What is it? Well, sometimes in Connecticut we just don't know and have to go out and see for ourselves. Connecticut is my home and one of the most fascinating microcosms on Earth. There is such a melting pot in the state of Connecticut that you never know what language you might hear, what churches may pop up, what kind of restaurants may appear, and there is a whole lot of creativity here no matter what you may have heard. That being said, the fact that my son and I were driving down Route 3 in Middletown and saw three Yugos on balls didn't seem that odd. What is it all about?
This is Wild Bill's Nostalgia Shop. I'd heard a lot about it in the internet world lately, so I thought we should go and check it out. It was just part of a roadtrip that we took today to see some unusual things. It's that in between season in Connecticut, and since mother nature decided to drop winter on us for April, there's not a lot to do yet. It's too late to ski, and it's too early for most other things. So, we stopped in to see what Wild Bill's was really like.
I must admit, I saw some mighty strange things at Wild Bill's. I saw a lot of things from old carnivals. There's a couple of rides, one that looks like an old Himalaya and another that looks like a regulation fun house out back. There are a couple of painted up Volkswagen Vans. There is a haunted fun house that I believe has been in progress for some time. It's all interesting stuff.
Wild Bill's is home to the world's largest Jack in the Box. For a roadside attraction there are some interesting sights to behold. But, what is Wild Bill's really about? For one thing, this is all a product of the love generation. On Earth Day they are planning a free concert out back to celebrate. There are hippie things going on here. But, the thing that I enjoyed about it was the fact that it was also America in action. This whole place is like an open air art gallery and it's freedom of expression at it's very best.
And, if the outside isn't enough, there's a whole giant store full of all kinds of stuff. As you enter past the clown and the suit of armor, you realize that you have not entered a typical store. What did I find? I found a lot of things. I found funny posters of Donald Trump. I found about a million various bobble heads. I found vintage posters from the sixties, seventies, and eighties. I found sports memorabilia. I found art, clothes, signs, buttons, CD's, LP's, cassettes, vintage video games and even arcade games. You can buy an Asteroids game there. Not one for an Atari either; the real arcade deal. Every inch of the place is covered in curious and interesting throwback items and some new ones too. It's quite a collection and quite a store.
You never know what you will find. Question; is it worth the drive? Answer, on a questionable weather day when you've had just about enough of winter it sure is. I do think that if you plan to come from a long way's off, I would wait until some more work is done on that haunted fun house. I love the unusual, and this place certainly is that. Bill is a hoot too.
After we left Bill in Middletown, we drove on down to Long Wharf in New Haven to check out another curiosity that has landed in our state recently. Jordan's Furniture. Doesn't sound curious until you hear about It. "It" is the largest indoor rope adventure course in the world. Not what you expect when buying furniture.
Let's start off with the dancing fountains. This reminded me of the pond in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. They were playing 80's hair band music, which I love and there were people everywhere. I will say that there were very few people in the furniture part, which is a shame, because they have some great furniture at reasonable prices. There's a warehouse sized store to go through too. You should be able to find just about anything there. They have a whole section for rugs.
But, I digress. "It" is a multi part course. There's a food court and the fountains in the middle. There are sections of rope course on either end. There are zip lines connecting the two sections of rope course. It's really quite remarkable.
They have some climbing experiences that are separate from the rest of the course, and they have a mini "It" for the little ones to play on. You can play for $25 to $30 which is a great deal in the world of zip lines and rope courses. Not to mention that it's inside where you can enjoy "It" during this awkward in between season in New England.
So, there's two places that are pretty neat to check out on a questionable day in Connecticut. The best thing about a tiny state like ours is that no matter how small it is, it still packs a bunch of surprises. I hope to spend some time this summer checking out some more spots in my state to entertain you with. And, if those prices at Jordan's don't suit you, IKEA is right next door. The Long Wharf neighborhood of New Haven, CT is full of surprises like the theater and Brazi's Italian Restaurant. So, pack up the car and take a day trip to some cute and fun spots that you probably never new about. Spend a little time road tripping in Connecticut. Enjoy!