Roadside Attractions: Salty

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.

Salty the Sea Horse, Dunseith Gardens, Mattapoisett
Perhaps the starfish was already taken when the late Henry Dunseith was seeking an emblem for his gift shop in the 1950s. Instead, he built a 36-foot-high plywood sea horse, a fish that has never inhabited the waters near this coastal town between Cape Cod and Rhode Island. When he died in 1988, Dunseith left his 3.3-acre property to the Mattapoisett Land Trust, which turned it into a public park. In 1999, the Land Trust gave the shopworn Salty a $20,000 makeover—about the cost of sending your 30-foot fiberglass sailboat to the shop for a total renovation. Salty’s glowing deep blue eye is now solar-powered. Corner of 38 North St. and Rt. 6

Detour: Take a right on North Street to stroll the wharves and waterfront of this pretty seaside village. Then take another right on Water Street for lunch at the Kinsale Inn (508-758-4922;, the oldest seaside inn in the country, or keep going on Ned’s Point Road to a beach near Ned’s Point Light, where the stone lighthouse was built in 1837.