There is no shortage of bizarre American highway pitstops, but there’s only one that’s in the shape of one of the three fruits native to the United States: the wild blueberry.
Just off Route 1 in Columbia Hills, Maine, you’ll find Wild Blueberry Land—a small theme park entirely dedicated to the official fruit of Maine. The park’s main attraction, a large, bright blue geodesic dome, is home to a bakery filled with blueberry pastries, breads, and sweets. The entire park is a bright shade of blue.
This seven-acre space is covered with giant marine buoys painted to resemble blueberries and a blueberry-themed mini golf course decorated with a shipwreck, a lighthouse, a grandfather clock, and a large blueberry pie that was once a TV satellite dish. If you win the golf game, you get to take your pick of one of the fresh veggies growing in the patches throughout the grounds of the course.
Appropriately, Wild Blueberry Land is run by a baker and a farmer, Dell and Marie Emerson. Dell, a former researcher at the University of Maine’s blueberry farm (the only wild blueberry research farm in the U.S.), cares for the 220-acre Wild Wescogus Berries farm while Marie does the baking.
The park is backdropped by Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park and looks out over the Pleasant River. The thin glacial soil of the Emersons’ Wescogus farm (“Wescogus” means “above the water” in the language of the Passamaquoddy Native American tribe) and the northern climate provide the perfect conditions for wild blueberries to flourish. The owners hope that the theme park stands as a dedication to small-scale farming: The park has an educational program that teaches youth about farming, gardening, and preservation, and offers visitors information about the history of agriculture in the area.
Today, in addition to snacking on sweet berries, drivers pull off the highway to marvel at the blue land. Even when it’s closed during the winter season, people take pictures by the domed building covered in snow. There are so many pictures of the famous local landmark online, Marie has said, it’s like the Wild Blueberry Land building has its own cult following.
Know Before You Go
The bakery and theme park is on the corner of Routes 1 and 187. You can't miss the bright blue dome. It's open seasonally and is closed during the winter.