Have you ever been driving down the road and seen something that made you turn the car around? Massachusetts is filled with spots that will definitely pique your curiosity and sense of wonder. If you’re looking for your next cheesy road-trip detour, look no further than these awesome roadside attractions.
1. Big Red Chair, Gardner
This bizarre roadside attraction is the one-time biggest chair in the world. The town's first big chair was constructed over a century ago, but Gardner has since installed larger and larger chairs. For a time in the 1970s, the chair was the biggest on Earth. At 65 feet tall and 10 feet wide, that's no surprise. See it at 130 Elm Street, in front of the Helen Mae Sauter Elementary School.
2. The Paper House, Rockport
This house is made almost entirely of newspaper. Ellis Stenman began construction on the building, which was to be a summer home, in 1922. He believed newspaper was an excellent insulator, and eventually everything in the home (except for the roof, floors and frame) was made using newspaper.
3. The Buttonball Tree, Sunderland
Estimated to be over 350 years old, this American sycamore is touted as the "widest tree east of the Mississippi." Standing over 113 feet tall with a girth of 24 feet and 7 inches, this tree was around during the signing of the Constitution.
4. The Mµseum, Somerville
Located just the the right of a Subway sandwich shop in Union Square, this tiny museum is the smallest in the world. The head curator is Judith Klausner, who is also the museum's creator. It features (tiny) pieces by local and New England artists.
5. Lawson Tower, Scituate
This Medieval water tower definitely looks out of place in Massachusetts. Built in 1902 by a wealthy local businessman and author, the tower stands over 150 feet tall and features an observation deck that is open to the public.
6. Seamen's Bethel, New Bedford
This curious pulpit can be found in a New Bedford church that once catered to rowdy and vice-ridden sailors. The church was mentioned in "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, where a preacher gives a sermon from a pulpit that looks like the bow of a ship.
7. New England Peace Pagoda, Leverett
Peace Pagodas are Buddhist constructions meant to symbolize love and harmony. The community of Leverett cares for the pagoda, and it was built not by a commercial company, but by local (Buddhist and non-Buddist) residents looking to promote peace.
8. Little Red School House, Sudbury
This place was the birthplace of the famous nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb." The story goes that Mary Elizabeth Sawyer, a local child in the 18th century, tried to bring her lamb to this school because her brother thought it would be a good idea. Built in the 1700s, the little schoolhouse operated until 1927.
9. Porter Thermometer Museum, Wareham
Having a hobby is one thing, but turning your obsession into a functioning museum is quite another. Richard T. Porter began collecting thermometers years ago and today owns the largest collection in the world. Porter's small village of Onset, in Wareham, has been called the thermometer capital of the world.