As you know, Ryan and I did a lot of traveling this winter and every trip has a special place in our hearts. Grand Junction, however, has a special place in our stomachs. If you are a fan of eating and drinking, you’ll want to get out a pen and paper and take notes on this post.
We’d driven by Grand Junction and Palisade a number of times over the years but had never stopped, so we had no idea what we’d been missing.
So without further ado, here’s a two-day Grand Junction/Palisade itinerary, influenced greatly by our March trip.
Before heading out to Grand Junction, call and make dinner reservations at Bin 707 Foodbar. Arrive Grand Junction and check into your hotel. We stayed at The Clarion. It’s a simple, freeway hotel, but they provide a free shuttle to downtown and there’s a nice little bar at the attached restaurant, Pantuso’s Ristorante.
Utilize free shuttle ride to downtown. If you are a little early, browse Art on the Corner and do a little shopping. We were impressed without how busy downtown Grand Junction gets on a Friday night – every restaurant was packed and the sidewalks were bustling with people.
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Bin 707 Foodbar is a little slice of culinary heaven in the heart of Grand Junction. They serve up locally sourced food in a contemporary, yet comfortable environment. Engage your knowledgeable server to learn about the menu.
We started with an assembly of charcuterie and artisan cheese. Charcuterie is the craft of salting, curing and smoking meat. There was a rich pate made in-house with fresh herbs, prosciutto cut so thin you could see through it, and headcheese made by the Chef of Bin 707. All the cheeses were from Colorado including the Ashley from MouCo Cheese Company in Fort Collins, a personal favorite.
We didn’t stop with the cheese and meat plate. We ordered up fried oysters served with aioli sauce, roasted beet salad (a customer favorite), and grilled cheese flatbread with arugula salad. I felt like I was on an episode of Top Chef and I gave everything top scores.
We paired our food with local wine and ended our meal with two unique deserts. I’m not a big dessert person, but my beet ice cream was sweet and earthy at the same time, an amazing combination. Ryan ordered the Momofuku Crack pie, and they might actually spike it with an illegal substance because it’s that freakin’ good.
We got up early, had the free breakfast buffet at The Clarion and then headed to Powderhorn Resort for a morning of skiing. The resort is about 45 minutes from Grand Junction. However, if you’re making this trip during the spring or summer, head to the Colorado National Monument to some morning hiking and bighorn sheep hunting. Hunt with your camera, of course. I wrote about our experience at the Colorado National Monument in a previous post here.
After burning some calories, it’s time to start eating and drinking again. Grab a quick lunch at Pablo’s Pizza in downtown Grand Junction and now it’s time for wine.
Start with Two Rivers Winery & Chateau in Grand Junction; the Syrah and Cab were my favorite here. Afterwards, make the 20 minute drive to Palisade where you can hit multiple wineries within walking or biking distance of one another. We started at Grande River Winery, one of the original wineries on the Western Slope. Just next door is Talon Winery and St. Kathryn Cellars. Talon has traditional wines while St. Kathryn’s stirs things up a bit by offering fruity wines. They even have a lavender wine. Just down the road, we visited Plum Creek Winery where I enjoyed nearly every taster on their list.
We heard wonderful things about Colterris, but were unable to visit them on this trip. I did have one of their reds at Bin 707, and it was a well-rounded, memorable wine.
Before leaving Palisade, be sure to visit Peach Street Distillery. The cliffs of the mesa glowed pink as we pulled into the parking lot just before sunset. It was warm enough to sit on the patio, but every seat was taken, so we sat inside, sipping on sweet, fresh drinks and listening to classical guitar. It was a wonderful way to end a wonderful afternoon.
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Note: If you plan to spend the afternoon drinking in Palisade on Day Two, please make someone in your group the designated driver!
For dinner, we ate Irish fare at Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub in downtown Grand Junction. This is a popular place, so be prepared for a wait. On a two-day itinerary, beer drinkers may prefer dinner at Kannah Creek Brewing Company. I had a yummy sandwich there on our visit to Grand Junction. Popular with college students, the patio fills up quickly on a nice day.
So there you have it. A two-day itinerary to Grand Junction, and I promise it will not disappoint. Book you trip around one of the Western Slope’s many spring and summer festivals, like the Palisade International Honeybee Festival on April 12-13, or the Art & Jazz Fest in downtown Grand Junction on May 10-12, 2013. For the scoop on other festivals, go to VisitGrandJunction.com.
We genuinely fell in love with the Western Slope during this trip. The landscape + people + food + wine is a winning combination and we can’t wait to visit again.
This trip sponsored by Visit Grand Junction.
Wonderful choices! I grew up on the western slope and love Pablo’s and Kannah Creek (common threads being excellent pizza and outdoor seating). Bin 707 is wonderful- great happy hour, including the delicious bin burger and skinny fries.
Thanks for stopping by town, Tessa! 🙂
I am also a fan of a good patio and GJ and Palisade seems to have them in spades!
We can’t wait to go back to the Western Slope.
Grand Junction is one of my favorite places in Colorado.
Since you’re right there, I also highly recommend hitting up the Meadery of the Rockies (http://www.meaderyoftherockies.com/)
It’s my favorite place for honey wine, chocolate wine, and related fruit wines – they just cannot be beaten.
If you need a great bed and breakfast, I highly recommend the Los Altos Bed and Breakfast (http://losaltosgrandjunction.com/) — the owners are pure awesome, the view is amazing, and it’s 5 minutes to downtown Grand Junction.
Thanks for stopping by and for the recommendations. You know we love B&Bs, so we’ll definitely check that out the next time we’re in GJ!
~Heidi, the Mayor
Whoa, just checked out the website. Los Altos looks amazing!!!
Next time you are there stop by and see my old friend Bret Neal at Stony Mesa Winery. http://www.stonymesawinery.com
So many wineries, and not enough time. Even on a 3 day trip we could only hit a minimal number. But I have SMW on my list now and we WILL be back!!!
Thanks for the suggestion!
~Heidi, the Mayor
What a fantastic trip! I love Grand Junction. My three grown nephews live there, but we never get out to the western slope unless we’re already road-tripping to California.
My husband and I are discussing closer-to-home getaway options for our family this summer! So many amazing places to go here in our fabulous state.
Thanks for stopping by. You know? I don’t know where you live, but It’s not really that long of a drive from Denver to Grand Junction, it just seems daunting because of the mountains.
We really are very lucky to live here. THIS is where other people come for vacation! I think that all the time. I am a pretty big fan of Colorado in general. 🙂 Obviously.
~Heidi, the Mayor