Saturday, July 25, 2015

No more calls, we have a wiener: Some hot dogs seen along the way

It was National Hot Dog Day the other day and we'll be frank with you, we relish the opportunity to play ketchup and look back on some 'dogs we've seen while rolling down the open road. Please take a moment to see if these cut the mustard.

This brat-armed muffler man stands watch over Atlanta, Illinois on Route 66. Read our post about him here.

The Cozy Dog Drive-In of Springfield, Illinois claims to have given birth to the corn dog, and they've got this whimsical poster to let you know...

 ...and an awesome married couple of hot dogs as their logo. Read about them here.

 Tony Packo's of Toledo, Ohio has their walls covered in autographed facsimilies of hot dog buns (Burt Reynolds started the tradition). Toledo native Jamie Farr of TV's "M*A*S*H" mentioned Packos in an episode or two of the show, and the entire cast signed buns seen here.

Pink's of Los Angeles is where the celebrities like to mix with the common folk whilst dining on dogs. Here's our post.

Dillon, South Carolina's kitsch-tastic South of the Border offers hot dogs from this neon gleaming stand.

 We saw not one but three Oscar Meyer Wienermobiles in New York City's Times Square of all places...

 ...including this guy called Lil Link.

Rhode Island is quite fond of hot dogs, including this model from Providence's famous Haven Bros. cart.

There's another kind of dog in Little Rhodey called the hot weiner, or New York System, which people from New York have never heard of.  It consists of a spicey meat sauced-covered frank, dressed three at a time upon the arm of the chef (until the state health department said that was unsanitary).

We were extremely fortunate to have dined at Los Angeles's famous Tail-O-The-Pup back in 2004. It went out of business in 2005 and was put in storage until 2014, when its new owners had it moved to Las Vegas for restoration and hopes for a reopening back in LA. Bravo to them...we never sausage a beautiful place. Click here for a nice video from the Vintage LA website all about it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Update: Hail to the chiefs: President's Park of Williamsburg, Virginia

 Presidents Park was a beautiful place back in 2007...

 ...and they even had a chunk of Air Force One.

 Today, the statues sit in a field in Croaker, Virginia. There's hope, though, because a fellow is putting up some money to reopen the attraction.

 These pictures are awesome and are credited to Christopher Smyth on the WBAL-TV website.

 I think this would make a great set for a low-budget horror flick, don't you?

One of the sad realities of taking roadtrips over many years is the mortality rate of some of the beloved places we have visited. All too often, an eccentric roadside attraction cannot stay in business or gets ordinanced out of existence. Such was the case with Presidents Park of Williamsburg, Virginia. We were lucky enough to visit this spectacular place back in its 2007 hey-day. It was a lovely, tranquil, educational, pleasingly nutty place with 18-foot busts of each U.S. president and plaques with presidential information and history. We marveled at how lush and educational it all was, and in a perfect location since nearby Colonial Williamsburg draws people already interested in U.S. history. The owners couldn't keep it going, though, and it went out of business in 2010. The busts were then moved to a farm field in Croaker, Virginia.

But there is now hope on the horizon according to a dispatch from WBAL-TV's website. A Mr. Howard Hankins paid $50,000 to have them moved again and is also paying for their restoration. He wants to find a new location in Colonial Williamsburg and reopen the park. Hooray for you, Mr. Hankins. We loved this attraction and wish you the best. Perhaps it could be a miniature golf course...a Watergate water hazard around Richard Nixon, a James K. Polk "Manifest Destiny" hole, perhaps. We need a place where Democrats, Republicans, Whigs and Know-Nothings can comingle harmoniously. I vote for that.

Click here for another good website with lots of info.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Death Valley's Borax Museum: Chock full of minerals!

Death Valley is an eccentric roadside attraction unto itself. People look at you funny when you say you're looking forward to visiting there, but it's a stunningly beautiful place and home to a really swell offbeat museum. The Borax Museum sits in the oldest structure in Death Valley, a house constructed in 1883 by F.M. "Borax" Smith, founder of the Pacific Coast Borax Co. If I ever decide to have a nickname, I think "Borax" would be a pretty cool one. Borax, or sodium borate, is a non-toxic laundry product that could also clean and deodorize virtually anything in the house. In the late 1800s, a large deposit of it was found in Death Valley by a small-time miner, who made a fortune when he sold it to a San Francisco businessman. The location was so remote and ungodly hot that 20-mule teams were needed to haul the borax to a more hospitable processing location. People of a certain age are familiar with this scenario from the popular radio and TV series "Death Valley Days," at one time hosted by Borateem-pitchman and future president Ronald Reagan. The museum is in the Furnace Creek development of Death Valley and features lots of photos and artifacts and a friendly gal that will tell you all about them. A lot of sweat and toil was put into this product that's mostly forgotten today, but Borax may make a comeback as a green alternative to regular detergents. So stop in and see The Borax Museum... mule be glad you did (and that's not an empty pumice).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Some-fin in the way she moves: The Wreck Bar mermaid show of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The cruise ship-shaped B Ocean Resort Hotel, home of the Wreck Bar

Yo, ho, ho

Those windows behind the bar look out onto the hotel's pool...I mean lagoon.

The crowd watches, enthralled.

You can meet and greet the gals afterwards on dry land.

 Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal filmed a scene for "Analyze This" here.

We've already blogged about Weeki Wachee, the spectacular retro mermaid attraction on the gulf coast of Florida, but hold on to your dorsal fin. There's another old-timey live sea nymph show on the east coast of the sunshine state. Every Friday and Saturday, Fort Lauderdale's Wreck Bar inside the B Ocean Resort, a hotel once known as the Yankee Clipper and shaped like a giant cruise ship, puts on a retro-tastic mermaid performance. The Wreck, fashioned after a pirate ship interior, looks out through windows behind the bar at the hotel's pool. It's not uncommon to see hotel guests frolicking and, er,  adjusting themselves in the chlorinated paradise during the non-showtime hours. That all changes at 6:30 on Fridays and Saturdays during the hippest, splashiest happy hour this side of Atlantis. The fabulous Marina Duran-Anderson, or MeduSirena as she's better known, and her pod of Aquaticats, lively gorgeous gals dressed as mermaids, put on a thrilling aquatic performance that would make Esther Williams proud. It takes a lot more than just holding your breath to put on a great 30-minute mermaid performance. MeduSirena and her school of 'maids have to keep in top physical condition and must suffer both sore muscles and the burn of chlorine-drenched eyes (Goggles? On these gals? Not on your nelly). Let's hope they're getting paid more than scale. And the beauty of all of this: the show is free. That's right... not one clam, sand-dollar, fin, doubloon, coconut, fish, (s)quid, piece-of-eight, or frogskin (I've got an internet slang thesaurus and I know how to use it). So if you're in Fort Lauderdale, harken back to a time (the 1950s and 60s) when there was no better way to spend an early weekend evening than by downing a couple of mai tais while watching an alluring mermaid show in a cozy wrecked ship-themed watering hole. It's mer-vana.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Steeped in eccentriciTEA: The World's Largest Teapot of Chester, West Virginia

We've been posting a lot about Florida lately, so for a change of pace (or paste as I used to say when I was a kid) here's a rerun of a roadside delight from West Virginia we posted a few years ago. An online search indicates they have since refurbished the teapot with a different font, but you get the idea.

 Downtown Chester, West Virginia

If coffee is more your cup of tea, there's always The Coffee Pot of Bedford, Pennsylvania

I like states with panhandles. They're kinda kooky. Florida has so much coastline...did they really have to rob more of the Gulf from poor Alabama? And couldn't Oklahoma and Texas have reached some geometric agreement and squared each other off? The goofiest panhandle of all is West Virginia's, though. It's a tall spindly thing that begs the question "What kind of cooking implement has a crazy handle like this?" It's almost as though West Virginia said to eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, "if you two can't get along, I'll separate you, so help me." At the very tip of the West Virginia handle sits the little town of Chester and a truly great eccentric roadside attraction: a wooden structure that bills itself as the World's Largest Teapot. It dates back to 1938 when it was originally an over-sized barrel for a Hire's Root Beer advertising campaign. A fellow named William "Babe" Devon bought it and added the spout and handle to it and used it to promote his pottery store in Chester, selling concessions and souvenirs inside the teapot. It changed hands many times and fell into disrepair and abandonment until a local committee saved it from demolition and began a full-blown restoration in 1987. Red tape persisted for several more years until it was finally completed and returned to its original splendor in 1990 and was moved to a prime spot of real estate at the intersection of Routes 2 and 30 with some lovely landscaping. It got another facelift in 2007 by the Hampton Hotels Save-A-Landmark program. God bless these people for keeping these bits of Americana alive and making a trip down the open road that much more fun. Letting a lovable place like this fade away would be a trageTEA.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Egg-centric roadside: The Humpty Dumpty statue of Coral Springs, Florida

 HD filmed in low-def with the Dumptycam.

When Eccentric Roadside moved its world headquarters to Coral Springs, Florida back in July of 2014, little did we know that our new home town was also the locale of a truly magnificent, some might say eggs-taordinary, work of eccentric roadside art. On the busy corner of Sample Road and Northwest 94th Avenue, tucked in among the South Florida suburban office buildings, strip malls and condominium complexes, sits a delightful deviation: a bronze depiction of that famous children's rhyme workplace hazard victim: Humpty Dumpty. Nattily attired in bow tie and striped trousers and sporting a hey-look-at-me grin, he sits on a 3-foot tall concrete wall in his pre-fall stance. He's the work of famed Minneapolis sculptor Kimber Fiebiger, who has depicted Mr. Dumpty in many of her works. The city of Coral Springs has lots of other sculptures along Sample Road, part of a beautification project from a few years back, but we like this one the best. How can you not smile back when you see this guy grinning at you? He cracks us up every time, and that no yolk.