Dixie & Mike Burbidge own the Stone Canyon Inn located in Tropic, Utah. Dixie spoke with me about the hard work and dedication that goes into doing what they love, running an inn. They started out at ground zero when they purchased a rugged piece of property where they began building their dream in the form of an inn. Now, they operate an expansive establishment with breathtaking views.
Q: How long have you been in business?
We opened in August of 2000.
Q: Why did you decide to go into innkeeping?
We use to bring our family down into this area all the time to explore it. We decided it would be fun to run a business down here where we could show off the area to other people. We’ve always liked to entertain though we had no experience in the hospitality industry. We got into this industry as a business to begin with. I laugh when people ask, “Did you retire to do this?” This is a full time job and than some. My response has been, ” You think this is retirement!?”
We ran our bed and breakfast for fourteen years than turned into it into an inn with a five star restaurant, Stone Hearth Grille. I published a recipe book while we were running our place as a bed and breakfast. Our breakfasts were well known while we ran the bed and breakfast. We, even started the restaurant with breakfast but people would only trickle in for breakfast as we are a mile and half off the highway. Now, we only serve dinner. The restaurant has just been amazing. We found people are willing to drive to have a good dinner. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is unbelievable.
Q: Where are the majority of your guests from?
We get a lot of people from the east and west coast. New York, Massachusetts, Florida, California, and Oregon are the main states. Outside of the country, we get many Europeans from France, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.
Q: What’s the best thing you have done for your business?
Changing to the inn with outdoor eating and fine dining. We added a huge deck so people could enjoy the a gorgeous panoramic view. Our clients wanted fine dining which couldn’t be found in the area. Our restaurant is a perfect fit.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
The fact that we are not on the highway. We are four hours from any metropolis. The next challenge is the internet. We need to have a really great internet presents because Bryce Canyon is out of the way. Bryce is a “bucket list” destination. People say that they will visit Bryce Canyon once in their lifetime. It isn’t a place to go back to every year.
Q: Biggest lesson learned in the industry?
Wearing twenty hats is challenging. Government needs to know that small business owners do everything. They can’t pay someone to do this and do that. They need to be understanding. It is tough been sole owners. Also, we stay open year round. It is a huge responsibility doing all the ordering, advertising, etc.
Q: What motto do you live by?
And it came to pass.
Q: What is unique about your inn?
We have a tremendous location and knowledge of the area. We tell our guests about good hiking locations and what to do in the area. We are a great resource for our guest with our knowledge in archaeology, paleontology, and more. We bought the 80 acres with Bryce Canyon as our property line. First, we built the inn. Later, we added four cottages. We started with eighty acres with gorgeous red cliffs surrounding the area.
We have nine units which are freestanding. Five units have full kitchens. Our main building has a huge deck, waterfall, stream, and pond. Our fence line borders Bryce Canyon. You can head right into the park from our property. We are a mile and a half off the highway so we have beautiful views. Everyone has their own private view and space.
Q: What would you do all over again if you had a time machine?
I don’t think I would change anything. We had a vision of it being a certain way. We love that our place blends in with the area.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
I have eighteen grandchildren. They come out here and we go where they live to see each other. Our children and grandchildren love to come out here. We go hiking and more. It is always a big adventure for them.
Q: Any little known facts about your town?
The town’s name is Tropic. The founding fathers must of had a sense of humor as this place isn’t tropic at all. They came from where it was much colder and probably named it such as this is much warmer. We have beautiful summers here.
The local people knew Butch Cassidy. He is from this area. He came here after Bolivia. At one point he changed his name. A lot of outlaws went through here.
Richard Gere stayed here.
We’ve had ambassadors and other government officials.
Our grandchildren and our children have stayed with us. We took them on our sixty foot long slip and slide down the hill into a big mud puddle as well the 300 ft zip line, and mud course. Everyone, including my husband and I got all muddy.
Q: Do you have helpful innkeeping tips you would like to share?
Have a sense of humor and perseverance. People are interesting and fascinating. If you are not happy, you are not a good innkeeper. Be able to thrive on chaos. It is what it is.
Did You Know?
Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer, holds the title for the canyon’s name. In the year, 1928, Bryce Canyon located in southwest, Utah became an official national park. Unique geology including natural amphitheaters shaped like horse shoes are here. Spires called “hoodoos” are formations here which early geologists believed could cast spells.
Bryce Canyon has many adventures trails to choose from which led many outlaws including Butch Cassidy in their day to use this spectacular location. Horseback rides offer a taste of where outlaws may have tread throughout the canyon. Moonlit hikes are available as well as stargazing.