Destination for Meetings and Events: Palisade, Colorado
By Beth Buehler
Palisade is one of Colorado’s western slope destinations for meetings and events you might not be familiar with. It’s a small community of just over 2,700 full-time residents but is sure to capture the hearts of planners and attendees alike with scenic splendor, outdoor activities and prime location in the heart of the state’s wine and orchard country.
With Grand Junction to the west and Fruita to the east, all along Interstate 70 and the Colorado River, Palisade is easy to access by car and air. There is even an Amtrak route from Denver that stops in Grand Junction for a memorable and easy way to reach Colorado’s Western Slope. This beautiful valley offers some prime recreational opportunities such as hiking, biking, golfing, fishing, rafting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Wine and Fruit on the Agenda
After meetings or on a free day, a must-do for any group agenda is experiencing some of the approximately 25 wineries and numerous farms and orchards. The area’s temperate weather, subtle breezes and artesian wells provide an ideal environment for vineyards, lavender fields and orchards filled with peach, plum, apple, apricot and cherry trees, some offering u-pick opportunities.
In terms of Palisade’s wine country, go on guided wine tours, savor music in a vineyard or rent bikes to pedal along the fruit and wine byway. Electric bikes are available to rent locally for those who prefer not to pedal the whole way, and Visit Grand Junction has a helpful list of routes for two-hour, four-hour and all-day bike/winery routes.
Other fun ways to explore wine country is by limousine, horse-drawn carriage, safari-style vehicles and Segways.
Local Events to Tie Into
If you want to schedule at Palisade meeting facilities in tandem with one of the town’s popular events like Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Music Festival, Lavender Festival, Tour de Vineyards, Palisade Peach Festival and Colorado Mountain Winefest, book rooms early in Palisade or plan on staying in Grand Junction, which has a wide range of lodging options like DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Grand Junction.
I’ve attended the Palisade Peach Festival with the culinary team of one of Denver’s largest conference hotels and won’t forget viewing the sunset during dinner in a peach orchard, picking peaches, enjoying lunch at a lavender farm, and touring Talbott Farms, one of the state’s premiere peach producers that has entered the hard cider business as well.
In this time of COVID-19, make sure to stay flexible as communities and states decide if festivals and events are able to happen and at what levels. The local destination marketing organization can help planners stay informed.
Palisade Meeting Facilities
The best property for both lodging and meeting event space in Palisade is Wine Country Inn, an 80-room, Victorian-style boutique hotel nestled in the middle of 21 acres of working vineyards. It’s also within walking distance of two wineries and a short drive or bike ride from two dozen more. With an abundance of local agricultural products, Wine Country Inn’s culinary team prepares field-to-fork creations for groups and for the on-site Caroline’s restaurant and Tapestry Lounge. A complimentary afternoon wine reception features the property’s very own private label wines made from grapes grown right outside the doors.
Planners can chose from 10 spaces of varying sizes at the inn to accommodate groups from five to 200. Vineyard Ballroom is the largest, holding up to 180 guests for a seated dinner or 300 attendees classroom-style. The smaller Orchard Room is perfect for cocktail receptions, wine tastings, presentations or meetings for 30 to 40 guests, while the covered pavilion and landscaped courtyard can accommodate up to 200 for receptions, concerts and dancing. For the ultimate in privacy for retreats, the property’s Vintner’s House has two large Club Rooms with a fully equipped kitchen, living room and dining space.
Several Palisade wineries can host tastings, tours and more. For example, Maison la Belle Vie Winery has the charming Amy’s Courtyard that can host up to 150 guests for wine dinners, receptions, wine and cheese tastings, and more. There is an attractive barn for indoor gatherings and a manicured lawn to enjoy the outdoors.
Explore the Scene
Wait, we’re not done yet! Also in Palisade, consider integrating Palisade Brewing Company, Peach Street Distillery, alpaca farms and historical walking tours into the mix. For groups that have a cultural bent, a thriving community of artists shows works in local and nearby galleries and studios.
In the historic downtown, find streets lined with artisan shops, galleries, restaurants and bakeries. There are plenty of opportunities for amazing meeting breaks, incentive programs and pre-and post-meeting suggestions.
In addition to Palisade being a great destination for meetings and events, Colorado as a state offers a broad range of opportunities for groups. Destination Colorado is dedicated to helping planners find just the right fit for their gatherings!