If Santa left a vacation under your tree this Christmas, where would you go? What would you do?I would spend a week cooking and eating in Paris, staying in the lap of luxury at the Ritz (which at $500 a night had better be the lap of luxury), and attend the hotel's cooking school. Each afternoon I would visit museums, shop and wander from one street vendor to another consuming croissants and crepes smothered in butter and jam.

The next week I would spend at a spa.

I asked a few prominent Utahns where they would go if they were given a carte blanche ticket to any destination in the world. Here are their responses.


"My dream vacation is a tent safari in Tanzania. We would walk across the northern Serengeti, through the African Rift Valley, and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro - three days up, two down. We would see the biggest remaining herds of plains animals. The trip is rugged but sissified. They set up a shower at every camp. We would have candlelight dinners with tablecloths and napkins and wonderful food. Wonderful food is a prerequisite for a vacation, don't you think? We're not going but we know people who are. Just talking about this makes me ache."


"If I could have a dream vacation my wife and I would see "Les Miserables" in New York City, eat dinner at Sardi's and stay at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza in Times Square. The next day we'd take the Concorde to Rome. (Editor's note: the Concorde doesn't fly to Rome, but that's OK. This is a dream vacation.) We would go to Milan and visit friends and shop. It's difficult for me to find clothes that fit so I would have some made. My wife would look at women's clothes and shoes. The Italians have great leather goods. We would dress in roaring `20s clothes and take the Orient Express to Paris, a la Agatha Christie, stopping in the Germanic countries along the way. We'd take the ferry across the channel and stay in London for a week where we'd go to the theater and sightsee. We'd come home on the QE2."

(Editor's note: The Laydens are planning to take this dream vacation next summer in celebration of their 35th anniversary.)


Graf, the principal flutist with the Utah Symphony, would go back to Martinique. "I absolutely loved the place . . . the food, the atmosphere, the climate. The island itself is lush and gorgeous. It's a sensuous place. I'd stay at the Bakua Beach Hotel where you can see nothing but the Caribbean from your room. Pathways lead to an indescribable beach. There are wonderful opportunities for snorkeling. Huge underwater cliffs make you feel like you're flying. It was the best vacation of my life."


His favorite game is apparently golf, not football. "I'd go to Scotland and Ireland to play golf. I'd stay as long as they'd let me go. I'd stay until he money ran out." Edwards is a 35-year veteran of the game (golf, not football).


"I would grab my suitcase, my wife, a portable cassette player, a video recorder and a bunch of country music tapes and go on a 14-day Caribbean cruise. I would take over the ship's yuppie disco and turn it into a cowboy stage. The ports of call don't matter just as long as I'm out there floating around."


"I'd like to go to Nepal and trek in the Himalayas. I love to hike. Canyonlands is my home away from home. I go there whenever I can make it.

"On the way home from Nepal I'd stop in Australia and dive at the Great Barrier Reef. I have never dived. That's a fantasy. I do want to become certified sometime."


"My dream vacation is standing in a river in the middle of Alaska somewhere catching king salmon and cooking one up on the beach for lunch. My wife and I actually did this. We stayed at at lodge at Lake Iliamna and fished in the Mulchatna River. We caught as many salmon as we could carry. It's gorgeous and there's nobody else around. It's just you and the fish and the bears."


"I'd go with three other guys. We've been best friends since second grade. If we could all go together and someone else was paying for it, we'd go to the beaches of Australia and New Zealand. We'd bike and swim, we'd golf and play hoops (basketball). We'd play tennis and eat extraordinarily well. We'd watch the sunset and play cards at night. We've done things together before but on a much smaller scale."


"A dream vacation for me would be in Utah making a hole in one to win the Jeremy Ranch Shoot-Out."