The End of the Road – Remembering Sunrise Resort: Part I

Posted: January 27, 2015 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Fairgrounds, abandoned home, abandoned new england, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Stores, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Children, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, East Haddam Connecticut, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, Sunrise Resort, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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The End of the Road

Remembering Sunrise Resort – Part I

Written by: Sean

Photographs by: Amanda

You always remember your first. Whether it be love, sex, friendship, you always remember the first. Because the first will always be special, whether you like it or not. We’ve been doing this for about three years now, and I still remember our first. It was kind of an accident; we just happened to stumble upon one of the greatest abandoned sites in Connecticut while hiking in the woods. It was more than just an abandoned building; it was a small community that had been completely deserted overnight. This is the place that started our journey as urban explorers. What follows is part one of a three part series that will fully cover our three visits to the legendary Sunrise Resort in East Haddam, Connecticut. Part one will cover the discovery of the resort. Part two will cover our investigation. And part three will cover our return to the site after its demolition.

The only way to really tell this story is to start at the beginning. I mean the real beginning. Sunrise Resort was established in the 1930’s by Ted Hilton, a Hartford Taxi Driver. Over its 92 years the resort became Frank Davis Resort then what we know it as now, Sunrise Resort. In its heyday, the resort was known for theme weeks, meals, parties, music, and its excellent family atmosphere. It provided services such as maid service, childcare for those parents who wanted a break, boating/sailing, horseback riding, and children’s programs. They even allowed you to bring along the family pet! The resort provided many forms of housing may it be rustic cottages, motel rooms, apartments, or resort lodging. Sunrise had it all. Just as a fun fact, both Amanda and myself visited the resort while we children. Both of our schools scheduled our end of the year summer picnics here. Unfortunately, we did not take any photos while there.

Over the years Sunrise’s old fashion look and feel began to lose customer’s interest and it slowly began to wither. Near its end customers were found to complain of it being “out-of-date,” musty, and unclean. Sadly, in 2008 Sunrise was closed and sold to the CT Government. At first the government had plans of making it into a newer, updated Campgroup or into a camp for the disabled. This never happened. The Connecticut Government put things off and forgot about Sunrise until it became too late; nothing was left to save. Since then it fell into ruins. It had been vandalized (windows smashed, copper piping ripped out of the walls, items stolen, memories shattered) and nature has moved in to reclaim it. This once beautiful resort was now a ghost town resembling Chernobyl. Everything is left the same as it was as if its happy, smiling patrons simply vanished.

It was a hot summer day in 2012. We were just hanging out. The days of summertime were slowly drawing to close, and we would soon be returning to college. The beach was no fun anymore. We had hiked all of our local parks. And we didn’t have the money to go to the movies. We decided to do something different. It was actually the website damnedct.com that got us into this. We had occasionally surfed that site, looking at all of their cool articles. But most of them were out of date. First, we looked into checking out the Little People’s Village. But further research revealed that this site has been so horribly vandalized, there is nothing left to see. We then thought of checking out Holy Land USA, hearing that it was quite easy to get in. Further research into this revealed that a young girl had tragically been murdered there very recently, and the place was near impenetrable.

With our day slowly ending, we ended up deciding to check out Machimoodus State Park in East Haddam. There were rumors of strange, unearthly noises here so we decided to check it out. We even brought along our Japanese Chin named Tojo. The state park was nice, though we didn’t hear any weird noises. There was an old barn still standing towards the center of the park, but nothing too interesting. That is until we took a dark trail leading into the woods. The farther we got down this trail, the weirder things got. First we found a shoe sitting on an old stump. This shoe had been there so long, moss had completely coated it. We also found a crushed up loud speaker in the dirt. Further down the trail, we found a rusty storage trailer, completely full of old cots. It was completely silent. Then, we saw it.

 At the end of the trail, seated comfortably alongside the banks of the Moodus River, we found an abandoned summer camp. The old dining hall stood before us. It was three floors, with a porch out front. The windows were all shattered, and its outer paint was rapidly fading. The old kitchen equipment had been left out back to rot in the sun. A rickety gazeebo stood out in front of it. Beside that was a tall withered pine tree, slowly dying in the summer heat. Several empty pavilions guarded the river bank. Two yellow chairs were seated in the water, still standing. The long grass all around grew wild and free. A couple of small storage sheds stood closer to the edge of the forest, though the steps leading into them were slowly collapsing. A very old and unsafe looking staircase stood leading up the hill, though we dare not follow it. What was this place?

Unknown to us at the time, this was the abandoned Sunrise Resort. Since we had our dog in tow and had no idea where we were, we decided to leave…after snapping a few pictures of course. This place wasn’t safe for Tojo to be walking around, and we were completely in the dark on what this strange place was or if we were allowed to be there. As we made the trek through the forest and back to the car, we decided to do some research on what we had just found: what is was, who lived there, why it was abandoned. But more importantly, we vowed to return. Stay tuned for Part II next week.

Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    So Sad I went there when I was young and took my kids every Memorial Day weekend

    Like

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