In our travels the past year, we’ve seen some amazing things. Beautiful landscapes, stunning architecture and exciting events. And then…. there’s the other stuff. The ODD stuff. The stuff that might not be in your Fodor’s travel guide.
So where do we find this stuff? Well, many, but not all, of our oddball locations are found on a site (and iPhone app) called Roadside America. They list all the funky places out there, the stuff OFF the beaten path.
With our eclectic taste and bits of quirkiness, we’ve made a habit of seeking out these unique places. It recently dawned on me that we’ve been racking up quite a few, and I thought I would start a little mini series within this blog. I’ll call this Odd America.
So without further ado, a few installations:
The Marfa Prada Store
So as you’re driving down Rt. 10 through Texas, you hit a lot of nothingness. Sheer nothingness… for hours. And then, about 30 minutes before you hit the town of Marfa, you pass this:
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Yes, this is a Prada store, stocked with Prada shoes and bags. However, we did learn, that this building was an artist’s installation, and not actually a working store. Marfa, I would say, is half art town, half ghost town… if that makes sense. If not, you’ll just have to make the trip for yourself.
The world’s Largest Basket
As we we’re passing through Ohio, we realized how close we were to the World’s Largest Basket. Who could pass that up? We spent a morning visiting the Longaberger headquarters, also the home of the giant basket. Actually, the basket IS their home, in that the basket is, in a sense, the building. They have a few unique places to see. The headquarters, their village (consisting of a few shops, factory tour and restaurant) and the ACTUAL largest basket, meaning just that, a basket, the size of a building, that was weaved just like any other basket.
Field of Concrete Corn
While we were in Ohio, we learned of a field of giant corn… concrete corn, that is. This oddball field is best described by the Roadside America site:
“Maybe it’s supposed to be ironic, this former corn field, sprouting 109 people-sized ears of concrete corn in a large oddball art display. But it’s also a salute to Sam Frantz, an inventor of hybrid corns, and a very weird sight along the highway.”
Anyway, it was a crazy thing to come across, and even more fun place to photograph!
The Giant Eyeball in Chicago
When we ventured into Chicago, we called on our trusty Roadside America app to give us the good stuff. What did it come up with? A giant 30′ eyeball, an artist installation in downtown Chicago. At first, I thought it was a joke… until I saw it. This truly was a gigantic eyeball. When you visit, it’s easy to distinguish the locals from the tourists. The locals walk right on by, like there’s nothing unusual going on… and the tourists are taking a zillion pictures, as if this orb was the most amazing thing in the universe. And when you think about it, it is pretty darn amazing. A 30′ eyeball… in one of America’s biggest cities. It’s located in Pritzker Park, in case you want to find it.
Lenny, the 1,700-lb chocolate Moose
Yup, you heard correctly. When we arrived in Maine, I grabbed a bunch of attractions brochures, and among them was a 1700-lb chocolate moose. So OF COURSE we had to go see this! We are that quirky, after all. During our stay outside of Portland, ME, we visited the Len Libby Candy Store. home of Lenny, the giant chocolate moose. They actually carried an amazing variety of candy, but I was just interested in seeing Lenny, and I god my picture with him, as you can see.