A fun day of road tripping lay ahead when I picked out five Roadside America attractions to check out in my area. My husband was a good sport as we traveled around in between going out to eat and getting errands done.
First up: the Paul Bunyan Muffler Man of Cheshire.
I have driven by him many times. He was in good shape without a flag. He seemed even bigger up close than he does from the road. (You can read about muffler men here.)
Second stop: the Wheel Auto Parts Man, along the road on Rt. 10 in Cheshire–such a friendly bloke.
(Update: My photo of this attraction got added to the Roadside America site.)
Third attraction: the Barker Character, Comic and Cartoon Museum.
We toured the grounds, the art gallery, and the museum, which was chock full of character toys and artifacts, everything from an old metal lunchbox collection to a model for filming Gumby animation. This brought back a lot of old memories—“Welcome Back, Kotter,” “Alfred E. Newman,” old cardboard single serving cereal boxes, push button puppets; all the bits of my childhood that I didn’t save are gathered in one place. They had new items too. The strangest thing that caught my eye was the President Obama CelebriDuck, grouped with some other CelebriDucks. Why?
Fourth attraction: Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Center
This wildly decorated junk shop also features the world’s largest Jack-in-the-Box, so it’s got that going for it. It was fun to browse through the old concert posters and memorabilia.
We then went down to New Haven for a cheeseburger at Louis’ Lunch, another Roadside America attraction.
Fifth attraction: We went to Wooster Square Park in New Haven to check out the Jesus Tree, a site where a young woman’s claim to have seen an apparition of Jesus in 1992 attracted some attention. It was supposed to be a sycamore in the Southwestern quadrant of the park. There were two sycamores that were possibilities, and they both had had some limbs removed since then. (Does that seem wrong?) We were freezing in a windy drizzle and snapped a couple of pictures and fled.
We didn’t think this quite qualified as a fifth attraction, so we made a change in plans and decided to fit in one more site before stopping in on a Middletown pub. This twist of fate allowed us to witness the world’s largest mobile crane!
What are your favorite roadside attractions?
#82. 101 things in 1001 days: Visit at least five “Roadside America” attractions.