In Praise of Palisade and Colorado Peaches

Peach Syrup at Talon Winery

Ball: One of Many Fruit Stands in Palisade

Main Street Palisade

Pretty Palisade

I’ve been back east in upstate New York most of the summer. Probably the best part of being here is that I’m loving the warm, humid weather. It’s a welcome change from the chilly and rainy days that are so much a part of July and August in Telluride. (The monsoonal flow brings terrific moisture to our arid western climate but boy, can it bring on the blues, especially since it snows well into May in Colorado’s mountain towns and as much as I love the snow, I do require a good, long blast of heat in the summer.)

But what I miss most are the peaches.

Americans love to talk about Georgia peaches. But those in the know, know that Colorado peaches are the best. Sorry, Georgia. But I really am speaking the truth here. I might go so far as to say that our Colorado peaches are even better than those from Provence. Mon dieu!

Heading Out of Grand Junction

View from My Car

On My Way to Palisade

Palisade, Colorado, a charming little town just outside of Grand Junction, is the peach capital of our beautiful Rocky Mountain state. Don’t worry, temps there run about twenty degrees hotter than in our mountain towns and rain is scarce. (Thankfully the smartly irrigated lands off of the Colorado River provide a fertile environment for the growing of peaches, grapes and other delicious fruit.)

Pretty Palisade

So Palisade

I popped into Palisade on a weekday in early June on my way back from some doctoring in Grand Junction. (Yes, that’s life in the mountains; folks from our best known ski resort towns must travel about two and a half hours for tests and treatments, which most people have just a short drive from their home.) So I decided to make it fun and stop by some of the places that give this quaint little town much of its charm. The peaches weren’t in season yet, however, the cherries were plump, luscious and as sweet as candy.

Right now–the latter part of August–is considered the height of peach season and this weekend the Palisade Peach Festival will be in full bloom. Colorado Mountain Winefest goes off here September 14-17.

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One Sensational Colorado Spa and Six Perfect Pools

Warwick Denver Hotel

Many people come to Colorado in the summer to hike, bike, jeep, fish and sit outside to enjoy great concerts amid breathtaking scenery. Yes, Colorado ranks supreme for all that, however, this Rocky Mountain state also boasts some of the best pools and spas in the country. They’re terrific because of the mountains.

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Most of the pools highlighted below are backdropped by scenery eloquently described by Katharine Lee Bates in “America the Beautiful.” And because of the purple mountain majesties where we work our bodies to near exhaustion, it’s important to have glorious pools and spas where we can relax and rejuvenate. We have a good amount of them in Colorado, all of which are attached to prized hotels and resorts.

The Peaks Pool in Telluride

See the photos and my blurbs below to begin your journey through some of the best hydrotherapy offerings in Colorado. Whether you’re going to these establishments for a stay, a treatment or a day pass (often in conjunction with poolside dining), go ahead and plan your travels around them. The benefits you derive from these mountain oases will carry you well past the end of your vacation. And best of all: Most of these pools are open year-round because they’re heated.

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Resort

The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Pool and Spa in Beaver Creek
My boyfriend, Steve, and I experienced The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Spa a while ago during a spring ski getaway. I wrote about it at Pick a Spa, Pick a Ski Destination. We loved it then, however, recently we had an even more extraordinary experience, since we logged some delicious pool time as well.

Ritz-y Pool

Poolside Offerings

Oh, the pool. Drawn in by its black lines, we knew this stunning, infinity pool was the place for us. We arrived at lunchtime on a busy Friday and were thrilled to see that there was still a designated lane where we could do laps away from the din of Marco-Polo and all the other activity that characterizes a day at the pool in summer.

Steve diligently knocked out his sixty lengths while I bronzed, something I rarely find the time to do. I decided to forgo my workout because I had already sunk deeply into a lolling around mood, one enhanced by a stack of magazines and my phone turned off. (It actually went dead because of the heat.)

Bottoms Up

Food tastes best when eaten outside, particularly in the summer when salty chips and fries are de rigueur. We feasted on fish tacos and a grilled chicken wrap served in large Bento-type boxes that far exceeded your average poolside chow. (My phone had died by the time the food arrived, however, I did take a snapshot of the menu!)

Since this is Colorado, the clouds rolled in practically on cue by mid afternoon. Pas de problème. We just snuggled up to their poolside bar and sipped a frothy one, a beer that we found very amusing because it was a perfect pour by Bottoms Up. Many guesses later, we discovered that a magnet holds the key to the beer not bottoming out. You might have seen these beers at stadiums and now it appears they’re gaining popularity at certain mountainside resorts. (Just think après ski/large volumes of beer served/perfect every time.)

Steve and Me at the Poolside Bar of The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch

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Dealing with Altitude Issues at Our High Mountain Destinations

Almost Summer at Mountain Lodge Telluride

The Town of Telluride, Colorado: Fun at 8,750 Feet

Me Feeling Happy and High at the Delightful Rooftop Bar at the New Sheridan Hotel

I’m long overdue in talking about how to combat the effects of high elevation with you. I apologize. Please forgive me.

In some ways, I’m new to the game myself. Although I’ve lived at heights as great as almost 10,000 feet for fifteen and a half years, I’m somewhat new to a magical little pill that has made a world of difference for me: It’s a diuretic called Diamox.

It was just a year ago that I began taking Diamox, a prescription medicine long touted to me by my ski clients but somehow I was lax in asking my doctor for a script. I finally did last spring and have used it many times this past year as I’ve traveled in and out of Telluride many times. At the risk of sounding like a drug pusher, ask your doctor about it and see if it’s good for you.

In other ways, I’m not at all new to the effects of elevation on my body. I think I first felt them when I went to the Alps during the time I was living in France. I was slammed with a headache that carried all the force of an avalanche down Mont Blanc. Ever since then, I take precautionary aspirins when I first arrive at elevation, even before the head pounding sets in.

But the Alps are nothing–at least in terms of height–to the Rockies. And I found that out when I moved here. Sure, after a few days I adjust to our thin air (about 30% less oxygen when you’re at over 9,000 feet), but if I leave a high destination for over a week, I have to reacclimatize each time, sometimes with effects worse than other times.

It’s no wonder I was fascinated with a Travel Fun interview I did many years ago with Dr. Peter Hackett, a world renowned high altitude expert and director of the Institute for High Altitude Medicine here in Telluride. I am rebroadcasting that interview on KOTO at 6:30pm MST today. Dr. Hackett, a leading authority on altitude illness with years of experience on big expeditions in Colorado, the Himalayas, Denali and South America, talks about his experiences along with, Don Bowie, one of the world’s top climbers. Don also shares sketchy elevation issues he has succumbed to during some of his adventures. It’s important to note that elevation sickness is genetic; it has nothing to do with what kind of shape you’re in.

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January 2017: One of the Snowiest on Record for Colorado

Spectacular Telluride Weather

Spectacular Telluride Weather

Our Cold and Snowy Mountain Town

Our Cold and Snowy Mountain Town

Cold and Snow Make for Great Skiing

Cold and Snow Make for Great Skiing

Brrrrr

Brrrrr

Into the Mist

Into the Mist

Whoa! What a month it has been. With over eight feet of snow that fell in Telluride–as well as tons in other mountain towns of Colorado–the skiing and riding have been epic. It seems as though visitors and locals have been alternatively stoked and exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to plow through all that fresh powder whether it’s on the slopes, in your driveway, on your deck or on the snow-packed roads you travel on to go to work. (I’m an exceptional driver on our windy, mountain roads, especially with the help of my Arctic Claw snow tires, however, many aren’t, so it takes an infinite amount of patience to putz behind slow-moving vehicles when driving to work in such wintry conditions. That’s after the morning departure has already been greatly delayed by having to defrost and clean off the car. No, the start-of-the-day routine in the dead of winter in the Rockies is not for sissies.)

My Windshield

My Windshield

January: A Big Month for Ongoing Ski Instructor Training

January: A Big Month for Ongoing Ski Instructor Training

Avalanche Control Work on Ajax

Avalanche Control Work on Ajax Mountain

But we made it! The past few days have almost felt like spring. Sure, there will still be a lot of cold and snow left to this winter–let’s hope so at least–but I doubt we’ll see a string of days like the many we just endured in January. It must have been one of the greyest months on record, too. And as much as I like the cold and snow, there was many a morning when I felt a sense of dread about going out and freezing my butt off yet again. No matter how many layers I wore and despite electric boot warmers, boot gloves and hand warmers, it was hard most days to shake off the chill. When the sun doesn’t shine here in Colorado, it can feel mighty cold indeed. more »

Post Election Healing

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Let’s take a collective ten deep breaths. Ommmm. Remember to exhale long and completely. Now try doing that every hour. Yes, that’s ten deep breaths every hour, every day.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, most of us spend every hour of our day trying to manage our stress. We all have so much going on! And yes, one can even feel stressed in a beautiful mountain town surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world.

Just now, as I began to write this story, the internet at home here was all goofy. RRRRRrrrrrrr. Fortunately, I didn’t let that frustrated feeling set in and I just brushed it off (sort of) and decided to write free form without needing a speedy internet. Lots of letting go here.

I feel the need to address the stress subject with you because so many people have been distraught over the election results. Whether your candidate won or not, everyone has experienced a certain amount of stress over this. (Just think of the Trump supporter attempting to defend his president-elect on social media or at the water cooler. Or, even without saying anything, hearing all the opposition against his or her choice.) It’s hard to move on from it all, especially since the daily news flashes keep bringing bad news to the dems. Ugh.

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Just think of the people directly implicated by this. I mean right now. My older brother, Frank Clemente, the driving force behind Americans for Tax Fairness, was to meet with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren just after the election. Well, you can bet that meeting was cancelled. And now I’d imagine Frank’s work has quadrupled. So discouraging. more »

Celebrating 100 years of Our National Parks at Mesa Verde

Spruce Tree House Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde

Spruce Tree House Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde

Me Overlooking Spruce Tree House

Me Overlooking Spruce Tree House

Touring Mesa Verde National Park

Touring Mesa Verde National Park

You’ve probably heard that 2016 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the National Park Service. Often referred to as America’s Best Idea, there are more than four hundred parks within our beautiful country and I think fall is one of the best times to visit them. In celebration of this milestone, there’s one more entrance-free day left and I find it appropriate that this one takes place on Veteran’s Day, November 11.

To me, it feels like I’m living within a national park in my home of Telluride, Colorado. I believe that Ken Burns, renowned filmmaker of America’s National Park series and many other inspiring documentaries, feels similarly. Perhaps this is why he spends so much time in our little box canyon mountain town. I did an interview with him a while back on our national parks that is still very pertinent today. Do check it out here.

Even so, I love venturing out and exploring the real deal. Fortunately, we have a couple national parks in Colorado within about an hour-and-a-half drive of Telluride: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. (The latter is also a World Heritage Site.) I visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with my parents six years ago toward the end of a big southwest tour that also showcased Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Click here to read Touring the Southwest with My Parents, which features those two world-renowned destinations. At the end of that trip, I also visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with them and I highlight this amazing national park in Part Four of a series of stories I did about rafting in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. After you read about this little-known national park, check out Rafting and Roughing it on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Part One, Part Two and Part Three–it was a big outdoor adventure that I hope to do again some day. You just might want to plan a similar trip there yourself.

Speaking of world famous sites, it always strikes me that at America’s National Parks I see an overwhelming number of foreigners. Sometimes I think they value what we have more than most of us. Possibly. In any event, I hope this story and the photos herein will prompt you to break out and savor what we are so blessed to behold within our nation’s borders. I also think it might be a great way to blow out some election overload!

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June in the Rockies: A Gorgeous Time of Year

The View of the Beautiful Funky Town of Telluride from Our Room at the New Sheridan

The View of the Beautiful Funky Town of Telluride from Our Room at the New Sheridan

Telluride Green and White

Telluride Green and White

Last Week in T-ride

Last Week in T-ride

I’m on Lake George in the Adirondacks now where I’ve been plunged into the luscious heat and humidity of an upstate New York summer. It feels glorious, especially as I sit here on the porch in a bathing suit and sarong typing away on my laptop. It has been quite the spring in Telluride, chilly and snowy all the way up through last Thursday. Of course you can never entirely put winter clothes away in the Rockies, but this year I needed good, sturdy boots right up to Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

Views from the Neighborhood

Views from the Neighborhood

Spring View from the House

Spring View from the House

As much as I’m happy to be sitting here in bare feet wiggling my toes, I was thrilled to experience that extraordinary time of the year when the mountains emerge from their deep winter slumber before I left. I witnessed the fuzzy buds of the aspens pop into bright leaves as the crystalline snows melted on their branches. The play of spring light against the fresh yellow-green of the season and the pure white snow made for a dazzling display of nature. I was happy this all happened during a time when I was busy running about to do errands because the panoramic views on my drives were beyond breathtaking. Changes in the leaves occurred seemingly by the minute. Indeed, it’s a wonderful time of the year for the earth to reawaken, especially in the mountains of Colorado.

Telluride

Telluride

I thought I’d share with you here some images from this time of year taken this year and last. I also wanted to tell you about a little-known secret: June is one of the best times of the year in the Rockies. In Telluride, it’s when Bluegrass happens (the third week in June), but first and foremost, it’s the month of some of the best weather of the year. The hills are truly coming alive during this time and although it might rain some in June, we’re not yet soaked with the monsoonal flows that hit the mountains in July and August. Yes, it’s a splendiferous time of the year. And the summer crowds have not yet arrived. (Not that it ever becomes very crowded in Telluride.)

Nightcap at the New Sheridan

Nightcap at the New Sheridan

Our Room at the New Sheridan

Our Room at the New Sheridan

Feeling Cozy at the New Sheridan

Feeling Cozy at the New Sheridan

My Hotel and Dining Recommendation
Truly a destination hotel, the historic New Sheridan has long served as the hub of Telluride. And as much as I don’t like to play favorites, I would go so far as to say that this glittering establishment stands out as my all-time favorite place to be in Telluride. It’s the place to go to dine, drink, savor an elegant hotel stay and just while away some time as you watch the fun and playful doings of our beautiful mountain town unfold before you. I stayed here for a night almost year ago with my boyfriend, Steve, and it was one of the best staycations you could imagine. Highlights included late-night drinks at the bar, luxurious accommodations and a superb brunch in the Chop House Restaurant. So many of the sights, sounds and smells from that stay still tingle my senses; the pop, pop, pop of the opening of bubbly for the Sunday brunch still echo in my mind along with the stillness of the night as seen, heard and experienced from our beautiful room. A true bastion of tradition and refinement, the New Sheridan perfectly embodies the spirit of Old World grandeur and old mining town charm.

Beautiful Bathroom at the New Sheridan

Beautiful Bathroom at the New Sheridan

Heading to Brunch

Heading to Brunch

Brunch

Mimosas

Brunch

Brunch

Old Time-y Photos Line the Walls at the New Sheridan

Old Time-y Photos Line the Walls at the New Sheridan

Beau: A Fixture at this Fine Establishment

Beau: A Fixture at this Fine Establishment

The Town of Telluride Early June

The Town of Telluride Early June

When in Telluride, be sure to make your way to the recently opened New Sheridan rooftop bar, last summer’s talk of the town. Here are a couple of photos from a fun time I shared there last September with a good friend.

Enjoying Drinks at the New Sheridan Rooftop Bar

Enjoying Drinks at the New Sheridan Rooftop Bar

Here's to a Fun Summer Scene

Here’s to a Fun Summer Scene

For more on the New Sheridan, read New Sheridan Hotel:  Telluride’s Historic Gem.

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Ski Dreams

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

I dreamed of skiing last night. I felt the joy of doing sweet turns on soft, slushy snow on a bright and sunny spring day. The sky appeared bluer than blue, even bluer than a Colorado sky, making the scene feel surreal. It was, of course, just a dream. But still, when I woke up, I felt the sense of freedom and exhilaration one feels after doing some great turns on the slopes. Those feelings are fleeting now but it was swell while it lasted.

I chatted on the phone with my boyfriend yesterday and he told me the skiing is fabulous in Keystone. “Nice corn snow, Hun. Really great spring skiing,” he emphasized.

I guess those words have stuck with me, particularly since I remember with great fondness a week of skiing we shared at Keystone and Breck, A-Basin and Vail this time of year a couple of years ago.

Actually I’ve been following the Colorado ski season ever since it suddenly ended for me on March 22, the day my father passed away.

Some might think that winter is over and so is the skiing. But those in the know, know that some of the best days may be relished throughout the end of March and all the way into the better part of April in the West. Those can be big snow weeks and with the base that most Colorado ski resorts have benefited from this season, even without fresh pow, the good skiing can go on and on and on.

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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