July 21, 2011
I arrived in Cedar City early enough to enjoy a blaze of late afternoon sun on the red cliff backdrop that borders the east side of the city. I’d learned online that there were two rooms open at The Iron Gate Inn that evening. I called ahead from St. George and booked one. I was not disappointed.
Built in 1897, the current owners, Susan and CR Wooten, have performed magic with this Second Empire Victorian building. From the original three bedroom, one bath house, a massive remodeling project in 2001 created an eight bedroom, nine bath bed and breakfast establishment, with a cottage artfully placed in the back garden, for good measure.
I was given the Emma Jane room on the second floor, spacious and elegant. The inn’s own description “Not too cluttered, not too frilly… just beautiful,” is spot on. It was perfect. The pale yellow, eggshell, and taupe decor was soothing, and the bed alluring with the promise of comfort.
I find it hard to draw myself away from a delightful room like this, but hunger pulled me out for a bite to eat. At Susan’s recommendation, I strolled around the block to the Pastry Pub in search of a salad. I found exactly what I wanted – the Pub Salad, with romaine lettuce, chopped carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts, French feta, assorted other cheeses and avocado, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It was so outstanding that I would end up going back for another one the following day for lunch.
Back in the Emma Jane room, I curled up in the heavenly, comfortable bed and read until the plush bedding pulled me into a deep sleep.
Breakfast was served as a buffet in the dining room, with the option of eating outside in the garden patio. The morning offering—a sun-dried tomato/egg quiche with home baked apple-cinnamon muffins—proved to be delicious.
Cedar City is home to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, with an expansive schedule of daily plays. For that alone, it would be worth a trip to this area. For the experience of staying at The Iron Gate Inn, it’s worth making it a vacation destination or a honeymoon.
I didn’t have time to catch a play, tempting as it was. But I did manage a side trip up to Cedar Breaks National Monument, an easy 21 mile drive to the east. It was well worth the extra time to see the dramatic views into a red rock “amphitheater.”
This is an area that calls for more than a brief pass-through, but that’s all my time allowed. My recommendation to visitors: Plan a few days, at least. Time your visit to coincide with the Utah Shakespeare Festival. (Incidentally, the Iron Gate Inn is a mere block from the theatre center – an easy walk.) And take the time for a drive up to Cedar Breaks National Monument. Like the rest of your Cedar City visit, it’ll be worth it.