We asked readers last summer to tell us where to find the BEST bed-and-breakfast, cross-country ski trail, country store, coffee shop and golf course and the best Colorado-made wine, burrito and jam or jelly. Readers responded with best-loved places and products from all over the state.
Thanks to everyone who shared their favorites. Congratulations to three of those readers who each won a $100 gift card in a random drawing among submissions: Caryllee Cheatham, Maria East and Monika Cary.
Here are Colorado Country Life readers’ picks for the BEST OF COLORADO.
(Notice: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, some of these businesses may not offer their usual accommodations. Please contact the business with any questions.)
Serranos Coffee Company, Monument
Located off Highway 105, just west of Interstate 25, is a casual café in Monument that received high accolades from CCL readers: Serranos Coffee Company. At Serranos, you can warm your bones with a hot cup of joe via its convenient drive through or inside the welcoming business where there is ample room to sit and enjoy some java.
Vickie Morrissey, a Mountain View Electric Association consumer-member, says, “I think they have the best coffee, bar none!” Morrissey, who likes to order regular coffee with cream, says the ambiance of the coffee shop is “very nice and inviting — a good place to share a cup with a friend.”
In addition to coffee, Serranos sells smoothies, baked goods, breakfast, soups and paninis, as well as trinkets that you can peruse in the lobby. Want to give it a shot but live too far? Join Serranos’ Coffee of the Month Club and receive shipments of coffee directly to your door.
For more information, call 719-481-9445 or visit serranoscoffee.com.
Alida’s Fruits, Palisade
CCL readers voted Alida’s jams and jellies the best in Colorado, and it’s not surprising why. With over 25 jelly, jam and preserve flavors to choose from, anyone can find something they love. The peach habanero jam got the most votes in our Best Of contest, and it does not disappoint: It has just the right combination of sweet and heat.
Located in Palisade, Alida’s is perfectly situated in the heart of Colorado’s fruit country. As one reviewer on Facebook says, “Beautiful fruit perfectly and lovingly grown.” If you can make it to Palisade, be sure to stop by Alida’s Fruits and pick up some of your favorite flavors of jams and jellies.
For more information, call 970-434-8769 or visit alidasfruits.com.
BEST GOLF COURSE
TPC Colorado, Berthoud
Winning “Best Golf Course in Colorado” from CCL readers, TPC Colorado is visually stunning as it sits right along the Little Thompson River in Berthoud. TPC courses are owned and operated by the PGA TOUR and are known for exceptional amenities and quality; the course was built with the infrastructure to host a professional tournament.
TPC Colorado is designed to be challenging for the accomplished player yet accommodating to the entry level player. Though the course can be stretched to nearly 8,000 yards long for pro TOUR players, there are multiple tees on each hole that give recreational golfers a chance to enjoy the course. But look out for the 13th hole: Playing 773 yards from the tips, it is the longest par 5 in the United States.
One TPC Colorado golfer says, “The course is incredibly fun and the greens are so pure and run very true.” It is a membership course, but there are limited public tee times available. Plan a trip to northern Colorado and hit the links at TPC Colorado; our readers say you won’t regret it.
For more information, call 970-663-5063 or visit tpc.com/colorado.
BEST CROSS-COUNTRY SKI TRAIL
Vallecito Lake Trailhead
Near the towns of Durango and Bayfield is Vallecito Lake, a large body of water where outdoors lovers can go boating, fishing, horseback riding and more. But the reason this location is getting our Best Of distinction is its cross-country skiing.
Family friendly, dog friendly and free to use — although donations are appreciated — the area has more than 9 miles of groomed trails maintained by volunteers of the Vallecito Nordic Ski Club.
“It feels like an escape to a winter wonderland once you are out there, especially when the lake is iced over,” says Tracy Regan, a La Plata Electric Association consumer-member who nominated the trail for our Best Of contest. “The track is great for beginner and intermediate skiers and is plowed for both traditional and skate skiing.”
Located on the east side of the lake, this trail is a must-try for cross-country skiers and snowshoers alike.
For more information, visit vallecitonordicclub.org.
BEST COUNTRY STORE
Moffat Mercantile, Craig
Voted “Best Country Store in Colorado,” Moffat Mercantile is located in Historic Downtown Craig. The grand opening was in September 2019, and it has been thriving since. With the inviting storefront, charming front window and wonderful product displays inside, it’s no wonder why.
Described as having a “general store” feel to it, there is something for everyone. According to owner Tammy Villard, the most popular items in the store are locally made. People can find hand-knit baby sweaters and crocheted doilies, locally produced honey, handmade soaps and candles, locally roasted artisan coffee and small-batch caramel corn, just to name a few.
Moffat Mercantile is actively involved in the community. It hosts a cooperative ladies night each month and participates in the Shop Small Art Crawl event. It is involved in the downtown business association and participates in annual events, such as Fall Fest and Downhome Christmas.
Villard says, “As most other rural communities, we truly value our community and the support they give each small business. Without locals and visitors, we wouldn’t be able to ‘keep the lights on.’”
For more information, call 970-824-0230 or visit facebook.com/moffatmercantile.
Lucy’s Tacos, La Junta
Lucy’s Tacos in La Junta gets rave reviews, not only for its tacos but for its burritos. In fact, the business’s food truck became so popular that the converted gas station next door has to be used when picnic table seating is full or when the weather summons guests indoors.
Although Sara Mae Lancaster, a Mountain View Electric Association consumer-member, has a somewhat lengthy drive from her Limon home to binge on a Lucy’s burrito, she nominated the business because the food there is made to order with fresh ingredients.
When visiting Lucy’s, keep in mind that you’ll likely need extra napkins, especially if you’re ordering a smothered burrito. CCL noticed a constant theme from readers that the fare is sensational yet sloppy. “We try to eat there because most of their food is not easily eaten in a vehicle. It’s pretty messy,” Lancaster says with a laugh.
Typical of an authentic Mexican restaurant, Lucy’s menu is fairly substantial with combination plates featuring additional goodies such as chili rellenos, carnitas, carne asada and even breakfast burritos. What’s more, prices are reasonable with a range of around $2.75 to $8.50 for a full plate of Mexican food yumminess.
To order pick-up, call 719-384-8333.
Palisade-based Colterris wines were the clear winner in the “Best Wines of Colorado” categories — for both red and white wines. All Colterris wines are produced from 100% Colorado grapes grown in the estate vineyard in the Grand Valley American Viticultural Area. High-altitude sunlight and cool nights produce quality grapes, which, in turn, produce robust, flavorful, unique and award-winning wines.
The wines that received the most votes from readers in our Best Of contest were the cabernet sauvignon, the 2017 cabernet franc and the sauvignon blanc. But this is only a small selection of the diverse wines the winery offers. The Colterris product line includes a large selection of bottled wine, boxed wine and even wine in cans, which are perfect for summertime.
If you can’t make it to Palisade, visit the website; Colterris ships products throughout Colorado and we are sure you won’t regret trying these wines “from the Colorado land.”
Colterris has a tasting room, which is surrounded by the vineyards and unforgettable Colorado scenery. It also offers private tastings, in-depth tours and even a horseback ride through the vineyards followed by a tasting experience.
For more information, call 970-464-1150 or visit colterris.com.
Buena Vista Riverside Lodge, Buena Vista
Carl and Connie Bauer built and opened the log-constructed bed-and-breakfast in 1998 under the name of Liar’s Lodge. The name was hatched by their daughter, Jessica, and the concept of semi-retiring to a bed-and-breakfast was the idea of their son, Brett. Carl describes it as a “family adventure for sure.” The named changed from Liar’s Lodge to Buena Vista Riverside Lodge in 2018.
Sitting on 13 private acres right on the banks of the Arkansas River, the lodge was designed with retreats, reunions and small weddings in mind; and it is also family-friendly. “Some people have been coming for nearly 20 years and have become good friends in that time,” Carl Bauer says.
The Pritzer family writes in an online review, “Beautiful lodge, perfect accommodations, excellent food, superb hospitality and a spectacular view.”
The setting on the Arkansas River and the view of Mount Princeton and the Collegiate Peaks make for an inspirational stay.
For more information, call 719-395-3444 or visit liarslodge.com.