TePee -- 1991.
The metallic TePee of Yore (1991).

The Tepee

Field review by the editors.

Cherry Valley, New York

The shimmering 50-foot tall metal cone of the TePee is one of those sights that has signaled to uncounted millions: "That's right! You're on vacation!" Built in 1950 along New York State's US Route 20 (before the interstates bypassed it), the TePee offers "The Grand Panoramic View" of Cherry Valley, and a shoppe to buy cheesy Indian souvenirs.

The TePee is midway between Boston and Niagara Falls (Honeymoon Alert!), scant miles from local magnets such as Secret Caverns and Petrified Creatures. We've always admired the way the sun glinted off it's steel exterior, blinding passing motorists. In 1997 we noticed that it had undergone a horrid, peeling paint job -- spray-painted smog-yellow. It was open, but lacked visitors. A sign warned: "New owners! New inventory!"

Newer view of tepee.
The TePee of Today.

The new owners blamed the funky makeover on the contractor, who apparently used the wrong paint in 1996 to cover galvanized steel. "It looked good for about a month," lamented the store manager. Inside, photos of the TePee from years past make you wish that the new owners had left it alone. They still sell an assortment of typical tourist items, including "Tepee Taffy."

The brochure scores some points, directing us to milestones in the area's history:

  • "Waterville, seat of the hop market at its prime."
  • "Nov. 11, 1770: Indians and Tories massacred the inhabitants of Cherry Valley."
  • "At Sharon, the Indians scalped a boy who lived to be 70 years old."

Current TePee owner Dale Latella reports he "bought the business with my sister from our father in 2000. We now carry many authentic native items made from different Nations. Customers are pleasantly surprised that we have a nice gift shop, not overpowered by cheesy souvenir items. It sounds from your Web site that The Tepee is a tacky tourist trap -- we are far from that. Just updated for today's consumers, but still have the charm of the 1950s roadside gift shop."

Typical souvenirs.

The Tepee

Address:
7632 US Hwy 20, Cherry Valley, NY
Directions:
US Hwy 20, south side, west of Sharon.
Phone:
607-264-3987
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Sulphur Temple - Healing WatersSulphur Temple - Healing Waters, Sharon Springs, NY - 3 mi.
S.C. Billboard: Set the Controls for Secret CavernsS.C. Billboard: Set the Controls for Secret Caverns, Sharon Springs, NY - 8 mi.
Arkell Museum: Beech-Nut Gum and Baby Food MemorabiliaArkell Museum: Beech-Nut Gum and Baby Food Memorabilia, Canajoharie, NY - 9 mi.
In the region:
Kirk Douglas Rock and Park, Amsterdam, NY - 27 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in New York

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in New York.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

October 23, 2017

My Sights

My Sights

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

New York Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Goldfield Ghost Town, Apache Junction, Arizona (Oct 23-29, 2017)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Nearby Hotels and Motels, Cherry Valley, New York

Nightly rates found:

Book Online Now

 

Favorite Quirky City Sights