Sunday, May 31, 2020

Balistreri Vineyards in Denver, Colorado



Does the state of Colorado have wineries?  Yes, many!  There are many wine regions in Colorado--click this link Colorado Wine--to see their locations within our valleys and plateaus, fueled in summer by mountain snowmelt and three hundred days of sunny weather and cool dry nights.



Please click on to enlarge

Last summer my husband and I visited Balistreri Winery located at 1946 E. 66th Ave, in Denver, Colorado.  

John Balistreri’s ancestors immigrated from Sicily to the United States in the early 1900s. They eventually found their way to Colorado, where they worked as “truck farmers” producing local vegetables in the North Denver community. In 1964, John Balistreri built greenhouses and started his own business growing carnations. During this time, John continued the Sicilian tradition of producing wine for family and friends.  In 1998, John’s daughter Julie and his wife Birdie encouraged him to make his wine production a commercial endeavor. On the very same land that the family had once grown carnations, stands a new facility equipped with a wine cellar, tasting room, event center, and restaurant. 




Although located in what is now a very industrial area of Denver, the winery is a green oasis with beautiful grounds and is often used as a reception or wedding venue.



Inside is a large seating area that also can be used for receptions and other events.



We enjoyed a few sips of different wines in their tasting room. Among the wines they produce are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Muscat, Cherry Wine, Viognier and Port.

John Balistreri’s wines are made naturally.  Only grapes that are hand-harvested are used to make the wine, and they are selected from high-quality single vineyard sites across Colorado and occasionally California.  The grapes are fermented on their own yeast, unaltered by sulfites and aged in American oak. More facts about their winemaking process can be read on their website on this link.





We decided to stay for lunch in their tasting room cafe and we were very impressed with their menu selection and quality of food! We both enjoyed a very delicious lobster risotto. It was presented so beautifully with a scattering of edible flower petals on top.

* As of this writing, because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, they are not offering in-house wine tasting or food, but have online ordering available for curbside pickup of take-out food and wine, and hope to be able to return to normal as soon as they are allowed.


We really enjoyed our visit to Balistreri Vineyards. We purchased a few bottles of their wine we enjoyed the most during our tasting, to enjoy at home.  One of the bottles we picked up was "Little Feet Merlot" wine--more about that extra special wine in my next post!


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Monday, May 25, 2020

Dinosaur Ridge Geologist Tour


Four years ago my husband and I made our first visit to nearby scientific attraction in our area, where dinosaurs once roamed, called Dinosaur Ridge. We visited with my daughter and her family--click here--to read that post. Our oldest granddaughter was just 3 at the time!  Last summer we made another visit with a community group that we belong to, on a special tour called "Walk With A Geologist."




Dinosaur Ridge is located at 16831 W. Alameda Parkway in Morrison, Colorado, and is part of the Dakota Hogback, which you can see in the top left of the photo collage above. It is one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil locations! In 1877 the bones of many dinosaurs were found here, including Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus. Full-size models of some of the dinosaurs can be seen around the grounds of the Dinosaur Ridge. 

In 1973 the Dinosaur Ridge area was recognized for its uniqueness as well as its historical and scientific significance when it was designated the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.



The Dinosaur Ridge Trail (map above--click on to enlarge) is approximately two miles long and has interpretive signs along the way that explain the geologic and paleontological features. The rocks on the east side of the ridge are part of the Cretaceous Dakota Formation. When Alameda Parkway was being constructed in 1937 to provide access to Red Rocks Park, road workers discovered hundreds of dinosaur footprints. along the exposed ridge. The west side of the ridge is called Triceratops Trail and is part of the Morrison Formation of Jurassic age and it is where geologist Arthur Lakes discovered the dinosaur bones in 1877.


On this visit, a local resident and retired geologist volunteer with Friends of Dinosaur Ridge gave us a very informative tour.  Usually, this is a walking tour, but as we have many seniors in our group we were allowed to drive up the ridge and make stops along the way. The road is now closed to traffic and usually can only be walked or traveled on a shuttle bus service as part of a paid tour.




Here our tour guide is pointing to dinosaur tracks left in what was once the sandy shore of a great sea 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. 




There are many areas on the ridge with hundreds of these footprints left behind by dinosaurs so long ago!



There are also many dinosaur bones to be seen...



... as well as giant imprints of the dinosaurs.   

Dinosaur Ridge is really a fascinating way to travel back in time.




We went up and around the ridge to the western side where we had this beautiful view of Colorado foothills.




Off in the distance can be seen the famous outdoor Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  The two large red rocks that are seen in the photo above form its outer walls, with the seating located between them.  I have many posts on my blog featuring concerts we attended at Red Rocks Amphitheatre--here is one--click here--where we saw Josh Groban perform.  It will show what the theater looks like inside.




On this side of the ridge, we saw the Morrison Formation.  The Morrison Formation is a distinctive sequence of  150 million-year-old Upper Jurassic sedimentary rock found in the western United States which has been the most fertile source of dinosaur fossils in North America. It is composed of mudstone, sandstone, siltstone, and limestone and is light gray, greenish-gray, or red.


Please click on to enlarge

The Morrison Formation was named after Morrison, Colorado, where the first fossils in the formation were discovered by Arthur Lakes in 1877. That same year, it became the center of the Bone Wars, a fossil-collecting rivalry between early paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. In Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, the Morrison Formation was a major source of uranium ore.



Another area of interest shows the slimy carpet like beach area where the dinosaurs roamed 92 million years ago. The placard explains that microorganisms created sediment in layers in supratidal zones where the high tide water would saturate and feed the mat and then quickly drain away. This mat was one of the reasons the dinosaur prints were so well preserved.



When the tour was completed we dropped into the Dinosaur Discovery Center to look at the exhibits. They had replicas of scales and horns from stegosaurus, dinosaur claws, casts of footprints, and actual dinosaur bones, as well as other exhibits, and there is also a visitor center and a gift shop.  Dinosaur Ridge is now open to the public, but new protocols are in effect during this COVID-19 pandemic--you can read them on this link.




If you'd like to watch tour videos provided by Dinosaur Ridge --click here-- for the Online Education page and you will learn all the fascinating details we learned during our tour on multiple videos.




Memorial Day 2020
Remembering and Honoring 

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 Hearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me Monday,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo TunesHappiness Is HomemadeOver the Moon, Our World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday Turn AboutTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWorldless  Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeFull Plate ThursdayThursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch Friday,   Pink SaturdaySaturday Critters
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