Reports, news, and stories on quirky roadside attractions! Not all tips verified -- call ahead! Submit your own tip.
My wife and I traveled all the way from Birmingham (United Kingdom) to this event. The trip was well worth the effort. Thanks to Roadsideamerica.com we'd managed to find out about this year's opening times and info. The lines started early, so expect a long, but not unpleasant, wait for a tractor hay ride (or bus) to the top of the mountain. Some people did walk up, but we saw them in various states of tiredness as we zipped past.
The kids came dressed in all their best costumes, and all looked fab. Shame on you adults though - the party's for you too! We went dressed (as we are out of towners - and didn't care if we got laughed at). We did meet up with all the characters -- they make the event what it is - delightful. There was a scary witch (who stayed in character all day - I was scared). There was so much stuff to buy, our cases were almost bursting at the airport on the way home. We had a lovely sunny weekend, but apparently it isn't always so on the mountain, so bring a jumper and check the weather. We're going again in 2006, depending on work (boo hoo) so hope to see you there.[Stacey Christie, 10/22/2005]
- 2669 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain, NC
- Hwy 184 takes you to the town of Beech Mountain. A winding two-lane road just to the left of the Chamber of Commerce building -- Beech Mountain Pkwy -- takes you up to a sign that says, "Emerald Mountain." Through that gate, it's another half-mile, past a bunch of ski lifts.
- Weekends in June and Oct. Sa 10-4 Su 11-4. (Call to verify)
- Adults $35.00
- RA Rates:
- Worth a Detour
The Fall Festival at the Land of Oz was quite fun. I got there in the afternoon and stood in line for more than an hour but it was fun seeing all the people in costumes. Little Dorothy's were running around, all so cute in their blue dresses and ruby slippers. There was a car from Ohio we passed by in the line that had Oz stickers all over the windows, the tag said "I Luv Oz". Sticking out of the trunk were the witch's legs and the Ruby slippers.
The hayride went up the Beech Mt ski slopes to the top. I went through the house -- Auntie Em and her husband were in the kitchen. On the other side of the storm was the Yellow Brick road. There was Dorothy and Glenda the good witch. I was told that this Dorothy's mother was the original Dorothy and now she was playing the old lady with the basket on the bicycle. Just past Munchkinland the Lion was waiting to jump out of the Rhododendrons and scare the kids, and just past him were the flying monkeys. One little girl was so terrified of them he had to pull off his mask to show he was a boy.
Came to a garden of mushrooms and the witch's castle and the scary trees and a small Poppy field. Children were having their pictures taken acting like they were asleep. The gate keeper of the city sounded like the one in the movie. Past the smoking wizards head there was the "witch" on the bike. Didn't go in to see the Coroner (munchkin) because of a very long line. Was a very enjoyable day, The Beech Mountain city employees couldn't have been nicer..[W C Carter, 10/22/2005]
I finally understand (because it's never before been clearly explained to me) that at the former Land of Oz, "theme park" does not refer to a Disney-style amusement complex, but rather a heavily decorated, character-staffed nature trail with some themed vignettes placed in a sequence somewhat reminiscent of the book and the MGM film.
I can realistically describe my day at this gig as a SIX. AND. A. HALF. HOUR. LINE. The line was kinda cool, though -- people were generally upbeat and happy to be there. My impression is that the crowd hit a capacity previously unheard of -- and unexpected, because all the food vendors ran out of everything two or three hours before the day ended. If you're interested in attending Autumn at Oz, a certain amount of commitment to the trip above and beyond casual interest (and some snacks and bottled water) is strenuously recommended.
There was a quaint little Oz museum set up in Uncle Henry and Aunt Em''s barn, a conglomeration of every Oz thing they could find, including very new-looking snow globes and dolls. But there were a few genuinely cool things in there as well: one wall sported a mounted set of first editions of all of the Oz books that had actually been penned by L. Frank Baum. A chair on display was the one that the winged monkey sat on in the film.
Dorothy's house was far and away the single cleverest thing we experienced all day. It was so damn neat -- I'm amazed haven't seen a similar trick of pacing/storytelling in any theme park/dark ride/attraction anywhere else. The Yellow Brick Road began in Munchkinland, and carried us past the usual suspects, pretty much in the order from the movie: Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, Dorothy, Cowardly Lion, some winged monkeys, palace guards, and the Wicked Witch of the West (whose "castle"was one of the straight-up coolest set pieces of the day). After the witch was the Haunted Forest -- this place (faces spackled onto real trees) was messed up and creepy.
Was it worth it? Well, it scratched the itch. If I hadn't gone, I'd still be wanting to.[Nathan Etheridge, 10/22/2005]
I am one of the characters for the Land of Oz every year. I play one of the three Scarecrows, while my other friends play Dorothy, the Tin Man, Lion, and so on. I have been doing it going on five years, now, and it's such an amazing experience to see how many people in the area actually come to the event. We love doing it so much that we travel all the way from New Jersey (Now New York City since we all attend college in/around it) just to be part!
The Land of Oz was open in the 1970s before closing after the 1980 season. What we find thrilling is that people visit the park 30-some odd years later, bringing generation upon generation of their family; it never left them from their first visit. I love it the most when former employees come up to the character they played, and tell us stories about when they worked at the park. You don't realize the impact of the Wizard of Oz stories until you experience it from our standpoint.
Yes, people get picture crazy, and it's overwhelming at times, when all you want to do is get to the yellow brick road and you are getting kids thrown at you to take pictures with. A few people have tried to light me on fire (apparently thinking the real straw in my costume isn't really flammable?), and a little girl threw a cup of water on one of our wicked witches. She didn't melt, but she insisted on a break after that! However, seeing the kids AND adults faces light up as they meet you, and getting hugs from kids looking up at you as if they have known you for years makes it something I will do for as long as the park will continue the event.
People seem to enjoy it as much as we enjoy working there and putting on the Oz personas. Our crowd size almost doubles every year, and the park is now open for two days instead of one. The Scarecrow and Tin Man houses, and the Emerald City aren't there anymore, it still holds the magic that will always be in that story. You step onto that road, and you are there- I know I sound crazy, but everyone who has stepped foot on that mountain knows exactly what I am talking about.[Sean Barrett, 08/03/2005]
- Beech Mountain, North Carolina - Land of Oz
Went this October to the Land of Oz with my wife, our three kids, and other family members. The best time we've had all year. I felt like a kid again. I was much anticipating the event, since it had been nearly 30 years since I had gone there as a child in the mid 1970s, when the park was fully operational. We got our tickets the day before at the Chamber of Commerce to ensure we'd be on the first tour at 10 am Saturday. There are two ways to get to the top of Beech Mountain where the park is located. You can ride the hay ride/shuttle bus, or you can walk. We were contemplating walking it until one of the organizers informed me that the park was approximately 1 mile and 500 feet up.
We rode a hay covered wagon/trailer pulled by a tractor, which only added to the great experience. At the gates to Oz at the top we were greeted by "Emerald City" characters, who gave us directions and wished us well on our journey. There were tents here with vendors selling Oz trinkets. On a paved path we met an "Emerald City" female character who informed us of what was in store on our journey. We took pictures of a "Dorothy" with our kids. We then went to Professor Marvel's location (a gazebo perched on the side of the mountain with spectacular views). This place made my wife and me nervous since there were no chains or barricades blocking the ledges around the gazebo and the drop offs were straight down for what seemed like thousands of feet down.
The highlight of the trip is the farmhouse and Dorothy's home. Before you get there look to the left off of the paved path and you will see a tombstone. The name on the stone was Grover Robbins. This is one of the men who started Tweetsie Railroad and Land of Oz. Walk through the house and you will see a beautiful replica of the Kansas home and meet "Auntie Em" in the kitchen. We then went through a door in the "Tornado Room." I will not spoil it by giving the details of this room, but it is pretty neat.
You then pass through a mirror version of the first home as you exit the house but everything appears as though it has been upset by a tornado -- crooked pictures on the wall, overturned chairs and tables. As you exit, look for the witch's legs protruding from the left side of underneath the house. The yellow brick road then begins.
The sad part is when you get to the end. There is no Emerald City. All of that land has now been developed. But for two days out of the year, the yellow brick road is yours. Can't wait to go next year![Troy and Samantha, 10/24/2004]