Review: ‘Weird Colorado’ is fun, informative and too bulky | AspenTimes.com

Review: ‘Weird Colorado’ is fun, informative and too bulky

Rating: 4 stars

We all know that Aspen is rich with colorful characters. It’s one reason why many of us choose to call this resort town home.

But Aspen is not alone in its wackiness, at least not in the eyes of Colorado author Charmaine Ortega Getz.

“For weirdness to flourish, it requires a combination of dramatic history, amazing environments and truly unique, off-the-grid characters. Colorado is blessed with all three,” she writes in the introduction to her new book, “Weird Colorado,” the latest installment in Marc Moran and Mark Sceurman’s “Weird U.S.” series, which includes Weird N.J. magazine, the “Weird U.S.” television series on the History Channel, and a plan for “Weird” books from across the States.

So what makes Colorado so weird? With chapters on everything from “Unexplained Phenomena” and “Local Heroes and Villains” to “Roadside Attractions and Oddities” and “Abandoned Colorado,” it is abundantly clear Colorado is indeed a bit crazy.

In a good way.

On a recent road trip to the Front Range foothills, my family took Getz’s book and had plenty of fun finding the weird along our way: the story behind the “Sleeper House,” which sits on Genesee Mountain overlooking Interstate 70; Triceratops footprints next to the Fossil Trace water park in Golden; and the Brook Forest Inn and Spa in Evergreen, named a favorite haunt by the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society for its history of ghostly encounters with outlaws and Nazis.

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Closer to home, the Hotel Jerome gets a nod, and we loved learning about Leadville’s Ice Palace (with a photo to prove it was real) and the backstory on Schofield Pass near Marble and its Devil’s Punchbowl; a little farther afield are write-ups on Fruita’s Mike the Headless Chicken Days and the Mount of the Holy Cross near Vail.

As much fun as “Weird Colorado” is – the writing is easy to read, the photos and graphics are great, the design is user-friendly – we have a few complaints. Namely, the fact it’s a coffee table book (with a price tag to match, at $19.95). For us, and I imagine many other adventure-seeking Colorado road-trippers, it just doesn’t cut it to read about all our state’s funkiness from our living room couch. We want a book that can travel the roads-less-traveled with us – easily.

According to “Weird Colorado,” there are plenty of those roads worth exploring just outside our door.

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com