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Author Topic: Favorite roadside stops/attractions  (Read 31290 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2012, 07:43:01 PM »

I'm looking at a lot of posts about South of the Border that's off I-95 in SC. Must be really good... or is it?

Full disclosure - some distant relatives of my wife own the place.

It's a kitchy place, a little run-down in my opinion, but it has one worthwhile feature - if you want low-cost "gag" type gifts for someone, South of the Border is a fine choice if you are driving by.

Too bad I only use I-95 in SC for a little distance before turning off at where it meets US 278.  :no:

I believe you exit at the other end of I-95 in the Palmetto State - South of the Border is about 190 miles north of the I-95/U.S. 278 interchange.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2012, 01:24:51 PM »

I'm only thinking about stops that are convenient to major thoroughfares, so not counting wandering off into Route 66-land in eastern Kansas, etc.

I think my all-time favorite is the New River Gorge Bridge on U.S. 19 in West Virginia. The town on the south side of the bridge, Fayetteville, has some good places to eat (the Cathedral Cafe, a decent slices-and-brews place that I forget the name of, among others) that make for an excellent alternative to the usual highway fare.

Another great Interstate diversion is the Caverns of Sonora off of I-10 in West Texas. I only discovered it by accident in looking for a way to break up the monotony of one of the most desolate stretches of Interstate in the country, but it's really pretty spectacular. It's actually more geologically noteworthy than Carlsbad, which gets all of the plaudits because of its size, but naturally people aren't flocking to Sonora because it's in the absolute middle of nowhere, so you never have to worry about annoying crowds.

Also, as I've gotten to know the Interstate system in PA quite well, there are a number of small towns with easy access to the highway that I've turned into my "rest stops" of choice: Bedford, Carlisle, Easton, Bellefonte, to name a few.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 01:39:22 PM by wphiii »
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NYYPhil777

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #52 on: September 02, 2012, 08:11:55 PM »

This thread might be a little old, but I knew I wanted to make this post on this thread...
As a roadgeek, the term "roadside attraction" is ironic- after all, the attraction is the road!

By the way, the clickety-clack pavement on I-55 between St. Louis and Sikeston makes the trip better (sad to see the counties the route traverses through are replacing the pavement  :no:).
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #53 on: September 03, 2012, 01:03:59 AM »

Some of my favorites are:

The Tillamook Cheese Factory on US-101 just north of Tillamook, OR.   Free cheese and good ice cream.   Even with all the crowds you can get in and out quickly.  Free self guided tours of cheese making and packaging.

Country Cousin restaurant off of I-5 in Centralia, WA.  Huge cinnamon rolls.  Used to stop there on every road trip to California.  Before all of those factory outlets came in next door, it was a significant landmark along I-5. 

Miner's Drive-In  off of I-82 in Yakima, WA on its southern border with Union Gap.  Good burgers and fried stuff.

Brooks House of BBQ off of I-88 in Oneonta, NY.  Great charcoal grilled bbq chicken.

A new one for me is Ranch House BBQ right along SR-8 (part of the US-12, SR-8, US-101 mainline between Aberdeen and Olympia, WA).  It is in the middle of nowhere but always has a crowd.  It is located about 5 miles west of the US-101 junction in the Summit Lake area between Olympia and McCleary.  Best BBQ I have had west of Texas and right on the way to the ocean.

Growing up in the 50's, a must see roadside stop was the Nut Tree on I-80, (it was US 40 then). In additon to a great food stop, there was a small train fot kids to go thru the orchards and even an airport. This was in Vacaville,CA between SF and Tahoe. I am not sure if it is still there.

My dad always mentioned this when we passed through Vacaville on the way to the Bay Area when I was a kid.  It was still there in the early 90's, but we didn't stop in.
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NYYPhil777

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #54 on: September 03, 2012, 05:13:19 AM »

Some of my favorites are:

The Tillamook Cheese Factory on US-101 just north of Tillamook, OR.   Free cheese and good ice cream.   Even with all the crowds you can get in and out quickly.  Free self guided tours of cheese making and packaging.

Country Cousin restaurant off of I-5 in Centralia, WA.  Huge cinnamon rolls.  Used to stop there on every road trip to California.  Before all of those factory outlets came in next door, it was a significant landmark along I-5. 

Miner's Drive-In  off of I-82 in Yakima, WA on its southern border with Union Gap.  Good burgers and fried stuff.

Brooks House of BBQ off of I-88 in Oneonta, NY.  Great charcoal grilled bbq chicken.

A new one for me is Ranch House BBQ right along SR-8 (part of the US-12, SR-8, US-101 mainline between Aberdeen and Olympia, WA).  It is in the middle of nowhere but always has a crowd.  It is located about 5 miles west of the US-101 junction in the Summit Lake area between Olympia and McCleary.  Best BBQ I have had west of Texas and right on the way to the ocean.

Growing up in the 50's, a must see roadside stop was the Nut Tree on I-80, (it was US 40 then). In additon to a great food stop, there was a small train fot kids to go thru the orchards and even an airport. This was in Vacaville,CA between SF and Tahoe. I am not sure if it is still there.

My dad always mentioned this when we passed through Vacaville on the way to the Bay Area when I was a kid.  It was still there in the early 90's, but we didn't stop in.
I Googled the Nut Tree, yes, it's still there. Unfortunately, it's more of a strip mall than a roadside attraction. At least that what it looked like in my opinion.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #55 on: September 03, 2012, 05:41:27 AM »

Has anyone driving south of Nashville actually ever seen Rock City?
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #56 on: September 03, 2012, 09:07:29 AM »

Cafe Risque on I-75 in north Florida... never actually stopped in, but love the billboards. :)
Ehh, I think the girls on the billboard are kind of ugly. I also think it's a chain, because I've swear I've seen some other Cafe Risque locations along I-95 in other parts of the south.

Anyone remember that line from Mike Starr in "Ed Wood" about how those "repressed Oakies" love all that kinky stuff?

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #57 on: September 03, 2012, 06:46:46 PM »

Anytime I'm down south, Krystal's is a must stop.  When I'm in Syracuse, I have to stop at Heid's in Liverpool.  Some of my favorite attractions are the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Pro Football HOF, the Baseball HOF, and the Country Music HOF Museum.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #58 on: September 05, 2012, 12:08:37 PM »

I Googled the Nut Tree, yes, it's still there. Unfortunately, it's more of a strip mall than a roadside attraction. At least that what it looked like in my opinion.
It's "still there" but in name only.  All of the rides, attractions and shops were torn down in the mid-90's only to be replaced with a large shopping center about a decade later.

Edit: the airport is still there and I believe it's still called the Vacaville-Nut Tree Airport.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #59 on: September 06, 2012, 01:48:03 PM »

On NY 431, the Whiteface Mountain Summit is mandatory for anyone clinching the road, especially since to clinch it you have to pay for admission anyways.
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Special K

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #60 on: September 06, 2012, 04:08:54 PM »

Nobody has mentioned The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (off I-90)?  For shame.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #61 on: September 07, 2012, 08:20:15 PM »

Nobody has mentioned The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (off I-90)?  For shame.
I've been there, I was very disappointed by the Corn Palace. I expected the Corn Palace to be closer to I-90, when it was in the middle of town. And the most unexpected thing about it is... it was the city hall and when I was there, it wasn't open to the public. Only its neighboring knick-knack shops were open.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #62 on: September 07, 2012, 11:08:47 PM »

Nobody has mentioned The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (off I-90)?  For shame.
I've been there, I was very disappointed by the Corn Palace. I expected the Corn Palace to be closer to I-90, when it was in the middle of town. And the most unexpected thing about it is... it was the city hall and when I was there, it wasn't open to the public. Only its neighboring knick-knack shops were open.
Worth driving by for a photograph? I can't imagine there's much else out there.

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #63 on: September 08, 2012, 03:29:57 AM »

Nobody has mentioned The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (off I-90)?  For shame.
I've been there, I was very disappointed by the Corn Palace. I expected the Corn Palace to be closer to I-90, when it was in the middle of town. And the most unexpected thing about it is... it was the city hall and when I was there, it wasn't open to the public. Only its neighboring knick-knack shops were open.
Worth driving by for a photograph? I can't imagine there's much else out there.
There's always Mount Rushmore and Wall Drug. Murdo even has an auto museum off I-90 and further west is an 1880's themed attraction off the same highway.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #64 on: September 08, 2012, 03:46:40 AM »

Whatever. Old US 16 should be enough reason to drive through town.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #65 on: September 08, 2012, 12:06:00 PM »

Has nobody mentioned the World's Largest Prairie Dog in Oakley (KS) yet?  Oh, for shame!  How can a four-ton concrete prairie dog—barely hidden from highway view and surrounded by freak farm animals with birth defects—not make the top of everyone's list?
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #66 on: September 08, 2012, 12:40:00 PM »

That's certainly more impressive than the bird sculptures on I-81 a mile south of NY 12 (exit 50).  They're only visible southbound, at the top of a hill, and by some trees, so you can't see them until you're right on top of them.  Better be quick with the camera; it took me 5-6 attempts to get a picture of them, and it's not a very good picture at that.

It's not really a stop though, unless you pull onto the shoulder.
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Special K

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #67 on: September 09, 2012, 12:28:04 AM »

Nobody has mentioned The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (off I-90)?  For shame.
I've been there, I was very disappointed by the Corn Palace. I expected the Corn Palace to be closer to I-90, when it was in the middle of town. And the most unexpected thing about it is... it was the city hall and when I was there, it wasn't open to the public. Only its neighboring knick-knack shops were open.
'

The Corn Palace is not the City Hall, although they are attached.  Besides, the exterior is the attraction.  The interior is, for the most part, an auditorium/basketball arena.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #68 on: September 09, 2012, 05:01:14 AM »

Nobody has mentioned The World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD (off I-90)?  For shame.
I've been there, I was very disappointed by the Corn Palace. I expected the Corn Palace to be closer to I-90, when it was in the middle of town. And the most unexpected thing about it is... it was the city hall and when I was there, it wasn't open to the public. Only its neighboring knick-knack shops were open.
'

The Corn Palace is not the City Hall, although they are attached.  Besides, the exterior is the attraction.  The interior is, for the most part, an auditorium/basketball arena.
Still, with that description, that reminds me of a local government-run facility.
It's also the fourth Corn Palace that has been constructed.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #69 on: September 09, 2012, 10:46:51 AM »

C'mon... How can you not love this kitsch?


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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #70 on: September 09, 2012, 12:36:48 PM »

I've stopped in Mitchell 2 times, I believe.  One trip, 1989 I think, it was open and there was some sort of farmers market type of event going on.  Of course, we bought a sack of "Corn Palace" popcorn.  Never planned to pop it.  It may still be somewhere at my father's house.  In 1999, it was late evening so we couldn't even see much of the exterior decoration.  In 2 other trips by on I-90, I don't believe we stopped (1985 and 2001).

But really, the whole point is the exterior and just the fact that there's actually this building they call a "Corn Palace" that gets decorated with corn every year.  I give the town some credit for having something to get some of the traffic off I-90 and into their town for at least a quick visit.

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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #71 on: September 09, 2012, 01:54:29 PM »

I haven't stopped at South of the Border in about 20 years but I hear it's become seriously run-down and not especially clean. Any truth to the rumors? While the place is a classic tourist trap, I'd be sorry to see it go. It's already a shame that they wound up putting up politically-correct billboards instead of the funny ones they used to have.
I can tell you this; In the 13 years I've been back and forth between Long Island and Florida, South of the Border does look pretty run down, especially on the North Carolina side where the motels are boarded up. One time I had to drive through there to stop at a nearby post office, and it looked just as tacky as it seemed.


As for me, I still swear by Maryland House and can't get enough of it. However, there's also a barbecue shack along I-95 & US 301 somewhere south of the Davis Travel Center in Virginia that I've been curious about for years.

 
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 01:19:16 PM by D-Dey65 »
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #72 on: September 09, 2012, 06:44:02 PM »

C'mon... How can you not love this kitsch?



Don't get me wrong- I do love the architecture of the Corn Palace. That gym looks pretty cool. It's just that I might be jealous because it wasn't open to visitors when I visited Mitchell.
I'm not trying to hurt your feelings.
I agree with Jim's post- Mitchell deserves some credit for a structure like this. The town also has a train depot-themed (or converted) restaurant called the Depot.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #73 on: September 10, 2012, 09:34:37 AM »

I haven't stopped at South of the Border in about 20 years but I hear it's become seriously run-down and not especially clean. Any truth to the rumors? While the place is a classic tourist trap, I'd be sorry to see it go. It's already a shame that they wound up putting up politically-correct billboards instead of the funny ones they used to have.
I can tell you this; In the 13 years I've been back and forth between Long Island and Florida, South of the Border does look prerry run down, especially on the North Carolina side where the motels are boarded up. One time I had to drive through there to stop at a nearby post office, and it looked just as tacky as it seemed.

....

Oh, no question at all about South of the Border being tacky. It was always as tacky as it seems or possibly even worse. But back when I used to make the drive down I-95 regularly (though usually only to South Carolina) and stop at South of the Border—this being the early 1990s through about 1995—the place was relatively clean and well-maintained, though obviously a complete tourist trap. The food wasn't terrible and was reasonably priced. But I've seen various comments online that the place has gone downhill recently and is a bit dilapidated, dirty toilets, etc. I don't know if that's true because we don't stop there when we go through nowadays (now that I've started making the I-95 drive again).

I wonder to what extent places like that suffer a bit from the ever-increasing prevalence of sat-nav devices and smartphone apps that will tell you what else is around in terms of places to stop.
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Re: Favorite roadside stops/attractions
« Reply #74 on: September 10, 2012, 10:52:31 AM »

I'm not trying to hurt your feelings.
I agree with Jim's post- Mitchell deserves some credit for a structure like this. The town also has a train depot-themed (or converted) restaurant called the Depot.

You needn't worry about my feelings.  While I'm originally from Mitchell, the CP was never that big a deal to me.  It's just the thing *everyone* mentions when I tell them where I grew up.

The Depot is indeed the old RR depot.  Mitchell used to have a fairly important yard, complete with turntable and roundhouse, if you're into the RR stuff.
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