Roadtrip filter: world's largest ball of twine?
February 25, 2009 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Roadtrip Filter: what can I stop and see for fun when I drive from Boston to St. Louis this weekend?

I'm moving back to the midwest this weekend, leaving Saturday afternoon and taking two nights to drive from Boston to St. Louis, MO. We'll have a minivan full of stuff (and an unlockable rooftop carrier, too, which will sort of limit our options for where to park the car) but I'm sort of excited to be driving across such a big portion of our country and I'd like to take advantage of the opportunity to see some of it.

Any suggestions for fun things to stop and see along the way? Especially little random things I'd not normally think to look for? We'll have a GPS and so can find our way to and from almost anywhere, as long as it does not add too-too much time to our trip. Extra points for things that will appeal to me (an adventurous and curious mid-20s gal) and my father (a less adventurous 60-year-old who will want to keep the trip moving along but is also a bit of a history buff.)

I expect our drive will look something like this, though we'll probably try to avoid going directly through big cities. (and I'm willing to change our route in order to go see something cool!)

So, where would you recommend I stop?
posted by inatizzy to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You'll be pretty close to the World's Largest Basket in Newark, OH, which is okay, but really just a building dressed up like a basket.

My favorite thing along that drive is the City Museum in St. Louis, but since you'll be living there, you can go whenever.
posted by MattS at 7:41 AM on February 25, 2009

Let's see...

In Erie, Presque Isle State Park is good to kill an hour, and you can drive through it. Going downtown to State Street is pretty good for a couple hours, too. It's got that rust-belt feel, with a lot of un-renovated store fronts from the 50's mixed in with modern ones, and there are lots of good places to eat. Like there's a restaurant called Pufferbellies that's in a converted fire house.

There's some historical stuff, too. It's on here...
They would take us to those places on field trips when I was a kid. They're OK...they're no Gettysburg or anything, but worth a look.

I've lived in some of the cities you'll be passing through, so I can recommend more food if you like. (That's top priority for me on road trips, since I don't eat fast food and prefer to avoid chains).

Word of warning on Cincinnati: maybe some other folks can help, but when I was looking at Xavier we drove around for two+ hours at night looking for any kind of place to eat sort of near the highway, and wound up at a Max & Erma's.

I'm sure I'll think of more today
posted by world b free at 7:57 AM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: Roadside America is your friend :)
posted by zeoslap at 8:00 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you're into really huge baskets, or just baskets in general, stop by Dresden, OH. That's the home of the Longaberger. They're sort of the Mary Kay of baskets. And the Basket Happening of 2009 is just around the corner!

You could also do Amish country--pretty much an hour east of Erie.
posted by world b free at 8:05 AM on February 25, 2009

Can't give specific rec's, but yes, YES on taking 90 instead of 80. I would recommend, however, just giving up and hitting 70 once you're in OH. Southern Illinois is teh boring.
posted by notsnot at 8:10 AM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: You might want to see Niagara Falls if it's frozen or partially frozen. Very beautiful, especially at night under the lights.
posted by birdwatcher at 8:11 AM on February 25, 2009

You didn't mention a desire to find interesting restaurants, but if you have one, you should get a copy of Jane and Michael Stern's Roadfood.

My only other useful suggestion is to check out the architecture in Buffalo. Seriously.
posted by Xalf at 8:22 AM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: Touchdown Jesus in Monroe, Ohio - it's a simple drive by on 75 towards Cincinnati instead of 71...

Jungle Jims which has many neat things to see for a grocery store- but notably America's Best Restroom
posted by TuxHeDoh at 8:28 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I apologize for being a bit off topic as well - but I am absolutely second the recommendation to go to City Museum in St. Louis, it is guaranteed mind blowage and tons of fun.
posted by Brettus at 8:39 AM on February 25, 2009

Metropolis, IL has a 50-foot statue of Superman and a museum dedicated to him. It's pretty far out of your way, though. so you'd probably have to be a huge fan to justify it
posted by chrisamiller at 8:47 AM on February 25, 2009

Try to time your fueling needs so that you can stop at the GOASIS in Ashland (exit 186 off I-71) about halfway between Cleveland and Columbus. Large clean bathrooms, fresh food in the snack area and a big selection of locally-made candies and desserts.
posted by shannonm at 9:05 AM on February 25, 2009

Best answer: Indiana has wonderful rest areas. Be sure to stop.

Do not be surprised by the giant white cross looming up at you in Illinois. Especially do not be surprised by it if you've been driving from Ohio since midnight listening to nothing but Black Sabbath's first few albums along the way and you're coming out of a fogbank.

Entering Missouri, be very careful about your interchanges. They're ... complex and quirky.

Welcome to St. Louis.
posted by adipocere at 9:08 AM on February 25, 2009

Looking at your route: Niagara Falls, Churchill Downs (horses probably aren't running, but they have a museum too) and Thousand Islands.
posted by hootch at 10:57 AM on February 25, 2009

Stop at the Artpark in Buffalo. It's beautiful!
There's also Fort Niagra for the history buffs. Even if you don't want to pay to see it, it's in a lovely state park and you can see the Toronto skyline, which is always cool.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

There's The Circle, which is a nice place to start, and also Broad Ripple Village.

And Bloomington, Indiana is a bit out of your way, but worth it! It's a cute, liberal, hipster-activist city/college town (IU) with lots to see and places to walk around. Definitely a go-to location in the midwest.

And St. Louis is a lovely destination. City Museum, the arch, etc.
posted by lunit at 12:28 PM on February 25, 2009

Response by poster: thanks for all the great tips, everyone! these are excellent. I'm excited to see some of these on my trip!
posted by inatizzy at 9:49 PM on February 25, 2009

« Older What am I missing in SFO?   |   There must be 50 ways to get around without a car Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.