A Field Guide To Where The Weird Things Are
When Willie sang he was “Seein’ things that I may never see again,” was he talking specifically about the World’s Largest Beagle or a to-scale replica of the leaning tower of Pisa or a ball of twine that Godzilla might play with as if he were a kitten? Probably not. Willie might have been thinking more of the purple mountains and all that hokum but then he probably got stoned and was easily distracted by blueberry topiary (if he was driving through Columbia Falls, Maine at least). We’ve got the directions to all the weird things and what they are on the way to.
Your cross-country road trip just got longer.
Columbia Falls, ME | On the way to: Bar Harbor, ME
The land of Maine’s wild blueberry. There’s a slim chance you’ll miss it. The buildings are all shaped and colored like giant blueberries to ensure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Now with a drive through.
While you’re there: Get the blueberry pie. Trust us.
Margate City, NJ | On the way to: Atlantic City, NJ
Originally built in 1881 to promote real estate sales and attract tourists, our dearest Lucy is six stories tall. The largest [non-breathing] elephant there ever was. Not only is she the biggest, she’s also the oldest surviving roadside tourist attraction in the United States.
While you’re there: Never tell a woman she’s old and large, even if she’s an inanimate object.
High Point, NC | On the way to: Charlotte, NC
Previously known as the Bureau of Information in 1926, this 36-foot-tall dresser stands to draw attention to High Point for being the Furniture Capital of the World. Shaquille O’Neal left his socks in the top drawer. If you see him let him know.
While you’re there: Purchase some furniture.
Louisville, KY | On the way to: Indianapolis, IN
Only in Kentucky. The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory holds up the 120-foot-baseball bat. At 68,000 pounds, it is an exact replica of Babe Ruth’s bat, only bigger. Much bigger. If this doesn’t get you a homerun, baseball may not be your sport.
While you’re there: Hit the bourbon trail.
Alexandria, IN | On the way to: Indianapolis, IN
It all began in the 1970s with, you guessed it, some paint. Today it has over 25,000 coats of paint, weighing the same as a blue whale’s tongue. That’s 2.5 tons if you were wondering.
While you’re there: Slather a new layer of paint on this bad boy.
Niles, IL | On the way to: Chicago, IL
A half-scale replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, this mini-me was built to contain the water tower of Niles with an aesthetically pleasing look. Standing 94 feet tall since 1934, it’s exactly like the real one, but not.
While you’re there: Take a never-been-done-before picture of you pretending to hold it up.
Cawker City, KS | On the way to: Colorado
This one-of-a-kind sphere was started in 1953, stemming from twine and boredom. Flash forward 67 years and you’ll find a 20,000 pound ball of twine with a sixth sense for telling the weather. If it’s swinging, it’s windy.
While you’re there: Fatten ‘er up. Tourists can add twine to the ball when they visit.
Alamogordo, NM | On the way to: Albuquerque, NM
Large nuts make the best memorials. Built for his father in 2008, Tim McGinn sculpted this 30-foot cement pistachio in loving memory. Not only big, it is also a very, very tough nut to crack.
While you’re there: Unwind with a glass of Chardonnay. Not only are there nuts, there is also wine.
Calipatria, CA | On the way to: Palm Springs
This 150-foot-wide, 50-foot-tall mountain is made completely of local clay and donated paint to show the artist, Leonard Knight’s, devotion to God. Colorful and vibrant, it brings religion to life. Amen.
While you’re there: Paint your own peaceful message. For our non-artistic folks, you can just donate your paint.
Rhyolite, NV | On the way to: Reno, NV
This museum is a collection of outdoor sculptures created by Belgain artist, Albert Szukalski, off of State Route 374. The most famous of his artwork are his sculptures of The Last Supper, Ghost Rider and Venus of Nevada. Best part is, it’s open 24/7 and it’s free because, well, it’s on the side of the road.
While you’re there: Don’t use any Ouija boards, you are in a ghost town.
Cottonwood, ID | On the way to: Spokane, ID
The World’s Largest Beagle is also a hotel. This lodging accommodation is one of a kind, standing 30 feet tall in the shape of a beagle. If you choose to stay here, your room will be located in the belly of the oversized canine. Nice and cozy. The one place where being in the doghouse isn’t so bad.
While you’re there: Get a wooden carving of your preferred dog breed. If you like dachshunds, bring an extra $5.
Get your gear for bumpy back roads at yeti.com.
If you’re on the way to anywhere and end up at one of these strange roadside attractions, drop us a line (or just tag @whalebonemagazine) and maybe we’ll send the intern to meet you with some refreshments.