When we think of tourism in North Carolina, most think of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Wright Brothers Memorial on the coast, Carowinds near Charlotte, or Mount Mitchell and the Blue Ridge Parkway to the west. But what about the Eiffel Tower in Fayetteville, or the giant concrete Marilyn Monroe legs in Henderson? The state is full of off the wall attractions just waiting for the intrepid and curious traveler to visit.
In his book Did You See That? A GPS Guide to North Carolina’s Out of the Ordinary Attractions, local author Joe Sledge proves that you don’t have to travel very far or spend a lot of money to find entertainment in our state. Sledge has travelled throughout the state looking for oddities worth a short drive off the beaten path. Few sites would be considered a final destination, but to make the long trek to the Outer Banks a little more exciting, why not make a detour to the Belhaven Museum, locally known as Granny’s Attic, and see the thousands of items collected by Miss Eva Way, including some of her canned possum and potatoes? Who could resist that siren call? Or if you are already going to be in Charlotte, you really should make a point of heading downtown to see Metalmorphosis, a huge, shiny, metallic head that slowly spins, shakes, and comes apart before your very eyes.
Each entry in Did You See That? includes GPS coordinates to pop into your smartphone or navigation system, a description of the attraction, and ratings for degree of oddity and difficulty. For example, the miniature stone town called Shangri-La built by a retired tobacco farmer in Prospect Hill garners a three star oddity rating for its uniqueness and a one star rating for difficulty since it is easily arrived at from the highway. All three regions of the state are represented in separate sections.
Author Joe Sledge will be speaking at Mebane Public Library (101 South First Street, 919-563-6431) on Monday, May 16th at 6:00 p.m., so if you are looking for something to keep you and the kids entertained this summer, come learn about the curious and sometimes off the wall attractions just down the road.
Katherine Arends is the Branch Manager at the Mebane Public Library and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.