Fruita, Colorado is famous for its annual Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, a celebration of a chicken who managed to live healthily for 18 months without a head.
There's no getting around it: Fruita has a reputation for being -- well, charmingly eccentric. This well-earned image is primarily due to its biggest claim to international fame, the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival. Weird? Yup, but also loads of fun. Amid this zaniness there's loads of civic pride; after all, folks love living in this small Western pioneer town that's named for its origins as a fruit farming district. With a population of 12,646 (2010 Census), it's also a bustling business town, with corporations such as Fuel Managers Incorporated and oil company Patterson UTI. Business has its place in Fruita, but somehow, you get the feeling that the important things, like trail hiking, white water rafting and celebrating life (even if you're a phrenologically-challenged chicken) are what really matter here.
Moving to Fruita
Once you're ready to move, it helps to use an online apartments locator to help find rental apartment complexes and townhouses for rent, but it's also a good idea to make a scouting expedition and drive around, because you might discover some unadvertised rentals. Fruita is the kind of place where you might also luck into an all-utilities-paid rental, although these are becoming increasingly harder to find here. Be prepared to pay first month's rent in advance, plus a security deposit and a pet deposit if you live with a menagerie.
Neighborhoods in Fruita
When you're ready to start searching for places to rent in Fruita, check out some of the popular residential neighborhoods that are close to area amenities. If you can, try and visit each neighborhood in person beforehand to compare and contrast before committing to one that might not be perfect for you.
Adobe Creek Ranch: This area features beautiful homes for sale, many of them contemporary ranch styles. Search around and you might be able to find one that's for rent or that has a rent-to-own option. It's also conveniently close to the Broadway area, where you'll find amenities such as City Market supermarket and Walgreen's, as well as the lovely Circle Park.
Cleveland: Cleveland Avenue is a lovely bike-friendly residential area with plenty of homes for sale, so it's a great place to search for rental houses.
Holly Park: This bike-friendly area has a number of beautiful, modern mobile / manufactured homes for sale and rent. It's also just minutes away from Olga Anson Park.
Kiefers Orchard: This centrally located area is chock-full of lovely homes for sale and rent, many built in a contemporary ranch style. It's just minutes from lovely Reed Park and is close to amenities such as Dollar General and Morning Mission Coffee.
Orchard Valley: This neighborhood features beautiful homes, both ranch and multi-level styles, for sale and for rent. It's close to the super-cool Museum of Western Colorado, as well as restaurants such as Hot Tomato Cafe and Pizzeria.
Wildwood: Wildwood Drive is a beautiful bike-friendly residential neighborhood that boasts plenty of lovely homes (many with wooded lots) for sale and rent. It's conveniently close to the popular Little Salt Wash Sports Park.
Living in Fruita
If you're worried about Colorado weather, don't. Fruita has a milder climate than the higher elevations of the state, with January highs in the upper 30's, July highs in the low 90's and only 13 inches of snow a year. As for getting around, Grand Valley Transit offers bus service throughout the town, and the area is also a haven for bikers, so you may be able to give the car a rest here.
Love whitewater rafting? Fruita is a great place to catch the Colorado River, where you can cruise through the 25-mile Ruby and Horsethief Canyons. If you prefer to hike or drive, Colorado National Monument Park is a must-see attraction that features some of the world's most spectacular natural scenery. Also, check out the Museum of Western Colorado Dinosaur Journey Museum where you can see genuine artifacts recovered from local digs.
When it's time to eat, one hands-down local favorite is the Hot Tomato Cafe and Pizzeria, where you can enjoy homemade pizzas and fabulous strombolis. Coloradans pride themselves on their handcrafted beers, so when you're thirsty, head on over to Copper Club Brewing Company and try the sublime Hoocheweizen wheat beer -- or any of the other artisan brews.
You can't talk about Fruita without mentioning the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, an internationally-famous event held every May. Not to go into too much detail, a local chicken survived an attempt to make him into dinner, and the owners were so impressed that they named him Mike and took him on tour, where he survived, headlessly and happily, for 18 months (if you don't believe any of this, Google it). The zany fun-filled festival is cherished by locals as a celebration of the will to live, especially, as they say, if you don't have a brain in your head.
There's more here than just a willingness to celebrate goofy festivals. There's also an intense local pride and love for the place, not only for its great pioneer history, but also for its present position as one of the most pleasant, most picturesque towns in Colorado -- and that's saying quite a lot.