Grand Valley residents: Be a hometown tourist | PostIndependent.com

Grand Valley residents: Be a hometown tourist

Brittany Markert
bmarkert@gjfreepress.com
Be a hometown tourist and ride past the sheer red-rock walls of Grand Valley's Colorado National Monument.
Haji Mahmood |

MAKE IT A STAYCATION

Grand Valley has many options for hotels, bed and breakfasts and short-term rentals.

HOTELS

Fruita: La Quinta Inn & Suites, 399 Jurassic Ave., $70-90 per night

Grand Junction: SpringHill Suites, 236 Main St., $100-130 per night

Palisade: Wine Country Inn, 777 Grande River Dr., $120-160 per night

BED & BREAKFASTS

Glade Park: Bella Sonata, 3853 S. 16 1/2 Road, $100-150 per night

Grand Junction: The Bookcliffs, 3153 F Road, $100-130 per night

Palisade: Vistas and Vineyards Bed and Breakfast, 3587 G Road, $120-140 per night

HOME RENTALS:

Fruita: Fruita Crash Pad, www.fruitacrashpad.com

Grand Junction: Red Bike Retreat, www.redbikeretreat.com

Palisade: Fruita Crash Pad, www.fruitacrashpad.com

The daily grind from school to work to grocery store and then home doesn’t always leave much time for fun. Instead of traveling to Denver or Salt Lake City in 2015, be a hometown tourist and enjoy everything Colorado’s Grand Valley has to offer. Start planning local explorations now.

AGRITOURISM

Mesa County boasts more than 300,000 acres of agriculture, from peach orchards to hay fields to chicken farms. Many farms offer agri-tours to both educate and entertain.

“We are so fortunate to have these available,” said Mistalynn Meyerann, communication director for Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau.

SunCrest Orchard Alpacas, located at 3608 E 1/2 Road in Palisade, offers free farm tours which explain how alpaca fiber is made into yarn. Tours end with a trip to the farm store to view finished products.

“Everyone is welcome to come out and experience the farm and learn about where fiber comes from,” said Mike McDermott, SunCrest Orchard Alpacas owner/operator.

Palisade additionally offers dozens of wineries and vineyard available for tours and sampling. Meadery of the Rockies — located at 3701 G Road in Palisade — is one such business.

Lavender farms are also available for exploration. Sage Creations Organic Farm, located at 3555 E Road in Palisade, is open for tours by appointment.

“The farms are beautiful even in the off season,” Meyerann said.

RECREATION

Whether it’s mountain biking, road biking, hiking, horseback riding, skiing or rafting, Mesa County offers an abundance of options year-round. Powderhorn Mountain Resort recently opened and Nordic-ski season has started on Grand Mesa.

Want to see your hometown from a different perspective? Meyerann suggests taking a guided tour by horseback of the Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse area with Rimrock Adventures, located at 927 Colorado 340, in Fruita.

“I was surprised and impressed to tap into the guide’s knowledge,” she said. “Even if you are an avid rider, it can open your eyes to something new.”

Planning a guided mountain-bike tour with Desert Rat Tours, or rafting with Rimrock Adventures or Adventure Bound, may also be an option for local exploration.

“The Three Sisters trails near Lunch Loops Trails is barely a year old,” Meyerann said, “and the new section of bike path are perfect examples of experiencing something new in your town.”

TAKE IN THE SIGHTS

Most Grand Valley residents have toured Colorado National Monument, but have you seen it at sunrise? Driving over Grand Mesa at dawn may also open your eyes to the beauty of the West Slope.

“People come here from other countries to see what we have because they don’t have it,” Meyerann said. “Take a step back and take a scenic drive. It gives you a fresh perspective of where we live.”

Other local hotspots include downtown Grand Junction and downtown Fruita. Be sure to stop in unique shops like Robin’s Nest, Heirlooms for Hospice, and Loki Gear.

The Museum of Western Colorado — located at 462 Ute Ave., in Grand Junction — will teach locals about the area’s unique history as well. And Dinosaur Journey Museum — located at 550 Jurassic Court in Fruita — will help you travel back in time even further to Colorado’s dinosaur days.

A hike at Exit 2 off Interstate 70 features dinosaur bones and the Rabbit Valley Quarry where the largest Apatosaurus femur was recently found.

ARTS AND CULTURE

The Grand Valley is home to many artists creating paintings, sculptures, and even jewelry.

Western Colorado Center for the Arts, located at 1803 N. Seventh St., in Grand Junction, is open Tuesday through Saturday. The entrance fee is $3, and Tuesdays are free. The Art Center offers art instruction, too.

Downtown Grand Junction boasts more than 100 sculptures ranging from bears to people on bikes. This exhibit is made possible by Art on the Corner and Legends of the Grand Valley.

Other Grand Junction galleries include The Raw Canvas (507 Main St., Grand Junction) and Veteran’s Art Center (307 S. 12th St.).

Then head to Palisade for the Blue Pig Gallery (119 W. Third St.) and to Fruita for the Rose Hue Gallery (212 E. Aspen Ave.).

Next head to the newly renovated, historic Avalon Theatre in downtown Grand Junction for a performance or a movie. The Avalon hosts Dinner and a Movie every Tuesday evening, where a movie can be viewed for free with a same-day dinner receipt.

Colorado Mesa University also boasts many outlets for arts and culture, featuring up-and-coming artists, actors, and musicians. The Moss Performing Arts Center offers performances by students, faculty and guests artists.

For more information, head to http://www.visitgrandjunction.com, http://www.gofruita.com, or http://www.palisadetourism.com.


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