Irresistible cuteness!

Irresistible cuteness!

wine tastingAfter the four of us enjoyed a day filled with fun, treats, and wine tasting, we headed off into Palisades’ countryside for a self-guided tour of the orchard’s and vineyards before the sun goes down.

The previous month, Al and I drove this ‘Fruit & Wine Byway” in western Colorado and therefore I knew exactly where to go.  The area is small and there’s only one main road, thus it’s not difficult to get around.  However, I do have a good old-fashioned map along, just in case.

This map also highlights the ‘scenic byway’ and makes notes of interests along the way.  I believe I found this particular Palisade, Colorado map at the visitor center in Fruita just off Interstate 70.

Palisade Colorado is loaded with unique produce stands selling locally grown products

We do a quick drive through downtown Palisade and then proceed in the direction of the East Orchard Mesa Loop.  This scenic loop takes us past orchards, vineyards, and quaint produce stands.  It’s September 21st and the trees no longer bear the sweet, delicious peaches that were abundant in August, instead we find apples not quite ripe for the picking.


We drive past produce stands, orchards growing apples, and then vineyards.  I knew just the spot to pull over so Ashton and Tasha could see grapes still growing on the vine.  Their interest and knowledge in wine still amazes me.  Tasha even plans to get married in a vineyard someday…..once she finds the right man, that is.  I’m not sure how or when Tasha developed her interest in wine, but I do know how daughter, Ashton developed hers……Sydney, Australia.

When Ashton studied abroad, she engaged in several wine tours in Australia and developed a taste and curiosity.  I’m sure it started out as an excuse to drink alcohol before turning into a genuine interest in wine.  Since she wasn’t 21 years old yet, the U.S. drinking age, she found herself in a country where she was of age….well, need I say more?  We won’t even mention the term “pub crawling”.  Thus, the story of how my little girl turned into a wine connoisseur.

Palisade wine
The girls are excited to be in a vineyard and snap away with their iPhones

Ah, back to the vineyards and orchards……. I stop for the gals to walk among the rows of grapevines.  They are giddy with delight and snapping away with their iPhones.  There’s still plenty of grapes on the vines for the gals to observe and gently touch.

AlpacasWe hop back in the car and continue our journey.  I turn down a side road then into what appears is someone’s driveway / home.  The girls are perplexed.  Now I am giddy with delight; I have an impending surprise for the ladies.

Just as we were exiting our parked car, the owner of Suncrest Orchard Alpacas steps out of the barn to greet us.  He’s carrying something?

Suncrest Orchard Alpacas provides informative tours year ’round on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays from 9-5 or by appointment.  Whew…’s Saturday.  This time, my spontaneity worked well.  The guy is obviously carrying a bundle of joy as evidenced by his huge smile.

Suncrest Orchard Alpacas
The owner carrying a bundle of irresistible cuteness!  One week old little boy.

The four of us approach the fence and in unison respond,  “Aaawwww….hoowww….. cuutte”!  Ashton, Tasha, sister-in-law, and myself are enamored with this one week old baby Alpaca.  It’s obvious the owner is passionate about is brood of Alpacas.  He graciously spent an hour sharing his vast knowledge of these interesting animals.AlpacaAlpacas

Suncrest Orchard AlpacaWe were enthralled.  We all asked lots of questions.  As long as we asked questions, the owner eagerly and passionately shared.

The month prior when Al and I visited, the owners mother was on site to give us the tour including a tour of the building where they spin the Alpaca yarn.  This was probably the first time I had wished I was into knitting.  I so would buy some of this Alpaca yarn.  Soft is an understatement.

With the setting of the sun, we reluctantly tore ourselves away thanking the owner profusely for his time.  We were all truly fascinated and entertained by this impromptu stop.  Another huge thank you to Suncrest Orchard Alpaca Farm for an irresistibly good time.

Time to return to camp.  We have dinner waiting for us on the picnic table …….

a mother-daughter moment. This little girl was 4 weeks old….aaawww!

Wine and then Some

Wine and then Some

When the phone call came in requesting our presence at a Wine Festival, I assure you the response was a rather quick “Sure”.  This was back in August and the call was from our daughter.  She knew her dad and I were running around Colorado’s western slope and would be in the general vicinity for the festival.  She does follow my blog after all…. she’s such a good daughter!

wine festival
The girls were really excited to be walking among the grapevines….  a real vineyard

Palisade, Colorado is located on Colorado’s western slope and is known for its vineyards and orchards.  This small Colorado town with a population of less than 3,000 sits at an elevation of 4,700 feet.  Colorado’s abundant sunshine, warm days, cool nights, and low humidity provide the perfect environment for growing a variety of wine grapes, as well as peaches, cherries, apricots, and apples.  A recent addition to the area are Lavender fields.

The town of Palisade attracts visitors from around the state to attend their numerous festivals.  The two most popular festivals are the Peach Festival in August and the Colorado Mountain Winefest in September.  Our daughter had attended the Winefest the year before and was rather eager for another visit.  Since Al and I would be leaving Colorado for the winter, daughter wanted one more visit with her mom and dad before our departure.  And the Colorado Mountain Winefest was the perfect venue for a send off.

Palisade Colorado
The ‘guest room’ …. all set up and ready for our daughter and her friend

We once again stayed at the James Robb State Park in Fruita and set up ‘the guest room’ for our daughter and her girlfriend.

Saturday, September 21st, daughter and friend left Denver a little after 5 in the morning and arrived at my brother’s home in Grand Junction around 9:30 a.m. just in time for sister-in-law to make a huge breakfast for everyone before us gals headed over to the festival.

wine tasting
Sister-in-law, friend Tasha, daughter Ashton

By 11:00 a.m. sister-in-law, Tasha, Ashton, and myself are busy sampling some fine Colorado wines…….well not all of us.  It just so happens, I am the designated driver and as such, purchased a ‘non-drinking’ ticket 😦  That said, I couldn’t say no to my daughter the occasional time or two when she exuberantly commented, “Here mom, you just have to try this one”.  “Ok, if you insist”.wine tasting

The Colorado Mountain Winefest is a four-day event with Saturday being the big day of wine tasting.  Thursday kicks off the event with various restaurants offering ‘Food & Wine Pairings’.  Visitors can sign up for activities like Float Trips, Paddle Boarding, or Bike Tours.  Friday evening consists of different events held at various Palisade locations that include; Winefest Demo & Dinner, Chocolate & Wine Tasting, and a Wine & Glass Experience.  Sunday wraps up the event with a Tour of the Wineries.

wine tasting
each guest is given a tote to easily haul around wine purchases.

Since Ashton and Tasha weren’t able to take time off work, we only attended Saturday’s event; the major wine tasting venue.  Our tickets were purchased in advance on-line.  Upon check-in, each guest is given a tote with a commemorative glass to be used for the tasting.  Those of us non-drinkers were given the same tote but with a commemorative water bottle ….. “Oh, joy….aren’t I special?”

The tote is really cute and is sectioned off to easily carry six bottles of wine, which the three winos drinkers took full advantage of.

In addition to the almost fifty different wineries offering samples were; various seminars, live music, crafters, chef demos, grape stomp, and ice festival  There was plenty to keep four gals entertained for better part of the day.

wine festival
some guests lounge in the shade enjoying a bottle of recently purchased wine while others take advantage of their artistic abilities with the lovely scenery and venue

The festival is held in a beautiful park setting with mature trees, offering shade beneath a gorgeous Colorado blue sky.  Guests are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, small coolers, and a corkscrew for some mid-day picnic relaxation.  There are numerous food vendors which we counted on for sustenance.  Big mistake, as lines were extremely long.  In retrospect, I wish we had packed a picnic lunch.  Note for next year!

wine tasting
me, my daughter, sister-in-law….share in some delicious orange sherbet

However, we didn’t go wrong in our orange sherbet purchase….. as noted by the above three ladies devouring.  As our afternoon was winding down, this cool little treat was the perfect way to end our already perfect day.

wine festivalI’ll admit, the one thing that stood out the most to me, actually impressed me, was the genuine interest Ashton and Tasha took in the wine.  Here I thought it was all about the drinking and getting a buzz.  Boy, was I wrong and I was duly chastised for thinking that, “Really mother, I am no longer in college”….as if that makes a difference.

At each vendor the gals asked questions, viewed color, swirled glass, took sips, swirled in mouth, then slowly swallowed.  Notice I did not say they spit.  They weren’t about to spit out perfectly good wine, whether they liked it or not.  After all, it has only been a year and a half since graduation.

After tasting, it was either a thumbs up or thumbs down.  They knew exactly what they liked and what they didn’t.  Their purchases were well analyzed and thought out.  Wow….when did my little girl turn into such a wine connoisseur?

ice carving
ice carving

Wine tasting and venue are over, but the day is not…..let’s go visit an Alpaca farm…..

wine tasting
Palisade, Colorado