Growing up in foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California I always thought that I lived in a tiny town. However, thanks many a road trip I’ve come to find out that it really wasn’t that tiny after all. It was just rather small. Granted, it wasn’t as small as Torrey, Utah with a population of 182. Yep, you read that right. I double checked it with their website.
This tiny place is incredible though and has me reconsidering small town life. Torrey is located less than 10 miles from Capital Reef, possibly my second favorite National Park, and is filled with tree lined streets, abandoned abodes, cute cottages, and some inspiring restaurants, all set along the red sandstone of the Colorado Plateau which provides for an amazing contrast in colors. You seriously can’t help but marvel over the contrast.
Anyway, the town was settled in the 1880’s by Mormons and this homestead looks like it hasn’t receive much love since those early days. I just love finding old homes in the middle of nowhere. Homes where the wood has seen years and years of harsh weather from blinding sunshine in the summer to freezing temps in the middle of winter. The boarded up windows, the overgrown yard, and the stories these walls hold. What would it have been like to live here? To have piled a small army of children into that house at dinner time only to release them the following morning to run around the yard, chase the chickens, and possibly terrorize the neighborhood cats? Standing there you wonder if they had running water or if there’s a well around back. Maybe they had electricity or maybe they only had a few lanterns and candles to light the dark and stormy nights of January and February.
Oh, the stories these walls could tell.
Torrey wasn’t on our itinerary so to speak. We ended up here to grab some dinner. After doing a quick internet search and driving around the town we settled on dinner at a place called The Saddlery. It’s unlike anything I have ever been in. It’s like this industrial building with a fairly large stage for good ol’ country western performances with steak house dinning and a really large bar. Since my friend and I had been on the road for a few days I knew that I was going to end up going with a salad. I prayed that it would be a good one and not since lame iceberg lettuce concoction. Oh, the salad gods were on my side that night. After or venison chili and jalapeño poppers, because you know, jalapeño poppers totally count as a veg when you’ve been eating camp food for several days, my Grandma’s Chopped Salad arrived. Oh, may was it good. Come summer I am going to figure out how in the world they made that Maple Vinaigrette and that salad. It was worthy of recreating. When I figure it out, I’ll post the recipes for you guys.
The following day we drove through town again, this time to take some photos, get gas, hit the local coffee shop (Castle Rock Coffee), and then head up into the hills of Boulder Mountain in search of some Aspen. There’s this slowness here that makes you want to take a moment to just breath. Take a look around and slow down. For as tiny as it is, I’d come back again. There are more buildings that need to be photographed, more restaurants that need to be tried, and more exploring to be done in general.
Have any of you been to Torrey or passed through? Any recommendations for my next visit? Hikes? Places to eat? Things to order? Navajo blankets to get my hands on?