Two and a half years ago I made the leap of faith to follow James to Utah. And it’s true what they say, “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” We will forever be indebted to this little valley and the all the extraordinary friends we made and people we’ve come to love as family. In April that chapter of my book will be closing and a new one opening in Reno. But, before I go I wanted to share my favorite places, things to do, and tips about living in Logan, UT.
Mexican: La Unica
If you would have asked me “what’s the best place for Mexican food,” a year ago, my answer would have been very different. I only recently found this hidden gem, but boy was I missing out. Their business sprouted from the wheels of a taco truck to their new storefront location located in Smithfield. My favorite is the $1.00 Carne Asada tacos – cheap and tasty. Horchata, chips and salsa, burritos, birthday celebrations, and more their menu goes on and on. You’ll love this place.
Beers & Burgers: Beehive Grill
My all-time favorite place is the Beehive located right off Main Street. They have everything on their menu. Burgers, pasta, sandwiches, flatbreads, fish, tasty appetizers, and more. I don’t think I’ve ever actually sat in the dining area because the bar area is always open. Here’s what you need: Order a beer (The Hefeweizen), the House Potato Chips (thank me later), and an Elk Brunch Burger with fries and fry sauce (because…you know…Utah.)
Italian: Le Nonne
I’ve only been to Le Nonne a couple of times, but every time I am blown away. It’s an unexpected space, located in what used to be an older residential home. There’s no way there are more than 20 tables—I love how cozy it is! I’m a big fan of the bruschetta and the ravioli di granchio. Plus, if you’re a wine lover you can bring your own bottle of wine for a small un-corking fee. Bottoms up!
Breakfast: Herms Inn
You can almost anyone in the valley where their favorite breakfast place is and they’ll tell you, Herms. We loved taking our visitors here for breakfast. But be sure to get there early because this place fills up fast! Located just inside Logan Canyon, Herm’s has a beautifully decorated interior. I love the atmosphere, coffee, canyon views, and most importantly their Giant Cinnamon Roll. James can vouch for their Steak and Eggs option and I can speak to their vegetarian omelet. Yum!
Cheap Diner Fare: Angie’s Restaraunt
One thing that James and I love about local diners is that you really do get the most food for your money. After every meal, you can ask for a taste of ice cream to satisfy that sweet craving. You can always expect Angie’s to be packed on weekend mornings. And, rightfully so—”it’s where the locals eat.”
Sushi: Takara Sushi
Takara was almost forced upon us—it was within walking distance from our house. Enjoy 50% off their rolls all-day. One of our favorite things about Takara was the fact that they were open on Sundays, which they’ve since changed. While the dining area is tiny the rolls are rather larger and tasty. I was a big fan of sushi take out from them.
Ice Cream: Aggie Creamery
Even coming from the dairy state of Wisconsin, I will say, Aggie Ice Cream has my heart. The Aggie Blue Mint is my absolute favorite. (Basically, mint chocolate chip but instead of green, it’s Aggie Blue!) The creamery is in a funky location on campus but there’s typically enough outdoor seating for you and yours to pop a squat and have a delicious end to date night.
My Guilty Pleasure: Mo’ Bettah’s
While it is a chain, Mo-Bettah’s is my love language. I guess I never really knew what I was missing until I stepped foot into Mo’ Bettah’s. Their Terriaki Steak, rice, mac salad, and Terri. Sauce will be deeply missed in Reno. I hope I find a new Hawaiian-style favorite in Nevada.
For Visitors: Wind Caves, 3.5 miles in & out
One of my favorite things about hiking is that, depending on the time of year, the same trail can look like an entirely different hike. James and I have conquered the Wind Caves about a dozen times ranging from early spring to late fall. Each time the hike presents us with new sounds, foliage, water levels, animals, etc. A forewarning, the Wind Caves invented the term “switch back.” Not really, but there are a TON. We’ve heard that some people don’t enjoy the trail because of it. But hey, when you’re from the Midwest, you’ll take any view other than a cornfield.
Once you get to the top don’t forget to catch some shade and head under the Wind Caves. It’s a great place to snack and snap a couple gnarly pictures.
Best View: Crimson Trail/Loop, 4.8 miles in & out
The Crimson Trail is a strange hike. You climb and climb, then walk and walk. At some points you even wonder, “Is this it? How do we know when we’ve made it?” The entire trail is actually a loop. Unlike other trails, you won’t run into many switchbacks or nearly as much foot traffic. My favorite part is looking West back to Cache Valley—seeing the mountains, the colors, and the outline of the landscape—then looking directly North and seeing two tiny rock formations, known as the Wind Caves.
Walking: Highline Trail, 3.5 miles in and out
If you’re looking for a brisk, scenic walk, head towards Logan Canyon and park at the First Dam lot. You’ll enter the trail under Highway 89 using the Bonneville Shoreline trail signage. We always tell people that the trail itself is extremely easy, but we often fail to mention that the first 1/4 mile is a steep uphill climb. Take a right at the top of the hill and head East into Logan using using the Highline Trail signage. The walking trail has gorgeous views in just about every season. We will miss the colors in the canyon, all the four-legged friends we’d meet and exploring the terrain.
Most Challenging: The Signs (behind campus)
I almost didn’t include this one because I don’t know the exact name and I didn’t even fully complete the trail. James and his friend did. My advice to you—prepare—walk on an incline for a few days before tackling this beast. The entire hike is straight up. I will say that the view from the top is unlike anything I’ve seen in my entire life—a breathtaking 270-degree view of the Cache Valley. Don’t be fooled by our smiles. I’m just not sure that the walk/fall down is worth the twisted bruised ankles. You know me, I’m not the most religious person, but I think I prayed the entire way down.
Golfing: Birch Creek Golf Course
Golfing has quickly become a mutual enjoyment for both James and me, yet something I can practice on my own. Our favorite course in the valley was Birch Creek Golf Course located in Smithfield. It offers 18 challenging, yet well-maintained holes. I wouldn’t even call myself proficient in the sport, but I still consider Birch a comfortable place to hone my skills. Plus, you can’t beat those Wellsville Mountain views. Head there on Sundays, it’s always slow!
Rooftop Deck: The White Owl
This isn’t your typical rooftop deck, but there is a sweet view of the Wellsville Mountains. We loved heading to The Owl for a Big Dog and a Cardiac Basket. They have shaded tables and light sprayers for those hot summer days. If you are a salad person, you’ve gotta grab any of their salads—they’re HUGE. If you’re a burger person, they make them fresh on the spot! Be sure to bring cash and no, they don’t serve liquor, just beer.
Coffee: Westside Coffee Company
Recently opened on 100 West in a renovated residential home, I loved spending a Saturday or Sunday morning here sipping all sports of yummy hot drinks. They have tasty, homemade bites such as breakfast tacos and bagels. It’s a must-try if you’re a millennial coffee junkie.
Athletics: Utah State University
Because James’ job was so heavily involved in athletics, we often found ourselves at sporting events supporting the Aggies. Whether that be on a Saturday cheer on USU football, a Sunday morning at the Sports Academy for Aggie tennis, or on our feet at the Spectrum rooting for the basketball programs. Attending university sporting events is a very cost-effective way for you to feel at home in a new community. We love our Aggies.
Farmer’s Market: Cache Valley Gardner’s Market
If you drive through Logan on any given Saturday during the summer you can’t miss the parade of people flocking to the Gardner’s Market. Enjoy live music, locally grown food, fresh baked items, organic meats, locally crafted household items, plants, and my personal favorite—fresh squeezed Lemonade! Four-legged friends approved! Stop by 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. running mid-May through mid-October.
Outdoor Swim: Porcupine Reservoir
We were frequents at Porcupine in the summertime. Located about 30-minutes southeast from Logan is this little slice paradise. While it’s a little off the beaten path, it’s no hidden gem. Tons of Cache Vallians flock to Porcupine Resevour for a quick escape from the Utah heat. Grab a couple floaties, grill a few burgers, jump off some rocks, and enjoy those long summer days. I guarantee the kiddos will be asleep before you buckle them in.
I’ve come to love Logan. The cost of living, the proximity to trails, the mountains, the people. It’s where James and I first lived together. It’s where I got my first real job. It’s where I learned to accept being uncomfortable. It’s where I challenged myself to grow. While I’m excited for our next chapter at the University of Nevada, a part of my heart will always be in the Cache Valley.