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World’s Largest Peach, Gaffney, South Carolina

It’s summer, which in my book means road trips! And when I think about road trips, I naturally think about quirky roadside attractions (and now I’m starting to sound like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”).

Water towers are especially fun – and very noticeable from the road — when they’re painted to look like something else. We saw the world’s tallest water tower in New Jersey, but it didn’t have half the charm of the “Peachoid” in South Carolina, the world’s largest peach.

In this month’s guest post, Kelly Rae Smith, Editor of Explore Travel Guide, tells us all about it:

Where is it and how did you find it?

The Peachoid has been a part of my landscape my whole life. You see, I grew up less than an hour from this peach-shaped water tower. Four-stories tall, it sits on the side of the road on Interstate 85 in Gaffney, South Carolina (Cherokee County) where it captures the attention of every passerby. I’m from Anderson, SC, and so any time I’ve traveled to Spartanburg or Charlotte, or indeed to Gaffney, I have the pleasure of beholding this incoherent piece of fruit.


World’s Largest Peach, Gaffney, SC

Why did you go there, exactly?

I finally decided to pull over and get this particular picture in 2010 because my friend edits a newspaper in Scotland, and this was taken for her “Where in the World” section. Scottish readers had to guess where this pic was taken. Surprisingly, many answered the call with exact highway instructions!

Okay, what was so cool about it?

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Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, New Orleans, Louisiana


Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Photo credit: New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation

My brother Mike gets the award for the most comments made on GBOGH posts…seriously, I sent him a plaque. So it was only a matter of time before I cajoled him into writing a guest post. After all, he’s a dad now, and has started traveling with his two adorable kids.

The irony here is his choice of subjects: the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans, which, at 23,000 square feet, is the largest free-standing insect museum in the United States. He’s cursed with my family’s OCD/germaphobe gene, so…insects. Hmmm. Of course, his kids loved it, and that’s why he doubled up on antibacterial products and soldiered on. His report:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Having enjoyed a great deal of spontaneous, child-less travel for many years prior to the birth of our children, we were struggling to find any opportunity for travel with the entire family that wouldn’t leave us feeling completely disenchanted about future travel altogether. New Orleans somehow presented that opportunity to us.

Flights were inexpensive, flight time was limited to one hour, and we had a condo available at no cost. We knew that even if this first trip with children quickly melted down, we had invested very little. Plus, at only an hour flight away, we could realistically threaten packing up and heading home if everyone wasn’t behaving.

One very bright spot in an otherwise limited selection of children-friendly options in New Orleans was the Audubon Insectarium. My 3-year old daughter and almost 2-year old son said they wanted to see bugs, and we were all too happy to oblige them, as it was September in New Orleans, and it was 147 degrees (Seriously. Go back and check the records.).

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Two reasons: 1) We had heard multiple, very positive reviews (and it lived up to expectations); 2) a travel blogger who writes about BIG things, and will remain nameless, may have suggested that the New Orleans Audubon Insectarium is the country’s largest and therefore worth a visit.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

I knew we were going to love this place when we were met out front by an insectarium employee running insect races around an official Bug Track. Each child picked an insect that was released and wildly cheered on. Good stuff.

VW bug

This VW Bug was set up in the middle of the impressive beetle display. We turned around and my son had found his way to the driver’s seat and was on his way. Not to be left behind, his sister quickly joined him on his quick “drive” around New Orleans.

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PHOTO FRIDAY / Sighted and Shared!

One of the best things about travel blogging is the community among fellow bloggers. I especially love when another blogger will let me know about a BIG thing they’ve see in their travels; even more so when they share their photos with me!

For Photo Friday today, I wanted to show you some. First, Annie at Practical Adventurology recently attended Carnaval de Nice in France, one the world’s largest pre-Lent celebrations. It’s been taking place since 1873, but is now known for the spectacular, immense floats. These figures were about six stories tall!

Carnaval de Nice

Carnaval de Nice

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World’s Largest Turban, Udaipur, India

We definitely needed a post on something exotic and highbrow to balance the last one! Our friend Sandra Foyt to the rescue, with this month’s guest post on the world’s largest turban, located in Udaipur, India. You may remember Sandra, editor of Albany Kid, from her post on Bubblegum Alley, the world’s largest collection of “ABC” (already been chewed) gum. She has eclectic interests. I dig it.

Her report:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

By the time my two teens and I arrived in Udaipur, we were beginning to suffer from one of the first gastro-bugs that felled us while traveling in India and Nepal. Nothing serious, but we weren’t up for doing anything too ambitious.

A short visit to Bagore-ki-Haveli, a restored royal palace, located a block away from our lodgings, sounded like an entertaining option for a tranquil afternoon.


The Bagore-Ki-Haveli Palace, Udaipur, India

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Curiosity, plain and simple. Who wouldn’t want to see the world’s largest turban? I’m a sucker for royal palaces; and added bonus, Bagore-ki-Haveli was reputed to hold an eclectic collection of regional folk art.


World’s Largest Turban

Okay, what was so cool about it?

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Halloween: Trick Photos, Day Two!

We received so many responses to our invitation to share “trick” photos in honor of Halloween that we decided to post them over two days. We thought we were the only clever ones out there, but we were wrong. For these imaginative photographers, holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa is amateur hour!

I don’t really know how she did it, but Sonja from To Europe With Kids managed to make it look like her kids are falling off a cliff at the Grand Canyon. Let me be clear: I wouldn’t be this close to the edge without a double dose of valium.

Grand Canyon

Adrienne  from Albany Kid is getting some help from her daughter in holding up the Washington Monument in DC. Well, someone’s gotta do it.

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Halloween: These Tricks are Treats!

We’re celebrating Halloween more indoors than out this year, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Our treat for you is a showcase of “trick” photos – not just ours, but a fun selection of images submitted from fellow traveling families from all over the world! Since putting out the call for photos last week, we’ve received a lot of imaginative shots. We’ll spread them out over two days, so check back tomorrow for more!

Here’s our contribution! While we loved the Board Game Art Park in Philadelphia, PA, Matt nearly set off a nasty chain of events.


Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, the editor of FamilyTravel.com, sent us this one to show off her super strength. She and her sister-in-law Betsy are holding up this stone arch in Kentucky!

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Route 6: Longest Contiguous Highway in the United States

Stay on Route 6Sure, I hear the call of the open road every once in a while. It usually gets drowned out by other calls, like, “Mom, what’s for dinner?,” and “Mom, where’s my Princess Aurora dress…you know, the one that lights up?”

So it was with great envy that I learned that writer Malerie Y. Cohen, who I met at the ASJA conference this spring, took an extended road trip by herself. What’s more, she drove the longest continuous highway in the country. Her book, Stay on Route 6; Your Guide To all 3,652 Miles of Transcontinental US Route 6, provides both narrative and information on the points of interest she discovered.

Weeks alone with just my thoughts, enjoying the scenery. Pinch me.

We invited Malerie to share her story:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

I drove solo for 1 1/2 months (six weeks) across the country; 3,652 miles from Provincetown, MA to Long Beach, CA completely on US Route 6 – the longest contiguous highway in the United States. Why solo? No one can stand my snoring.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

As a travel writer, I was eager to follow one route complete across the USA and write a guidebook to this historic road. Initially, I typed “Longest Road In the USA” into Google, and up popped “US Route 6” as second only to US Route 20. Route 6 was truncated in 1964 – it now officially ends in Bishop, CA and is currently 3,205 miles long. But it was once the longest American highway, and is still the longest CONTIGUOUS highway, as Route 20 breaks up through Yellowstone National Park.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

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Willis Tower: Tallest Building in the Western Hemisphere

Willis Tower

Willis Tower, Chicago

I’m sorta amazed by people who don’t have a fear of heights, like I do. How do they not get jelly knees and queasy stomachs being that far from terra firma? In this case, 1,353 feet above said terra, to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (That’s 412 meters, for all our metric friends).

Our guest post this month comes from Nicole Wiltrout, a freelance writer living in Columbus, IN. Nicole writes about adventures at home and away with her husband and two young sons at Arrows Sent Forth. She also shared this report on the world’s largest children’s museum in Indianapolis last year.

Nicole is far braver than I am. Her report:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

My husband and I, along with our youngest son, spent a weekend in Chicago. This included a trip to the SkyDeck at the top of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) on a Saturday afternoon.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

My family typically visits Chicago a couple of times each year. This particular trip was to do some research for a blogging project with Expedia. I wanted to visit a few major Chicago attractions that I had either never been to or hadn’t visited in a while. I’ve heard a lot about the SkyDeck but had never done it on previous trips to the city.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

The SkyDeck would be particularly interesting to fans of Go BIG or Go Home because it’s a chance to go to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. You’ll ride an elevator 103 stories up and step out on a glass sky ledge that extends four feet off the side of the building.

SkyDeck Willis Tower

No way. No how. Never.

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World’s Largest Horseshoe Crab, Blanchester, OH

CrabWe missed this one when we went to Ohio over Memorial Day! This month’s guest post – about the world’s largest horseshoe crab — comes from Terri Weeks, a family travel writer in the Cincinnati area and mom of three. I love her family’s mission — to visit all 50 states by the time her kids graduate from high school! She blogs about their adventures at Travel 50 States With Kids.

And, all you Twilight fans, take note — this crab has a small cameo in the movie, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse! Terri was intrepid in her research; read on:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

I took my husband and three kids, along with my daughter’s friend and her mom, to the World’s Largest Horseshoe Crab, in Blanchester, OH, which is about 35 minutes northeast of Cincinnati, OH. It is owned and maintained by the Freedom Worship Baptist Church. It was originally built for the Baltimore Columbus Center Maritime Museum, then obtained by the Creation Museum and donated to the church.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Who doesn’t love roadside attractions? We fell in love with giant roadside attractions on a trip out west a few years ago. North Dakota boasts the world’s largest Holstein cow, sandhill crane, and buffalo, and we stopped at all of them.  So why not check out a horseshoe crab and see how it measured up? This giant was a mere 20-minute jaunt from my house, but I’d never seen it before.

World's Largest Horseshoe Crab

World's Largest Horseshoe Crab!

Okay, what was so cool about it?

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A BIG Journey Through Australia

We start the month with a fun guest post from Ben West, who writes the Living Vicariously blog. This is exciting for me for several reasons. 1) It’s our first contribution from Australia, a country high on my bucket list for all its BIG roadside attractions. 2) It’s our first travelogue about an adventure on a motorcycle. 3) It’s an adventure being enjoyed by someone SO outside my demographic – a young, unmarried, carefree couple – which is why the name of his blog really resonates with me!

Ben is currently exploring his own country with his girlfriend Jette. Some of the BIG highlights of his trip include the world’s largest Tasmanian Devil! Here’s his report:

“Since I started to follow the Go BIG or Go Home blog, I have been noticing just how many big things we have here in Australia. Australia is a big place, so big that if all Australians had an argument and spread out evenly over the continent, every person would have 213 square miles to themselves — that’s only 4.6 people in every square mile.


Holbrook is a perfectly charming little town on the road from Sydney to Melbourne. It has bright cafes with reasonable prices, and parks full of play equipment where parents can air out their children. Holbrook not only has the sole set of traffic lights between Melbourne and Sydney, it also boasts a massive submarine sitting proudly right in the middle of town.


Holbrook is named after Commander Norman Holbrook, a decorated WWI veteran. Commander Holbrook spent the war hiding underwater and driving his Oberon class submarine around, occasionally popping up to shoot at the surprised baddies then disappear in a stream of bubbles. Lt. Holbrook won the Victoria Cross, our highest pat on the back for military people.

Jette was amazed to sight this big black submarine shell (sadly they took out all the bombs and fun stuff) almost 400 kilometers inland from Melbourne. Despite my best efforts, she would not climb aboard for a photo.

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