“Normal” is a relative term, especially in a place as independent and contrary as Bluff. Like everyone else, we have been adjusting to the new reality caused by the Covid virus pandemic. Early into the crisis, the town council of Bluff declared that all commercial operations, including restaurants, motels, and trading post were required to close, with only the local gas station allowed to operate.
Gradually, many restrictions have been lifted and we have been allowed to re-open. It really didn’t hit me until Priscilla went out the other day and tacked a mask on our welcoming sign by the front door. That represents the new normal for life around Twin Rocks where, by local ordinance, masks are required in both the cafe and trading post.
During the long shutdown, we have been actively preparing for a new reality mandated by the world’s health crisis. This summer, we have had no tour buses pull up to use our bathrooms, and very few rental RVs in the parking lot. Far more people are traveling in their own self-contained vehicles, where they prepare their own food and park out in wilderness areas to avoid both fees and crowds.
Our new dining concept at the Crazy Crow Cafe has allowed us to switch from traditional seating arrangements indoors to carry-out meals. Fortunately, our new walk-through cafe plan features a fresh-food bar where customers design their own meal and our staff prepares it for them on the spot. This lets us offer fresh-food choices from our region. We feature a variety of our fry bread dishes, including Navajo tacos, as well as burritos and other local foods. The cafe also serves a more traditional full-service breakfast, which is popular with travelers facing long drives in an area where few good dining options are available.
The long front porches on both the cafe and trading post have been set up to allow social distancing and strict sanitary standards are observed. After every use, our staff clears the tables and sanitizes everything people might come into contact with.
Between the two buildings and right behind Sunbonnet Rock is a relaxing area that serves as our new beer garden. Along with wine and domestic beers, we are featuring Utah-produced draft beers.
We have also been busy in the trading post. While we were closed to the public, Luke Sagg, Priscilla’s husband, was busy resurfacing the walls and painting them white to better display our baskets, weavings, and regional art. He stripped away our unique ceiling, which Steve characterizes as “late-1980s cottage cheese with a touch of glitter.”
Susie has been working on a new lighting plan for the gallery which will highlight some of the treasures offered at Twin Rocks. We expect that all the projects will be completed soon and visitors will enjoy a more user-friendly display space. Additionally, our long project of building a new and modern website seems to be reaching conclusion, which will allow us more attractive graphics and better inventory control.
We believe that even the worst of times can stimulate a better future. While the challenges have been great, we are striving to re-imagine ourselves and still retain the personal touch that sets us apart from many other Southwestern art galleries. We are optimistic and believe in the future, and that’s our new normal at Twin Rocks.