joy magnetism: Little America

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Little America

Magnet #165 - Roadside America

During an unplanned roadtrip across Pennsylvania (the trip itself was planned, the stops along the way were...not), we stopped at this odd little building called Roadside America, in Shartlesville (no, I'd never heard of it, either), PA.

Once you get out of your car, you feel like you've stepped right into the 1950s. From the little old ladies running the register and the little shop, to the aged facilities, and the hand-penned signage and the cool, somewhat retro tchotchkes.

But this magnet does no justice to the largest miniature village in the world. I dunno if that's truly what it is, but take a gander at this and this and this and finally, this. C'mon. How freakin' awesome is this village.

The entire room is a diorama of the history of America. This guy basically carved and built all the buildings over a period of like 60 years - and there's about 300 buildings! And I'm not counting all the cars and people and animals and trees and grass and railways that he and his family maintained throughout the years, as well. It's massive.

But here's the absolute best part. So at the far end of the diorama, there's a small seating area, where everyone sits when the lights go down and night falls across the land. And then. And THEN! On the far wall, right where the Statue of Liberty is, a bright light is projected on to the wall.

And remember in grade school, when they used to have filmstrips for us? Dudes. A filmstrip starts playing, and a full moon comes up. And images of Jesus sitting and little children at his knee pops up. And a Verse comes up. And in a rousing fit of patriotism, the American Flag pops up as the you hear the strains of "God Bless America" begin to swell.

It's just fantastic - and just what you'd expect from what's arguably one of the last, great Roadside Attractions in America.
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Erika said...


joy said...

Yep. The long ones always are.

joy said...

Actually, it wasn't even all that long a trip. It was just a long drive, is all.

The Geek said...

Whoa! Dude, one of these days when I'm 50 and my kids are in college I'm going to take 2 months, pack my Element (I love my car and swear from now on I will only own updated versions of it), and drive across America, visiting all the weirdo little places you blog about. They sound fantastic. Have you ever been to the World's Largest Ball of Twine or Largest Non-Stick Frying Pan? (Aren't those the ones in the movie Michael?)

And tchotchke is, I think, my favorite word to see spelled out.

joy said...

Haha, thanks GG. I can't help it, I love finding the weird and obscure. Of course, I have to say, my favorite is when you stumble on to them, rather than plan them out.

So, no, I haven't seen the World's Largest Ball of Twine or the Frying Pan (though I do remember looking them up). Eh, eventually.

What I'd love to do one day is actually do a road trip in like Europe and see what obscure places they have. Because while I've done the 7 country, 21-day thing, we had only scheduled stops, no detours. Heh.