Let’s be frank… no matter how well you planned your mountain getaway, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, your legs are toast, or maybe you end up getting injured. Regardless the reason, you just need some time to chill. Of course, you can enjoy a hot cocoa or partake in a unique adult beverage, like the one with a real human toe, but that can only last for so long. Instead, why not explore one of these weird places to visit in the US & Canada near ski towns.
Dearly “de-pinted”, we are gathered here to pay our respects and acknowledge that these flavors will be missed. What started originally on the Ben & Jerry website has transformed to an honest-to-goodness tourist attraction at the Ben & Jerry ice cream factory. The Flavor Graveyard in Waterbury started in 1997 and now contains over 31 flavors that have been “buried” here. The first official residents were Dastardly Mash (1979-1991), Economic Crunch (1987-1987), Ethan Almond (1988-1988), and Tuskegee Crunch (1989-1990). If you’re anywhere near Stowe, Sugarbush, or Smugglers’ Notch resorts, this is a must visit.
Big Mountain Jesus
Off a non-descript trail near the summit of chair 2 on Whitefish Mountain Resort sits a painted stone figure overlooking the Flathead Valley below. Coming up to it on an eerie cloudy morning with wisps of fog floating past, you’ll be shocked to see a giant statue of Jesus Christ & wonder why it’s there. Some of the founders of Big Mountain were part of the 10th mountain division during World War II & would come upon various religious shrines in the remote mountain communities in the Alps. Inspired by this, they helped erect this status in honor of those brave troops that fought in Italy during WWII. You may come for the uncrowded slopes, amazing vistas, and near perfect snow, but be sure to not miss out on this unique site.
The Wooden Troll
His name is Isak Heartstone. Always carrying a big smile, he greets each person that comes to visit him with just that. We’re not talking about a tour guide… but rather a wooden troll. A massive wooden one standing at over fifteen feet in height. Created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo as part of a summer arts festival, he had to be removed due to crowds. Fortunately, he’s now in his new home near the ice arena & can be accessed on a new trail called Trollstigen.
Whistler Train Wreck
Whistler, British Columbia
Tucked away in an old growth forest could be THE hidden attraction in Whistler. Difficult to find & shrouded in a bit of mystery sits a graveyard of CN train cars spackled with urban graffiti & surrounded by a network of hiking and biking trails. It’s an odd dichotomy of man-made and natural. Mature yet modern. Far from any rails and engulfed by massive cedars, the first thought will be “Where did these come from?” Supposedly in the late 1950s a train wreck happened where the boxcars were wedged in due to an excessively fast turn. It wasn’t until 2014 that the mystery was solved. While for a few years this attraction was inaccessible, luckily with the opening of the new Cheakamus bridge, you can now see for yourself the visual juxtaposition of metal and nature, history and culture, known only as Whistler’s “Train Wreck.”
Mr. Banff – The Merman
Mermaids appear in countless folklore stories with the first known being from ancient Assyria. The goddess Atargatis transformed herself into one out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. For those wanting to see one themselves, you don’t need to head to the 7 seas but rather Banff! In the unassuming East Indian Trading Company is the oldest statesman… or rather Merman. This half-terrifying taxidermy experiment was acquired by the proprietor of the shop Norman Luxton around 1915. Stories swirl around the origin such as Luxton purchasing the gaff from a mysterious Javanese salesman or that he himself built the beast. All the same… this is something that you need to see in person.
The Museum Of Clean
Calling all clean freaks, spring sweepers, or lovers of cleanliness. This shrine gears towards all things clean & is a unique museum to say the least. Even though it has museum-worthy “artifacts” like sweepers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and other cleaning paraphernalia, the goal of this place is much more than that. Don “The King Of Clean” wants to teach visitors how to be & want to be… clean. Heck, even the 90-year-old building it’s in was awarded by Idaho as the “2013 Pollution Prevention Champion Award” because of conservation and recycling. Because as we all know, a clean environment is part of being clean too.
Railroad Tracks Disappearing Into A Lake
Lake Tahoe, California
Although Lake Tahoe’s history runs deep with railroading through the early 20th century. This shot of the railroad disappearing into the crystal clear waters of the lake aren’t from one of the 4 or 5 short logging railroads that brought logs down to the lake. Rather, around this time HUGE mansions were being constructed for the wealthy so that they could vacation. This particular “rail line” is at the Hellman-Ehrman mansion. Built on the west shore of Lake Tahoe in the early 20th century these rails were used to transport wooden racing boats. You can now see these as well since the state of California acquired the property for use as a state park.
From freaky taxidermy to train wrecks in a forest, these weird places to visit in the US & Canada will be sure to keep you amused when not on the slopes, trails, or lakes. Looking for more fun ideas during the warmer months check out our in-depth: