Roadside Attractions

Big ChairThis summer I hope one and all have the great opportunity to create some lifetime memories by taking a family car trip.

Recently I took just such a car trip with unexpected side effects. We headed out to Webatuck, NY to the artisan village there for a day of crafts and wandering. Unfortunately, the roadside attraction that added to the spot’s charm had been demolished, the giant chair was gone, and surprisingly so was the craft village. All that remains is one small painter’s gallery. Really? A giant chair can have that much power?

But upon further reflection I realize that why yes it does. Think back to all of the myriad car trips you have taken and see what stands out. More often than not it’s the silly or strange or amazing “thing” along the way that we really remember and not whether or not the dog threw up or Jimmy spilled his soda, or even the destination. There is power in that unusual creation that someone boldly puts out there. It’s their inner creative uniqueness that is brazenly thrown up in larger than life form and it draws us to it, we stop in awe of someone else’s inner vision.



Which is why I was melancholy when I  learned of a recent controversy over another roadside attraction. This time it’s the Vermontasaurus that is under fire. Apparently another person’s inner spark has created a brush fire of revolt and petty fines in a small town. I am saddened to think of this unique creation being cut down before it even has time to create a following. Just look at Webatuck and take heed. There is magic in the unusual and bold. Roadside attractions create an experience bigger than themselves, they can bring a community together if allowed.

So stop or take that extra 2 or 3-mile detour and go see the giant duck or funny-shaped whatchamacallit. Take pleasure in the journey, stop and see the sights. In retrospect you and the community will be glad you did.

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