Holiday Weird: Roadside Attractions with a Seasonal Twist
It’s not even Thanksgiving, and many cities already look like Christmas. Department store windows are festooned in silver snowflakes and star-shaped lights, and some have even sprung up genuine evergreens.
But in some places, the holidays aren’t just a winter affectation. Check out these pit stops and roadside attractions that do “seasonal” in a big, weird way:
Gozzi’s Turkey Farm (Guilford, CT)
Gozzi’s Turkey Farm seems to have bred more than just turkeys with this Easter/Thanksgiving hybrid. Every year at Thanksgiving, the family-owned turkey farm paints a handful of turkeys with vegetable dye, turning their white plumage neon.
Santa Claus House (North Pole, AK)
You probably want to be on Santa’s “Nice” list when your head’s the size of a twinkle in his eye. The fence around the base of this behemoth measures eight feet tall, which puts Mr. Claus at a towering 42 feet. You can also snap photos near the Santa Claus House’s themed Christmas trees and visit with living reindeer. And don’t forget to send a postcard from the “North Pole” post office.
Big Tom (Frazee, AZ)
A big juicy bird would be welcome at most Thanksgivings, but “Big Tom” didn’t do too well the last time someone tried to cook him. While this intimidating turkey looks ready to peck would-be pilgrims to a pulp, don’t let his 20-foot frame send you scurrying. The bench below his giant head is a great place to take your photograph.
Giant Dreidel (Basking Ridge, NJ)
My heart fluttered a little upon learning of this dreidel, hoping someone had engineered an equally-sized piece of chocolate gelt to match it. Alas, this giant Chanukah toy goes unaccompanied by sugar. Firmly planted in front of the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge, the dreidel is used to teach kids and visitors about the holiday.
Santa Claus Lane (Carpinteria, CA)
You’ll find no shortage of strange street names when you’re on a road trip, but it’s still odd to see a Christmas-themed one on the sunny California coast. Up until the year 2000, you would have found a giant Santa at the end of this lane, but now you’ll have to seek him out at his new location in Oxnard, 20 miles away.
My name: Kate Beall
How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.
Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.
First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.
View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.
Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.
Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.