New Bern, North Carolina: Tom Haywood's Self-Kicking MachineDissatisfied travelers can pull off the road and self-administer a good boot in the butt.
Martha's Favorite Things
- 6241 US Hwy. 70 E, New Bern, NC
- Martha's Favorite Things. On US 70, a little over nine miles south of the intersection of Hwy 55/US 17 at New Bern. Look for a broad curve in the highway, where there's an unobtrusive building that looks like an old country store. That's Martha's Favorite Things antiques shop, and the kicking machine is next to it. Just past it is a small white country church at the corner of Catfish Lake Rd; turn right to get on the service road to backtrack to the kicking machine.
- RA Rates:
- Major Fun
Visitor Tips and News About Tom Haywood's Self-Kicking Machine
My friend and I ride our motorcycles just to visit the Roadside America attractions, and the self-kicking machine is still up and running as if it was just built![Mike P, 06/28/2011]
Some historical info on the kicking machine: The original was built by Wilber Herring at the request of Tom Haywood, the store owner, and installed in the early thirties. Over the years it deteriorated and, I believe, was donated to the NC Museum of History in Raleigh by Mr. haywood's family.
I owned the store from 1993 until 1996 and I built the replica that you show exactly to Tom Haywood's specifications. Legend has it that Lucille Ball kicked herself on Tom's machine after losing a political wager, and Babe Ruth visited the store many times while on hunting trips to the Croatan, although he visited prior to the machine's installation.[S Junkersfeld, 02/18/2007]
It now belongs to an antique store, and it still works!! Coming from New Bern to Havelock, it's on the right hand side of the road just before Catfish Lake Rd. The white church mentioned earlier is on the corner of Catfish Lake Rd. A great place to make a few photos and get out to stretch your legs.[franky, 10/23/2006]
This machine was constructed about 60-70 years ago by Tom Haywood and sat outside his store in the Croatan/Riverdale section of Craven County about 10 miles east of New Bern on US highway 70. The wheel has four spokes on which are attached shoes or boots. The victim turns his back to the shoes and turns the crank, activating the wheel and allowing himself to be kicked as the boots pass by his derriere. After Mr. Haywood died, the store was operated unsuccessfully by several proprietors. Later the machine was moved about 50 miles west. However, about ten years ago, it was restored to its original location and still attracts people who feel they need to kick themselves.[Fred Robinson, 08/11/2001]
The infamous Self Kicking Machine sits outside of a nice antique/gift shop called Martha's Favorite Things in the unincorporated town of Croatan, NC. This particular stretch of road is fairly empty, so you shouldn't have any problems finding the place.
The self kicking machine was, sadly, in a state of minor disrepair when I located it; the crank needed to be tightened and the boot assembly had become disconnected from the wooden frame. After a short wrench turning session I had the Self Kicking Machine returned to it's former working condition. The machine is a lot of fun (and painful)![Greg Brown, 02/18/2001]
Future visitors and other masochists thank Greg for his repair efforts...