Monday, October 2

Roadside America

For anyone that has ever traveled Route 78 west of Allentown, PA - this sign might be familiar. It's on the marquee of a large tan building next to the PA Dutch Gift Barn and features two, larger-than-life statues of Amish folk on a buggy seat. Roadside America is billed as the World's Greatest Miniature Village. Facing an afternoon of nothing particular to do, my father and I took the train obsessed toddler to see the wonders of Roadside America.
You walk into a large room, a walkway surrounds the largest train platform that you've ever seen. Only, it's not so much about the trains as it is about the miniature world. The creater crafted all the buildings and scenes by hand - read more about the history on their official website. See the airport in the middle of the picture above, and the circus parade?

This place has been around forever. I barely remember visiting as a kid - and it's exactly the same. It even smells musty and old. See the indian encampment in the center of the photo above? The miniature power station to the left? On the mountain in the back, cable cars climb up to the resort village and a waterfall pours down.

Here we see a barn raising on the left, and horse and buggies by the old time houses.

A close-up of one of the streets in one of the 'modern' neighborhoods.
Detail on a house. Notice the quilts hanging out of the window for airing.
About every 30 minutes they send everyone (there were five people total while we were there) up to the viewing gallery for the 'Nightime Pageant.' As patriotic music begins to soar, night falls on the miniature world. Lights come on in the little houses and along the streets. Trains and streetcars zoom along the tracks with just their lights to guide them. An airplane begins to circle from the ceiling. On the wall, next to the Statue of Liberty, a projector displays slides of Jesus and Angels and Kate Smith belts out God Bless America at the top of her lungs. Finally, daybreak comes and the lights come up.

All along the display are buttons that you can press. Each button performs a different action - maybe it turns the windmill or runs a streetcar or even milks a cow.

My advice to anyone in the area is to stop and visit this gem before it should go out of business and disappear like so many other roadside treasures.


rooruu said...

Thanks for posting this link on whipup! - I've enjoyed my 'virtual' visit, your writing as well as the photos.

tikimojo said...

I don't remember the patriotic extravaganza. Used to be the sun went down and came up later like it does here on Planet Earth. However, no matter - Roadside America is way cool and you should stop and see it!

kristin said...

omg I've been there!

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