“Heligolfing” is not just for South Africa. John Hendricks, the discerning owner of Discovery Channel asked renowned travelers for the most beautiful place in the world and the concurrence was the American West. Jaw dropping views on highway 141 in Western Colorado lead to the epitome of red landscapes where Mr. Hendricks developed Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa next to the Palisade Peak. His Gateway Auto Museum is a must see even if not an auto aficionado. One of a kind, American cars like Clark Gable’s Duesenberg and an ‘88 Oldsmobile concept car are in shiny mint condition. The accommodations, grounds, spa, adventure rides and flights are perfect for corporate outings or reunions of any sort. Rather than build a golf course, the ultimate vermillion/cinnamon experience is “heligolfing” from the luxurious Gateway Canyons Resort to the Golf Club of Redlands Mesa near the entrance of the Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction. The flight must seem like a red planet pattern. Alternatively, 45 minutes by car, Redlands Mesa delivers extraordinary vistas and multi elevated layout, managed by Sandra Weckerly who hand selected the exquisite menu to match the patio view and pays close attention to the needs of members which doubled in a few months. Redlands Mesa is annually awarded top billing for public courses in Colorado and ranks 17th in the states. Great care is given to maintain perfect conditions. December thru February Kass the superintendent would not permit anyone out on the course in order to protect the grass.
Not to be discounted is the fun, flatter course, Tiara Rado at the base of the astonishing Monument which features 11 canyons, 20,000 acres of arched windows, rock spires and stone monoliths with a curvy, thrilling roadway and hiking trails for more gawking and photography. “Wow!” is the repetitive expression. USA Today names it one of the top 10 best places for solitude in the US.
Grand Junction is also Colorado’s Wine Region. Red Fox is one of 23 vineyards with surprisingly tasty selections of whites and reds nearby Grand Mesa, the largest flat top mountain in the world for exploration and pursuit of moose and other wildlife. Red Fox is a family affair. The parents sold their business in “the front range” which translates to Denver area and thought they would slow down but that is not the case when you buy a seven-acre vineyard. Now the sons are all in and after “homebrewing and doing everything wrong that could be done,” they are making chardonnay in whiskey barrels, rye whiskey flavored cab franc, Semillon champagne, more varietals and hard ciders too, producing 2,000 cases last year. Owner Sherry is a board member of the Colorado Wine Association, representing the Grand Valley AVA with a festival in September that sold 6600 tickets. The Colorado wine business on the western slope has grown by leaps and bounds since the early 80s and was recently named one of the top 10 wine destinations by Wine Enthusiast.
There are many local accommodations including the economical and comfortable Clarion Inn, centrally located with a swimming pool and breakfast buffet. For fine dining, 626 on Rood, which is also the address, features exquisite fresh recipes, signature cocktails and wine pairings. Bring your fat wallet here or for casual, good food, the Rockslide Restaurant and Brewery has sports screens inside and space on the patio to watch the passersby. Grand Junction is a happening destination for golfers and all outdoorsy types who appreciate incredible unique views.