The List: 7 Awesome Roadside Attractions
You’ve packed the kids in the wagon and you’re squeezing those last few weeks out of summer on the road. Yeah, the Twine Ball is so great that Weird Al Yankovic wrote a “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”-esque a song about it (click the video after the jump). Trouble is, once you get there, you got what you paid for: A big ball of string. Here, we present a handful of roadside attractions you might actually be interested in seeing:
President Kennedy’s Bomb Shelter (Peanut Island, Florida)
The early 1960s were a time when a good number of Americans – including the Commander-in-Chief – were fairly certain that nuclear bombs could rain down on us at any minute. President Kennedy suggested that all Americans begin building their own fallout shelters “as rapidly as possible,” in a speech from 1961.
Following his advice, the Secret Service ordered the construction of what was euphemistically referred to as the “Detachment Hotel,” near the Kennedy compound in Palm Beach and now part of the Palm Beach Maritime Museum. The Navy SeaBees built it to house a decontamination shower, and enough room for up to 30 people for 30 days. It’s been open to the public since 1999 as a chilling reminder of how close were came to nuclear devastation.
The Desert of Maine (Freeport, Maine)
Freeport’s where you want to stock up on your fancy LL Bean dog beds and rain slickers, but while you’re there, you should also check out the Desert of Maine. In the late 18th century, farmers in Freeport — it’s hard to believe farmers were up here that early in the country’s history — didn’t know much about soil erosion. They farmed the same patch of land year after year, and eventually, the topsoil simply disappeared. What was left behind was a completely barren 50-acre spot that you’d swear was in the middle of Death Valley if it wasn’t for the black flies and nearby lobster roll shacks.