Have you ever wanted to know more about the New England landmarks that pepper the six-state region? Our area is filled with historic sites and manmade masterpieces, from the beautiful to the baffling. Here are a few of our favorites. Don’t ask why–there’s no accounting for taste.
1. Boothe Memorial Park & Museum in Stratford is home to a strange collection of buildings, including a lighthouse, a windmill, a trolley station, and an actual tollbooth from the Merritt Parkway. Who says Connecticut folks are stuffy?
2. Fair warning: The “Submarine Capital of the World” in Groton has nothing to do with sandwiches.
3. Downton Shmownton. The Breakers, in Newport, boasts bathrooms with hot and cold running fresh and salt water. You know, because the ocean is so far away.
4. No one knows who built the Mysterious Viking Tower in Newport, but speculation includes Vikings, Chinese explorers, Knights Templar, and a bunch of guys who’d had too much Narragansett.
5. When it comes to giant fiberglass sculptures of disgusting household pests, the two-ton termite known as “Nibbles Woodaway” in Providence takes the cake. Or the oak, as the case may be.
6. Plymouth’s Mayflower II, a replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to the New World, is roughly the size of a bathtub, but it held–if you believe all the people claiming descent from the original colonists–about as many people as Gillette Stadium.
7. The 20-foot-tall “Big Indian” statue on the Mohawk Trail stands next to the “Gift Shop Formerly Known as the Big Indian Shop,” which has a new, politically correct name and now sells genuine Native American items, such as fudge.
8. According to its Web site, the Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River is “where everyone is treated like family.” Given the family history, we’d rather be treated like strangers, thank you.
9. The Kancamagus Highway–which no one has pronounced correctly in 200 years–comes from an Algonquian word meaning “No Services.”
10. Canterbury Shaker Village honors the good folks who invented the clothespin, the circular saw, and the flat broom, among other things. The one thing they didn’t make was babies, which isn’t a great policy if you’re planning for the long term.
11. The Old Man of the Mountain continues to be a popular photo stop, with helpful signs telling visitors where to look if they’d been there 10 years ago.
12. More photos have been taken of the Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick than any other New England icon, except possibly Steven Tyler.
13. The Desert of Maine is a 40-acre stretch of sand created by overgrazing, erosion, and poor planning. It was originally owned by perhaps the worst farmers in history.
14. Each year, thousands of tourists have their picture taken next to the 16-foot-tall rubber-sole boot at L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport because, as Mallory responded when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, “It is there.”
15. Speaking of big boots, Bangor has the world’s largest statue of Paul Bunyan, who they say was born there. Don’t ask where–Yankees are protective of their celebrities.
16. Burlington is home to the first Ben & Jerry’s, the world’s tallest filing cabinet (no kidding), and Champ, the Lake Champlain monster. Champ is related to the Loch Ness monster, but is even shyer, which you’d probably expect from a Vermont sea monster.
17. Disney World has Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. But does it have an exhibit on the uses of calcium carbonate like the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor? We think not.
18. The Bennington Battle Monument is 85 feet taller than its little brother, the Bunker Hill Monument, which apparently had a better press agent.