I know it’s hard to believe, with 90-degree days, tubers and kayakers floating down the creek, and lush greenery from all the rain, but believe it or not folks – fall is just around the corner. We’re so lucky to live in a place that attracts visitors from all over the world and where there’s more to see and do than we could attempt in a lifetime. Why not savor these precious last days of summer yourself before school starts?
Palisade: A Garden of Earthly Delights
We all know the usual Colorado stuff: hiking, skiing, the 14’ers, climbing, hot springs and so on, so you might be surprised to learn that a little known area on the Western slope is all about orchards and vineyards. Due to its unique climate, Palisade has been producing exceptional fruit since the 1890’s: apples, cherries, pears, plums, and yes, wine grapes. There’s no better time to visit than August 14-15 for the annual Palisade Peach Fest. This harvest celebration has something for everyone: orchard tours, concerts, children’s rides, a peach heritage parade, peach cuisine demonstrations, a walking tour of historic Palisade, and more.
Festivals can be good clean fun, but for something a little more sophisticated, consider checking out some of the 20 artisan wineries in the Grand Valley, especially since tours and tastings are always free. If wine isn’t your thing, don’t despair – there’s a brewery and a distillery, too. Palisade may be small, but it’s an equal opportunity town.
For a little exercise, check out some of the many opportunities for outdoor activity in the Grand Junction area, such as mountain biking, rafting, and visiting the Colorado National Monument. At Your Pace Biking offers a self-guided 4-day, 3-night wine country bicycle tour between Grand Junction and Palisade. You can also rent bikes in Palisade at Rapid Creek Cycles…always a good idea to reserve ahead to ensure availability.
Vail Without Snow: Still a Fabulous Place to Go!
What if you’re looking for more of an adventure, or perhaps a special way to share an anniversary? Vail Valley Paragliding will have you soaring for a breathtaking 15-minutes, looking down at roaring Eagle Creek and the aspen forest 1,000 feet below. Like many ski resorts, Vail makes a great summer weekend getaway, with perhaps more than the average number of offerings due of its size.
Vail boasts an incredible array of activities: everything from scenic Gondola rides, jazz and bluegrass concerts and art shows, to the more daring zip line, bungee-harness trampoline, or alpine slide. Of course, it wouldn’t be Colorado without the outdoor staples of hiking and mountain biking. You can check out the town of Vail online for even more activities.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch: Peaceful and Pristine
Just an hour north of I-70 in Tabernash, CO, is the 6,000 acre , a perfect place to spend the night on the way in or out of the mountains, or the whole weekend. At the foot of the Continental Divide, DTR boasts beautiful views and a relaxing stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Get ready to indulge in all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer, like scenic horseback rides, or spend your days relaxing at the luxurious spa.
Whether you’re into extreme activities or simple recreational ones, you can enjoy it all at the ranch. Find yourself zooming through trees on the zip line, or head to the lake for stand up paddleboard lessons. There’s something for the whole family to explore and find entertaining.
After a long day of hiking and adventuring through the Rocky Mountains, make a reservation at the Ranch House Restaurant (their fine dining option) for a delicious dinner made using the freshest ingredients and organically raised meats. Be sure to ask for the wagyu beef, meat lovers, this is the place to try it. It’s an unforgettable experience in an unforgettable part of Colorado.
Whatever you’re looking for, I hope some of these suggestions make it onto your summer bucket list. Let me know about your favorite hot spots to visit or where you’re headed next.