Friday, October 20, 2017

Colorado's Wine Country

Did you know that Colorado has a Wine Country? I didn't. But it does. Located about four hours west of Denver in the fertile Grand Valley, Colorado's Wine Country is small. Around 20-ish wineries. And you can ride your bike from vineyard to vineyard. Really. Since it's in a valley, the wine country is flat and fairly close together. If that's not appealing then here's another idea - float from winery to winery. Yep, float. From April to October you can go on a guided float trip down the Colorado River to visit vineyards and orchards. How unique is that?!
When we visit my son and his girlfriend every year in Colorado we try to see a different area of the state. Some time with them and some sightseeing. Win-win. And they had friends who had visited Wine Country and pedaled around the area tasting wine. I was sold on that idea for our next visit. We stayed in Grand Junction and floated on the Colorado River, visited a brewery, took in Colorado National Monument and day tripped over to Moab and Arches National Park in Utah. And we visited five wineries in the Palisade/Grand Junction area. They were: St. Kathryn Cellars, Maison La Belle Vie, Carlson Vineyards, Garfield Estates and Hermosa Vineyards. Unfortunately, the temps were in the high 90's so bike riding wasn't in the cards for us this time but I hope I can go again and give it a try. Like most wine countries, the wineries all had their own personality and style which is part of the fun of visiting them. In the shadow of the Grand Mesa - the largest flattop mountain in the world -  the Grand Valley has warm days and cool nights to produce not only wine but also fruit. (This area is specifically known for the Palisade Peach) So even though they produce well-known types of wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay they are particularly known for their fruity, sweet wines - which suits my palate just fine. Colorado's Wine Country is no Burgundy or Napa - it's just a small, scenic area of locally owned and run wineries that's enjoyable to visit. I truly enjoyed my visit - but then I almost always enjoy wineries!

I'd love to go back in September when Grand Junction hosts the Colorado Mountain Winefest which features over 55 different Colorado wineries, a grape stomp, live music,  wine seminars and a winemakers dinner. A wine festival in the high desert of Colorado with to-die-for views of the Grand Mesa? Count me in! 

Things to know before you go:
- Grand Junction is located is 240 miles west of Denver via I-70 on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. There are daily flights from Denver to Grand Junction.
- The Colorado Mountain Winefest will be held from September 13-16, 2018. More info at
- More info on Colorado wineries and a route map is available at

How about you? Have you been to Colorado's Wine Country? Or even heard of it?

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This post is part of a link-up with: The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Visiting Seoul's Gyeongbokgung Palace

On our trip to Seoul this past spring, we had two days on our own as our daughter, who we were visiting, was working. We scheduled a full day tour of Seoul and all it's highlights which included one of the most visited spots in all of Korea - Gyeongbokgung Palace. 

Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest of the five palaces built by the Joseon dynasty and was the home of the King, his household and the Joseon government. Known as the main palace of Seoul, it was located in the heart of the city. While under occupation of Japan, most of the buildings were destroyed. Starting in 1989 the government of Korea started the slow rebuilding process and has restored almost 40% of the buildings. You can now visit and watch the changing of the guard ceremony and see the buildings on the grounds. You may also visit the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum that are located on the grounds - they weren't on our tour schedule so we didn't visit either.

You can see many wearing hanbok - or traditional Korean dress - at the palace. 

Included on the grounds is the king's main residence, the throne hall, a pavilion for dances and events, the queen's residence including her famous garden, the king's mother's residence, a library, the king's office, an ancestral shrine and several other private residences of family members. As you can tell - it's large - and there are many buildings to see.

The Queen's Garden

The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place on the parade grounds in front of the main gate every hour from 10:00 to 3:00. Actors recreate this ceremony with narration in Korean and English. And you can get your photo with one of the guards afterwards - but don't expect a smile!

Gyeongbokgung was definitely one of the places that was high on my list in visiting Seoul. I'm so glad I was able to go - but the palace and it's grounds are so massive that I feel I wasn't able to see even a fraction on our tour. Due to some of our tour mates being late to the tour, we practically ran through the grounds to make it to our next stop on time. So if you're going, give yourself plenty of time.But don't miss it. It's truly a highlight of Seoul.

How about you? Have you been to any of the palaces in Seoul?

This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A stroll around St. Joseph Cemetery in New Orleans

Cemeteries are different in the city of New Orleans. Known as "Cities of the Dead", bodies are placed in above-ground tombs. This custom came about as it certainly wasn't practical to dig six-foot graves since the city is located below sea level. You can take tours of the different cemeteries, including the famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 with the supposed grave of the voodoo queen, Marie Laveau. We got quite lucky with our air bnb shotgun house - it happened to be right across the street from St. Joseph Cemetery No.1. We didn't need to take a tour - we could just visit whenever the gates were open. So one morning we took a slow stroll around viewing the unique graves of a New Orleans cemetery. I highly recommend visiting one if you visit New Orleans - it's just not something you see everywhere....

Have you toured a New Orleans cemetery?

This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog Party and The Weekly Postcard at The Travel Notes and Beyond!