The first week of August, a boiling desert month in Las Vegas, is a good time for an air-conditioned road trip to Southern Utah. On this particular trip, the destination is Cedar City, Utah to see Southern Utah University’s Shakespearean Festival.The festival is an annual event held from June to October. This is a 2.5 hour trip from Las Vegas; not too far but far enough to drop the average temperature from 105 to 85 degrees.
Shakespeare in the park is not for everyone but the beautiful countryside can satisfy most of what some feel they lose by seeing heads and hands chopped off on a make-believe stage (“Titus Andronicus”). Three beautiful theaters have been built on the University grounds to display the art of Shakespeare in both in-door and out-door venues. The venue is not limited to Shakespeare. This year a theater version of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and Hugo’s “Les Miserable” are on display.
After seeing “The Merry Wives of Windsor”, “Titus Andronicus”, and “To Kill a Mocking Bird”, this travelers’ opinion is that the acting is fairly good, with some rolls well cast and played; the direction for “Titus Andronicus” offers enough bloody reality to make some leave the play early; all in all a good but not great theater experience; i.e. worth the trip but not a repeat performance; i.e. at least for these 3 plays.
The added benefit of a trip to this Shakespearean festival is the bed and breakfast accommodation offered by “The Iron Gate Inn”.
The rooms are large, nicely appointed, and well-kept with a host and hostess that offer polite conversation and excellent morning breakfasts. All of the theater productions; the best parts of the downtown area, a quaint coffee shop, and a used book store are within walking distance of the Inn.
Cedar City, Utah is a small town and when its city sites have been seen, a visitor can take a 1.5 hour round trip to see Cedar Breaks and Brian Head, a local ski resort.
Restaurants are somewhat limited but there is an excellent wood-fired pizza joint (Centro Pizzeria) and a good restaurant next to a Best Western motel on N. Main Street; both are within walking distance of “The Iron Gate Inn”.
A side benefit to some travelers is a winery associated with the “Iron Gate Inn” that conducts wine tastings on the “Iron Gate Inn” property. They have a series of wine flights for $8/3 tastings that are credited to the purchase of two bottles of either white or red Iron Gate wines.
This is a nice weekend getaway; particularly in the heat of a Las Vegas summer.