of prosciutto or a perfectly crisp amaretti cookie that he’d recently added to his menagerie of taste. For his many contributions to Salt Lake City, we awarded Tony with a Lifetime Achievement Dining Award in 2007.⁠

Today, we're sending love to @caputosmarket and the many people whose lives were touched by Tony. A full tribute is on our website now. ❤️
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Why is the Pleasant Grove theme park Evermore suing one of the most powerful women in music? Long story short: a playground for those who would choose lore over folklore is taking on Taylor Swift over the name of her most recent album. Both parties have their reputation on the line in a battle of undercover Swifties and novelty mug disputes. Will Evermore hit the gold rush? Or did they cross the wrong mad woman? The full story is at the link in our bio. ...

Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.⁠

That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”⁠

Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠
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A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬
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Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠
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2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠
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