News from the offbeat tourist attraction landscape of Roadside America.
Sightings Vol. 10, No. 10 - August 28, 2014

Lunacy of the Abita Mystery House

The Abita Mystery House, like all great attractions, is a place you talk about long after you’ve left the road — although your friends and family may think you’re crazy. Push-button dioramas of tornados and angels, taxidermy monsters, a crashed flying saucer in the back yard — it’s the personal vision of John Preble, who freely admits that he was mentored by a madman.

All Hail, Golden Age of Wax!

Potter's Wax Museum.Herman Munster, Hitler, Rambo, the cast of Seinfeld (as decapitated heads) are all equally famous in the floor plan of Potter’s Wax Museum, an attraction so venerable that the people of St. Augustine, Florida have rallied, time and again, to keep it open.

Dr. Charles Smith Knows the Truth

Dr. Charles Smith.And he’s not afraid to tell it to you when you visit his folk art African-American Heritage Museum, which fills the yard of this Marine veteran's house in Louisiana. Also: if you know Denzel Washington, please tell him to come pick up his statue.

Watergate, Commies, and Elvis Have What In Common?

Nixon.The answer is Tricky Dick Nixon, and you can trace the serpentine connections of America’s most disgraced President at the Richard Nixon Museum and Birthplace. The most popular items in its gift shop feature a famous photo of The King and Dick.

Crying Kurt Cobain Made of Cement

Kurt Cobain.Twenty years after Nirvana's grunge hero Kurt Cobain killed himself, his hometown welcomed this statue into its museum. Before that it had been stored for decades in its sculptor’s muffler shop.

The Gerrymander

Gerrymander.If you’ve ever wondered why it’s impossible to dump bad politicians from Congress, visit the tiny plaque that marks the Birthplace of the Gerrymander. Kurt D., a political landmark zealot, pounced when he heard a new plaque had been installed.

A Guy Walks Into A Bar And Sees A Polar Bear

Polar bear.And he isn’t drunk yet, or the subject of a bad joke. The World Record Polar Bear is stuffed and stands very tall atop a plaster snowbank inside a glass case, and it’s merely one of the sights in peculiar Port Costa.

Tread Lightly

Yugos.There are bodies under the sidewalk outside the El Campo Santo Cemetery. It used to be inside the cemetery, but, you know, the street needed a sidewalk. Bronze disks in the cement mark the graves, so you can be horrified while also being respectful.


Spotted by Tipsters

Herbivore.Ready for My Close-Up: In her tip titled “Beware to Nice Cars,” Emily S. shared a POV photo of an unidentified herbivore licking her vehicle at Circle G Ranch. We are advised that muddy tongue is a luxury car hazard.

Pyramid.Roadside Archaeology: Not Forgotten-ologist Chris C. went above and beyond when he recreated from memory the features of Pyramid Park — Indiana’s overenthusiastic (and some say cursed) tribute to its limestone industry.

Drive a Tank.Crush Your Travel Budget: It's probably no surprise that it is extremely expensive to crush a car with a tank at an attraction such as Drive A Tank in Minnesota. But Jarrod H’s photo makes it clear that, for those who saved and scrimped all year, it’s a blast.

Zipper.Largest Zipper in America: Tipster Nixon documents a "research target" in Barre, Vermont, the Granite Capital of the World. It's a 74 ft. long public sculpture that makes immodest use of a narrow alley and a local quarry.

Fortress of Faith.Junior Banks' Fortress of Faith: This rambling, hand-built castle continues to delight shutterbugs and off-the-grid explorers like Jen W., who notes "we were the only people there." A dungeon, a throne room, and a spot to play chess.

For more fun discoveries and updates from the road, head over to the Latest Tips.


Latest News on Roadside America

Bike Eaten by Tree.The Bicycle-Eating Tree was stripped of most of its bicycle by vandals, but locals have vowed to preserve and restore the bike. Johnny Cash's Boyhood Home opened to the public, while Bomber Gas flew off into history. The Huge Wooden Colonial Guy was taken apart, to be reassembled in its new hometown in 2015.

Big plans were announced for Florida’s Desert Inn and Mississippi’s Elvis Honeymoon Cottage, but their glorious futures have a hazy arrival date. Similar uncertainty surrounds the fate of Neverland Ranch (which is for sale) and Graceland Too (whose owner died last month).

Finally, we tip our sun visor to Greg Holmes, who loaned a Muffler Man head to the Harley-Davidson Museum for its long-overdue salute to Roadside culture.

Keep pace with important attraction updates on the Roadside America Twitter feed.


Enjoy a safe holiday weekend,
The Team

Apps & Tools

iPhoneTop 10
iPhone Paid
Travel App

(U.S. AppStore)
June-August 2014

Thanks for telling your friends about us!

Roadside America iPhone app Roadside America App for iPhone: v. 1.8.7
10,000+ USA/Canada offbeat attractions, inc. new research targets, interactive "Near Me" maps, Sunset Alert, Tourist Interruptus (yes, you might need this).

$2.99 on the App Store (incl. access to 1 region); addtl. regions or "All Access" unlock is optional in-app purchase.
iOS 7 iPhone, iPod touch (iPad compatible)


Roadside Presidents App for iPhone: v. 1.3.7
POTUS road trip! New photos, new landmarks, essential Roadside Presidential sights. The legacy of our leaders — inspired, uplifting, hapless, tragic — first ladies, assassins, and ample patriotic bunting.

$2.99. iOS 7 iPhone, iPod touch, (iPad compatible). Available on the App Store.

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Main image: Abita Mystery House, Abita Springs, Louisiana