One of my favorite things about Maine is the sense of humor that comes with living here. When you live in a state with long winters and funny accents, if you can’t laugh at yourself you’re missing out on half the fun! If you’ve yet to truly experience the Maine sense of humor, you might consider a road trip. In addition to the beautiful scenery and landscape of our state, we have some truly amazing roadside attractions. Some are downright impressive, but many will have you chuckling out loud. Either way, you’ll be proud to call them Maine-related!
1. Hussey’s General Store, WIndsor
Shotgun wedding anyone? Many a driver has stopped to snap a picture of Hussey's unusual sign touting guns, wedding gowns and cold beer. Head inside and you can actually purchase all those things, plus anything else you could ever need.
2. The Shoe Tree, Hodgdon
This is a shoe tree in the most literal sense - as in a tree strung up with hundreds of shoes. What are they doing there? Nobody knows. Look for it along US 1, about 7 miles south of where it intersects with US 2 in Houlton.
3. Quadruple Mailbox, Hodgdon
While you're out hunting for the Shoe Tree, see if you can spot this brilliant four-tiered mailbox nearby.
4. The Umbrella Cover Museum, Peaks Island
While not exactly a true roadside attraction, its quirk somehow feels relevant to this list. Nancy Hoffman's museum began when she realized that so many umbrella covers get tossed aside, but kept for no real reason. The museum is "dedicated to the appreciation of the mundane in everyday life. It is about finding wonder and beauty in the simplest of things, and about knowing that there is always a story behind the cover." Take the ferry from Portland to Peaks Island to check this out!
5. The World’s Largest Rotating Globe, Yarmouth
"Eartha," the globe living at the DeLorme Maps Headquarters in Yarmouth, is a 3-dimensional scale model of the earth with mountains and landforms in full 3D. She was given the title of "World's Largest Revolving/Rotating Globe" by the editors of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999, and still holds that record today.
6. The (Claimed) World’s Largest Paul Bunyan Statue, Bangor
If the BFI ignites a curiosity for larger-than-life statues, you'll want to head up to Bangor to gawk at that of Paul Bunyan. Minnesota might lay the best claim to him, but Maine's lumber history means we deserve a piece of him looking over us as well. The statue is located in a park across from the Civic Center and stands tall at about 31 feet high.
7. Lenny the Chocolate Moose, Scarborough
Say hello to Maine's sweetest moose. On display inside the Len Libby chocolate store, Lenny is a 1,700 pound milk chocolate moose that has been turning heads since 1997.
8. The World Traveler Sign, Lynchville
If you'd love to see the world, but aren't sure where to start, Maine can help you out. Your starting point should definitely be the World Traveler Sign. Providing directional cues and mileage to any foreign place (in Maine) you could possibly want to see, this funny sign has been providing great photo ops for years. See it for yourself on Valley Road in Lynchville.
9. The L.L.Bean Bootmobile, anywhere you're lucky enough to spot it!
To be fair, this one's only a roadside attraction if you're lucky enough to spot it at the side of the road.
10. The Desert of Maine, Freeport
Wait a second. A desert? In Maine? Well, in actuality, it's 40 acres of exposed glacial silt, the result of soil erosion from mismanaged farmland. Look past the silly camel sculptures and it's still an interesting oddity.
11. The Big Indian (or, the BFI, as it’s known locally), Freeport
Towering above US 1, the 40-foot-tall "BFI" watches over all those heading towards the outlets in Freeport. The indian was commissioned by Julian Leslie, owner of the nearby Casco Bay Trading Post, a moccasin-selling business. As much as we Mainers love it, the indian was actually created in Pennsylvania and transported via road to Maine. It drew so much attention along the way that police had to get involved asking the driver to stop and continue after dark to draw less attention. To see him for yourself, visit 117 US Hwy 1, Freeport.
12. The Maine Solar System Model, Aroostook County
Head north to the county for the scaled model of our solar system. Created by the University of Maine in Presque Isle, this model begins with the sun in Presque Isle and goes all the way to Houlton where you'll find the (now defunct as a planet) Pluto. Learn more at the model's
13. Wild Blueberry Land, Columbia Falls
If you're a regular reader, you know how much we love this place! This is one berry, berry strange place. Built in 2001, this giant blueberry serves as a gift and coffee shop, as well as an outlet for the owners' homemade blueberry jams, sauces and baked good. Sounds delicious enough to warrant a stop!
14. The World’s Tallest Indian, Skowhegan
The Big Indian in Freeport doesn't have anything on this wooden wonder. Erected in 1969 in honor of Maine's 150th anniversary and dedicated to the Abenaki Indians who inhabited the land, Skowhegan's Indian measures in a whopping 62 feet tall - and that's not including the 20-foot base.
15. The Mexico Town Line, Mexico
So, this sign was probably not meant to actually be a roadside attraction, but we always pull over and take a photo when we see it. Originally known as "Holmanstown" after the original landowner, Mexico came into being as a result of good ol' shared support. At the same time that the settlement was preparing to become a town, the Mexicans were fighting Spain for independence. The good people Holmanstown appreciated that the Mexican battle was won and honored the cause by adopting the same name.
16. Nervous Nellies Jams and Jellies, Deer Isle
This cafe/art gallery/overall happy place will keep you entertained even longer than it takes to taste their many jams and chutneys. In fact, many people come just to see Peter Beerits' sculptural "Nelie Stories." Take a tour around the grounds to visit the evolving story and then pick up something for yourself and friends in the plentiful store.
If the quirk of roadside attractions doesn’t impress you, maybe you’ll find these
hidden gems more interesting!