An American Provence?

I often get the question, “What’s it like?”

The group from Dusseldorf said they had to come to see if the pictures were for real.  “They are,” they added.  You don’t have to leave the breakfast table to see that.

The North Fork Valley is like much of Colorado in that the natural setting provides a reason to visit. Located less than ten miles from the National Park, I suggest it’s a sin to visit and not take advantage of the opportunity.  The Wilderness and lakes are incredible, too.

However this valley provides a welcome contrast to the surrounding ski towns: places we love to visit as their residents come here to unwind.  By comparison to most places, perhaps, we don’t seem developed.

There is plenty of effort going into shaping the Valley though.  A clue to what’s happening made it into print, in a book entitled simply “An American Provence.”  Its author, Thomas Huber of the Department of Geology at the University of Colorado, compares the North Fork Valley with the Coulon valley in Provence, France.

I have my doubts many here are intent upon living up to the suggestion, but our guests who schedule a couple of days in which to investigate quickly realize they’ve budgeted too little time.  The VOGA 2011-2012 directory, Valley Organic Growers Association, boasts sixty-eight businesses involved in agriculture and viniculture.

You can check out the VOGA directory at

An American Provence is available, in print and electronic format, from the usual online suspects.  A local review by our own Tom Wills can be found at

Another great resource is the North Fork Valley web site