Our plan was to go to cross the Blue Ridge and go to Natural Bridge to seethe Natural Bridge originally owned by Thomas Jefferson. He apparently thought it was a great natural attraction that would draw people to see it and he could charge an entrance fee. It worked. In addition to the rock arch cut by a river they’ve added other attractions (Wax Museum, Indian village, caverns, Dinosaur Kingdom, etc.) over the years by new owners. Once we found out how much it would cost to see the bridge ($18@) we decided it wasn’t worth it. So what to do with the rest of the day? We decided to search out Roadside America attractions and we hit the jack-pot.
First was the “Town that America Forgot”. This is Glasgow, VA. There’s probably not more than 500 people in this town located in the River valley. A few years ago a fiberglass sculptor, Mark Cline, decided to give the town a bunch of dinosaurs to generate interest in tourists to visit the town. Today there is but one dinosaur (an Apatosaurus ridden by Raquel Welch) in town. I think the others migrated to the Dinosaur Kingdom on the grounds of Professor Cline’s Haunted Monster Museum at Natural Bridge. This is another creation of Mark Cline. We drove up to the entrance of the Monster Museum which you can tour by buying a ticket to Natural Bridge. There were no cars in the parking lot so we didn’t go in, but you can see a picture. After the Monster Museum, we headed up US Route 11 (same one that we visited the Route 11 Potato Chip Factory) toward Lexington, VA.
The next attraction we ran across was Foamhenge. Yup, it’s a replica of Stonehenge in England and it was placed on a hilltop by none other than the master fiberglass sculptor, Mark Cline. He also has a statue of Merlin flying on a stone slab who he thinks levitated the slabs and floated them from Ireland to England to build the real Stonehenge. Foamhenge was not crowded today, there was just one other couple that stopped while we were there and it’s free.
The next attraction on US 11 is the Natural Bridge Zoo where you can get your picture taken with a baby tiger. They have a nearly life size fiberglass elephant out in front and are know for giving elephant rides. We only stopped long enough to take a picture of the elephant. I can’t find anything about who created the elephant, but my guess is Mr. Cline.
A little further up the road is Mark Cline’s Enchanted Castle Studios that he created in the 1990’s that lasted until a “mysterious” fire gutted much of it in 2004. It sits as it did after the fire with weeds starting to take over.
We found King Kong crushing a bi-plane outside the Pink Cadillac Diner just past the burned out studios. There’s also as you might expect, a pink Cadillac outside, and a Humpty Dumpty statue sitting by the entrance to the museum. The statues are from Mark Cline’s studios. I wish we had known the restaurant was there because we had a lousy lunch at Natural Bridge.
Last but not least in our string of attractions was the “Building Shaped Like a Coffee Pot” along US Route 60 outside Lexington. It started life as a restaurant in the 50’ and has been a canoe rental store and is now a fish store. It wasn’t open when we stopped and there were no fish in the display cases so I’m not sure if it’s still in business. Apparently it looks like it did when it was built.
I’m not sure we will be able to top today.