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Roadside America Miniature Village: Epic Model Railroad and Village, Berks County

Sadly, Roadside America is no more. It closed in 2020 and is missed dearly.
Today we visit the venerable Roadside America. For 76 years it has amazed travelers along the historic William Penn Highway/Route 22 corridor in agrarian Berks County. Prior to being located in this spot, the display was shown at the former Carsonia Amusement Park, and out of the home of Laurence Gierenger, the creator of the display. It was his vision that created this piece of roadside Americana, right from the golden age of automobiling. His handiwork has attracted curious travelers for generations. 
A view of sunrise after nightfall, something that happens every half hour at Roadside America
For starters, this area is absolutely beautiful. The Blue Mountain Ridge of the Appalachians stretches through this area. The rolling hills from the base of the mountains are covered in farm fields as far as the eye can see. The countryside surrounding Roadside America is beautiful. 
Adjacent to the display is a gift shop that specializes in Pennsylvania Dutch gifts.

The view of the huge display as you enter.
I've told Brit for years that I would take her to see this and I finally got to make it happen! 
The display is huge, with a massive network of model trains, villages, interactive displays, and more.
For those who love infrastructure, there are many tunnels, different styles of bridges, including steel through truss bridges, covered bridges, concrete arch bridges, and more. The displays are as awe inspiring now as they were when I was first taken here as a kid.
One of the coolest things about Roadside America is the interactive element. There are many buttons throughout the whole display where you can actually operate different features.
There are thousands of different elements to notice throughout the display as well. Each time you circle the display, you will be sure to notice something different. Here you can see a little ballpark within this town. 
A steel through truss bridge in the background, with a nice covered bridge in the middle, and an arched concrete bridge in the foreground, with a nice circus happening on the left side of this photo.

In some of the tunnels large enough for people to walk through, you end up in caverns!
In this spot you end up behind a waterfall, with a great vantage point looking towards a large wooden rail bridge and a large portion of the display.
Oil derricks!
The display contains;
  • 7,450 square foot, fully landscaped with 300 miniature structures
  • Up to 18 trains, trolleys and cable cars running throughout the display
  • 10,000 hand-made trees
  • 4,000 miniature people engaged in everyday daily pursuits
  • Many rivers, streams and waterways
  • Interactive animations such as a circus parade, construction workers, saw mill workers and more, that can be activated by visitors.
  • Scale is 3/8 of an inch to one foot.
  • All trains are "O" gauge
  • 600 miniature light bulbs
The display is constructed with
  • 21,500 feet of electrical wiring
  • 17,700 board feet of lumber
  • 6,000 feet of building paper
  • 4,000 feet of sheet metal under the plaster work
  • 2,250 feet of railroad track
  • 648 feet of canvas for waterproofing
  • 450 feet of pipe
  • 18,000 pounds of plaster
  • 4,000 pounds of sheet iron
  • 900 pounds of nails
  • 600 pounds of rubber roofing material
  • 75 pounds of dry paint
  • 75 gallons of liquid paint
  • 225 bushels of moss
  • 25 bags of cement
  • Three barrels of screened sawdust
  • Three barrels of tar

There is even a canal!

Something special happens every half hour with a sunset, night time, and sunrise that highlight the beauty of the display.

This miniature village is so huge that it has its own scenic overlooks. You can even do a little indoor hiking up their version of the Appalachian Trail. 
I mentioned earlier how you see something different each time you walk around the display. This was our third time around, and the first time the I noticed this little airport. They even have a plane that flies in the air, circling the airport.
They even have some ski slopes at the peak of the mountain!
We went to Roadside America as we visited with my family over the holidays.
Translated to Roadside America time, we saw a few sunsets, evenings, and sunrises. 
A taste of the surrounding countryside that makes this area perfect for getting away from it all. Roadside America is a terrific attraction that you need to check out. The amount of love and care that is had for this attraction is evident as soon as you catch your first glimpse of it. This is an awesome roadside attraction that is a holdout from the golden age of automobiling and it is something that you need to check out. 

Roadside America is conveniently located in Shartlesville, off of the old William Penn Highway/Route 22/Interstate 78 corridor, roughly halfway between Allentown and Hershey. 
For more information on visiting, check out their website at www.roadsideamericainc.com

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