Roadside Attractions

  • Father Baraga's cross

    Only tough guys lasted for long around Lake Superior, and Father Frederic Baraga was one of them. The Slovenian priest arrived in 1831 and spent a long and frenetic life canoeing and snowshoeing between Ojibwe settlements in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan; Grand Portage on the northeastern tip of Minnesota; and La Pointe on Wisconsin's Madeline Island.

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  • 10 tourist traps to love

    Americans have a love-hate relationship with their tourist traps. They’re so uncool . . . but so irresistible. What makes something a tourist trap? It’s a place that’s so cheesy you have to see if it’s really as cheesy as it looks. A place so iconic you’ve seen a million pictures of it. A place plugged by thousands of highway billboards. Mostly, it’s a place everyone else has seen — so you have to, too. We can’t help ourselves, especially when it comes to anything that’s odd or oversized.

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  • Paul Bunyan in Minnesota

    The origins of Paul Bunyan are lost in the wood smoke of long-ago logging camps. The mighty lumberjack most likely was born in the camps of Maine or Nova Scotia. Nevertheless, northern Minnesota towns have taken the legend and run with it.

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  • Roadside Distractions I

    At MidwestWeekends, we love anything that makes us veer off the road and say, "Wow, what the heck is that?'' A lot of highly unusual things can be found along the streets and highways of the Upper Midwest. We call these things Roadside Distractions, and we always take a photo. Here are some of our favorites.

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  • Roadside Distractions II

    At MidwestWeekends, we love anything that makes us veer off the highway and say, "Wow, what the heck is that?'' We call these things Roadside Distractions, and we always take a photo. One of our favorites: Lucette Diana Kensack in Hackensack, Minn., halfway between Brainerd and Bemidji.

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  • Magnificent obsessions

    In Wisconsin, nonconformity is cast in concrete. In the middle of the last century, a motley collection of ordinary folk — a dairy farmer, a car dealer, a tavern owner, a factory worker — took a sharp turn away from the ordinary.

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