By Jennifer Olvera
Call them weird. Intriguing. And, in some cases, eyesores. Whatever way you cut it, the States has its share of laugh-riot landmarks.
Take roadside giants. Be they lumberjacks, Frankensteins or sentinel Native Americans, they’re the perfect case in point. They’re in plenty countrywide, but we tip our hats to the Viking in Deerfield, New Jersey. This looming Norseman stands guard above Orr Flooring Center at 1526 Route 77 on the west side of the street. Make a day of exploring the area, since you’ll also encounter the whacked-out Flying Saucer-esque Futuro House and a 31-foot-tall steel Mary nearby.
Where to stay: Sheraton Suites Wilmington Downtown, a stylish spot with ultra-comfy beds
There’s nothing prehistoric or particularly magical about the experience, but Carhenge is jaw-dropping just the same. The site—built by Jim Reinders in Alliance, Nebraska—consists of 38 welded, spray-painted, vintage cars, and it stands as a memorial to his farmer father, who passed away in 1982. Does it resemble the real thing? You be the judge.
Where to stay: Holiday Inn Express Alliance, near the near the Black Hills of South Dakota
You don’t have to be a knitter to appreciate the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City, Kansas. Started by farmer Frank Stoeber in 1953, it grows bigger during an annual August twine-a-thon, when residents and visitors add to the sisal masterpiece. After your encounter, hit the souvenir shop across the street for a mini-model.
Where to stay: Holiday Inn Express Lincoln, situated a day trip away
Forget everything you thought you knew about elephants and head to 9200 Atlantic Ave., Margate City, New Jersey, to see Lucy. For than 130 years, this six-story landmark and has kept watch over Josephine Harron Park and has served as everything from a real estate office to a tavern and summer home. Now, you can pack a picnic lunch and climb her spiral staircase for a commanding shoreline view. After exploring her insides, pick up some postcards from the gift shop to commemorate the kitsch.
Where to stay: Revel, along Revel Beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Jennifer Olvera is a culinary travel writer, recipe developer and author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Chicago. She digs a good public market.