GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Located in Colorado’s Wine Country, just a few hours west of Denver, Grand Junction is the perfect base camp for an agritourism adventure. The area’s distinctive history, outstanding culinary experiences, and unique ranch and farm activities draw travelers from across the globe looking for an authentic Colorado vacation. Nestled in the state’s fertile Grand Valley, the summer and fall months include a bounty of fresh local produce to sample, harvest events, U-pick experiences, animal encounters, art and history attractions, and more. Here are seven ideas for travelers looking to have an agritoursim adventure on Colorado’s western slope.
- Palisade Peach Festival, August 13-15, 2015. Each August, as Palisade’s peaches ripen and thousands of visitors flock to the small town just east of Grand Junction for the Palisade Peach Festival for a weekend of activities that celebrate the delicious, fuzzy fruit. The festival offers a variety of activities from cooking demos to peach-eating contests, parades, carnival rides and more.
- Lavender Growing 101. Dig in and get your hands dirty at Sage Creations Organic Farm. This small, certified-organic family farm between Grand Junction and Palisade not only offers a “U-Pick” experience, but they also educate visitors on the ins and outs of growing their own lavender. During the spring months, they offer classes for both casual gardeners and professional farmers on planting and growing lavender, and in the summer and fall, they provide classes on crafting with lavender and how to use lavender in various cooking and beauty products.
- Rockin’ Rodeo: From June 2nd - August 25, 2015 the Rim Rock Rodeo in Fruita provides visitor’s a glimpse into Grand Junction’s ranching and western past. The evening kicks-off with Slack at 4:30 then Mutton Bustin' at 7:00 PM and the Grand March starts at 7:30 PM. Admission to this not-to-be-missed summer tradition is $10 per person.
- From Farm to Bar: Make your way to Peach Street Distillery in Palisade to enjoy Gin and Tonics, Gin Rickys, and their signature Bloody Mary. The Palisade distillery specializes in brandies made with the finest regional fruit available, and used at the peak of ripeness and freshness. Uniquely, they grow a pear inside of a bottle for their distinctive pear brandy. Peach Street is known for their Colorado Bourbon, D’Agave, Gin, and Goat Vodkas which are made with sweet corn from the nearby town of Olathe.
- Fun with Fiber. SunCrest Orchard Alpacas near Palisade offers interactive and educational tours year round. Experience the alpacas up close and personal, learn some interesting facts, and then see how this amazing fiber is spun into yarn by touring the mini mill. The visit ends with a trip to the farm store where visitors can purchase a variety of hand-crafted products. New in 2015, Alpaca Trekking Tours around the farm for 60 minutes of hands-on alpaca fun.
- Colorado Mountain Wine Fest, September 17-20, 2015. A not-to-be-missed opportunity is to travel by train and enjoy the scenery while getting to Colorado’s Wine Country. Buy a ticket on Amtrak’s sought after California Zephyr route, departing anywhere between San Francisco and Chicago, riding the spectacular scenic rails through the Rocky Mountains to reach Grand Junction. Once there, relax at the 22 wineries or to experience the state’s largest wine festival the third weekend of September at the annual Colorado Mountain Winefest. Grape stop, taste and treat yourself to the VIP experience.
- Fantastic Farmer’s Market. Foodiescan sample fresh produce and live entertainment at a variety of farmers' markets in the Grand Valley throughout the summer and fall travel seasons. Area farmers markets are a bounty of homegrown fruits, veggies and flowers. These entertaining markets are a popular warm-weather destination for locals and visitors to mingle, peruse booths offering a variety of hand-crafted products, and tap their toes to great folksy rock bands.
About Grand Junction (www.visitgrandjunction.com). Grand Junction is Colorado’s Wine Country featuring 22 wineries with year-round tasting rooms, and boasting more than 275 days of sunshine annually which helps produce much of the state’s peach and fruit crop. It is the largest city in Western Colorado, located near the Colorado River between Salt Lake City and Denver on Interstate 70. At an altitude of 4,586 feet, warm summers and moderate spring, fall and winter seasons allow for year-round golf, hiking and world-renowned biking. Among Grand Junction's spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons are the 11,000-foot Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain, the 7,500-foot Book Cliffs including the Wild Horse Area, and the 7,000-foot Colorado National Monument. Other attractions include three national scenic byways, rafting, hunting, fishing, extensive public art displays, museums, and a vibrant downtown. Grand Junction lies in the heart of the Colorado-Utah Dinosaur Diamond and the Grand Circle.