Category: Roadside Curiosities

Roadside Americana

Pantsless Pierre, Two Harbors, MN

Just standing in a parking lot on the side of the road in Two Harbors, Minnesota, Pantsless Pierre has long been a fixture on the landscape there. I didn’t know who he was when I spotted him but I tracked him down on Roadside America and got his back story. His outstretched hand used to hold a canoe but some dirtbags must have swiped it. He now seems to guard a manufactured home community.

World’s Largest Penny, Woodruff, WI

If you click on the photo it gets bigger so you can read the text. The gist of it is that Dr. Kate Newcomb wanted to build a hospital in little Woodruff, Wisconsin, and urged the local schoolchildren to save their pennies to help make it happen.

Dr. Kate’s efforts ignited a penny drive that went wild. More than 1.5 million pennies were collected once the media got hold of the story. Children and grown-ups alike sent in pennies from across the country and Dr. Kate got her hospital. This is the city’s memorial to her–there’s also a museum but I didn’t go to that. Just a quick stop on a road trip to check out the World’s Largest Penny that now stands in Dr. Kate’s honor.

National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame

cross posted from our family blog…

During our anniversary weekend, Dale and I spent some time at the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame! And while Dale was ambivalent to stopping there I needed to see the giant fish! I had to go inside! I was reluctant to spend the $6 to gain entry to the giant fish (I dislike paying for roadside silliness) but what this place lacks in, oh, things not relating to fresh water fishing, it makes up for with kitsch and a surprising amount of heart.

There she is. My personal Moby Dick. Call me Ishmael because I had to conquer her! In addition to this giant beauty the gardens of the property are filled with fantastic smaller (thought still giant) fish and plenty of photo opps.

We decided to view the museum portion of the Hall of Fame first. Dale was surprised to love it. He spent a lot of time in the Motor Graveyard while I patiently waited to meet The Fish. Here is Dale touching the same kind of motor that steered his family’s boat when he was a child. There was also some charming areas where real fresh water fisherman could show off their best catches. It was pretty adorable to see so many photos of happy fisherman showing off their best catches.

An overview of one area of the Motor Graveyard!

There I am! I have conquered her! The belly o’ the fish is filled with the names of all the happy fisher-people that made the hall of fame possible. It was ridiculously cute and charming and I, weirdly, thought it was one of the best random museums I have ever visited. And that’s saying something!

Pioneer Restaurant, Westfield, WI

The Pioneer Restaurant in Westfield, Wisconsin, serves up some tasty diner food–I had a turkey sandwich while Dale had the fish and chips–but it also serves up some serious kitsch! Check out the Pioneer fellow that guarded my lunch!

Out front a giant pioneer greets you! They even have a few cement animals in the parking lot, too. This place is worth the stop for both the photos and the eats!

Al Capone’s Grave

I love a good celebrity death. And I love a good celebrity grave! Here we have Al Capone’s final resting place in Hillside, Illinois. His relatives are nearby. I took this photo on Memorial Day and, obviously, somebody remembered him!

Peck’s Farm Market, Spring Green, WI

Peck’s Farm Market is a great roadside stand in Spring Green, WI. They have a bunch of odd stuff out front–and even odder stuff out back!

Giant Corn Cob in front of the store. There is also a giant pumpkin!

Out back there is a great petting zoo. It features scads of animals with varying levels of access. Cute little brown cow taking a nap.

Downy white deer antlers! So adorable.
Baby deer!
Lonely little alligator.
Pygmy goats were so cute it was crazy.
They even have a wallaby!
And this hilariously weird bird dude.

Mt. Horeb Mustard Museum, Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin

And now for something completely different…Mt. Horeb’s Mustard Museum!

They have quite the collection of mustards!

This is the fancy award-winning mustard table. We tried the $20 mustard at the mustard tasting bar.

And, honestly? We didn’t care for it.

Above the tasting bar. And I LOVE Lichtenstein so this print made me very happy.

The world’s only mustard vending machine!
The store also features some silly merchandise.
And startling “facts”–of which at least are true (probably not this one).