How to Live the Presidential Life in Grand Junction

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Follow in Obama Family Footsteps

When President Barack Obama visits Grand Junction, Colo., this weekend for his town hall meeting on health care reform, he will be the seventh sitting president of the United States to visit western Colorado's Grand Valley. Want to walk in presidential footsteps - or at least feel like you're living a presidential life? Read on for some ideas from the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Getting There and Getting Around
Plenty of commercial flights will get you to Grand Junction Regional Airport efficiently, but if you want to get there the jetsetter's way, try a private plane. Named one of the top 10 destinations for private jet leisure travel by Flight Options, Grand Junction serves the summer vacation crowd as well as skiers headed for Telluride and Aspen in the winter.

Or think nostalgic and take Amtrak's California Zephyr through the Rockies. When you arrive, all the major national rental car companies can get you in the saddle for a real Western stay with anything from a luxury SUV to Chevy Silverado four-person pick-up truck.

Driving on your own? It's four hours from Denver or Salt Lake City, seven from Albuquerque and 10 from Phoenix.

Sleeping
As a major hub between Denver and Salt Lake City on I-70, Grand Junction offers a myriad of hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and campgrounds. From in-town upscale accommodations at The Doubletree (doubletree.com) to luxurious, romantic inns, you'll overlook the famous bluffs of the Grand Mesa Plateau and Book Cliffs.

Southwest of town, the new Gateway Canyons Resort is set in prime territory for adventure, history or simply, with mountain and rock climbing, river sports, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, plenty of solitude - and even an on-site auto museum.

Try out a luxury bed and breakfast inn at Los Altos, or stay right at a winery. The Chateau at Two Rivers Winery is a family-operated operation nestled between the gateways of the Colorado National Monument.

Eating
Whether you favor authentic Mexican, fast food or upscale dining, you'll find it nearby in Grand Junction. Want something new, different and unique to the area? Check out locals' favorites such as The Bistro, Nepal Restaurant or Dolce Vita Restaurant, which has received Wine Spectator Magazine's Award of Excellence.

Above all, eat peaches. Yes, peaches. The Obamas will be in the area during the 41st Annual Palisade Peach Festival (palisadepeachfest.com), but fruit is ripe for the picking throughout the region in August. Sought after by people who drive hundreds - sometimes thousands - of miles, eight varieties of peaches add to harvests of apples, cherries, pears and apricots from the state's largest agricultural region.

Drinking
Grand Junction is Colorado's wine country. Between the Grand Valley AVA and nearby West Elk AVA are more than 30 wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms. You'll find one of the world's highest-altitude vineyards at Terror Creek Winery, the state's oldest operating winery at Colorado Cellars, and Colorado's most award-winning winery at Plum Creek Winery.

Exploring
For truly presidential scenery and outdoor opportunities, you've come to the right place. Among spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons are the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain (at 10,000 feet), the Colorado National Monument, Bookcliff Wild Horse Area, two national scenic byways and five golf courses. Boating, fishing, hiking, road and mountain biking adventures abound.

You can dig, too. Located in the heart of the Colorado-Utah Dinosaur Diamond, the area is internationally known for its wealth of dinosaur excavation sites, exhibits and fossils. Join paleontologists for a "Dino Dig" with the Museum of Western Colorado (dinodigs.org).

And if you want to follow in the Obama family's national park vacation footsteps, visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (nps.gov/blca), celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

About Grand Junction (visitgrandjunction.com)
At an altitude of 4,507 feet, and with more than 275 days of sunshine annually, Grand Junction enjoys warm summers and moderate spring, fall and winter seasons. The Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau (GJVCB) is a department of the City of Grand Junction. Proactively marketing the Grand Junction area, the GJVCB serves as a liaison between area visitors, conventions, meetings, weddings, and reunions, and the businesses that will host them.

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