I’ve lived in Provo almost continuously since 2003. (Traveling abroad has taken me out of the city on a couple of occasions for months at a time.) For most of my time in Provo I have lived in the historic Joaquin neighborhood. I also lived in Provo for a year from 2000 to 2001, and I was born in Provo in the early 80s. For what it’s worth (not much to some, more to others) I’m also a descendant of the prominent families that founded and built the city up.
I’ve decided to write a few blog posts on Provo, which because of my background is both my native and adoptive home. It is not my favorite city on earth, but it is my favorite city among those in which I have been a long term resident. I also believe that despite what many people say, it is not “lame” or boring, and that it is definitely getting better and better.
I want to write these posts because Provo seems to be approaching a unique and exciting moment. It frequently ranks as a good place to live, a city with promising economic prospects, and a place that is projected to grow dramatically in coming years. On the other hand, there obviously are a lot of competing visions about what Provo should be. The neighborhood where I just bought a house (and where I had been living for years) has been roiled by controversy over a recent change in paving laws. Provo’s downtown is pathetic (but improving). Many aspects of the youth culture — including successful businesses— are seemingly marginalized, or worse, but government and older residents. As someone who is choosing to live in Provo, I have strong opinions about all of these issues, and others.
For my part, I’ve lived in the city as an undergrad, a grad student, a working professional, a home owner, a musician, a filmmaker, and a bunch of other things. I recently bought an old home on a tree-lined street. I was attracted to the city by the music scene, the (unfortunately ebbing and flowing) arts scene, the bike-ability, the climate, and other things. So there’s a brief introduction for anyone (or no one?) who cares.
Businessweek recently ran a story about Mormons and business. It’s fairly interesting, but on the fifth page it describes Provo as
“a city of roughly 100,000, laid out on a grid of colossal six-lane streets built up into a maze of housing developments, hotels, and fast-food chains.”
I think the tone of the sentence is (meant to be) vaguely insulting, and at very least it’s meant to contrast the city to others that have successful business schools. But I also think its really kind of interesting. It makes Provo seem so much bigger, and wilder, than I typically perceive it to be.
Clearly, whoever wrote the sentence has never been to Provo. After all, I can’t think of any six lane streets, and I wouldn’t describe it as a maze (when I think of maze-like cities I think of alley-filled places in Europe or South America).
But in any case and despite it’s intentions, I don’t think it’s a wholly unflattering description.
Today I felt like a traitor. I needed to get some sort of treat to bring to work, and I got raspberry rolls from Shirley’s Bakery. After living next to the Provo Bakery (which bizarrely has no website) for months, going to Shirley’s seemed like a betrayal. I’ve eaten and loved so many things from the Provo Bakery. I’ve sung it’s praises to so many people.
But the honestly, the Provo Bakery needs to step up its game. A lot. First, get a website. Second, I keep getting dried out things from them. The more bakeries I go to, the more disappointing the Provo Bakery is becoming. And that’s terrible. I say this not to be mean, or as a disgruntled customer. I still love the Provo Bakery. Rather, I’m trying to offer constructive criticism. I feel like I can never go wrong with the orange rolls or the Mexican wedding cakes. But the cookies? The bread? I feel like I can almost never go right with the donuts. Please, improve. I love you.
So, today, I needed something good, and I needed to know it would be good. I’ve brought all the good things from the Provo Bakery to work, and so I turned to Shirley’s. And you know what, it was delicious.
Filed under Food, Provo, utah