Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Store in Connecticut — Tourist Trap or Tourist Treat?
Is Wild Bill's Nostalgia in Middletown, CT a tourist trap or treat?
Some speak of this unique attraction in Middletown with ultimate reverence. Others, like ThisIsInsider.com, say it’s the worst tourist trap in all of Connecticut. It even made their list of "Worst Tourist Traps in Every State."
Driving by the store on Newfield Street, you can’t help but notice the outside with its remarkable colorful art work. There’s a giant head in front of the building, on top of the sign, which is supposed to be the likeness of the founder, Bill, with an Uncle Sam hat on. According to ThrillRide.Com it’s the world’s largest bobble-head.
A psychedelic 60s tie-dyed VW Bug protrudes through the front of the building as well. Every square inch of the building’s exterior seems to have cool artwork on it, and just seems to pop off the road from out of the Woodstock era. The inside features all kinds of retro toys, rock memorabilia, and loads of interesting finds from back in the day.
Recently, the owner/curator of Wild Bill’s, William Ziegler, passed away. Tributes came in for all corners of Connecticut with fond memories. One fan got personal and reminisced about having some hang time with him back in day, posting on OddThingsIveSeen.Com :
Bills a great guy!.. just met him at a small festival they threw at his farm...he sat down and had a beer with me and a buddy and told some funny anecdotes from his past...I thoroughly enjoyed and hope to get back there soon for a festival.
That fan’s response was posted in response to an article about the store which included high praise:
The best part about the store was the feel of it. It felt authentic. In a day and age where eBay has it all and you can buy replicas of anything online and everything has been reissued and mass marketed in new forms to the point where nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, this felt like the artifacts of a man’s life who experienced most of the decades represented.
No matter who you want to listen to, the thumbs up or thumbs down reviews, I think it’s worth the trip, because stores like this are few and far between in any state.