St. Margarets — We’ve all driven past them. A piece of clothing, a 3-legged lawn chair, a blown tire — the flotsam and jetsam of society that lies on the sides of our highways and bi-ways. Maybe consider it trash, but one St. Margarets woman has turned her personal passion for picking up these items into a roadside attraction in its own right.
Rhonda Noble is the proud proprietor of the museum, Rhonda’s Museum of Roadside Refuse, which she set up in a shed behind her camper trailer, which is parked seasonally at Seaside Camping Grounds in St. Margarets.
“I spend a lot of time walking along the highways, collecting cans and bottles, picking blueberries and wild strawberries, and every time I go out, I find something that makes you go ‘Boy howdy! Look at this little gem!’ I found this one-of-a-kinder this spring,” she said, handing a Manatee reporter an apparently unused home pregnancy test. “Found that up near Nelson, on the same day that I picked up nearly 7 bucks in empties. I really found the sweet spot that day. Like I said, every find tells a story.”
Noble’s museum also has a gift shop, which contains jams, jellies and liquor she makes from the fruit she picks, postcards of the area, and some of the items she’s found. The museum itself is a well-arranged array of unique trinkets, including more than 100 single shoes and boots, pallets (“furniture and firewood, all in one”), sunglasses, car parts, as well as uncommon items including a papier-mâché volcano (presumably a child’s school project), a prosthetic leg, some 8mm “home movies,” 2 pounds of cheese and an envelope containing chest X-rays. “That guy’s in bad shape. Maybe that’s why he threw them out the window,” Noble joked.
Rhonda’s Museum of Roadside Refuse opens for the season July 11.