SLC & CLE - Two Hidden Gems

I finally arrived back in my apartment late Thursday night after yet another LaGuardia-induced flight delay of 3 hours, capping off a wonderful two weeks away featuring vacation, friends, family, and plenty of work in five different cities.

Dallas was much more chill this time. My first work trip to Dallas featured very late nights at the office and some high-stress work situations, but this trip was way more fun. Still very productive with a two-day offsite meeting, but we were also celebrating one of our team member's roll-off from the project so we hit up a couple lovely restaurants in Irving. The trip also had a nice cherry on top as we got a good rate at the Four Seasons which is situated on the TPC Four Season in Las Colinas, TX. They used to play the PGA's Byron Nelson on this course, and the property - like every Four Seasons - was unreal.

I once again felt like I'm still in the honeymoon phase of consulting where nice hotels still get me excited and I'm really appreciative because by the end of the third day people were laughing at me every time I'd exclaim "this place is SO nice". Although, it might be from years of trying to provide excellent customer service in my own business that makes me marvel at how Four Seasons (founded by a Canadian) has done it on a global scale.

The TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas - would rather have played here than head to the office

From Dallas I flew to Salt Lake City for an SOA meeting, the last of the year where I help set actuarial exams. It's always nice when they send us to a city where I have great friends as I was able to visit with Tim (my former roommate from Hartford days) and his family three different times. We strolled around downtown with the kids and watched them play in an indoor playground, went for an amazing plant-based Mexican dinner, and then I played golf with Tim and his buddies on Sunday. Because I didn't have to be on my next work trip til Monday night, I stayed at Tim's on Sunday and worked from his place on Monday.

Brooklyn and Jackson: Tim and Kate's adorable twins!

I was once again reminded of how lovely Salt Lake City is both in the downtown and surrounding areas. Mountains are everywhere, fantastic weather, so many paths for outdoor running, hiking, and cycling and just all around friendly people. The elevation changes never cease to amaze my prairie-boy roots, and when golfing a beautiful course for only $30 with a cart is the going rate, I could certainly get used to that town! If you find yourself thinking about a Denver or Vegas visit, I highly encourage you to consider SLC.

Beautiful running views in Salt Lake, including the State Capitol

From there it was a Monday night flight to Cleveland, OH for my first visit to the city and state. As I told people before, we all kind of chuckled or rolled our eyes as Cleveland doesn't exactly scream luxury, but I was beyond impressed. Of course we got perfect weather the whole time so that can skew your view, but it was a really cool town. We stayed downtown across the street from the office, and like all great cities, their sports stadiums are all in the city center: the Browns stadium, right on Lake Eerie, the Cavs arena, and the Indians baseball diamond.

View from the office of the Browns stadium and Lake Eerie
View from our box for the Indians vs. Astros game
Inside the box suite for the game - sweet digs

Cleveland was selected as our project's firm-wide co-location; a chance to have everyone who's working on the account (about 70 people) gather in the same place to work, network, and have some fun. We rented the biggest box in the Indians stadium to watch the Astros beat the Indians 2-0 during our first night.

The second night we attended the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in a very cool building on Lake Eerie, right downtown. It was a nice gathering and a cool venue to meet up with everyone over dinner and drinks, but the Hall itself was unfortunately underwhelming. I'm not sure what I expected, but there weren't any deep dives on specific bands or things like that, it was more about the evolution of rock in general and then it had the actual hall with every inductee's plaque on the wall. If you find yourself in Cleveland, it might be worth seeing but don't spend too much money on a pass as you won't spend too much time there.

Outside the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame: LONG LIVE ROCK!

Now I'm back in NYC and I'm enjoying a relaxing weekend catching up on work, laundry, running and some bills because there's another three weeks in a row of travel coming up. Off to Boston Monday morning via train for three days, ready to be productive and healthy during the week!

Hope you're all well. Thanks for reading,

Mike