January 17, 2011

Roadside America - Can I Get A Hell Yeah?!

I didn't go fishing on Sunday.  Considering I haven't gone fishing since New Year's Day, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.  Instead, I took Lilly & K.C. to Roadside America in Shartlesville, PA.

Why?  Because I'm demented as all get out?

Nope, actually because Lilly got a train set for Christmas and is sorta in a train phase.

For those of you that don't know...Roadside America is like the size of a high school gymnasium COMPLETELY covered in wall to wall trains.  It's slightly interactive, you can press buttons to make stuff work...

but it's also freakin' nuts, and that's BEFORE they add all of the religious icons & overtones like this doll found in the gift shop into the mix...

...and what I'll call the "Jesus Loves America" slideshow played to the tune of "God Bless America" every 30 minutes.  (No footage of that, I'll have to leave that to your imagination).

EDIT:  My wonderful wife K.C. used her YouTube sleuthing skills to find a video that has the magical "Jesus Loves America" slideshow.  Enjoy!

Joking aside, the landscape of trains is pretty impressive if you're really into that kinda thing.  Here's some more pics of the loco-motion going on inside.

Nuts, right?

FYI - There's also a Pennsylvania Dutch gift shop next door.

It's an excellent stop if you want to pick up some really outdated merchandise.  No, I mean REALLY outdated merchandise.  Need a blank VHS tape, they got 'em...got the Best of Johnny Carson on VHS too.

Need an unopened "That's Incredible" TV show card game?  Check.

You've probably also been searching high and low for a Galoob wind-up stand mixer toy for your dollhouse in original packaging from 1978?  Yup, it's there, and it will only cost you $2.50.

I wanted to take pictures inside this place but my digital camera ceased to work once I stepped inside the front door.  Must have had something to do with disrupting the space-time continuum or something...

Best of all...especially to all you Pennsylvania outdoor folk reading this blog...Roadside America & the Dutch Haus are a mere 10 minutes up Interstate 78 from Cabela's.  So there's really no excuse for you not to visit during your next trip to Hamburg's "Haven on the Hill"...and yeah, I know that place has it's own type of crazy too...


  1. Very interesting, Michael. Although the pictures of all the train activity were quite good, I would sure like to take another look up close and personal. Thanks for the tour. Go Lilly!

  2. Troutrageous, thanks for the post. I went to grad school at Penn St in Hershey and used to pass that place all the time. I always wondered what the hell was in that place.....now I know. Maybe the next time we're in PA it will be a pitstop for Bella and Alina.

  3. Man we haven't been there since my first two were little.

    Thanks for the reminder Mike, I need to plan a trip out there (thumbs up)

  4. Model trains and the towns that go with them are really cool, but that's a whole nuther bunch of rooms we just don't have. And no, I'm not clearing out my office or my shop to put model trains in there.

  5. I have passed that place so many times and have never stopped. The large Amish folk outside have always scared me away (people aren't supposed to be that big). I will have to stop next time I am on my way to the big C!

  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-5iJFVqPHk

    the "pageant" starts about 4 min in.

  7. Well, I'll say Hell Yeah! Trains are so cool. Brought back a lot of good memories from when I was a kid. If I ever get to PA. I'll be sure to make this a must do stop.

  8. It's kinda funny guys...trains really aren't my "thing," but such attention to detail is amazing to witness. I'm not sure if this is a "must see" but if you're in the area, the side-show surrounding this place is worth the price of admission.

  9. good goddamn if roadside america isn't the greatest destination on the eastern seaboard, i don't know what is.

    as for the place next to it, the amish scratch and dent shops are all loaded with whackiness just like that. i also made it a point to goto the sheep skin place with the creepy signs on the last run out that way.

    shartlesville, its like a disneyland of kitsch.