Where: Palisade, Colorado When: All year long! Although, summer gives you the full view of heavy peaches hanging on the trees and grapes ripening in the sunshine.
Recommendation: Bring your cruiser bikes, or rent some in town to take in the scenery and slow down your wine tastings.
Palisade is a town nestled in a valley only 250 miles from Denver. The landscape changes dramatically while you meander along I-70 when you near this quaint little town. Lush mountain landscape covered in pine becomes towering mesa and desert. Looking at Palisade from above, it is a fertile crescent among the desert cliffs. Green grass, neatly farmed rows with fruit trees, and trellised vines with heavy purple and green grapes are all the eye can see for miles. White farm houses dot the road and men in denim overalls ride tractors. The main street passing through town is quiet and cars pass you slowly while the drivers gives you a nod or a wave. It feels like time travel. I wanted to get away for a few days. I wanted peace, quiet, and time to think and reflect. I wanted to appreciate Colorado in all of its glory. Palisade was a perfect place to gain fresh perspective before I leave my home state for a while to pursue a new thirsty adventure. I rented a cruiser bike with a basket and a bell in the miniature downtown area at a place named, Rapid Creek, for $39 for the entire day. This allowed all the time in the world to visit as many wineries, and fruit stands that my little basket could hold. (www.rapidcreekcycles.com) I was able to pedal to seven wineries, Peach Street Distillery, and Palisade Brewing Company for lunch in town. The Tasting Rooms I was able to visit; Plum Creek Cellars, Meadery of the Rockies, Grand River Vineyards, DeBeque Canyon Winery, Varasion Vineyards and Winery, Talon Winery, and St.Kathryn Cellars Winery & Gift Shop. There are so many more amazing wineries that I have visited on previous stays in Palisade, but these are all very close together and great for a lazy ride around town. The weather was hot, but the wine tasting rooms are free, and the people are extremely knowledgeable and friendly…always offering ice water before starting to pour wine. I imagine this is what the Napa Valley was like 50 years ago. Don’t miss your chance this year to attend the 22nd Annual Colorado Mountain Winefest, September 19-22nd of this year. Find a full schedule at ColoradoWinefest.com. And if you love to take in wineries on two wheels, join the 20th annual Tour de Vineyards that takes place on September 21st. For registration and more information go to www.TourdeVineyards.com Upon leaving this town with a backseat full of local wine and a box of ripe peaches, I could not help but recite lines from my favorite poem by Christina Rossetti, “Goblin Market.” “In summer weather/mourns that pass by/fair eves that fly/come buy, come buy/ our grapes fresh from the vines/ pomegranates full and fine/dates and sharp bullaces, rare pears and greengages/ damsons and bilberries/taste them and try.” Palisade is the lovliest town I have ever been to and it was the perfect ending to a fine Colorado summer. On my way back to Denver, I took a detour through the Colorado National Monument and words won’t do the majesty of this place justice. If you haven’t made it up to the Western Slope, it is well worth the four hour drive. What a beautiful state we live in.