Plowshares and sopranos

History and hiking mix well with summer dining and opera in Logan, UT

Kurt Repanshek

The recoil of a black-powder musket would ordinarily be at odds with the operatic works of Rossini. But come July, you can spend a day in Logan and blend a sampling of the farm life of Utah's 19th-century settlers with a modern festival of opera.

Start your day at the American West Heritage Center  (10-5 Mon-Sat; $6, $4 ages 3-11; 4025 S. U.S. 89/91, Wellsville; 800/225-3378), 6 miles south of Logan, where you can see Slick and Rough, a pair of oxen, while learning about pioneer life. The center's Festival of the American West (from $15; Jul 30-Aug 7) features re-created Native American and mountain-men encampments.

Grab a chimichanga or burrito for lunch at Café Sabor ($$; 600 W. Center St.; 435/752-8088), in Logan's handsomely restored train depot, then head downtown. At the Logan Tabernacle (50 N. Main St.; 435/755-5594), you can enjoy free recitals by area musicians (12:30 Mon-Sat) or research your family's history in the genealogy library (closed Sun) .

Round out the afternoon with a relaxed stroll and wildlife-watching along the Logan River. Park on U.S. 89 about 3/4 mile east of the ranger station (435/755-3620)at the corner of 1500 East, then walk 4 easy miles of the River Trail; you may see deer in the willow thickets. Afterward, stop by Le Nonne ($$; closed Sun; 129 North 100 East; 435/752-9577) for the chicken marsala before heading off for a show.

Once known as the "Athens of the West" for its many theaters, Logan is still a center for performing arts. The restored neoclassical Ellen Eccles Theatre (from $17; 43 S. Main St.; www.ufoc.org or 435/752-0026) is resplendent with red-velvet seating and walls bearing ornate artwork. With impeccable acoustics, it's home to the Utah Festival Opera from July 7 to August 7 for productions of Brigadoon, La Cenerentola (Cinderella), Rigoletto, and The Secret Garden.

Around the corner, the Victorian-style Caine Lyric Theatre  (Thu-Sat; from $10; 28 W. Center St.; 435/797-1500) enlivens summer nights with a variety of musicals, comedies, and dramas.

On the town

Logan is 85 miles north of Salt Lake City via I-15 and U.S. 89. For visitor information, contact the

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