I’m back from my quick visit to Ft. Collins, Colorado and I have to say, it’s still a cool little place. As college towns go it’s one of the better that I have visited. I think the place has more breweries per capita than any town in the U.S. I would put it right up there with Lawrence, Kansas and Madison, Wisconsin and that is some elite company. (Sorry Steve, I put it ahead of Iowa City)
What I like best about it is the scale. As you can see in the photo, it’s still has that small cow town scale in it’s core. In fact, the buildings in old town would not be out of place in Potsdam, N.Y. Not bad for a city of 120,000 people.
The place has been cleaned up a bit since my last visit there in 1997. Seems to be more like Boulder now, and by that I mean cleaner, and more yuppified. The scruffy edges seem to have been polished off, but in all honesty, I didn’t have much time to really check it out. I’m sure if I looked I could still find some good dives bars with cheap deals on pitchers. The kids aren’t any richer than they were back then. Ft. Collins doesn’t draw the same out of state trust fund crowd that Boulder always has.
Back in the days when I was traveling for ABB, I used to love visiting college towns like this. As a lonely 22 year old, it was comforting to get back into the “college” atmosphere for a few days after weeks in places like Laughlin, NV, Rock Springs, WY, Colstrip, MT, Nekoosa, WI, Effingham, IL, Paducah, KY, etc… If I was lucky I could sometimes swing a weekend in Iowa City, Madison, Lawrence, Athens, Boulder, or San Luis Obispo. Hard to have a bad time in any of those towns at age 22. Hell, it’s hard to have a bad time in any of those towns at age 42.
It was a good time to get out of Ft. Collins though. This is the first weekend that the kids are back, and things have historically gotten out of hand around there. Not sure if they still tolerate the student riots every fall, or if they have squashed them the way that Madison has squashed the Halloween Weekend craziness. (when tear gas didn’t work, they decided to corporatize it. What killjoys!) Kids today really miss out on the good old fashioned drunken student riots. What fun is school if you don’t get to overturn a few cop cars every now and then. In Madison I believe they even offered a course in it.
Alas, my cop car flipping days are long over. Not that they ever really started. Potsdam was a pretty sleepy little college town. The worst we ever did was throw snowballs at the town cops during the annual snow ball fight with Potsdam State. Ah, innocence… I miss it so.
So, what’s your favorite college town?