Gouldings Lodge
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Travel and tourism sector sees significant growth
May 03, 2016 | 12 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gouldings Lodge
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Travel and tourism is seeing significant growth in San Juan County, even as other sectors of the economy show little or no growth. “There are a lot of opportunities if you have a unique and good quality product,” said Charlie DeLorme, the Economic Development Director for San Juan County. Transient Room Tax (TRT) and restaurant taxes (TRCC) were up nine percent in 2015 and DeLorme expects another record-breaking year in 2016. “Our combined room and restaurant collections in 2015 were $783,157,” said DeLorme. “I expect an 11 percent increase in 2016, in addition to the significant expansion of lodging properties.” Approximately 100 new rooms were added to the inventory in San Juan County in the past year, including significant growth in short-term rental properties and 68 new two-room Hillside Suites at Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley. The Goulding’s expansion is the most significant, with the new suites dotting the hillsides just north of the Goulding’s Grocery Store. The project more than doubles the capacity at the Goulding’s complex, which is already the largest lodging property in San Juan County. Each of the 68 suites can house up to six people and 26 of them have kitchenette facilities, which are ideal for visitors staying for several days. “We are still getting a handful of the new hillside suites available,” said Ronnie Baird, the general manager at Gouldings. “However, 51 of units are complete and 51 are rented tonight,” said Baird on May 2. In addition to growth in traditional lodging properties, there has been significant expansion in short-term vacation rentals in San Juan County. “This has created a brand new market and has made San Juan County a center place for family reunion gatherings,” said Jerry Murdock, of Canyonlands Lodging. “Each year, we are bringing 5,000 to 10,000 people to San Juan County,” added Murdock. “These are people who were going somewhere else before.” The short-term vacation rentals include more than 20 properties around the county. Many of the properties can accommodate large groups and represent “pillows” for approximately 300 visitors. There are roughly 150 “pillows” for rent each night in short-term vacation rentals in the Blanding area, 125 in the Monticello area, and 50 in the La Sal area. The short-term vacation rental property owners are required to meet a number of business requirements, including collecting state and local taxes, securing commercial liability insurance, and meeting requirements for employees. There has also been significant tourism infrastructure development in the Bluff area, including the expansion of the Desert Rose Inn in 2015. The Desert Rose has completed an expansion of 16 luxury suites, in addition to a spa, swimming pool, and Dukes Bistro, an on-location restaurant. Additional construction in Bluff includes new rooms at the La Posada Pintada motel and an expansion project which doubled the seating capacity at Twin Rocks Café. A similar project in Blanding doubled the seating capacity at the Homestead Steakhouse in 2015. In addition, the Subway franchise in Blanding recently moved to a new location and Pop’s Burritos has opened. There has also been significant growth in tourism properties in Monticello, highlighted by the opening of the Canyon Country Discovery Center north of town. A multi-million dollar construction project, the Discovery Center includes interactive exhibits and educational opportunities in a project which combines tourism and education. The Discovery Center is open Tuesday through Saturday and will host a number of events throughout the year. Peggi Oki, an artist and member of the Skateboarding Hall of Fame, will be at the Discovery Center this Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. A grand opening celebration is scheduled on August 20. There has also been a significant increase in the number of tour buses that are staying in Monticello. “In the past, we’ve had 14 or 15 tour buses a year,” said Jared Harris, owner of Inn at the Canyons in Monticello. “However, this year we are hosting 140 tourist buses, a tenfold increase in just one year.” “So far, the buses are awesome,” said Harris who added that the tourists on the buses are primarily European, Chinese, and Japanese visitors. In general, DeLorme reports that 2016 started very strong. “In the first quarter of the year, TRT collections were up 47 percent. Our shoulder and winter seasons without a doubt have grown.” DeLorme estimates that the tourism in San Juan County is roughly split 50-50 between individual travelers and bus tours. “In some areas, the tour buses represent almost 80 percent of the total business.”
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Marilyn Hanuschik, owner of Hometown Stitching.
Marilyn Hanuschik, owner of Hometown Stitching.
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New business in Monticello
May 03, 2016 | 8 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marilyn Hanuschik, owner of Hometown Stitching.
Marilyn Hanuschik, owner of Hometown Stitching.
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Monticello’s newest business is Hometown Stitching. Located at 40 East 200 South, Hometown Stitching offers sewing classes, alterations, and crafting supplies. Owner Marilyn Hanuschik says, “I have always had a passion for sewing.  It was something that both my mother and grandmother did.  I developed my sewing skills through my Home Economics class at Monticello High School and through classes at Utah State University.  "During one of my college courses, I had the opportunity to tutor some of my classmates, as they tried to complete the required sewing projects.  I discovered that I really enjoyed teaching others to sew.  After offering some sewing classes last summer, I decided I wanted to open up a fabric shop with plenty of space for creating.” Hours are Monday thru Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Some of the current classes that are open for enrollment are: Basic Skirt, Charm Bag, and Cuddle Blanket. You can see class samples at the shop.  Courtesy photo
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Potato casserole for any need
May 03, 2016 | 13 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
FOOD ADVENTURES
by Mary Cokenour A funeral is a time of sorrow, the passing of a family member, friend, neighbor that grips the mind and heart with deep sadness. Usually the reasoning is that this person is missed; no longer can he/she be involved in the lives of the yet living. However, while the funeral is the saying goodbye, the wake afterwards is the true celebration of, not the death, but the life. Singing, dancing, tales of delighted remembrance are all part of the celebration, along with food and drink. One such dish for this occasion is “Funeral Potatoes”, supposedly developed throughout the Intermountain states of Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Searching through culinary resources, this “cheesy, creamy potato casserole” shows up in Mid-western and Southern cookbooks as well. For Utah, it was typical for Relief Societies to make this potato dish for grieving families, giving comfort, not just to the heart, but the body as well. A Blanding, UT friend, Heidi Murphy, gave me her family recipe. I’ve enjoyed it as directed, but even played with different cheeses included such as Swiss, Goat and Gruyere. It is definitely a potato lover’s delight and accompanies any cooked meat or poultry deliciously; however, it takes two days to prepare and spontaneity is not a friend of this recipe. I can hear the huge sighs now and the question, “Oh dear, what has she done with this tried and true recipe now?” You know me so well, don’t you? As much as I, and my husband, love the taste and texture of Funeral Potatoes, when we want a potato casserole now, we want it now! While my recipe is more in line with an “au gratin” casserole, the comfort can be achieved in two hours, instead of two days. I still use real butter. Margarine? Seriously, who, in their right mind, would use something one molecule away from becoming plastic! Instead of a canned soup, a lightly seasoned mixture of fresh eggs and real cream seals the deal. Thinly sliced potatoes, sharp Cheddar cheese enveloped in a rich, creamy sauce; now that’s what I call comfort! To be fair, I am including Heidi’s recipe along with mine; make both, and have a cook-off. Cheddar Cheesy Potatoes Ingredients: 6 medium potatoes (white, red skinned, or mixture); 1 small red onion, diced; 14 Tbsp. butter or butter with canola oil; 1 (16 oz.) bag shredded sharp Cheddar cheese; Ground black pepper; Salt; 2 large eggs; 2 cups half n ’half. Preparation: Slice potatoes 1/8 inch thin (leave skin on) and immerse in cold water for 15 minutes; drain and rinse. While potatoes are soaking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10 inch skillet and sauté until edges just begin to brown; remove from heat. Preheat oven to 375F; smear bottom and sides of 4 quart baking dish with 2 tablespoons butter. Begin layering 1/3 of potatoes on bottom of dish; sprinkle 1/3 of onions over potatoes; 1/3 of cheese spread over all; 5 tablespoons butter; ¼ teaspoon each of ground black pepper and salt. Repeat except for final layer, only spread the remaining cheese; no additional butter, black pepper and salt. In a medium bowl, lightly beat together eggs, half n’ half, ¼ teaspoon each ground black pepper and salt; evenly pour over top layer of baking dish. The mixture will work its way down into the layers and bottom. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, bake for additional 20 minutes and let settle for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings, Funeral Potatoes (Recipe Source: Heidi Murphy of Blanding, Utah) Ingredients: 7 medium potatoes (Yukon Gold or Russet); ½ cup butter, plus 8 additional ½ Tbsp. pieces; 1 can Cream of Chicken soup, family size; ½ can milk; 1/3 cup onion, minced; 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated; 1 pint sour cream; ¼ tsp. salt; ½ tsp. ground black pepper; Corn flakes; *optional: real bacon bits Preparation: Boil potatoes, skin on, till fork tender (slightly firm); let cook, peel off skin and grate. In a large saucepan, combine cup of butter, soup and milk, on medium heat, till hot; do not bring to boil. Whisk in onion, cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper till smooth. In a 9 x 13 baking dish (spray with non-stick spray), layer potatoes then sauce (there will be 3 layers of each). Top with an even layer of corn flakes; dot with the 8-1/2 Tbsp. of butter. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Next day, preheat oven to 350F. Bake, covered with foil, for 45 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.
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