Unlike previous brochure destinations, Colorado is a place I’ve actually been and will probably go again – especially since my husband skies. Texans skiing Colorado is so ubiquitous that our friends in Durango even produced a brochure emblazoned with the taunt, “Everything isn’t bigger in Texas.” The brochure is designed to let us Dallasites know we can fly out of DFW in the morning and be on the slopes by afternoon.
However, there’s more to Durango than Purgatory. ”Get Real” is the tagline in their twenty page brochure and only two pages are devoted to snow. They lead with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Mesa Verde National Park, their historic downtown and outdoor activities. They had me at Mesa Verde. One of my favorite shows is Ancient Aliens and Mesa Verde is a hot bed of ancient alien interest.
The next few pages are devoted to real outdoor activity, like horseback riding and golf, but then they turn to Real Coffee and Real Coffee. Real Coffee and Beer? As opposed to everyone else’s fake coffee and beer? I’d say that’s stretching your tagline beyond it’s reach.
Much of the rest of the brochure is devoted to maps and list of accommodations, but one map got my attention, the San Juan Skyway. I never ignore a scenic byway. In fact, I will go a whole day out of the way to enjoy one and this one leads right to Mesa Verde, so when I go to Durango the Skyway is at the top of my list.
Which takes me to Ouray, another town on the Skyway and one I have a handful of brochures for. Ouray claims to be the Switzerland of America, “A Real Mining Town Surrounded by Striking Natural Beauty.” (Is that anything like real coffee and real beer?) Ouray does have it’s own ski slopes, but skiing seems to be an afterthought. The winter draw here is the Ouray Ice Park where people climb frozen waterfalls. The highlight of the year seems to be the Ouray Ice Festival and they’ll be having their 19th event January 9-12, 2014.
All that being said, Ouray seems to be a beautiful place to enjoy the out of doors and they’ve got a greater focus on history. (Still, with Mesa Verde in their backyard, Durango has nothing to apologize about history-wise.) Ouray’s claim to fame is cowboys, Indians and miners. I’m still trying to understand the Switzerland part.
Putting my Ouray brochures aside, I discover a handful of historic railway brochures. We already covered Durango’s narrow gauge railway, but there are more, Georgetown Loop Hisoric Mining & Railroad Park, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and the Cumbres & Toltec. Breaking away from narrow gauge, there’s a cog railway to the top of Pike’s Peak and that sounds pretty cool to me.
No matter which region of Colorado you decide to visit, you’ll probably want to get the Official State Vacation Guide. My copy is not the latest, but the guides are always a good planning tool. This one starts by orienting you to how to use what’s online, talking about transportation and then those FAQ’s. There’s a list of 99 Goregeous Places, a special section on winter activities, then a big section on what they call “Essential Experiences.” My question would be essential to whom. Museum Girl is not going white water rafting, will not be camping and won’t be gambling either. However, there are lots of other things to discover, from byways to live music to festivals of pretty much every stripe. Then the guidebook breaks it down by region and gives you all the data you need to plan a great trip.
Among my brochures are several interesting maps. One is a Recreation Guide from the Bureau of Land Management. It gives you a rundown on everything available to you on public lands within Colorado on the flip side of a huge fold-out map that shows you where everything is located. Offroaders would probably like the Opportunities Map and the Alpine Loop Map. But I know which map I like best, the Hop To It Brewery Tour!
So there it is, Colorado via brochure. Go get you a few of them and start planning your own trip. And come back to see me, because the Travel @ Brochure Tour is under way.