The man who created the Marmaduke comic strip is from the same area of New York as Lucile Ball.

He isn’t celebrated on the same level as that famous redhead but there’s a really nice exhibit about him at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown and a statue outside the city.

His name is Brad Anderson. A World War II Navy veteran, Anderson spent years drawing dog characters for magazine cartoons before hitting on Marmaduke.

Anderson drew Marmaduke from 1954 until his death in 2015 at the age of 91. That enormous, messy but endearing Great Dane was an important member of the fictional Winslow family.

I think many people find Marmaduke relatable as so many who own pets treat them like family. We accept their quirks, demands and troublemaking as part of the package along with the cuddles and all their charms.

Anderson’s art studio was recreated at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown as part of an exhibit the celebrates comics and animation. Donated items include his drawing board and lots of other materials. The clutter and personal items make it seem like he just got up to refill his coffee and never returned.

The statue is located in the nearby town of Portland and shows a life size Anderson with his famous dog. The statue is surrounded by a sponsored brick path with personalized sentiments.

Many are in memory of dogs and people. Some commemorate families or local businesses. My favorite was this one. It is in memory of the purchaser’s late husband and says “Let’s see what Marm’s up to today.”

If you’re in the area for Lake Erie activities, to visit this lighthouse or to do the Lucytown tour (which I highly recommend), getting to the statue is a nice little drive through wine country and takes you past Ella the Elephant!

Ella The Pink Elephant

When you’re driving down the road and encounter a giant pink elephant, you turn around and go back for a closer look.

At least that’s what I did while traveling through New York’s wine country along Lake Erie last month.

Meet Ella the Elephant.

She’s the mascot of 21 Brix Winery near Portland. They placed her here to help visitors spot their entrance. For a while they painted her different colors, changing her look with the seasons. They eventually settled on this eye catching Pepto Bismal pink which has inspired a series of wines named in her honor.

I know little about grapes or wineries as I’m not a drinker but I do know about roadside attractions and this one is awesome. Learn more about 21 Brix at their website and know that this region boasts a plethora of wineries for your enjoyment.