picturesque colorado towns: grand junction

Colorado is full of picturesque towns with understated but distinct characters.  Many have a cute main street lined with colorful low-slung buildings, charming restaurants and quirky shops. Many of the shops promise adventure – bicycling, rafting, canoeing or kayaking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing or hiking.  The towns are often surrounded by mountains or other grand scenery.  Some may be off the beaten path and a bit of a challenge to get to.  But, whatever their variations, they are recognizable as pure Colorado.

Grand Junction has a storied past, one full of gunslingers, miners and early settlers to the southwest. People as varied as Doc Holliday, infamous member of the Wyatt Earp U.S. Marshalls group, and screenwriter James Dalton Trumbo were once residents here. NFL players, aviators, marines, and authors have called Grand Junction home.

The town sits near the midpoint on a 30-mile arcing valley, the Grand Valley, and is the most populous municipality in western Colorado. The Upper Colorado River flows through the Grand Valley; before 1921 it was known as the Grand River, thus the “Grand” in the town’s name. “Junction” refers to the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers.

The town is known for farming, fruit growing and cattle raising.  Fruit orchards in the Grand Valley yield peaches, pears, apricots, plums, cherries, and, since the 1980s, grapes for wine.  Since the late 20th century, wineries have cropped up around the valley, especially around Palisade. The town, long occupied by the Ute people and other indigenous cultures, is now home to Colorado Mesa University, major health care facilities, and tourism-related services.  We found later that residents from Moab, Utah, travel to Grand Junction for healthcare services.

Though Grand Junction is surrounded by the same unsightly urban sprawl found on the outskirts of many American towns, the downtown area is charming, with its Art on the Corner (AOTC), a year-round outdoor sculpture exhibit of more than 100 sculptures in a variety of mediums and styles.


“Stop in the Name of Love” by Janene DiRico-Cable


Art on the Corner


Art on the Corner


James Dalton Trumbo


Art on the Corner


Art on the Corner


Art on the Corner


Art on the Corner



Art on the Corner – bench with parking meters

Businesses boast such names as Ruby Canyon Cycles, Old Friends Trading Co., Candy Time Shoppe, My Generation Boutique, The Avalon, Bella Balsamic, Heirlooms, Bejarano’s Barbering, Board Fox Games & Coffee, Tasting Emporium & Eatery, Suehiro Japanese Restaurant & Sushi, Main St. Minerals and Beads, Twisted Turtle, Western Anglers, and Amber Floral.  Outside of Buffalo Trace Distillery is a sign: You’re Right on Time, it’s Beer:30.

On the door of Out West Books is a quote by William Butler Yeats:

“There are no strangers here;
Only friends you haven’t yet met.”


Bella Balsamic & Brown Cycles


Mosaic wall


Curvy Main Street


Buffalo at Wells Fargo


Candy Time Shoppe and Novelties


Main Street, Grand Junction


Old Friends Trading Co: Native American Art


My Generation Boutique


The Avalon

This is #1 in a continuing series I’ll do on Colorado towns.

*Sunday, May 6, 2018*


“PHOTOGRAPHY” INVITATION:  I invite you to create a photography intention and then create a blog post for a place you have visited. Alternately, you can post a thematic post about a place, photos of whatever you discovered that set your heart afire. You can also do a thematic post of something you have found throughout all your travels: churches, doors, people reading, people hiking, mountains, patterns, all black & white, whatever!

You probably have your own ideas about this, but in case you’d like some ideas, you can visit my page: photography inspiration.

I challenge you to post no more than 20 photos (fewer is better) and to write less than 350-400 words about any travel-related photography intention you set for yourself. Include the link in the comments below by Wednesday, July 18 at 1:00 p.m. EST.  When I write my post in response to this challenge on Thursday, July 19, I’ll include your links in that post.

This will be an ongoing invitation, every first and third Thursday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!

the ~ wander.essence ~ community

I invite you all to settle in and read a few posts from our wandering community.  I promise, you’ll be inspired!

Thanks to all of you who shared posts on the “photography” invitation. 🙂