Tired of the usual museums, beaches, and statues of people you’ve actually heard of? When you visit a state, would you prefer to find the weird, the wacky, the wonderful, if not the downright offensive? If so, then you might appreciate this sampling of oddball sites in the great state of Maryland:
Assorted Crabby Attractions, Crisfield
You won’t find a crabbier bunch of people than the good citizens of Crisfield, a town that bills itself as “The Crab Capital of the World” and “The Seafood Capital of the World.” For example:
* The town water tower is emblazoned with a giant crab with “CRISFIELD” written on it.
* The street signs are decorated with crab silhouettes.
* The Crisfield High School sports teams (the “Crabbers”) have a crab mascot named “King Blue” (known informally to most students as simply “Crabber”). In front of the school is a giant concrete statue of a crab.
* The annual National Hard Crab Derby includes a competition where hundreds of crabs are raced on a special track in seven heats, as well as the Miss Crustacean beauty pageant (insert tasteless STD joke here) and other fun events.
On the more mundane side of course you can purchase fresh crabs and other local seafood in Crisfield, or order it in one of the town’s restaurants. There is also the waterfront Crisfield Historical Museum and Visitor’s Center, where you can learn all you’d care to know about this decidedly crabby place.
Crisfield is at the extreme southern end of Maryland, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Awakening, Oxon Hill
A creation of sculptor J. Seward Johnson, The Awakening is a giant five piece public sculpture designed to look as if it’s a much bigger single piece largely underground. The pieces are a foot, part of a leg, a hand, an arm, and an angry face, all of a giant seemingly emerging from the ground. The sculpture is lots of fun for kids of all ages to climb on, and a popular backdrop for goofy photos.
17 feet tall at its highest point and 70 feet across, The Awakening spent most of its life at Hains Point in Washington D.C., but was purchased by a billionaire developer and dug up and moved to National Harbor in Oxon Hill in 2008, where it now resides (if “resides” is the best term for someone seemingly bursting out of the ground with bad intentions).
Oxon Hill is in suburban Washington, just on the Maryland side of the border, down the Potomac from the nation’s capital.
Noah’s Ark, Frostburg
No, the real Noah’s Ark is not in Frostburg. For that matter there is not (yet) a facsimile Noah’s Ark in Frostburg. But as proclaimed by the roadside “Noah’s Ark Being Rebuilt Here!” sign, Pastor Richard Greene is determined to change that.
Don’t think, though, that it was Pastor Greene himself who came up with the idea to build a giant replica Noah’s Ark in Frostburg. Credit for that idea goes to Jesus, who then relayed his idea to Pastor Greene in 1974, specifying that the Ark be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.
In the decades since, progress has been in fits and starts. Pastor Greene has traveled the world to talk up the project and attempt to raise money for what he’s dubbed “God’s Ark of Safety,” but not with great success. Gradually, though, at least the skeleton of an Ark has taken shape-a massive conglomeration of concrete struts and steel beams. Projected completion date? As God provides.
If somehow a partial Noah’s Ark is insufficient to draw you to Frostburg, the town also boasts the oldest street sign in the nation. In the 1750s, British General Edward Braddock was crossing the Allegheny Mountains with his troops, and he had various directions and distances carved into a one ton rock as a guide to those who came after him. The “Braddock Stone” has survived, and now is on display in a gazebo next to the Frostburg Museum.
Frostburg is in the extreme western portion of Maryland, in the panhandle squeezed between Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
“Crisfield, Maryland.” City of Crisfield.
“God’s Ark of Safety.” Godsark.org.
“Maryland Attractions and Oddities.” Roadside America.
“National Harbor: Booming Little City of Oxon Hill.” Hidden Travel Gems.