Bedford Coffee Pot

Bedford Coffee Pot

Novelty roadside architecture is a wonderful thing about the US.  Where else can you climb a giant elephant, stumble across a huge coffee pot, or follow the siren call of neon into a local diner?  Many years ago, I was on a solo trip out West and stayed two nights in a Wigwam Motel on Route 66, just because.

I like these pieces of Americana partly because I’m obsessed with local color and giant sculptures but also because I detest driving in its modern form.  Another monotonous interstate, another exit of Exxons, Burger Kings and Comfort Inns.

A good road trip involves some amount of leaving the highway, unfolding a map or two, and turning off the GPS.  That’s how we found the coffee pot: by leaving the PA turnpike at Bedford, PA and riding the old Lincoln Highway for a bit.

Unfortunately, traveling on former thoroughfares isn’t always happy.  Old state roads and highways, long since replaced by interstates, are littered with shells of shuttered, family-run motels and gas stations, and the RoadsideAmerica blog even has a category devoted to closings.  I literally shed a tear when learning that Richman’s Ice Cream shut down last year; this year’s trip down the shore wasn’t quite the same without a stop there.

So this morning, when relaxing on the porch of the Hotel Macomber, I was excited to see Parade magazine (guilty pleasure) recommend the pursuit of novelty architecture as a summer to-do.  They selected a list—everything from the world’s largest pistachio in Alamogordo, NM to a giant pineapple in Baltimore, MD—from and told readers to go forth, gawk, and blog.

Below are some of my favorite Americana encounters (more on Flickr).  Here’s to bypassing the bypass!

2 responses to “Americana”

  1. Mike

    Love this entry. I too am nostalgic for roadside kitsch. I have a book by local Bucks County artist, David Graham, who’s photographed some of the best sites like these.

  2. Mod Betty /

    Hooray for bypassing the Bypass – what a great phrase!

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