Published September/October 2013

A Grand Junction

Art, nature, history, and flavor come together to form this intersection, Colorado’s best-kept secret

BYBeverly Burmeier
Colorado is known for its many natural wonders. From the plush ski resorts throughout the Rocky Mountains to the famous hot springs surrounding the Colorado River, the Centennial State is a premier destination with endless possibilities.
 
Take a road trip through a majestic green valley, surrounded by massive sandstone formations, and you’ll find one of the state’s best-kept secrets. Grand Junction, just 30 miles east of the Utah border, is the largest city between Denver and Salt Lake City. Here you’ll find a town that embodies everything Colorado has to offer.
 
This city beckons travelers seeking the casual and welcoming attitude of a community known for its laid-back Western charm combined with glorious mountain scenery and an abundance of natural resources. It’s a near-perfect destination that offers a different ambience each season.
 
Town and Country
Famous for its rigorous trails and the serious mountain bikers who ride here, Grand Junction also offers plenty of paved paths for leisurely rides through the scenic countryside. For a milder endeavor yet, climb the steps to the top of the 75-foot Sterling T. Smith Educational Tower, which is part of the Museum of the West. The tower provides guests with 360-degree views of the city, and includes signs pointing out historic buildings. Then, descend upon the museum’s educational exhibits to learn more about the area’s history.
 
If strolling through town is more your style, browse the antique stores, gift shops, and boutiques that line Main Street. Worthy stops include Enstrom’s Candies, for a sample of the world-famous toffee, and the Downtown Farmers’ Market every Thursday for live music, unique creations, and seasonal produce.
 
Take a moment to discover Art on the Corner, a year-round outdoor exhibit of more than 100 sculptures located throughout downtown. From fountains and statues to abstract and humorous creations, this collection gives the streets of Grand Junction a personality of their own (in addition to providing some great photo props).
 
Before you work up an appetite, don’t forget to make dinner plans. The Winery Restaurant, known for its elegant and romantic setting, is housed in a 90-year-old building that was once a horse-drawn carriage fire station (reservations recommended). If a seasonal microbrew is what you’re after, the Rockslide Restaurant and Brewery offers a rotating list of beers brewed on-site, including Kokopelli Cream Ale, Raspberry Wheat, and Rabbit Ears Amber Ale, along with delicious menu-pairing suggestions.
 

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"Chrome on the Range" sculpture
"Chrome on the Range" sculpture
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