Roadside Attraction: Vermont
Fill up the gas tank, hit the road, and keep an eye out for curiosities that have been pleasing passersby for decades.
“Wait, did you see that? Pull over.” If this sounds familiar, you may be one of those people who whizzes by a two-story concrete gorilla, only to pull to a screeching U-turn 50 yards up the road. You may have even posed for a snapshot next to a blue-and-yellow termite the size of a school bus. If you’ve never heard of Queen Connie of Concrete or the Big Blue Bug, it’s time to engage a subculture that celebrates New England’s outsized oddities. There are at least 10 destinations well worth the ride.
Queen Connie of Concrete, Pioneer Auto Sales, Brandon
Sometimes you get an offer you can’t refuse. That’s how a 20-ton, 19-foot concrete gorilla happens to be towering over this car dealership in central Vermont. Clutching a real VW Beetle high overhead, her other hand is held low to welcome the public. The gorilla—dubbed “Queen Connie of Concrete” thanks to a contest among local schoolchildren—was crafted by sculptor T.J. Neil, who offered to build something that “would make the business stand out,” says Joan O’Neil, Pioneer Auto Sales president. About a month later, Queen Connie was born. “He was right—it has brought us recognition worldwide,” she says. 2829 Rt. 7, 802-247-4242.