Thursday, May 30, 2019

Nine Defining Reasons to Stay at a Bed and Breakfast

nine defining reasons to stay at a b&b blog cover image

Whether you're on a journey, a staycation, or a weekend of self-care, a B&B is about the whole experience, not just the space.

If you've never tried a B&B, here are a few reasons to make the switch:

1. The people who own and operate these establishments care that we are spending time with them.

We can all recall hotel stays where we had a hard time getting anyone’s attention, especially if the request is out of the ordinary. Most of the time we simply give up if we need a different pillow, a knowledgeable restaurant recommendation, or a warm sticky bun before bed. Innkeepers at bed & breakfasts view travelers as their houseguests and are available to ensure that a visit to their establishment is superior. Many visitors become long-time guests over time due to this kind of attention.

striped kitten sitting in a windowsill

2. The small touches that make the stay superior are included in the cost of the room.

Guests are often assigned parking space, some establishments provide car service, and Wi-Fi is free throughout the B&B. There are sometimes discounts and special offers for local attractions. Owners are often long-time residents of the area themselves and can offer a wealth of behind-the-scenes information about their town. Many inns allow pets so the whole family can enjoy the time away from home. Guests won’t be charged for local or toll-free phone calls, either, compared to hotels that charge just to pick up the phone in the room. How about complimentary drinks and snacks? Many B&Bs offer goodies to tide over their guests. Check for luxury items like fluffy bathrobes and high-quality linens provided to guests during their stay.

plate of fresh fruit and glasses of juice

3. Personalization!

Going hand-in-hand with all these small touches is the willingness of innkeepers to personalize a stay in many ways. Honeymoons, anniversaries, wedding parties, birthdays, reunions, and other special events provide opportunities for the B&B owner and staff to pamper and cater to guests to create the experience of a lifetime.

4. A B&B stay can be as private or as social as guests wish.

In a typical hotel, customers come and go with little interaction, travelers passing in the hallways. If privacy is desired, a B&B can provide that, but guests more often become a small community. A social hour, complete with warm cookies or wine and hors d'oeuvres, is the norm. This provides a time when guests can mingle and get to know each other and share information.

5. Many inns are historic or otherwise unique buildings.

There are inns that were previously the homes of famous figures or an important piece of the area's history. Often, the buildings are unique designs, such as plantation homes or castles and palaces in Europe. Each has a character of its own, unlike most hotels that are built in cookie-cutter fashion. The owners of these buildings are proud to share the history and information about the architecture with their guests.

clean, white room with lots of natural light

6. The rooms are also unique.

Many B&B’s are themed and offer rooms that reflect the theme in various ways. Some transport guests to cultures around the globe through the use of artifacts and art displayed in each room. Or picture a room with a claw-foot tub overlooking a relaxing ocean or majestic mountain view. To take it one step further, some inns revel in singular experiences like sleeping in a teepee or log cabin. Over time, guests may come to prefer one room over another and can request that specific room when they return, and owners are happy to accommodate these requests.

fresh breads, eggs, and morning cocktails

7. The food!

Even a B&Bs “breakfast buffet” will far exceed the typical hotel complimentary breakfast fare. The food is sometimes the most well-known attraction at a bed and breakfast, and it often starts the moment guests check in. Freshly baked cookies or other sweet treats can be available throughout the day, and breakfast is a full, home-cooked meal to send guests off on a day of relaxation or sightseeing. Many B&Bs offer a guest pantry, open 24/7, stocked with everything from wine and sherry, an assortment of sodas, coffee and teas, snacks, and fruit. Along with those items, the thoughtful owner may provide candles so guests can create their own romantic evening on the veranda or in their room. Some inns are owned and operated by classically-trained chefs who stand ready to create a personalized meal for guests. Many B&Bs pride themselves on using only locally-sourced, fresh foods, whether that is veggies and fruit or the catch of the day.

8. Security is better in a B&B.

This is an issue that is a growing concern for travelers. The inns are smaller and often contained in one building with few entrances, especially in out-of-the-way locations on the property. Many are located away from busy highways (although some are in urban areas). Overall, there are fewer people on the grounds at any one time and innkeepers are more familiar with all guests than would a front-desk person in a hotel. The owner is often the same person that cleans the rooms, so there are a limited number of people with access to personal belongings of guests.

9. Value.

Many travelers have the mistaken idea that a B&B is much more expensive than a hotel in a similar location. However, once all the amenities that are part of the B&B experience are taken into account, the value becomes apparent. Remember the free phone calls, the sodas (and other goodies) that don’t show up on the bill, the parking, the expert concierge service provided by the owners, and the superb food? The comfy robe and high-thread-count linens, along with all the other luxuries, create an experience that far exceeds the price quoted by most hotel chains.

The next time a trip is in your future, or you’re looking for a quick getaway, consider a B&B. Inquire about the amenities important to you and then book your experience.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Ultimate Activity List for a Utah Summer Family Vacation

The Ultimate Activity List for a Utah Summer Family Vacation blog cover image

With its warm days and nights, it is easy to enjoy Utah’s outdoors all the time. The warm weather makes some of Utah’s most scenic wonders easy to explore, that are sometimes inaccessible in the winter.

Here is a list of 15 activities perfect for a family vacation in Utah this summer:

crowds of people watching a parade on Main Street in Park City

1. Park City - explore the largest resort in the US!

With over 7,300 acres, 341 trails, 7 terrain parks, and 41 lifts to explore, you will never get bored at the largest resort in the US. Your kids, specifically, have a ton of activities to choose from.

Crisscross through the sky on zip lines, climb the rock walls, speed down an alpine coaster, bounce on the Legacy Launcher, and much more. This is your chance to go wild this summer.

tour guide leading visitors through Timpanogos Caves

2. Take a guided tour into the Timpanogos Caves

If you feel it's getting a little bit too hot this summer, then exploring the Timpanogos National Monument might be the very thing you need. The guided tour into the impressive cave system is no doubt going to leave you and your loved ones speechless.

You might even need to consider bringing a jacket because it can be chilly once you hit the caves.

3. Sunday Blues Concerts at Snowbasin

Hosted weekly, Blues, Brews & BBQ at Snowbasin is a great atmosphere to have fun with your loved ones. There is hiking, biking, and gondola rides for the kids, and a selection of brews from local breweries for parents and adults. To complete the package is the delicious BBQ and a queued lineup of blues music.

shoppers visiting various tents at the SLC Farmers Market

4. Visit the Downtown Salt Lake City Farmers Market

Open on Saturdays from 8am to 2pm, the downtown Salt Lake City Farmers Market offers farm-fresh produce you can only find in Utah. It doesn’t matter whether you are on a mission to replenish your pantry, or in search of that perfect houseplant for your porch. We guarantee that you won’t go home empty-handed.

ski runs visible on the side of the mountain at Deer Valley

5. Hike Deer Valley

In addition to a number of luxurious amenities such as ski valets and child care, Deer Valley provides an endless list of fun activities to enjoy with your loved ones this summer. From lift-served mountain biking, outdoor dining, the Summer Adventure Camp for children, concerts at their outdoor Amphitheater, to hiking and scenic chairlift rides, there’s a way for everyone to get their fill.

6. Float the Provo River

In the summer’s heat, an opportunity to get to cool off is always much appreciated, and floating on the Provo River is a local favorite.

There are several outfitters in the area where you can rent the heavy-duty tubes, kayaks, and rafts that are much safer for a family with kids, and equally fun at the same time.

7. Free Yoga Sessions at Solitude Mountain Resort

If you're from out of town, you don't need to miss your regular yoga practice. In fact, you can try a free session on the mountainside. Bring your family to the Solitude Mountain Resort every Saturday and enjoy a free yoga session together.

buffalo in the water at Antelope Island

8. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset on Antelope Island

With clouds moving over the surrounding mountains, buffalo grazing in sight, and waters reflecting the sunset, these sunsets might be the most epic view you will see in a long time.

You may also want to bring your kayak or SUP along and paddle or drive onto the island during the few hours you will be there. Bring your family and pets to the closest thing to a beach in Utah.

9. Enjoy a Salt Lake Bees Ballgame

Who doesn’t love baseball? Treat your loved ones to a game at Salt Lake City’s minor league team - the Bees. There's plenty of great concessions and the atmosphere is great.

At the stadium, Monday nights are Smith’s Family Night. Pick up discounted family tickets going for a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 8 per household. Because the Bees are currently an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, you may be watching a few future MLB stars.

10. Attend the Star Party at Cedar Breaks National Monument

Come summer, Cedar Breaks National Monument sets aside Saturdays to host their Star Parties. Check out the large powerful telescopes and show your little ones various planetary wonders like craters on the moon or the alluring rings of Saturn.

trees surrounding a windy lake in the Uintas

11. Camp the Uinta Mountains

Just an hour east of Park City, lies the Uinta Mountains – home to some of the most scenic views in the state. This vast area of land is perfect for camping with your family. Don’t worry, you could spend an entire weekend without spotting more than a handful of people. So if you are looking for a calm time off with your loved ones, there’s no better place. And don’t forget your fishing gear, the outdoor fun is limitless.

12. Explore the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

Located in Draper, Utah, Loveland Living Planet Aquarium showcases more than 4000 animals from all over the world. Your kids will love exploring the 5 different animal habitats while enjoying face-to-face contact with playful penguins, adorable otters, and clouded leopards. This experience is one of a kind.

13. Hike Peek-a-boo Canyon and Spooky Gulch

The 3.5 mile-long loop through Peek-a-boo and Spooky is not only relatively short but equally family-friendly as well. Along the way, you will get to explore these two stunning slot canyons. The most notable thing, however, is that the hike is not too technical – which means your little ones can do some scrambling and climbing without much effort.

14. Zip Line, Climb, Slide, and Hike at the Utah Olympic Park

Open from Friday-Sunday, you can be assured of a crazy-fun experience zip lining, climbing, sliding, and hiking with your loved ones. The 2002 Olympic Sliding Track, with speeds topping over 60mph and notable g-forces, is definitely an experience you should not miss.

15. Visit Sundance Mountain Resort

Extending over 5000 acres of wilderness, the Sundance Mountain Resort provides tons of outdoor summer activities ideal for a family vacation. From hiking, biking, horseback riding, to an exhilarating 2,100-foot vertical drop zip line, there's something for everyone.

Sundance also features a Forbes four-star restaurant and the Foundry Grill, known for its to-die-for brunch.

Come summer, Utah offers an endless list of outdoor activities fit for everyone regardless of age or experience. More details on the above-listed destinations can easily be found on their respective official websites.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The 5 Ws Of Blogging For Your B&B

For as long as blogging has been preached to innkeepers, it has also been one of our greatest pain points. Blogging is a proven marketing strategy but it requires careful planning and execution.

Let’s explore the 5 Ws of effective blogging for your B&B and how they can give your blog direction and purpose:

1. WHO am I writing to?

In the hospitality industry, our broad target market is travelers. But you will need to determine your specific target demographic. Think about who your past guests have been. Think about the type of guests that you want to attract. Consider why those particular people would want to travel to your area.

coffee shop chalkboards

2. WHAT should I write about?

You might initially think that you should be writing about your property, your amenities, your excellent service, etc. One major truth to travel is that the lodging is rarely the destination. Travelers go to LA for the food scene. Travelers go to Yellowstone to enjoy the outdoor beauty. As a result of their desire to visit these destinations, they will need a place to stay.

With that in mind, focus your blog posts on the destination. Feature local attractions, seasonal events, the local food scene, or the art scene. Alert travelers to these attractions and give them some personal commentary. What's your favorite meal at that local restaurant? What is the best time of year to visit that nearby National Park? Where's the best parking for that downtown farmers market? You are the local so that means you can provide insider tips and tricks that travelers won't find anywhere else.

woman holding coffee and a cell phone

3. WHERE do I publish blog posts?

There is some debate in the SEO community as to whether your blog should be in a subfolder ( or a subdirectory of your website ( Regardless of which route you choose, the most important thing is that your blog is actually associated with your website - don't use something like

Subfolder or subdirectory, if you are publishing high-quality, linkable content, it will be found.

white desk with laptop, notebook, coffee, flowers

4. WHEN should I write new posts?

The most highly recommended frequency for blogging is weekly but don't treat that as canon. If you simply don't have the time to blog weekly, it's likely going to lead to publishing low-quality content and/or burnout.

Start off with monthly blog posts. Once you've gotten that down, then consider stepping it up to every-other-week. Once you've gotten that down, then consider stepping it up to weekly.

A high-quality blog post monthly is exponentially better than low-quality blog posts weekly.

5. WHY am I blogging?

A. Provide valuable information to travelers

The primary purpose of any business blog is to provide useful information to your industry. Be an expert in your area. Provide useful information to travelers, while introducing them to your brand. But as soon you start using your blog as a billboard, that's when you start losing folks.

B. Increase your online presence

Consistently publishing high-quality material is also a great way to earn links from other reputable websites. If your content is truly original and useful, other websites will want to link to it as a resource. An increasing backlink profile is one way to prove to search engines that your website deserves to be ranked highly.

Blogging is not an easy activity. It is a huge time commitment. You have to research, you have to write, you have to edit, you have to publish. It's not easy but, when executed properly, it can reap huge results.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The 7 Best Things To Do at Zion National Park

the 7 best things to do at zion national park blog cover image

Zion National Park is arguably Utah’s most popular National Park and is one of the top visitor attractions in the state. From incredible hiking trails, formidable landscapes, to alluring scenic views, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are the 7 best things you can do at Zion National Park:

hikers on the riverbank and wading through the rushing water

1. Hike the Zion Narrows

The Narrows, the most narrow section of Zion Canyon, is one of the most popular hikes in the Park. The one-mile wheelchair accessible hike sets off from the Sinawava Temple along the Riverside Walk and gives you a spectacular view of the Narrows.

The footpath leads you straight to the Virgin River. If you are willing to explore further, be prepared to get yourself wet as you will be wading or swimming upstream.

We recommend taking this hike in late spring or summer when there are warmest temperatures and lowest water levels. However, visitors should keep clear when there is a storm forecast since the Narrows can fill up quickly resulting in dangerous flash floods.

2. Zion Canyon Visitor Center

The visitor center houses a large bookstore, a miniature model of the whole park, and knowledgeable staff ready to answer all your questions. Most visitors make this their first stop so as to pick up maps and gather other useful information.

On your way out, purchase a souvenir to remember your trip or grab some books for further reading. Besides the valuable information to be accessed from the Visitor Center, some visitors are fascinated by the ‘green’ features of the building. Visitors can go for an ‘ecohunt’ to explore these green features which include solar panels, and cooling towers, among others.

zion canyon glowing in the sunset

3. Take a scenic drive through Zion Canyon

Another fun way to explore Zion Canyon includes a 57-mile scenic drive. So if you would rather explore the scenery from the comfort of your car, you're covered.

The drive will take you past the Virgin River and along other famous attractions along the way - but only from December to February. In peak season, you can catch a free shuttle which covers the portion of the drive that runs through the park.

Extending outside the park, the route remains magnificent, taking you through the popular Grafton ghost town, and Utah’s Quail Creek and Sand Hollow State Parks. Travelers who have explored this route describe it as a ‘white knuckle drive’ with numerous sheer cliffs and few guard rails.

Even so, the drive rewards you with loads of beautiful views and wildlife alike. You will, however, be required to pay a $30 entrance fee valid for seven days.

4. Hike the Canyon Overlook Trail

Even though it's only a 1-mile round trip hike, the trail rises over 100 feet above the parking lot, giving hikers expansive views of Zion Canyon. Being one of the most photographed trails in the Park, you won't want to miss its beauty.

Hikers who have followed this trail say that despite being rather easy and short, it has some narrow, rocky sections that sometimes prove difficult for young children.

Since it is an easy hike, the trail is also one of the busiest. We recommend starting your hike early because of the limited on-site parking. Access to the trail is free, except for a weekly $30 pass per vehicle and $15 for those entering the park with bikes.

looking down at the winding river from observation point

5. Observation Point

Crest the Observation trail till you find yourself at an of elevation of 6,521 feet on top of Mount Baldy and enjoy the epic bird’s eye view of Zion National Park.

You will be required to ascend at least 2000 feet on the 8-mile total round-trip, with the trek typically taking 3-4 hours. So go well prepared as it is not for the faint of heart. It is advisable you wear sunscreen and bring enough water since you will be exposed to the full sun most of the way. Also, starting your hike early means that you will be able to avoid the worst of the scorching sun.

pools of greenish water shaded in an alcove

6. Explore the Emerald Pools

With a ton of breathtaking scenery, it is no surprise that the Emerald Pools are regarded as one of Zion’s best signature trails. In addition to the dazzling display of monoliths, waterfalls, and pools, Emerald Pools are family-friendly. So make sure you bring along your young ones to enjoy this unmistakable beauty.

It comprises of a total of 4 different pools; the Lower, Upper, and Middle Pools. Of the four, the trail leading to the Lower Emerald Pool is paved and the easiest of them all. After half a mile, you will reach the lush alcove of the Lower Pool where you will find ferns and moss sprouting from the mountainside.

The trail leading to the Middle Pools is equally interesting as it ducks behind twin waterfalls and boasts fascinating views of Red Arch Mountain, Mount Majestic, and Cathedral Mountain.

The third trail to the Upper Pool, though more rugged and steep, gets you to secluded oasis framed by colossal cliffs on three sides.

7. Hit the Pa’rus Trail

With its rather wide paved path, Pa’rus Trail might be the easiest hike in Zion National Park. The trail has also proved a great way to access various sites throughout the park such as Park Offices and campgrounds, without necessarily relying on the shuttle – which can be very crowded especially in summer.

Travelers enjoy pleasant views of the bubbling Virgin River and the beautiful bridges that span it. The trailhead is easily accessible from the southern end of the Park, near the Park’s tollbooth, and at the northern side of the parking lot.

Zion National Park dominates with its captivating scenic views and endless hike trails of varying length and complexity. You are guaranteed tons of fun with your loved ones. Make sure to explore their official site to acquaint yourself with more activities and how to visit each one of them.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

9 Breath Taking Scenic Drives in Utah

9 Breath-Taking Scenic Drives in Utah blog cover

In addition to tons of recreational areas and opportunities spread throughout the state, Utah is also home to some of the most attractive scenery in the world. A good number of them are situated along major roads so you can enjoy the beauty of nature without leaving the comfort of your car.

Below are 9 breathtaking scenic drives you can explore in Utah:

highway road stretching for miles to reach desert plateaus

1. Monument Valley

Also known as the Valley of Rocks, Monument Valley is situated on the lower region of the Colorado Plateau and is characterized by a cluster of buttes, with the largest one standing at a height of 1000 ft above sea level.

The view of the rock formations is a jaw-dropping sight. Because of the rather overwhelming presence, visitors have more than once requested a guide from the neighboring Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park so as to learn more about the area's history.

Visitors pay an access fee to drive through the 17-mile dirt road through the Valley. However, some places such as Mystery Valley and Hunts Mesa are accessible only through a guided tour. The drive is a 2-3 hour road trip and worth every minute.

highway winding through hills with trees

2. Logan Canyon Scenic Drive

A scenic drive along Logan Canyon Scenic Byway is certainly one-of-a-kind. The surrounding dramatic landscape was primarily formed by earthquakes and the mountains that tower on either side of the road leaves an enchanting feel.

The drive through Logan Canyon is packed with mountains, trees, and a river combining to give you a view of nature at its best. Some major attractions in this area include Utah State University, Logan City, Beaver Mountain Ski Resort, and Bear Lake.

The length of the drive is approximately 39 miles long, starting from the Logan, UT and ending at the Garden City, UT.

3. Colorado River Scenic Byway

The Colorado River is no doubt one of the mightiest rivers in North America, but there's plenty more to see than just the water along the Colorado River Scenic Byway.

Along the way, you can choose to explore the Grandstaff Canyon just three miles from Moab with a two-mile-long hike leading to Morning Glory Natural Bridge. Other attractions in the area include Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. So make sure you budget enough time to explore them fully.

The 47-mile long drive starts from Moab, UT and ends at Cisco, UT.

red road winding through tall red rocks

4. Zion Canyon Loop

This 146 mile-long loop through Zion Canyon rewards travelers with breathtaking views of monoliths, colorful cliffs, and ancient lava outcroppings.

The three-mile natural amphitheater formed as a result of thousands of years of erosion at Cedar Breaks National Monument is a must-see. You can also hike and explore Snow Canyon State Park to take a closer view of its historic petroglyphs and desert vegetation.

5. Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway

In addition to the colorful rocky scenes along the Trail of the Ancients, travelers also get to explore preserved bits of the ancient Anasazi people who inhabited the area.

Its geologic drama, complex plant and animal life, and the relationship between the waters and the rocks are bound to provoke you, making the experience simply unforgettable. A stop at the Hovenweep National Monument allows you to explore some of the Anasazi structures dating back to as early as 450 AD.

The 32-mile long trail starts from Montezuma Creek, UT and ends at Bluff, UT.

6. Flaming Gorge-Uintas Scenic Byway

Spanning approximately 80 miles, this drive starts from Manila, UT and takes you through the adjoining Uinta Mountains, Sheep Creek Canyon, and through the Ashley National Forest.

If you can spare some time, make a stop at the Swett Ranch – a ranch ran by the US Forest Service which also happens to have a nearby water recreation area at Flaming Gorge. Once in Vernal, UT, make sure you visit the National Dinosaur Monument and explore the fossils of these long-gone giants.

cyclist riding through hills with trees

7. Huntington-Eccles Canyon Scenic Byway

Also known as the Energy Loop, this scenic byway travels from Fairview and winds across the Manti-La Sal National Forest, rising close to 10,000 ft above sea level. You'll get to explore the rich history of industrial development, the historic mining towns, and the power plants fired by coal.

Don’t miss the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, one of the favorite attractions in the area with countless fossilized bones dating back to the prehistoric era. This drive is 76 miles long and starts from Huntington, UT and ends at Colton, UT.

8. SR 313 to Dead Horse Point

Located in Moab, UT, this scenic trail stretches 23 miles through the desert plateaus on the way to Dead Horse Point State Park. Beautiful scenery captures your attention before your very first turn.

The cliffs and the interesting rock formations are not a new sight in Utah, but their vibrant nature is bound to dazzle you, all the same. Once at Dead Horse Point State Park, you will have tons of hiking trails to choose from.

One of the most visited spots is the visitors center which provides details relating to the area’s rich history of cowboys rounding up wild horses.

9. Scenic Byway 12

Also known as State Route 12, this scenic drive takes you through Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon. You can expect a ton of recreational opportunities and stunning views throughout your drive.

Along this Byway, you will discover the massive Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and the unmistakable beauty of Boulder Mountain. Interact with the welcoming folks and get a fill of the history to strengthen the fabric of your trip.

Your 141-mile long drive starts from Panguitch, UT all the way to Fruita, UT.