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Archive for October, 2010

I’ve been to art walks and gallery walks before, I’ve enjoyed some excellent exhibits, but nothing compares to the North Logan Pumpkin Walk. Area schools, scout troops and organizations from all over Cache Valley worked together to show off all their inner pumpkin-Picassos and DaVincis this past weekend in an area of the county referred to by some as North Park (where North Logan and Hyde Park meet).

Friendly neighborhood police had their Halloween party lights on and directed the multitude of pumpkin walkers who came to witness the harvest season spectacle. Elk Ridge Park, the specific site of the walk, was set up in way that directed the seemingly n ever-ending queue of visitors through a circuit of life-size scenes. The main medium used in each display was, you guessed it, PUMPKINS! And, to a lesser degree, gourds of all shapes and sizes. Each year the event has a theme, from what I was told, and this year, the theme was animation. I would say there were roughly 50 to 60 different representations of every animated movie, cartoon and kids’ show you can think of…and even some I’ve never heard of.

I have to hand it to the participants, a lot of these cartoonish pseudo-menageries were of a relatively high caliber of artistry.  I was without wine or cheese for this specific showing; however, cookies and hot chocolate were floating around. The Pumpkin Walk producers are so serious about their archive of artistic autumn exhibitions, that they have highlighted past years’ pieces on their website. According to the site, the annual event started in 1983 and has been free to the public every year since. There’s more information about the history, along with other fun extras, on the site which is accessible via the link at the bottom of this post.

I have to say, some of the highlights of the approximately quarter-mile jaunt were the “Polar Express,” “Winnie the Pooh,” “Little Mermaid,” and “Dr. Seuss” tributes. At the end of the journey was a semi-enclosed area which housed tower heaters and the more time-intensive pumpkin creations. Among these works were hollowed pumpkins with tiny, dollhouse-like displays inside them and intricately carved jack-o-lanterns showing off various popular cartoon images.

In the months leading up to this year’s event, I heard a lot of excellent reviews from pumpkin walks held in past years. “You have to go to it,” I was told. I’m not unhappy that I did. This was a one-of-a-kind display, it may not be ready for the MoMA or the Met, but they can’t have it anyway. It’s things like these that I’m finding contribute to the quaint rusticity of tight-knit agrarian communities like those in Cache Valley. Join me next year, just before Halloween, for the next installment of pumpkin fun…you know I’m not going anywhere!

Pumpkin Walk link: http://www.pumpkinwalk.com/

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maze n. : a confusing intricate network of passages (According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus.)

corn maze in Cache Valley : a whole lot of Halloween/autumn fun!

A couple of nights ago, I joined a group of peers and headed just a couple of miles south of Logan to check out the Little Bear Bottoms corn maze. Amazingly enough, I’ve lived 30 years and never been to one of these before. I’ve done haunted hayrides, pumpkin-patch pumpkin picking, and all sorts of haunted houses, ships, and warehouses. Needless to say– but I’ll say it anyway– I’m a big fan of finding a reason to throw on a hoodie and enjoy the crisp night air of the fall season with some friends.

There are several excellent autumn-oriented outdoor activities we can take part in here in Cache Valley. Two other local labyrinths are the American West Heritage Center’s Halloween Harvest and Corn Maze and the Green Canyon Farms corn maze. I’m sure they’re equally as fun!

Little Bear Bottoms hosts ample parking just off the highway. The entrance was well-lit and easy to find. Because I was with a large group, we were able to get a discounted, group rate. As we waited to enter the grounds, I saw a massive stack of hay bails, sprinkled with kids of all ages. On one side of the ginormous hay pile, was an area covered with mattresses for jumping into. The bails of hay were actually part of a structure that created a multi-level three-dimensional labyrinth.

There were definitely an array of mazes, not just one. For another element of confusion, and quite possibly for practice, there was a string maze that covered about half an acre. After graduating from string, we moved on to corn. I joked about wondering if I would see Kevin Costner or some dead baseball players come walking out of the field. I know, bad joke…but dead baseball players would be spooky.

We walked into the maze and were surrounded by cornstalks about 10 feet tall. This was no simple task. I’m not sure how much land was covered by the carved-out corn corridors, but my group and I wandered for a while. Even with the moon in the sky and the peaks of the Wellsville Mountains on the horizon, it was still hard to gauge exactly where we were going. The maze seemed like a complex composition of circles, half-circles and random paths. I think I passed the same two people about nine times. After 30 minutes or so, we found our way back to the entrance…that wasn’t the goal. We tried one more time and eventually made it to the other side.

The Little Bear Bottoms corn maze was a hit. It provided a good venue to hang out with friends and have a good time. Now I have to check out the other corn mazes that Cache Valley has to offer. If you decide to give one of them a try, look out, because you might find me lurking between the stalks, trying to find my way out!

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I was told the other day that if I live in Cache Valley, I have to go to Aggie Ice Cream. I’ve been

Aggie Blue Mint is all the rave in Cache Valley. The frozen blue mixture consists of mint blue ice cream with chunks of Oreo Cookie and white chocolate.

living here for 14 months, and I just went for the first time, two nights ago.

Aggie Ice Cream is located on 1200 East, just north of 700 North, in Logan. The facility is on the campus of Utah State University, and it is connected to the Nutrition and Food Science building.

I went to the shop, with a date, around eight in the evening, and I was pleased to find ample parking spaces outside. Usually, it is very hard during the day to find a place to park anywhere on campus. Campus parking lots are permit-only, but Aggie Ice Cream provides about a dozen free parking spaces marked by free parking meters. I’ve never seen a free parking meter before. All you have to do is push the button and you get up to 30 minutes. Wouldn’t it be nice if all meters were like this?

As soon as my date and I walked through the front door, we were greeted with smiles from the ladies behind the counter. Above them was a giant menu board that touted at least 20 different flavors of ice cream. I noticed too, on my way in, that there was a rack of postcards with pictures of local scenery. The store manager must have known I was coming.

I asked the smiling scoopologists  behind the counter what the most popular flavor of ice cream was.

Logan, Utah, native Muriel McGregor smiles as she presents a fresh-scooped helping of Midnight Munchies ice cream in a waffle cone. McGregor said she's loved Aggie Ice Cream since she was a child.

I anticipated their answer would be Aggie Blue Mint, and I was right. Aggie Blue Mint is exactly what it sounds like, it’s blue and it’s minty; but it has chunks of chocolate in it. One of the ladies told me the great thing about this mint is “it’s not like other mint ice creams.” It’s obvious why this would be the favorite among customers…because everybody loves Aggie blue. I’ve personally never been a fan of mint ice cream. I know, say what you will, but I did try the blue stuff…I had to. After all, I am an Aggie too. They were right, it’s not quite as overpowering as other mint ice cream.

Ultimately, I was drawn to Strawberry Cheesecake and Midnight Munchies. I opted for the former and my date tried the latter. There’s something about ice cream that is made on site, it just tastes better. It was creamy, yummy, flavorful, and of course, cold. My date said Midnight Munchies was filled with chunks of chocolate goodness. I was so captivated by my own, that by the time I thought to ask for a bite of hers, it was all gone.

Aggie Ice Cream was a great place to take a date. The facility is actually a part of the Cache Valley Food Tour, which includes other locations such as: Bluebird Candy Factory, Caffe Ibis and other great local businesses. I’ve included the link for more information at the bottom of this post. Aggie Ice Cream does tours at 1:30p.m. on weekdays. I’ll see you there!

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It’s not really always sunny in Logan, Utah, but it sure is sunny most of the time. I love it! Blue skies and sunshine are a great way to keep the spirits up; and when it does rain, it’s refreshing and welcome. Having lived here for just over a year, I have to say, the weather here is quite pleasing. We’ve had an extended summer; the extra weeks of warm weather have provided copious opportunities to get out and enjoy my surroundings.

One of the things I love most about this area is the fact that we are surrounded by rural farmland, yet we still have the comforts of modern city living if we care to partake. I’m able to travel just a few miles down the highway and enjoy a plethora of wilderness hikes and backcountry treasures, without using much gas to get there.

I also love the quaintness of living so close to farmland. Most of my neighbors own horses, cows, turkeys and other wonderful creatures, that help make my days so interesting. Even though I live in the suburbs, I feel like I live in the country. What a beautiful place to be!

Before I moved here, I was warned by southern Utahns how cold it was in Cache Valley. I’ll admit, the winter is nothing like winter in the Bahama s, but I’ve realized: most of the naysayers haven’t even been to Cache Valley. I was made to believe I would have icicles hanging from my nose in June. In all actuality, the winter is filled with some of the best snow in the universe…and skiing and snowboarding opportunities abound.

Now that it is autumn, as I mentioned in my post last week, there are even more great things to go out and experience as I gear up for winter. Some of the things you might catch me at are: the annual Providence Sauerkraut Festival, Friday, Oct. 22, the Providence City Annual Car Show, the following day, and the annual Pumpkin Walk. These aren’t all of the great upcoming events, but I will be in attendance enjoying all that Cache Valley has to offer, be sure to look for my blogs about these events; and as always, you might even see me there!

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