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Apples & Dinosaurs: Iconic Roadside Stops

Are We There Yet: Apples & dinosaurs: Iconic Roadside Stops

School’s out and that means one thing: a road trip with the kids. Getting there should be half the fun, and can be, if you know where to stop. Sure, ONroute food courts serve their purpose but why not aim for memorable?

If you’re travelling between London and Ottawa, or Montreal and Quebec City (or both) this summer, I have two must stop stops for you – The Big Apple, along Highway 401 in Colborne and Le Madrid, along Highway 20 in Quebec.

If you haven’t hit The Big Apple in a few years, you’re in for a surprise. They’ve taken kitsch to a new level. The restaurant/gift store overflows with apple paraphernalia and apple treats – pies of course – and a full lunch menu. Inside the giant Mr. Applehead, you can still learn about apple facts, but outside you’ll find barn animals, updated mini-putt, ping pong tables, train rides, shuffle board, and bocce ball.

While the Hillbilly-themed restroom is something to see, plan for more than a quick bathroom break here.

Then there are the life-sized dinosaurs at Madrid 2.0 (as they’re now calling it) between Montreal and Quebec City, visible from #20. A highway stop with a history – once privately owned and home to monster trucks, 75 dinosaur statues and homemade fare – is now scaled back to a family-friendly fueling stop with recognizable fast food names (yes, that one).

A dozen colourful prehistoric beasts remain in the ‘park’ next to the gas station. Added are educational plaques, but let’s face it: everyone’s really stopping for the fries and photo ops.

Sherri Telenko is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern Ontario. Sign up for travel ideas at www.dogtrotting.net or follow her on twitter @SherriTelenko.


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