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Only in the Midwest is civic pride measured by the size of a town’s roadside sculpture. Much-loved monuments and larger-than-life replicas add character to their surroundings, intriguing and amusing visitors as they pass through town. Midwest Marvels is not your typical guidebook. Regional travel expert Eric Dregni takes the reader on a slightly off-center tour of the bizarre—and the beautiful—across Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin, and directs road-trippers to the one-of-a-kind oddities that cause ...
Only in the Midwest is civic pride measured by the size of a town’s roadside sculpture. Much-loved monuments and larger-than-life replicas add character to their surroundings, intriguing and amusing visitors as they pass through town. Midwest Marvels is not your typical guidebook. Regional travel expert Eric Dregni takes the reader on a slightly off-center tour of the bizarre—and the beautiful—across Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Wisconsin, and directs road-trippers to the one-of-a-kind oddities that cause drivers to turn off the interstate in awe.Intricate architecture and historical monuments often reveal the soul of a city, but in Audubon, Iowa, visitors find a thirty-foot, forty-five-ton talking bull erected as a monument to the beef industry. In Minnesota a tourist can view monuments to Paul Bunyan or visit the Spam Museum, and North Dakota boasts a forty-five-foot tower of discarded oil cans, trumped only by the world’s tallest structure: a TV tower jutting nearly a half mile into the sky. Everyone is familiar with South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore and Corn Palace, but less famous is the unique Outhouse Museum. Of course, only in Wisconsin can a couple get married in the mouth of a 145-foot muskie.Readers will appreciate the countless hours Dregni has spent searching for the biggest, the smallest, the oddest, the most mysterious, and the most outrageous tourist attractions. Complete with detailed descriptions, driving directions, and numerous photographs, Midwest Marvels is a must-have for everyone from armchair travelers to seasoned road warriors planning a trip through the heart of the country.Born in the shadow of the World’s Largest Six-Pack in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Eric Dregni is a freelance writer for the Rake and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He is the author of several books, including Minnesota Marvels: Roadside Attractions in the Land of Lakes (Minnesota, 2001), The Scooter Bible, Ads That Put America on Wheels, and, most recently, Let’s Go Bowling! He lives in Minneapolis.
Posted August 5, 2006
Midwest Marvels: Roadside Attractions Across Iowa, Minnesota, The Dakotas, And Wisconsin by freelance writer Eric Dregni is a handy 437-page travel guide to many of the munificent and iconic roadside attractions scattered along the highways and byways of five midwestern states. Lavished throughout with black and white photos of strange scenic wonders, Midwest Marvels is a type of entertaining curiosity tour featuring a text which is illustrated with photographs and down home folk tales. All of the attractions are real and actually exist, albeit sometimes hard to believe (Og the Gorilla, King Kong of the Prairie?). Midwest Marvels is well researched, as for example, the chapter on Peanuts Park, in St. Paul, Minnesota which has a thumbnail sketch of the famous comic artist, born in St. Paul, containing little known facts about Charles Schulz's history of leaving the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 1950 for greener pastures when it decided his weekly fee of $10 was 'too much for simple drawings (p. 149).' Midwest Marvels is filled with the quirky, wild, wacky landmarks of the Upper Midwest. From the Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, to the Effigy Mounds of Marquette, Iowa, Midwest Marvels presents useful information about attractive features, history, locations, hours, prices of admission, and local colour stories. It is well worth the price to the traveler unfamiliar with what the five-state Upper Midwest area has to offer the curious passerby.
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