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Hot Off The Press: Small town America’s BIG Strategy to Boost Tourism

July 25th, 2013

Recently I came upon a fascinating article that talked about how small towns across are building BIG record breaking structures to increase tourism. Cities or urban centers have dominated the tourism industry as the destination of choice for travelers and would be adventurers. Everything is bigger in the city it seems, taller buildings, more people, more noise, more entertainment and cultural activities and greater food selection, but do they have the biggest ball of twine or the biggest wind chime?  No they don’t.

Small towns like Cawker City, KS or Casey, IL are flaunting their creative intelligence to inspire tourists to think differently and travel to their neck of the woods to see something original and special. It also helps that Guinness World Records organization has promoted these big thinkers. The added press has put small communities once forgotten back into the limelight while at the same time building a new identity for the locals to rally around.  So if you are in the adventuresome mood and want to see the Large and Fantastic here are some suggestions that will inspire a smile. Happy Summer Travels!

 

Warm Regards,

Jenni

 


 

large wind chime

 

From baseballs to twine balls, rural America offers odd roadside attractions

Written By Kevin Murphy, Reuters

MUSCOTAH, Kansas (Reuters) – The 176 residents of this fading Kansas town have high hopes for their old water tower.

Volunteers from around the state converged earlier this month to paint the structure to look like a baseball and to build a small replica of Chicago’s Wrigley Field — all in the hope of capitalizing on the town’s ties to native son Joe Tinker, a National Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman.

Muscotah, 90 miles northwest of Kansas City, is like many towns across rural America – looking for quirky, offbeat and boutique attractions to invigorate declining local economies.

Rural counties are home to about 15 percent of Americans, but population numbers dropped overall between April 2010 and July 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. Depopulation often brings financial hardship: Muscotah has lost its school and grocery store. Its only remaining businesses are a mercantile store, a bait shop and a post office.

“I just don’t want to see these small towns die, and if we can do our little part, that is what we are going to do,” said C.J. Hanson of Muscotah, who along with husband Jeff Hanson is a leader in the local effort to create the Tinker museum.

The Hansons joined a group from the Kansas Explorers Club to help paint the tower, which is expected to open next year. They will build an outfield fence and hope to use some sprouts of ivy from the fence at Wrigley Field, where Tinker played for the Chicago Cubs in the early 1900s.

The Explorers Club, with about 1,500 members, helps towns in Kansas develop and promote attractions – quirky and otherwise.

large twine

One Kansas town, Cawker City, boasts a 9-ton ball of twine, “the world’s largest,” that a resident started making in 1953. It is stationed downtown under its own shelter and visitors are invited to add twine, which is a strong type of string used in farming to bind together bales of hay.

Pam Grout, author of “Kansas Curiosities,” says she has heard of people who have driven hundreds of miles to see the Cawker City twine. In fact, the town of Darwin, Minnesota, has a rival twine ball attraction – it is billed as the world’s largest twine ball rolled by one man.

In McPherson, Kansas, the hide and stuffed head of Leo the Lion, who roared in the beginning of old MGM movies, has been in a local museum for years. This autumn, the lion will get its own theater display in the museum.

ROADS LESS TRAVELED

On other back roads of Kansas, Norton has an art gallery devoted strictly to also-rans in American presidential elections. The town of Plains says it has the nation’s widest Main Street. In Piqua, there is a Buster Keaton museum. The silent film star was born there 118 years ago.

“These things create energy within a town and make people feel like they are doing something to sustain it,” said Marci Penner, director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, which launched the Explorers Club.

Other states have their share of oddities as well. Texas has a museum devoted to barbed wire and a “Cadillac Ranch” with 10 autos planted nose-down into the ground. Florida has a handmade coral castle dedicated to a lost love; New Jersey has Lucy the Margate Elephant, a 65-foot-high wooden sculpture built to attract land buyers to the area.

It may be a stretch to expect boutique attractions to work miracles in battered towns like Muscotah, but Penner describes it as “a matter of scale.”

“If they just get any more people in town that feels pretty darn good,” she said.

In Muscotah, Hanson said people already are coming to take pictures of the 20-foot-diameter steel baseball, which will showcase town memorabilia and a film about Tinker, who moved from Muscotah to nearby Valley Falls, Kansas, as a preschooler. He died in Florida in 1948 on his 68th birthday.

Richard Smalley, marketing manager of the Kansas Tourism Division, said it is hard to know how many people visit offbeat attractions, but he believes that their cumulative impact is probably significant to tourism in the state.

In Cawker City, the twine ball gives the city name recognition with benefits that go beyond the community, said Linda Clover, the unofficial caretaker of the ball.

“Even if someone doesn’t buy anything here, within a few minutes in a town either direction they may stop at a Dairy Queen or a Pizza Hut,” Clover said.

Penner said some people make fun of the lengths at which small towns will go to draw tourists, until they realize the pride that goes into those efforts and that they actually get results.

“When they know the layers of the story,” Penner said, “they stop laughing.”

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Greg McCune, Arlene Getz and Maureen Bavdek)

Link to original article: http://news.yahoo.com/baseballs-twine-balls-rural-america-offers-odd-roadside-170446331.html

 

  • World’s      Largest Office Chair, 625 Noble St, Anniston, Alabama, USA
  • World’s      Largest Santa Claus, North Pole, Alaska, USA
  • World’s      Largest Cow Skull, Amado, Arizona, USA
  • World’s      Largest King Kong, Beaver, Arkansas, USA
  • World’s      Largest Hamster Wheel, Point Loma, California, USA
  • World’s      Largest Fork, Creede, Colorado, USA
  • World’s      Largest Bowling Pin, Tampa, Florida, USA
  • World’s      Largest Chicken, Marietta, Georgia, USA
  • World’s      Largest Wind Chime, Casey, Illinois, USA
  • World’s      Largest Fake Nose and Glasses, Michigan City, Indiana, USA
  • World’s      Largest Popcorn Ball, Sac City, Iowa, USA
  • World’s      Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City, Kansas, USA
  • World’s      Largest Hairball, Garden City, Kansas, USA
  • World’s      Largest Baseball Bat, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  • World’s      Largest Cross, Louisiana, USA
  • World’s      Largest Revolving and Rotating Globe, Falmouth, Maine, USA
  • World’s      Largest Pencil, Glen Burnie, Maryland, USA
  • World’s      Largest Clam Box, Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA
  • World’s      Largest Weathervane, Montague, Michigan, USA
  • World’s      Largest Snowman, North St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
  • World’s      Largest Rocking Chair, Fanning, Missouri, USA
  • World’s      Largest Porch Swing, Hebron, Nebraska, USA
  • World’s      Largest Pistachio, Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
  • World’s      Largest Kaleidoscope,  Mount Tremper, New York, USA
  • World’s      Largest Frying Pan, Rose Hill, North Carolina, USA
  • World’s      Largest Buffalo, Jamestown, North Dakota, USA
  • World’s      Largest Rubber Ink Stamp, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  • World’s      Largest McDonald’s, Vinita, Oklahoma, USA
  • World’s      Largest Caveman, Grants Pass, Oregon, USA
  • World’s      Largest Shoe, Hellam, Pennsylvania, USA
  • World’s      Largest Blue Bug, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  • World’s      Largest Peach, Gaffney, South Carolina, USA
  • World’s      Largest Drug Store – Wall Drug, Wall, South Dakota, USA
  • World’s      Largest Fire Hydrant, Beaumont, Texas, USA
  • World’s      Largest Chair – Grove Park Mission, Bassett, Virginia, USA
  • World’s      Largest Paper Airplane, Mulkiteo, Washington, USA
  • World’s      Largest Teapot, Chester, West Virginia
  • World’s      Largest Penny, Woodruff, Wisconsin, USA 
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Tall Adventures: Best Lobster Shacks in New England

July 4th, 2013

New England is proud of its lobsters and many lobster shacks have refined their lobster roll to an art form. To me, there is nothing better on a sunny summer weekend than a buttered roll overflowing with lobster, a cool drink and a salty ocean breeze. Lobster is so popular and ingrained into New England culture that it even has its own holiday celebration: National Lobster Day on June 14th.

Lobster eating has not always been a delicacy as it is today. Historically, it was considered to be peasant food because it was very cheap and easy to obtain (you could literally pick them up in a tide pool on the beach). Lobster was so plentiful that it was served to children, prisoners and indentured servants in the colonial times. In fact, there was a prison riot in the 1800s because prisoners were upset about eating lobster every day. In Massachusetts, some servants rebelled and put into their contracts that they could not be forced to eat lobster more than 3 times a week. Apparently it was tough living the gourmet life.

As years passed, demand increased as businesses where able to ship canned lobsters to consumers around the world. Today, demand has increased so much that lobster fishing is a $1 billion dollar industry in Maine alone.  Restaurants in the New England region all have some kind of lobster roll to comfort the taste buds of its patrons, but few are truly masters of the lobster roll. We have manifested a best of the best list of lobster shacks that will blow you away with their lobster rolls. Travelers beware: You may have to order more than one.  

 

Bon Appetit and Happy 4th!

Jenni

 


Top New England Lobster Shacks

 

abbots lobster roll

(Image above: Abbott’s in CT)

Maine

The Clam Shack                      Kennebunkport, ME. 207-967-3321; theclamshack.net

Waterman’s Beach Lobster     South Thomaston, ME. 207-596-7819; watermansbeachlobster.com

Five Islands Lobster Co.         Georgetown, ME. 207-371-2990; fiveislandslobster.com

Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier Kittery Point, ME. 207-439-1030; chaunceycreek.com

Thurston’s Lobster Pound      Bernard, ME. 207-244-7600; thurstonslobster.com

Cod End                                  Tenants Harbor, ME. 207-372-6782; codend.com

 

Connecticut

Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough Noank, CT. 860-536-7719; abbotts-lobster.com

The Place                                Guilford, CT. 203-453-9276; theplaceguilford.com

 

Massachusetts

Roy Moore Lobster Company Rockport, MA. 978-546-6696

Neptune Oyster                       Boston, MA 617-742-3474 neptuneoyster.com

B&G Oysters                           Boston, MA 617-423-0550 bandgoysters.com

 

(Image below: The Clam Shack in ME)

 

clam shack lobster roll

 

New Hampshire

Brown’s Lobster Pound          Seabrook, NH. 603-474-3331; brownslobsterpound.com

 

Rhode Island

Aunt Carrie’s                           Narragansett, RI. 401-783-7930; auntcarriesri.com

 

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