Peach Picking in Palisade, Colorado

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Iis Palisade peach season.  Probably the best peaches I have ever sunk my teeth into.  Super juicy, fragrant, and simply delicious.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying a Palisade peach, let me give you the low down on theses delectable treasures.  The Grand Valley, where the peaches are grown, has hot days and cool nights which are a perfect combination for bringing out the natural sugars in the peaches and growing big fruit.  I grew up eating peaches in California, and no offense to California but the peaches were always very dry, mealy, and tart.  They were picked too early for transport and were not given enough time to develop enough natural sugar (thanks visitgj for this information).  So, you can imagine my amazement and pure joy when I bit into a chin-dripping Palisade peach for the first time.  Yummy!  image

There are two types of Palisade peaches, cling and freestone.  Both terms refer to the way the peach sticks to the pit.  Cling peaches stick to the pit and freestone peaches don’t.  I like both but prefer freestone peaches when cooking.  They are just easier to cut into when making cobblers or adding them to my overnight oats.

imageWe usually buy our peaches at the local Farmers Markets or we take the short drive to Palisade and buy them at the various orchards.

Recently, we decided to pick our own peaches.  We randomly stopped at Mt. Lincoln Peach Co.  We went later in the day and on a weekday so it was quiet, which I love.  When we arrived we received a box for gathering the peaches, we were also given a map showing which trees were ready for peach picking, and we were on our way.  It was a fun experience.  The orchards are green and lush with tons of ripe peaches that are extremely fragrant.  While picking peaches, a perfect view of Mt. Garfield, the Bookcliffs, and the Grand Mesa can be seen in the distance.  Helpful tip:  wear closed toe shoes, preferably tennis shoes.  The orchards were a little muddy and I was wearing a pair of dressy flats, not a good idea!image

A city girl, it was really neat seeing chickens and roosters nearby making the whole experience “a little country.”  I loved it.  imageThe pick your own peaches at this location were $1.00 a pound.  We ended up buying $8.51 (to be exact) worth of peaches.  We went home and I immediately made peach cobbler.  So good!

 

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There are many orchards and “you pick” orchards in Palisade, please visit– visitpalisade.com for more information.

If you haven’t had a Palisade peach yet, don’t worry, Palisade peach season usually runs until September.  Also, you can celebrate Palisade peaches at the annual Palisade Peach Festival, August 17-20, 2017.  For more festival information please visit–palisadepeachfest.com

Check out–“Selecting the Perfect Palisade Peaches,” at visitgrandjunction.com

Please leave a comment letting me know your thoughts on Palisade peaches.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado!

cropped-rsz_2dsc_0138.jpg“Welcome to Colorful Colorado,” the phrase that greets people at the state line.  This phrase is a welcoming  beacon after a long day of travel.  It greets visitors and residents in the same manner, with open arms and opportunity.  When you see those 4 words you know that you have arrived at your destination.  These words, almost as soothing as “I love you.”  Ok, I know that may be pushing it a little, but in reality if you are traveling and Colorado is your destination, sometimes it feels that way.  Depending on what direction you are traveling, that sign may be a sign of relief.  **Did you know–Colorado has 7 border states–Wyoming, Utah, Arizona (part of the infamous 4 Corners region), New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Kansas.

We travel a lot around the United States and in all honesty, I am not being biased, the Colorado welcome sign is, well, the best.  It has pizazz!  Ok, I am biased.  I just love to see the welcome sign.  It means I am home.  This particular sign does represent home.  It is along the Colorado/Utah border on I-70.  It is my favorite picture.  I took it during our home search in Grand Junction.  Screenshot_2017-06-22-13-40-10-1-01

The sign, which is deep-rooted with Colorado residents, almost had a face-lift.  When I was trying to find some information or history in reference to the sign I read that there was talk years ago about changing the font.  But, Colorado folks were not having that!  I have also read that some feel the sign is monotone and drab.  I mean how can you have the word colorful in a drab wooden, two tone sign?  I think it is perspective.  What makes Colorado colorful?  Colorado is not only mountains.  Prairies, farmland, deserts, mesas, canyons, valleys, monuments, all adorn the Colorado landscape as well.  All of these different types of topographic treasures make Colorado colorful!  It just depends on your outlook.

(The welcome sign on the Colorado/Wyoming border) Screenshot_2017-06-22-13-53-01-1-01

I am still a self proclaimed tourist in my own state.  I am the one you will see on the side of the road (safely) snapping a picture of the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign.  I find it to be somewhat of a treasure hunt to find all of the different signs welcoming folks to the great state of Colorado.  One sign in particular had me on a quest.  I first saw the sign on Instagram.  It truly was the only “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign that was, well, colorful.  I had to find it.  I was on a mission.  And I was bringing my husband and our pup along for the ride.  It took some time but I managed, thanks to the Instagram community, to pinpoint the location.  20170429_161848-01_resized

See!  It truly is colorful.  This sign is located on the Colorado(Hwy 90)/Utah(Hwy 46) border.  The nice thing about the location of this sign, it has a turnout for safely taking pictures.  Now, I should state that not all signs along the border welcoming folks into Colorado are exciting!  But they are worth mentioning.  One honorable mention is the Colorado state line sign in Dinosaur National Monument.  Not an exciting sign, but it is neat to know that while in the park you are traveling between two different states. 20170603_150921-01-01_resized

You might be thinking, how in the world can she devote a blog post to a welcome sign?  My response, it is a Colorado thing.  We even have signs to let you know when you are leaving…..Screenshot_2017-06-22-14-03-30-1-01

As always, please share your thoughts in the comment section.  You can also follow me on Instagram, where I spend most of my time!:)

Hanging Lake

20170619_184836-01_resizedWe have been in Colorado since 2010 and we had never hiked Hanging Lake until just recently.  We decided that we should probably hike the iconic and quintessential trail sooner rather than later because recent reports of vandalism to the trail had sparked conversations about possibly closing the trail.  (FYI, today is June 21, 2017 and I have read and heard the trail will probably implement a permit system instead of closing down).

20170529_163400-01_resizedCurrently, there is no fee to hike the trail.  The exit to the rest area which will lead you to the trail head is well marked off of I-70.  Keep in mind that this is a VERY popular trail, especially in the summertime and the parking lot gets full very quickly.  Keep this in mind while planning your trip.  Please keep in mind that the park staff works very hard to make sure that the flow of traffic and the parking spots are monitored.  Please don’t get angry with park staff because of parking or traffic, plan wisely to avoid frustration.  Another tip, hike on a weekday if you can and arrive early or later in the afternoon when the crowds have cleared.

20170529_163850-01_resizedThis hike is absolutely beautiful.  The lake is stunning and majestic.  When you make it to the top and round the bend and your eyes first catch a glimpse of the infamous lake, you immediately forget the strenuous hike and realize the best views do require some hard work.  “Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition where the natural geologic and hydrologic processes continue to operate as they have done for thousands of years. The site is also noteworthy for its thriving hanging garden plant community.” – See more at: http://www.visitglenwood.com/things-to-do/hanging-lake#sthash.CX2kv7QD.dpuf

After hiking the trail twice, reading the multitude of signs posted around the rest area and trail, talking with visitors, and observation I decided to compile a list of helpful tips.

  1.  Unfortunately, you can’t drive to the lake.  You have to park and hike up to it.
  2. Proper footwear is a must for this hike.  This hike is steep and rocky, and the rocks can be very slick.  I do not recommend this hike in flip flops, dressy sandals, etc…
  3. In my opinion, this hike is a steep climb.  Be aware of this before you embark on the hike, if you are with someone with health issues, this may not be the hike for them.  I personally would rate the hike as strenuous.
  4. Hydrate.  Bring H2O.  Don’t let the small mileage fool you, especially in the summer and especially if you aren’t used to the elevation.
  5. Take your time going up.  In my mind, hiking is similar to yoga, everyone goes at a pace that is personally comfortable.  The hike is beautiful all the way to the top.  Stop, catch your breath, and enjoy the scenery.  (There are places to sit along the hike).
  6. Parking is very limited at the trail head/rest area.  Expect crowds, especially during the summer.  Plan ahead, start early or go a little later in the afternoon.
  7. If you show up at the trail head at 7:45 pm in the summer, keep in mind that the chances of coming back down the trail in the dark is highly likely.  Plan accordingly.
  8. Leave no trace.  Pack out what you brought in.  There are no trash cans along the trail or at the top by the lake.
  9. Please respect all of the signs and barriers.  There are signs everywhere letting visitors know what to expect and the rules of the trail.
  10. This is not a dog friendly hike.  Pups will have to stay at home for this hike.

Enjoy your hike and visit to the Glenwood Springs area.  If you hike or have hiked to Hanging Lake, please share your comments, I would love to hear about your adventure.

For more information on Hanging Lake and visiting Glenwood Springs, please visit http://www.visitglenwood.com/things-to-do/hanging-lake

 

 

Home ownership in Colorado–Western Slope Style!

20170618_204556-01-01_resizedWe bought a house in Grand Junction, Colorado, aka the Western Slope.  We now have an investment and we are no longer paying exuberant rent.  We feel blessed.  Everyday we get to see the beautiful, confident, underrated Mt. Garfield outside our bedroom window!  However, with all of our blessings we have quite a few homeowner lessons that we are learning along the way.  First, let me point out that I am a very organized person.  I still keep an old school check register because I have to highlight and mark off transactions and pending transactions.  I like to know what our monthly bills are, to the decimal point.  So with all of this border line OCD happening in my head, home ownership has had many unexpected costs.  I would like to share these costs because in my mind, well, this information is just really helpful.

First, we belong to an HOA.  No biggie.  We knew our neighborhood had an HOA prior to signing our final paperwork.  What we didn’t realize, our annual dues are due in January.  We bought our house mid-December.  The added cost of the HOA dues really put a wrench in our month, which by the way, includes Christmas and gift buying!  So, I made some phone calls and emailed the HOA and thank goodness, they allowed us to pay the dues in installments.  So, now we know that we need to have an extra $300 in checking to pay our annual HOA dues which are due in January.

Second, speaking of HOA, in our neighborhood we have irrigation water.  Now, I am not that well-versed on the whole irrigation water set up.  But what I do know, irrigation water is handy because it allows us to water our lawn and not use the same water that we use inside the house for cooking, drinking, and cleaning.  Irrigation water maintenance is very specific.  Apparently, before winter the irrigation system must be “blown out” so that the pipes don’t freeze.  We didn’t have to do that this year because the previous homeowner took care of it.  In the spring, you have to make sure, before they turn on the irrigation pump that the valve on your property is closed and then once they turn on the pump you can turn on the valve.  Confusing right???  Well in all of that confusion we also got a bill for $60 from the ditch and drainage company.  This annual bill is due in March.  So, I had to make another call and find out what the bill was for and if I could pay it a little late.  So, now we know that we have to pay an extra $60 for irrigation water in March.

Third, we got another bill related to the irrigation due in June.  This bill is paid to the drainage district and is the storm water utility fee.  This fee of $36 is an annual bill for the runoff from the irrigation water.

Fourth, the power companies (electric and gas), water, sewage, garbage, and cable all have to be set up.  Theses utilities also include an initial connection fee.  I know this seems like a no brainer, but we were renting and didn’t pay for water, sewage, or garbage.  Also, our power bill was one bill when we rented and now it is two separate bills from two separate companies.  Cable, I know it is not a necessity, but we do set it up, especially for the Internet (how would I write this compelling blog post 🙂

Fifth, we rekeyed the house, completely necessary.  We had  to buy an extra garage remote, because the previous homeowner only left one.  Also, we needed a washer and dryer.  We could have sworn that the washer and dryer were being left behind in our contract but we reread it, and were sadly mistaken.  Thank goodness for Craigslist.  We also needed a lawn mower, edger, and a hose, which we didn’t have to buy right away because it was winter when we moved in.

Home ownership is teaching us a lot.  We have other expenses but they are not necessities.  For example, we have changed out the old light fixtures for more energy efficient lighting.  This was not necessary, but we are slowly putting our own touches on our house along with trying to find ways to cut costs like the electricity bill!

In conclusion, home ownership is blissful and stressful!  We own our very own home.  We can paint, change lighting, pull up carpet, and basically make it our own.  This is what makes buying a house turn into a home.  But, the most spectacular part of home ownership is that we get to visit places in western Colorado that we have never visited before.  We are off exploring every weekend and we are enjoying our adventures!

 

**If you have any home ownership tips to share, please put them in the comment section.  I love to hear different perspectives and advice.

 

Second Home Kitchen and Bar in Denver, Colorado

Happy New Year!  My first post for the new year is about food.  Surprise, surprise!  It seems as though most of my posts are about food.  I may need to branch out a little bit more in 2013.  🙂  We rang in the New Year at Second Home Kitchen and BarSecond Home Kitchen and Bar is located in the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek.  I have mentioned the JW Marriott in a previous post:  https://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/president-obama-in-colorado/

I wanted to spend this new year around lots of people.  I didn’t want to be at home.  I wanted to be around the excitement that fills the air when ringing in the new year.  The countdown, the smiles, the anticipation of a better year filled with resolutions and changes…I wanted to raise my complimentary glass of champagne and yell “Happy New Year!”

My husband made all the arrangements for Second Home Kitchen and Bar.  He did good:)!  We started our meal with the Spicy Tuna Tartare -$14
sashimi grade tuna, bok choy, sweet pea aioli, wonton chipsIMG_20130105_101424This was absolutely delicious!  I could have eaten two!

For dinner I ordered the Seared Organic Scottish Salmon -$26
Colorado black quinoa, squash, asparagus,
lemon butter–I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful this entree tasted.  The portions are really generous and the seasoning on all the dishes was perfect.IMG_20130105_101457My husband ordered the Braised Bison Short Rib -$26
parsnip mash, garlic seared kale,
whole grain mustard demi glace.  The meat literally fell off the bone.  He was in Heaven!IMG_20130105_101600I did order a table side of Sweet Potato Fries for $6.00.  I couldn’t help it.  IMG_20130105_101531We also ordered dessert.  We really indulged on New Year’s Eve.  Before heading to dinner I think we both knew that dessert would be ordered.  We ordered two desserts.  The first dessert was  the Irish Cream Crème Brûlée -$7
sugar cookieIMG_20130105_101626Sorry about the picture quality.  I was using the camera on our phone and it looks like I picked up a shadow.  This dessert was yummy.  To be honest, any Creme Brulee is awesome!  We also ordered the Chocolate Bread Pudding -$7
chocolate covered espresso beans, chocolate sauce, brownie gelatoIMG_20130105_101654I could eat those little pieces of bread pudding in the morning with coffee.  I like a little bit of chocolate with my bread pudding.  Yum!

Second Home Kitchen and Bar provided a wonderful dining experience.  We really enjoyed the restaurant ambiance.  Ringing in the new year at Second Home was a great experience.  P.S.  we want to try their Sunday Pajama Brunchhttp://secondhomedenver.com/cherry-creek-restaurant-food/brunch-menu/

Second Home Kitchen and Bar contact information:

Hours: breakfast & lunch: 7 – 2 | dinner: 5-10 (11 on Fridays and Saturdays) | Address: 150 Clayton Lane | Denver CO 80206 | T 303.253.3000 | F 303.316.4697

The Lumineers

Have you heard of The Lumineers?  They are a Denver based band.  I actually had heard their song, Ho Hey and didn’t realize who they were until I was reading RETAILHELLINDENVER and this fellow blogger educated me on The Lumineers.  I love to support local music.  I am just a little on the slow side when it comes to identifying artists.  Usually I have to You Tube song lyrics to find out the name of a song that I want to download on iTunes.  I know, pitiful.  But, I do know a great band when I hear them.  I have downloaded Ho Hey, Flowers in Your Hair, and  Stubborn Love.  I love the music because I can imagine myself dancing when I am driving, I can sing the lyrics fairly clear, and also because the beat is one that brings happiness to my spirit even after a long day at work.  I picture myself with flowers in my hair, in Aspen, dancing around aimlessly to The Lumineers.  I hope you enjoy them too.

Networking Your Blog

I know that “networking your blog” must seem like a  random post in the midst of a blog about love living in Colorado but, I think it is important.  I have been blogging about wonderful Colorado since February 28, 2012.  To be honest, I had never blogged before.  My mission for the lovelivingincolorado blog is still the same.  I want to share all of the wonderful things to see, do, and eat in Denver and all around the state of Colorado.  I want my blog to be positive.  With this being said I have tried to figure out how to get more blog traffic.  To date I have 247 wonderful followers of lovelivingincolorado and as I am typing I have 13, 340 all-time views.  But, how do I get more blog traffic?  This is what I have done so far to increase lovelivingincolorado traffic:

1.  I set up a lovelivingincolorado facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Love-Living-in-Colorado/340789435975068

2.  I am on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/lovelivinginco

3.  My dear friend graciously (http://www.etsy.com/shop/GrayciousDesigns) made me calling cards for lovelivingincolorado.4.  I pass out my calling cards while out and about.

5.  I reply to comments left on my blog.

6.  I ask questions on my blog to initiate conversation.

7.  I highlight key words and make sure I have links in my posts.

8.  After I have blogged about a business or restaurant I contact them immediately to let them know I posted about their establishment on lovelivingincolorado.  For example, my post about d bar Desserts in Denverhttps://lovelivingincolorado.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/desserts-again/ was my busiest post generating 372 views in one day.  I was so excited.  d bar Desserts featured me on their facebook page after I contacted them about my blog.9.  I try to blog Monday-Friday.  I read that posting often is a good way to generate blog traffic.  This has been a little bit difficult this month because we have had a full house with family and friends but I am going to get back into the swing of things.

10.  Finally, I try to like and comment on other blogs.  This is a little tricky.  I want to like and follow blogs that interest me and entice me to comment.  I don’t want to just like to like or follow to get followed (does that make sense?).

In my inbox this morning I found this great post by Bucket List Publicationshttp://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/the-importance-of-social-media/ .  It is a wonderful post that will keep you motivated to generate more blog traffic.

I would love to hear your recommendations on how to generate more blog traffic.  Please let me know what you do to entice readers.  I appreciate any and all feedback.  Have a great Wednesday!