On the Road with VW

Road trips are an American rite of passage. Whether yours is a cross-country jaunt or simply a visit to a neighboring state, there’s likely a Volkswagen connection, festival, or attraction pretty close by. Here’s a sampling of a few VW-themed stops.

Planes and trains will get you where you’re going in a hurry. But when the journey is just as important as the destination, nothing beats the open road — in your VW, of course. Put each of these only-in-America stops on your next itinerary.

A Different Kind of Fest
Each October, VW enthusiasts descend on the Bay State (Massachusetts) for Volkswagen Day Transporterfest, an all-VW car show at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline. The museum, which sits on an expansive park with stunning views of downtown Boston, bills itself as “America’s oldest car collection,” and includes vehicles dating back to the late 1800s. But during Transporterfest, it is all VW — and all sorts of them, from retro-style vans to Baja Bug models, tuner GTI vehicles, and more.

Check out other VW-themed events:

Great Ape
What’s a road trip without a genuine roadside attraction? There’s the world’s largest brick in Alabama; a giant, toothy-grinned peanut in Georgia; and even the pride and joy of Cawker City, Kansas — the world’s largest ball of twine.

But there’s a draw in New England that uses remarkable size, an otherworldly animal, and a VW to make it a selfie-worthy trip. Queen Connie in Leicester, Vermont, features a 19-foot-tall, steel-reinforced concrete gorilla holding a real Volkswagen Beetle high above her head. Luckily for road trippers, the other hand stretches down so people can sit in it and take creatively staged photos. Queen Connie was erected in 1987 to advertise a local car dealership. The business has since closed, but Queen Connie remains, proudly hoisting her Bug to the sky.

Drag On
If you’ve never watched with bated breath as two Beetle drivers rev their engines, waiting for their cue to peel out and fly down a racetrack straightaway . . . well, it’s time to revamp your life goals. The South Eastern Volkswagen Association (SEVWA) — an East Coast, Volkswagen-only drag racing association — holds races throughout the year in states including Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. Many of the events also feature car shows and swap meets.

A Peek into Production
There’s no better way to gain a deeper appreciation for your beloved ride than to see how much work and care goes into the making of a new Volkswagen. At the Volkswagen Chattanooga factory in Tennessee, you get an insider’s look at assembly — from start to (gleaming) finish — of both the updated Passat and the Atlas SUV. The nearly 2-million-square-foot Chattanooga facility resumed guided visitor tours in 2017 after a major expansion. To schedule a free tour, email tours@vw.com.

Old School
Both sides of the country offer a little auto memorabilia. Both the Automobile Driving Museum (in El Segundo, California) or the Lane Motor Museum (in Nashville, Tennessee) are wonderlands of automotive history, and each features some VW gems. In the collection of the Lane Motor Museum, you’ll find a black 1956 Beetle as well as the futuristic, bright yellow 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit “Rocket Car” (outfitted with twin canopies that the museum says are “allegedly” sourced from Talon T-38 fighter jets). The Automobile Driving Museum has a 1959 Beetle and a 1971 Volkswagen Squareback, and it occasionally hosts VW-friendly events, including an annual summer show for air-cooled German vehicles and vintage scooters.