Connecticut - Louis' Lunch
As the story goes, in 1900 a man requested that the luncheonette's owner make him something to eat on the go -- the result was a broiled beef patty in between two slices of bread. Voila! America's 1st hamburger. Louis' still serves them the same way, and don't even think about ketchup - condiments are forbidden. louislunch.com
Delaware - Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson
Head into Mike's Warehouse Grill for a bowl of Mike's Famous chili, served with jalapeno corn bread (yummm!). At I-295 and Rte. 9, south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, Mike's is also home to the Museum of the American Road. Don't miss the tribute to Dave Barr, a double-leg amputee who rode his Harley around the world. mikesfamous.com
Maine - Desert of Maine
Geologists say that nearly 11,000 years ago, a glacier deposited sand that was only discovered when poor farming techniques led to topsoil erosion. The result is a 44-acre desert with 12-foot dunes--not exactly the standard New England attraction. Guided safaris and gemstone hunts are available. Open May-October. desertofmaine.com
Maryland - The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum
To save money, founders Elmer and Joanne Martin originally purchased while mannequins and added black heads and hands. Today, over 120 figures are on display, including Dred Scott, Billie Holiday, cowboy Bill Pickett, Osborne Payne, and Harriet Tubman--all now proudly custom-made for the museum. greatblacksinwax.org.
Massachusetts - Museum of Bad Art
Clashing colors and poor perspective--described in tongue-in-cheek captions--are on display in a museum-- dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition, and celebration of bad art in all its forms. Much like fine art museums, the curator at MOBA--8 miles south of Boston--selects paintings that are original in style and content, like Sunday on the Pot With George, an Impressionist view of an overweight man on a toilet. museumofbadart.org
New Jersey - Lucy the Elephant
65-ft tall and constructed entirely of wood and tin, Lucy the Elephant is so, well, elephantine that she was once converted into a four-bedroom summer home. Built in 1881, the pachyderm was intended to draw developers to South Atlantic City and has since withstood demolition, hurricanes, and countless visitors poking around the inside of her stomach. lucytheelephant.org
New York - Jell-O Museum
Long before Bill Cosby starred in the company's advertisements, Jell-O was paving the way for modern American merchandising. To build his brand, patent owner Orator Woodard advertised in Ladies' Home Journal in the early 1900s, gave free samples to housewives a few years later, and even had it served to immigrants on Ellis Island. jellomuseum.com
Pennsylvania - The Shoe House
This three-bedroom, ankle-high-shoe-shaped house was built in 1948 by Mahlon Haines--a self-made millionaire nicknamed the Show Wizard of York County. The Shoe House is open Thursday through Sunday for tours explaining its construction. No old women reside there, in case anyone was wondering. jarrettsville.org/family/shoehouse.htm
Rhode Island - World's Largest Bug
A 59-foot-long termite named Nibbles Woodaway sits atop the three-story New England Pest Control building in Providence ( and is easily visible from I-95). Nearly 1,000 times bigger than an actual termite, Nibbles often gets dressed up for holidays. Fans of Dumb and Dumber may recall the bug's bit-time movie debut.
Vermont - Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard
For every popular flavor--Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey--there are those that don't survive, and the folks at Ben & Jerry's have given at least some of them a proper burial. The cemetery in Waterbury features headstones for flavors such as This Is Nuts and Miz Jelen's Sweet Potato Pie. benjerry.com
When your on the road and need a break, these roadside attractions will give a whole new meaning to the word Pit Stop.