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12 of the best quirky USA landmarks

In a nation as enormous as the USA, you can expect to come across some fairly unusual sights on your travels and it certainly doesn't disappoint. From outsider art to quirky places to stay, here's our pick of some of the most weird and wonderful places in the USA.  

 

The Mean Eyed Cat Bar, Austin, Texas

This fabulously quirky bar in Austin, Texas, is completely dedicated to iconic US singer songwriter Johnny Cash. It’s named after one of his songs and the bar is jam packed with Cash memorabilia. It’s got another novelty selling point too - it boasts an assortment of chainsaws and blades, too, because the building was originally the home of a chainsaw repair shop.

Knight’s Spider Web Farm, Vermont

Will Knight made fine woodenware until he noticed that the spiders, which were everywhere in his barn, each wove a uniquely different web. Knight harvested the webs and began producing art from them and the rest is history for the Williamstown, Vermont attraction Knight’s Spider Web Farm. No good if you’re an arachnophobe but beautiful and fascinating nonetheless.

London Bridge, Lake Havasu, Arizona

The London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was meticulously transported from London in 1967, brick by brick, where it had stood over the river Thames. Originally built in 1831 to replace an earlier London Bridge this ‘new’ London Bridge wasn’t strong enough to support 20th century traffic and started sinking into the riverbed. In 1967, the Common Council of the City of London began to look for potential buyers for the London Bridge, and it was bought by Lake Havasu City founder and entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch for $2,460,000. The bridge was transported via the Panama Canal, and driven from California, and reassembled and reinforced to withstand traffic and completed in 1971.

Enchanted Highway, North Dakota

The Enchanted Highway in North Dakota is 32-mile stretch of road between Gladstone and Regent which features six huge roadside scrap metal sculptures including flying geese, a giant pheasant sculpture, massive teapots, huge grasshoppers, and even former U. S. president Teddy Roosevelt on a horse. Even more unlikely is just how good they are.

The Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel, Tennessee

Set in a converted train station, which served all trains traveling southward from 1909 to 1970, Chattanooga Choo-Choo Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a 24-acre hotel and holiday resort. Guests can stay the night in a restored passenger steam train, giving them a chance to get a feel for travel in the past. The resort, is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places, boasts the world’s largest model railroad museum, the Songbirds Guitar Museum, featuring donations by some of the biggest musicians in history, an on-site escape room, comedy club and more.

Dog Bark Park Inn, Idaho

This extraordinary Dog Bark Park Inn building is a unique landmark of Idaho. The house, built in the shape of a beagle, is home to a bed & breakfast guesthouse and also serves as an eyecatching sign to tempt passers-by to visit the adjacent artist’s studio, gift shop selling chainsaw dog carvings, visitor centre and outdoor gallery dedicated to over-sized dogs and more.

Prada Marfa, Texas

In the middle of the Texan desert stands alone a 15 x 25 ft Prada store that has never opened for business. The explanation for the store? It’s actually a permanently installed art feature designed by artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Constructed in 2005 for $120,000, the sculpture was never intended to be repaired or maintained so it could slowly degrade back into the natural landscape. The Prada Marfa has now become something of a cultural landmark for people travelling through Marfa generating thousands of visits each year on an otherwise fairly sleepy Route 90.   

World’s Largest Teapot, Chester, West Virginia

At the junction of State Route 2 and U.S. Route 30 is Chester’s World’s Largest Teapot - it’s 14ft in diameter and 14ft tall. Yet another example of the lengths that people will go to break up the boredom of a never-ending road trip, the teapot was created to boast the region’s pottery industry.

The Desert of Maine, Maine

Maine evokes images of lush pine forests and quintessential New England lighthouses, but tucked away next to the coastal town of Freeport, Maine, lies an unexpected site: over 40-acres of sand and silt, dubbed the ‘Desert of Maine’. Although not a real desert, walking the sand dunned land is quite a surreal experience when considering the lush pined forest enclosing the silt lined hills. 

 

The American Sign Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio

Signs aren’t a big deal until you really stop to think about them. Then you realise they’re ubiquitous and from an environmental perspective fundamental influential in terms of aesthetic. The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio is the largest public museum dedicated to signs in the U.S., with 20,000 sqft of weird, wonderful or just plain familiar signs exhibited, you’ll be astonished at how influential they’ve been as Americana.

SPAM Museum, Austin, Minnesota

The Spam Museum celebrates the unique, canned meat product that rose to prominence as a staple for troops and allies in World War II. Spam was invented in Austin, Minnesota, and continues to be made there. The Spam Museum, open daily with free admission, tells the interesting story of how this brand became a global icon. Check out the seven main galleries, sample some of the 15 different flavours and find some truly unique Spam themed artifacts in this weird and wonderful attraction. 

Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

If you thought Stonehenge was weird enough wait until you check out artist Jim Reinders’ automobile replica of Stonehenge called Carhenge, made using 39 vintage American cars painted grey to resemble the ancient monument. Dedicated on the summer solstice in 1987, it has since been joined by a Car Art Reserve featuring other sculptures including a spawning salmon and another car creation called Ford Seasons. Carhenge, near the city of Alliance, is free and attracts over 60,000 visitors each year.

Posted on: 16/02/2019

 
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