Roadside attractions are an essential component of any road trip and our recent road trip had one rule:
If something is the biggest, we have to stop for it.
Finding these treasures of Canadiana required us to explore secondary roads, often with little to no information, and get lost with a decent amount of regularity. Luckily, Maritimers are a good-natured people, and helped us with a chuckle when we asked for directions to the nearest giant thingamajig.
Great Village, NS: the Giant Strawberry
Our first find was literally 10 minutes into our road trip. A short jaunt off the Trans-Canada Highway in Great Village, we found the Giant Strawberry, the ambassador and welcoming committee for Millen Farms, a strawberry farm and U-Pick, currently in the middle of the harvest.
We skipped the U-Picking, opting instead for some horsing around. Actually, the horsing around is for scientific, illustrative purposes, to show the relative size of some of our roadside finds. For your reference, I am a giant.*
Oxford, NS: the Giant Blueberry
A little further down the road, we detoured at Oxford, the wild blueberry capital of Canada, to meet the giant blueberry. He sits just off the highway exit, to welcome visitors, and presumably, to make them hungry for blueberries. Mission accomplished, you magnificent, anti-oxidizing creature.
This guy doesn’t have tattoos, they’re signs warning people to stay off his arms. There’s probably a great reason why. Probably involving a blueberry arm plummeting to the Earth.
Update: I’ve had a lot of specific inquiries about the size and height of the giant blueberry. Thanks to Nova Scotia Tourism and a helpful Twitterer, I have confirmed the blueberry is 10 feet (just over 3 metres) tall.
Sussex, NB: the Giant cow and calf
We worked hard for this one. Having no idea where it was located, we took the first Sussex exit we could find, and promptly got lost until finding the tourist bureau. The super-friendly and helpful folks gave us a map and directions, and, using them, we promptly got lost again. The payoff was totally worth it.
Just outside of Sussex, there is a giant Holstein dairy cow, Buttercup, and her calf, Daisy, erected to celebrate Sussex’s agricultural heritage and dairy industry. Buttercup and Daisy have their own little pen, complete with picnic tables so you sit and enjoy a picnic lunch with them on a sunny day. Suspension of disbelief is required to assume Buttercup can’t just walk over the relatively low fence.
St. Martins, NB: Minihorse Farm
We went from impossibly large creatures to impossibly cute ones. It was pouring rain by the time we found beautiful St. Martins, NB, but we were determined to find Minihorse Farm and Organic Produce. Following the signs, we were quickly rewarded with minihorses grazing in a rainy field. The owner saw us watching from the road and invited us up to meet the horses. These little dudes love company.
There was a little blue-eyed stallion who was a bit friskier, but also a little more timid of giant ladies. For I am clearly a giant.**
St. George, NB: the Blueberry King and Queen
Not as gigantic as the Giant Blueberry in Oxford, the regal Blueberry King and Queen outside of St. George, NB gave a roadside stop for berries a sense of occasion. We were terribly underdressed in our sandals and raingear.
Dochester, NB: the Giant Semipalmated Sandpiper
For a tiny bird, the giant semipalmated sandpiper was our giant white whale. We missed him on our first time by due to hunger and rain, and were ready to skip him again due to hunger and fatigue. However, a game-time decision to take a chance paid off handsomely when we discover the giant semipalmated sandpiper. One of the smallest shorebirds, it carries a rather grand name and cute speckled body. In real life, these little guys max out at 5″ (or 15 cm).
The “semi-palmated” part means his feet have short webbing. Considering our collective brainpower and internet access, it took us longer than it should have to figure that out.
In the end, our routes were in no way direct, and consumed vast amounts of travel time, but road trip memories aren’t created by blasting along a highway and making good time. They’re about climbing berries, making friends with little horses, and steadfastly pursuing the world’s largest tiny semipalmated sandpiper.
*Ok, you caught me in a lie, I’m 5’3″.
**If compared to something that stands 3′ tall.