joy magnetism: Turn left! Turn left!

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Turn left! Turn left!

Magnet #164 - Lucy the Elephant

It's summer, and the best time of year for roadtrips and sidetrips, so I thought I'd do a little miniseries on Roadside Attractions.

For those of you who don't know, there are a TON of roadside attractions here in the States, so much so that there's an entire web site (and indeed, culture) devoted to these weird places of interest. These are the forgotten, or little-known, attractions that you find along the way to your real destinations. The serendipitous pieces of history that time and major highways forgot. The unplanned (or sometimes, planned, if you're me) detours that add on a couple hours to your trip. The wacky pitstops that, when you woke up that morning, you never imagined you'd be standing in the shadow a 65-foot elephant with a funny french manicure.

So, on Saturday, as we were headed down the Jersey shore, I was sitting in the backseat, minding my own business, when suddenly I saw a roadsign for Lucy the Elephant, with an arrow pointing left. As we moved through the traffic light, I was a little puzzled, and more than a little intrigued, when toward my left I saw one of those seats (a giant one, floating in the air) that you put on top of an elephant, peeping above the buildings.

I yelled out, "Turn left! We have to turn left!" I'm quite sure that my sister and her fiance thought I was joking, because of the Turn Left episode of Doctor Who, where Donna Noble changed the entire course of history by turning right, instead of left. When they realized I was serious, the fiance hurriedly turned left two blocks down, and we began to instinctively navigate back to where I saw the giant, disembodied elephant seat...with me bouncing in the backseat like a kid going to a candy store.

And what we found was Lucy the Elephant, of Margate, NJ!!!!

OMG. She was fanTASTic! How often do you accidentally run across a giant elephant on the way to wherever you're going? So we stopped. I'm sad to report that I did not do the tour of the inside of Lucy, but we did go into the little shop - hence the little magnet, which I freakin' love.

So why is there a 65-foot elephant in the middle of the Jersey Shore? Well, the real history's is here at her official site. But, basically, a real estate developer back in the 1880s wanted to attract attention to his properties in the area. And so he built a giant freakin' elephant to get people from far and wide to come.

And, 127 years later, it's registered as a National Historic Landmark, and people are still coming from far and wide to see Lucy.
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jen said...

I love Lucy. Heh. You should tell people about the time we went in search of an Edison museum .... and -- 2 hours later -- ended up at a random town w/ a lightbulb at the top. Heh. Heheh.

joy said...

Heh, you know, I Love Lucy Diner was the name of the diner right beside it. That was kinda funny.

And, yeah, I don't have a magnet for that little Edison sidetrip. Maybe if ya'll had let me out of the van to visit the little trailer of a "museum," I might have been able to pick one up. I'm just sayin'.