Weekend in Ogden: Hill Aeropsace Museum
By John Lampl
If you love plane-spotting and are a military airplane geek and your body shivers and quivers every time you see a collection of life-sized fighter and bomber aircraft, then where you want to zoom off to is Ogden Utah, home of the best flying collection west of Washington’s Smithsonian Museum.
The Museum: In Ogden, a 45 minute drive north of Salt Lake City’s airport, is Hill Air Force Base and its world famous Hill Aerospace Museum. There’s no entrance fee to this wondrous collection which houses over 80 aircraft, everything from Wright Brothers era planes, to heavy bombers, jet fighters, recon aircraft and helicopters that have served the U.S. military through decades of war and peace time. Driving up to the museum, you find nestled together an array of bombers and cargo transports, everything from a B29 to a supersonic B1, a KC135 tanker, C119 and C47 cargo planes and even a C124 Globemaster. Inside the two gigantic museum hangers are the smaller aircraft, propeller airplanes from the dawn of U.S. aviation to American jet fighters, helicopters, a SR71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft and an A10 Thunderbolt close air support aircraft, from the 40‘s, 50’s through the present day. There’s also a foreign entry, a Russian MIG 17 fighter. The address is 7961 Wardleigh Road, Building 1955, Hill Air Force Base, near Ogden. The museum is open everyday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
The Bed. Ogden has plenty of accommodation located a few minutes’ drive from the museum. Three such choices with the best rates are the Courtyard By Marriott at 247 24th Street, (866 538-0187); The Hilton Garden Inn, 2271 So. Washington Blvd., (855 277-5057); and the Ben Lomand Suites Historic Hotel (opened in 1927), 2510 Washington Blvd., (877 627-1900).
The Meal. My down-home, comfort food favorite was the Maddox Ranch House situated in Perry, Utah, just a few miles north of Ogden. They feature all-American favorites, fried chicken, steaks, sauteed bison, shrimp and fish, and mouth-watering desserts. The best deal at Maddox is the lunch special from noon to 5 p.m. when most everything is priced way less than the dinner prices; the place is jammed everyday between 3 and 5 p.m. An alternative for dessert – really, a must see and taste – is Farr’s Ice Cream parlor at 286 East 21st Street. It’s been there since 1920 and features over 75 flavors. For an extra bit of sweet finesse on the Ogden menu trail, there is Mrs.Cavanaugh’s chocolate shop with five locations in Ogden. It’s like See’s in that you choose and make up individual boxes, but because we’re so accustomed to See’s, Mrs. Cavanaugh’s offers yummy alternatives and flavors. A pound box is a great present for that special someone back in LA who let you out of the house for the weekend.
The Find. A burger and a craft beer at the Shooting Star Saloon, famed to be continuously open since the mid-19th century, located at 7350 E. 200 S., Huntsville, Utah, ( 801 745-2002) about a 40 minute drive from Ogden. It’s well worth the drive just to get into the swing of the Old West and a great place, apres hiking or skiing, from the Snowbasin resort, 20 minutes away.
Lesson Learned. For a bit of really off-the-wall shopping at incredibly discounted prices, take a look through BDO Outlet, located at the deactivated Military Defense Depot, 986 2nd Street, (801 452-6208). On sale is everything from weird indoor and outdoor furniture, ski-clothing and other fitness apparel, men’s and women’s shoes, hardware, sporting goods, pet supplies, housewares, toys, food and selected beverages and the Lofthouse cookie outlet. It’s really bizarre, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find amazingly good deals.
John W. Lampl is a senior airline executive with more than 41 years of experience with British Airways. In his most recent position, he served as Vice President Corporate Communications Americas, responsible for all corporate communications, media relations (traditional and social) and public relations in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. For over 27 years, he worked on promoting the BA Concorde, from its first commercial flight to its last commercial flight in 2003. Lampl and his wife currently live in New York City.