Dog Bark Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho
Only a doggone canine hater would sniff at the chance to sleep inside the world’s largest beagle. Located off U.S. Highway 95 about midway between Boise and Coeur d’Alene, the Dog Bark Park Inn accommodates four guests in an eye-popping building whose exterior was built and painted to resemble a standing pup. The motif continues inside: Carved dogs cavort on the headboards, and guests can enjoy pooch-shaped cookies, a paw-print-patterned pillow, and a Beagle-opoly board game. The on-site gift shop sells wooden dogs crafted by the inn’s owners, Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin, who are longtime chain-saw artists. And talk about dogged determination (or sheer folly): The couple spent 18 months carving nearly 10,000 canines, then selling them on the QVC television network to finance the inn’s 2003 opening.
Ames Monument, Buford, Wyoming
This 60-foot-high pyramid of rough-hewn local granite commemorates brothers Oakes and Oliver Ames—depicted on the monument in bas-relief—who arranged funding for the first transcontinental railroad (and were later implicated in a national scandal about its financing). Designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, one of the premier American architects of the time, and dedicated in 1882, the structure once marked the highest point (8,247 feet) of the railroad’s original route. It was seen by thousands of train travelers until 1901, when the transcontinental route was shifted south. The edifice was left in place on its windswept knoll about 19 miles southeast of Laramie and just a couple of miles off Interstate 80, an object lesson in the vagaries of fame and infamy. In the neighborhood this summer? Don’t miss the July 8 ceremony to mark the monument’s official recognition as a National Historic Landmark.
Glockenspiel, Mt. Angel, Oregon
Who wouldn’t prefer a whimsical glockenspiel to a plain old clock? That’s what folks can enjoy in Mt. Angel, 18 miles northeast of Salem and about 15 minutes off Interstate 5. Back in 2006, the town—originally settled by Germans and famous for its huge Oktoberfest—debuted its 49-foot clock tower with music, chimes, and dancing wooden figures. There are four seven-minute shows daily (11 a.m. and 1, 4, and 7 p.m.), each starting with a half-dozen merrily spinning figures and finishing with a boy and girl singing on a swing. The theme varies by season: military regalia and a “God Bless America” finale from May through August, historical figures and “Edelweiss” the rest of the year. After the show, say ja to a frothy Bavarian beer or a plate of Wiener schnitzel at the Glockenspiel Restaurant and Pub at the base of the tower.