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Memorable vacation experiences at south-eastern Utah’s Red Cliffs Lodge start lengthy earlier than you attain its tranquil riverside setting.
Driving alongside meandering Freeway 128 resulting in the lodge one is mesmerized by the sheer scenic great thing about the vivid 2,000-foot pink rock formations stretching their sinewy fingers to the Heavens. The area is nicknamed Moab Utah Badlands or John Ford nation, after the well-known movie director, identified for motion pictures akin to ‘Rio Grande’ starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Lodge proprietor Colin Fryer has taken full benefit of this shut connection to the film world by shopping for a group of artifacts from the Moab to Monument Valley Movie Fee and putting in a complete film museum (Moab Museum of Movie & Western Heritage) on the bottom flooring in a room close to the reception desk. Right here you’ll discover costumes, pictures, posters, autographed scripts, and a variety of props from saddlebags and furnishings to rifles and miners’ lamps. Greater than 120 motion pictures had been filmed on this area, to not point out commercials and style shoots.
As we did, ask for a lodge overlooking the meandering Colorado River with the fiery sandstone as a surprising backdrop.
Our suite, 301, featured a slanted varnished wooden ceiling, terracotta tiled flooring and a kitchenette with microwave oven, fridge, toaster and coffee-making amenities. Furnishings additionally included a wood desk and chairs and comfy couch and flat-screen tv. The partitions had been adorned with wood-framed Wild West scenes – primarily cowboys on horseback rounding up cattle.
Exterior on the patio, my companion and I sat contentedly one night at a wicker desk imbibing on wine made right here on the Fort Creek Vineyard, with grapes sourced inside a 90-mile radius. Sizzling days, cool nights and sandy soil assist produce high quality grapes whereas late summer time solar encourages good sugar content material with excessive acid ranges. The vineyard, the biggest in Utah, produces 9 vintages, 5 whites and 4 reds.
Except for superb views and superb wine, there are different causes to go to Crimson Cliffs Lodge. On the ‘Cowboy Grill,’ indoors or alfresco, you’ll be able to attempt Rocky Mountain Oysters. Unusual, you would possibly assume. Contemporary oysters in the midst of the Utah desert? Really, ‘oysters’ is solely the nickname for fried bull’s testicles, a specialty dish right here. Engaging, eh! For one more uncommon meat deal with, order elk medallions, with its gentle gamey style.
Except for the lodge’s personal wines, quirky drinks embody ‘Hair of the Canine,’ your alternative of beer with a house-made Bloody Mary combine, or ‘Cactustini,’ Gray Goose vodka, a touch of prickly pear cactus juice with candy and bitter.
As for atmosphere, views via the restaurant’s broad home windows are spectacular – immediately on to the swirling Colorado River and towering pink sandstone formations.
Fascinating decorations across the room embody framed blankets and rugs woven by Native American individuals together with members of the Navajo tribe, the wool sheared from churro sheep. Vegetation and berries had been used to dye the pink and blue yarn. A few of them are believed to be 200 years previous. The restaurant partitions are additionally adorned with framed black and white scenes from motion pictures. For earlier than or after drinks, there may be additionally the Wild Horse Bar with its 20-foot rock hearth.
As for occasions, the lodge gives a number of alternate options: The John Wayne room for 40-75 individuals; the Colorado Room for 200 or the Rio Grande for 300, with a big deck overlooking the river.
Curiously, as Crimson Cliffs Lodge is 20 miles from the closest water provide system, its homeowners have drilled a deep properly and put in a particular filter system to supply pure ingesting water for company.
Except for the inspiring panorama, ripe for climbing, rafting, kayaking and mountain biking, the lodge itself additionally has an out of doors pool and jacuzzi, a health club, tennis courts and a corral for horseback using.
A keep at Crimson CIiffs Lodge means having fun with a slice of the old-style American West and homestead rest far-off from site visitors lights and skyscrapers.