The Harvest Hosts program pairs local businesses – wineries, family farms, museums, and other unique locations – with RV travelers.
In exchange for allowing campers to boondock overnight on their properties, Harvest Hosts ask that RV-ers consider a purchase of the host’s specialty.
In non-COVID times, a host often welcomes the RV-er with a tour or a unique experience. These days those interactions have to be limited, but the exchange of space for a nominal purchase remains worthwhile for both.
In following with our recent hidden-gem experience at Black Canyon National Park, our first Harvest Host stay was at The Peachfork, a fruit orchard and vineyard in Palisade. Nestled in Colorado’s fertile western slope this verdant retreat is a welcome escape from the sere hills and bluff mesas that define this region.
In late September, their pear trees and grapevines still bore fruit, but The Peachfork’s namesake crop was unfortunately lost to an April deep freeze this year. Nonetheless, their winery was in full production, with offerings for every palate, including a sweet summer peach blend. The day we arrived had for months been scheduled for the Colorado Mountain Winefest, recently canceled. That prompted hosts Susan and Philip to stage their own tasting and bluegrass quintet (including Susan’s husband on guitar) in its place.
We arrived to hear familiar tunes! Some of the same songs we’ve been practicing on our mandolin and guitar greeted us as we rolled in, as the local musicians played folk and bluegrass standards, taking turns leading and improvising on laid-back, late-summer jams. It was delightful entertainment for the half-dozen tables of customers, all of us sipping wine, nibbling pretzels served in fruit baskets, and generally enjoying the best kind of late Colorado afternoon.
As the last song started one of the proprietors, Philip, sat with us (properly masked, to be sure), and asked us to listen to the lyrics – “Paradise,” by John Prine. “That song is true,” he said. “I grew up there, in Western Kentucky. That’s just how it happened.” His eyes crinkled with pride and distant sadness.
While the paradise of Muhlenberg County’s Green River may be gone, Philip and his family certainly helped to create one here.
We woke this morning to the meadow lark’s song as the sun revealed countless rows of grapevines and fruit trees surrounding our tiny home – a reminder to us of our privilege to experience his pastoral version of paradise.
If you find yourself on Colorado’s western slope, we highly recommend you find a way to stop and visit this welcoming hidden gem.