By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
4:07 PM EDT, November 1, 2011
When Benjamin Utecht retired from football due to a concussion, the former tight end for the Indianapolis Colts knew he wanted to move back to Minnesota: "My wife and children spent the last eight years traveling with the NFL and then again for my music," he said. "I like the fall and I love winter, so Minnesota was a no-brainer."
The end of his NFL days also meant that Utecht, 30, had time to pursue his love of music. "I'm the nonfiction answer to 'Glee' and 'High School Musical,'" the singer said. "I was the star athlete and homecoming king in high school. But I was also in choir and a thespian, and I really got a kick out of all that." Utecht is touring to promote his album "Christmas Hope." Visit benjaminutecht.com for the latest concert dates.
Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?
A: My favorite place to go is to the United Kingdom. If I could choose a dream destination, it'd be to rent a cottage in the highlands of Scotland, visit Edinburgh and head back to London and Canterbury (in England).
Q: What's your worst vacation memory?
A: We were in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for our honeymoon. This was right before training camp. I learned the hard way about drinking water in Mexico. I was sick the whole time.
Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A: I'm a little biased, but one of the things my wife and I like to do is go to northern Minnesota and find quaint towns that have seemingly been untouched by mankind. There are pristine lakes, and you really feel like you're in uncharted territory. We've also fallen in love with northern Georgia. It's amazing, right on the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It's picturesque. We like to spend a weekend there in a lodge-style home.
Q: What are some of your favorite cities?
A: I've become a huge fan of New York. I really enjoy going out to Manhattan. It takes me out of my Midwest comfort zone. For someone who loves the arts as much as I do, the lights of Broadway are pretty inspiring and awesome. I never thought I could see a city as busy and large as New York City until I got to Tokyo. I got to see the city when we were there to play in the Tokyo Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons. It was very exciting. I love Nashville. I also love London and Dublin. I could spend the whole day at the Guinness Brewery. The beer tastes totally different there. You get a tinny aftertaste with the (Guinness beer) you get in the U.S.
Q: Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of back home?
A: I spent the last 11/2 years in Nashville, and there's a lot of Nashville that reminded me of home because of the Midwest values.
Q: Where would you like to travel to that you haven't been?
A: Some of my cousins are adopted from South Korea, and we all embrace their heritage. I would love to visit there someday.
For more from the reporter, visit jaehakim.com.
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