11 Hidden Gems on the Ultimate Road Trip Through the Northeast
A road trip is only as good as the pit stops you make along the way. Here are 11 under-the-radar destinations that are worth a detour on your next swing through the Northeast.
1. Great Vermont Corn Maze—Danville, VT
This amazing corn maze stretches over 10 acres. The maze takes around two hours to complete and features ten-foot-tall corn, bridges, and underground tunnels. Every year the maze features a new design that can be seen from a bird’s eye view. The corn maze alone is worth the trip, but there’s also a petting zoo to up the ante.
2. Museum at Bethel Woods—Bethel, NY
Right next to the untouched field that once served as the location of the legendary Woodstock Festival sits the Museum at Bethel Woods. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of videos, photographs, and artifacts of all things ‘60s and psychedelic. The museum gathered up authentic items from Woodstock, including clothing worn on stage and brightly colored vehicles. Guests are invited to climb inside a technicolor bus and imagine they are on their way to the next groovy jam.
3. The Spillway—Linesville, PA
Known as the place “where ducks walk on the fishes’ backs,” this attraction features a population of carp so dense that, well, ducks can walk on it. The bizarre tourist spot attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. A small shack provides white bread to feed the frenzied fish. A local study deduced that on average, each visitor throws around 2.4 pounds of bread in the river.
4. Museum of Bad Art—Somerville, MA
The MOBA is dedicated to artists whose skill level doesn’t match their enthusiasm. The little museum has grown considerably since its conception and now boasts two locations: one in a basement and one in a movie theater lobby. When one painting from the collection was stolen in 1990, the museum offered $6.50 for its safe return. After the ransom of $5,000 was not paid, the purloined painting was eventually just given back for free.
5. Salt Lake Arcade—Glendale, RI
The Salt Lake Arcade is supposedly the oldest penny arcade in the country; it opened in 1931. The arcade offers a variety of games, both new and old. Best of all, there hasn’t been any inflation—the arcade’s vintage games still only cost a penny to play.
6. Andres Sculpture Park—Brookline, NH
A collection of statues are scattered throughout the woods surrounding an artist’s house. Visitors can simultaneously enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the strangeness of the art by hiking the trails of this outdoor museum to discover over 70 pieces of abstract art from around the world. Maps are available online that show where each of the park’s works can be found.
7. Punkin’ Chunkin’—Bridgeville/Dover, DE
What better way to get rid of your old Halloween pumpkins than by shooting them into the sky with a cannon? Every year on the first weekend after Halloween, the good people of Delaware compete to see who can rocket their pumpkins farthest. There are a variety of different divisions, including air cannon, trebuchet, and human powered. There’s also a separate competition for children, and theatrics (fans pick their favorite). Each team gets three shots, one per day. It’s a fairly safe sport—the only casualty in the history of Punkin’ Chunkin’ was a duck that was struck by a pumpkin.
8. The Desert of Maine—Freeport, ME
Maine is known for its lush natural beauty, but it’s not totally green. The 40-acre Desert of Maine was originally part of a family farm in the late 18th century, but after years of poor crop rotation and mismanagement, the land turned into a sandy expanse of dunes. After the original landowners gave up the plot in the early 20th century, it was turned into a tourist attraction complete with its own sand museum.
9. The Singing Beach—Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA
There are plenty of great beaches in the Northeast, but Manchester-by-the-Sea is particularly convenient for Bostonians to visit. Even better, the beach “sings”! When visitors walk on the beach’s sand, it squeaks underfoot with a distinctive sound that’s known as singing. The phenomenon is the result of the sand’s chemical composition and size, and it’s sure to get a laugh when you first set foot on it.
10. Kaaterskill Falls—Palenville, NY
This dazzling waterfall is over 250 feet fall and cascades down in two tiers that make it one of New York’s tallest and most memorable. But Kaaterskill Falls offers more than just a stunning view – it’s also the inspiration behind any number of iconic artistic achievements. Washington Irving mentioned the falls in “Rip Van Winkle,” and the influential painters of the 19th century’s Hudson River School used the rushing waters as a model. It’s worth a visit to see what all the fuss is about—maybe the sight will inspire you to create something iconic.
11. Charles Island—Milford, CT
From its location in Long Island Sound, Charles Island doesn’t look all that imposing. It’s only 14 acres, but Charles Island is home to enough legends and folklore to fill an island twice its size. The island is supposedly the hiding place of famed pirate Captain William Kidd’s treasure—in true pirate fashion, Kidd cursed the island—as well as the stolen treasure of a 16th century Mexican emperor. Thanks to all the stories of buried riches, the unassuming island has become a favorite destination of treasure hunters. If you’ve got the urge to break out your metal detector, this may be the island for you.
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