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You may be familiar with some of the most famous tourist attractions in Virginia, such as Mount Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. But, Virginia is also home to lots of interesting and unique attractions that fly just a little more under the radar. And the best part of all? They’re all located just off of major highways and routes, making them easy places to pop off for a quick visit and then get back on the road. So, when it’s time for your next road trip, why not head for the Old Dominion and hit some of these interesting roadside attractions.
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Foamhenge, a unique creation by fiberglass sculptor Mark Cline, is exactly what you might think from the name – a full-size replica of Stonehenge, made out of Styrofoam. In fact, the creator went to great lengths to make the replica look as much like the original Stonehenge as possible including how he shaped each “stone” to check to make sure its positioning was astronomically correct. Originally located in Natural Bridge, Foamhenge has since moved to Cox Farms and is accessible during their hours of operation.
Located just off of State Route 340 (Lord Fairfax Highway) in White Post is a quirky little amusement park called Dinosaurland. This unique roadside attraction that has been delighting visitors for half a century with its collection of more than 50 life-size dinosaur reproductions. Touring the park is all self-guided, so you can take as long as you want meeting all the prehistoric creatures and snapping photos with your favorites. There’s also a large on-site gift shop that sells jewelry, clothing, books, Native American wares, collectibles and of course plenty of dinosaur souvenirs.
Smithfield may be known for their tasty hams, but did you know it’s also the home to the world’s oldest “edible” cured ham? It’s true. The ham, which was originally cured on July 7, 1902, is on display at the Isle of Wight County Museum where you can see it up close. Although it doesn’t look very appetizing these days, the museum does claim that it is still edible. Unlike the world’s oldest peanut, which is also on display at the museum and dates back to 1890.
Located just a few minutes off of Interstate 81 in Quicksburg, American Celebration on Parade is a parade lover’s paradise. This unique museum houses more than twenty full-size parade floats and other props and scenery that have been used in a variety of American celebrations including Presidential Inaugurations and the Tournament of Roses Parade. No matter what your age, you’ll feel like a kid again seeing the wonder of these massive floats up close. Plus, it’s located at Shenandoah Caverns, so you can take a tour of the caverns too while you’re there!
While you’re in the area, head over to Mount Jackson, where you can visit the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory and catch a glimpse of the process behind these famous chips. Although there are no walk-through tours of the facility, you can watch the chip-making process from the large windows in the retail store. You can also purchase chips, dip mixes and Route 11 gear in the store and of course, try plenty of free samples.
The small town of Winchester is one of the most charming towns in Virginia. It’s also home to country music legend, Patsy Cline, and they are proud of it. Located just off of Kent Street, you can visit the Patsy Cline Historic House – a refurbished log cabin where Patsy grew up and see some historic memorabilia like her cowgirl outfits, a white upright piano like the one she played and even an ice cream scoop that she used when she worked at a soda shop.