Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Spider Weeds – The Abandoned Helen Lohman House

Posted: October 21, 2020 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Farm, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Automobiles, Birds, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, dreams, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fantasy, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Love, Magic, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, New York, photography, Preserved Ruin, Public Parks, research, Ruins, State Parks, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Spider Weeds

The Abandoned Helen Lohman House

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Show of hands here, please. Anyone reading this a gardener? I usually don’t like to reveal too much about our personal lives, given the nature of what we do here. But we at Abandoned Wonders absolutely love to garden. It’s a really special thing. Every year from Spring through Fall, we grow all of our own vegetables. Tomatoes. Lettuce. Peppers. Green beans. Some things we can’t get to grow, but we try anyway. Just for the fun of it. Every year here in New England is a little bit different from the last. And each one teaches you a different lesson on how to be a good gardener. Being able to grow something yourself and then enjoy your harvest is quite rewarding. But every year, eventually the season ends. The frost and the cold slowly kill off the plants. And one by one, you have to say goodbye to the little lifeforms that you yourself created. You water them. You feed them. You make sure they get enough sun. They depend on you for just about everything. But when the season changes, there is no stopping the suns from setting. There is always a time when we have to say goodbye to what we created.

Might I introduce October 2020’s subject: The Abandoned Helen Lohman House. The owner and proprietor of this house, Ms. Lohman, was a New Yorker who spent her summers here in the seclusion of the Connecticut woodlands. She was a successful artist, simply seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of the great city from time to time. Though the house was first built in the 1700’s, she was the last official owner. Her property served as both her summer vacation home and farmstead. It was a simple property, with a small country house, running water, and a cozy fireplace to curl up next to on those cold nights. But in the late 1960’s, she decided to move on from the property. The house was forgotten about, and Ms. Lohman donated the land to the town of Middletown with the idea of making it a wildlife preserve. She named the preserve after the way she found her garden after every winter. The spider weeds would take over the garden, and leave it in a ghastly state of decay. Over the years, the house fell into complete disrepair. She now sits all alone and abandoned.

All of the credit for this one goes to my partner Lassie. A few weeks ago, we were looking into doing our first virtual 5K. For charity, of course. While looking into good three-mile walks in our area, we just happened to come upon a little place that we had never heard of: Spiderweed Preserve. While reading about this place, we soon discovered the rich history of the Helen Lohman House. Nobody around here had ever covered it before. So naturally, we had to go take a look. We didn’t end up doing our 5K here, simply because that would’ve been timed. And so, on a clear Fall day, we made the trek into Middletown. Looking for Spiderweed Preserve. The weather had called for grey skies and clouds. Which is what I thought would’ve been the perfect backdrop for this hallowed ground. But, naturally, we got blue skies and sunshine. No matter. It was a beautiful ride through the Haddam area. But eventually the road turned East, and deep into the woods. There is no parking lot. Just a long, dead end, dirt road that was once a driveway. It was here that we hiked to the abandoned property.

It is a short uphill hike to the old house. It looms up on the hill as you approach, making it unmistakable. But sadly, it is mostly gutted. The roof is no more, and one side of wall has totally collapsed. But in its heyday, the house was clearly one story. It has a surprisingly rustic design, as if it was just crudely put together by any large stones they could find in the area. That is one of the most unique parts about this place: the rocks. Shining mica and rose quartz can be found all over the walls and floor. You can still walk up the front steps. The fireplace still stands. And seated on its hearth is the star of the show around here: the old tea kettle. Though it is slowly being rusted to death, this old dispenser still stubbornly sits here. Waiting for her master to return. It is quite a haunting site. Watch your step, as there is broken glass bloody everywhere. One window still holds onto its frame. Another still has its distinct green shudders to protect it. But sadly, this place is more of a skeleton of what it was once was. Like an autumn leaf, haven fallen from her tree and slowly eroding into nothingness.

Fall was, in fact, the perfect time to visit the abandoned Helen Lohman House. I don’t know if I’d recommend visiting it during any other season. The chilly air, colorful leaves, and fading sunlight just make this old structure feel a bit more special. There is just a certain amount of mystique to it that makes you wonder what these old ruins once looked like way back when. And even though the house is slowly collapsing, this place can still hold a feel secrets. It absolutely boggles my mind that the old tea kettle is still there and nobody has taken it. Let’s keep it that way. And if you by chance come upon the secret Orange rock, congratulations. Now please put it back so someone else can have the joy of finding it. If you are interested, please do go check this place out before it’s too late. Just as the time of 2020 is drawing to a close, as does the time of this rustic homestead. But then again, let’s always remember why Helen Lohman named this place after those pesky spider weeds that took over her garden every year. Because no matter how tough winter can get, some plants always grow back.

Howling of the Hybrids

The Abandoned UConn Kennels

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

It’s rare for me to do this, but I feel like I must speak my mind. I’m a writer. I’ve been doing this since I was eleven years old. It has been my one true gift as far back as I can remember, whether I wanted it to be or not. And as a writer, you want people to read your words. You want people to listen to your stories and feel your voice. But not this time. This is one of those rare pieces where I ask that you discontinue reading. This article really isn’t for the faint of heart. As a dog lover, this story rocked me to my core. When I had first heard of this place, I didn’t think there would be much to it. But the more digging I did, the more horrors I uncovered. I’m talking animal abuse. Genetic experimentation. Dark science. Murder. Grim subjects, all around. It’s one of those tales so bizarre, you can’t believe that you’ve never heard about it before. Again, I ask that you discontinue here. This story is not going to be pretty.

If you must continue reading, then allow me to set the stage: The University of Connecticut, the late 1970’s. A graduate student conducts the successful breeding of male coyotes with female beagle dogs to produce what we have come to call “coydogs.” Three generations are successfully created. They are housed in a kennel outside of the Biological Science unit in the UConn Forest. Though the experiments are bizarre, the animals are said to have been well taken care of. That is until 1983. One of the pups is kidnapped by two unknown assailants. She was then tortured and beaten to death. The story caught national attention. It severely derailed the genetic experimentation program, but it attempted to continue none the less. And unfortunately, this was not the first and would not be the last tragic animal death during this time on campus. After this unspeakable tragedy and it’s founder’s graduation, the entire experiment is believed to have collapsed. But the kennels where her work was conducted still stand.

It was late spring of 2020 when we finally made our trek into the UConn Forest to find what was left of this phantom facility. May is the perfect time of year for a good hike. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. But I warn you now that this place is not an easy find. If you do your research, follow the directions, and crack the code you will find this place no problem. If you don’t, you can and will spend hours combing through the forest looking for it. Full disclosure, that’s what happened to us. We parked in the wrong spot, and almost didn’t end up finding what we were looking for. The UConn Forest truly is just so vast and so full of the weirdest things imaginable. You could honestly spend days out there and never see the same thing twice. On our journey, we came across abandoned lawn equipment, countless fire pits, wild dogs, trails to nowhere, and a group of bros on a fishing trip. But eventually, we solved the riddle and found the old facility. And although there may not be too much left, this place certainly was quite creepy.

First coming upon the abandoned kennel, it very much looks like an old zoo paddock. An eight foot tall wooden fence surrounds the perimeter. There is even a swinging wooden gate to enter the kennel that’s very reminiscent of Jurassic Park. But this place is much more like that movie’s sequel, if you know what I mean. The weeds and plants have grown wild and dangerous. Some old wiring and tech has been left behind, but it’s all been rusted to Hell. At the far east corner, there is an old observation window. Most of the wood has rotted, but it still provides a chilling window into the past. The true sight to see here though are the two enclosures. Both surrounded by old chain link fences, there are two small  concrete doghouses standing side by side to each other. They have both been defaced with graffiti, and completely barren inside. One even has an old chair positioned on top of it for some reason. The place is also full of birds and chipmunks, who have clearly moved back in to reclaim this forgotten facility as their own.

We were both quiet on our long walk back to the car. I don’t know why. We were hot. We were hungry. But we also just couldn’t seem to shake the feeling of sorrow. It was tough to find this place. But it has also been tough to write about it. Very few have covered it in the past, and I can see why. There is so very little information out there. And what I did find, I wish I hadn’t. Much like Tiger King or Wild Wild Country, I just can’t quite believe that stuff like this actually happened. It’s all just so bizarre and truly beyond belief. But I guess that’s what makes stuff like the abandoned UConn Kennels stand out from the crowd. There may not be too much to see at the actual site. It’s no Undercliff Sanatorium or Mansfield Training School. But walking through the abandoned kennels, I could just tell that bad things had happened here. There was just such grimness and hopelessness nestled amongst the sprouting trees. This is a place that never should’ve existed. It is just one of those stories that I wish I could forget, but never will.

Black Diamond – The Abandoned Hogback Mountain Ski Area

Posted: December 21, 2016 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, abandoned home, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Ski Area, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Hogback Mountain, House, Information, left behind, lost, Marlborough, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Vermont, writing
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Black Diamond

The Abandoned Hogback Mountain Ski Area

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I have lived in New England my entire life. I was born here, and I will probably die here too. But I’ve never been a skier. I tried snowboarding when I was a kid. But after splitting my face open a few too many times I eventually outgrew it. Up here in New England, skiing is one of our biggest draws and most memorable past times. Most of you reading this probably know a skier, or even are one yourself. My next door neighbors were all skiers when I was growing up. They even had their own personal lodge up in the mountains. Ski Club was also the largest club at my high school. And the big place where it’s most common? Vermont. This was my first time back here in many years. It was a place I used to visit annually back in the Scouts. Believe it or not this was our first investigation up in the Green Mountain State. And it did not disappoint.

Bordering New York State and the Canadian border, Vermont is one of the most picturesque places in all of New England. It has rolling hills, quiet forests, and an old school mountain culture. Tourism is a big thing here, and the jewel in that crown is skiing. It has been a large part of Vermont’s heritage throughout the years. Many ski areas, such as Mount Snow and Smuggler’s Notch, have become local juggernauts in the business. But many have not been as successful. In southern Vermont is the heavily trafficked Hogback Mountain Conservation Area. But little do most tourists seem to know is that this was once the Hogback Mountain ski area. Opening in the years following World War II, the ski area found moderate success but was eventually forced to fold in the 1980’s due to declining attendance. The land was then sold off to the local community and rechristened.

Right along the busy Route 9 in Marlboro, Vermont, is the Hogback Mountain Tourist Area. You really can’t miss it. You round a corner, and boom. People are everywhere. Cars from all over the world are pulled over at the makeshift parking lot to get a glimpse of the gorgeous mountain view and pick up some campy souvenirs at the gift shop. Their cheese is actually pretty good though. But sitting just off to the side of this tourist attraction are the ghosts of what once was. A short walk to the right from the tourist area is what remains of the ski slope. A small wooden shed still stands, and bears the name of “Hogback Mountain Ski Area.” A large number of old tools and skis have been left behind inside. Though they are now coated with dust, it appears they were simply throw to the floor and forgotten about. Luckily, we found very little signs of vandalism.

The star attraction of the ski area though has got to be the remains of the old chair lift. A large turbine still stands glistened in the sunlight, though she is now rusted to all Hell. The two large wheels which once brought skiers to the top of the slope are now nothing more than tattered ruins. We tried to follow the old slope up the mountain, but the vegetation was too thick. There may be more up there, but we could not find a way up. Walking back to the left of the ski area are what we believe to be the remains of the lodge. A large white building, she now sits precariously close the edge of the mountain. She looks so structurally unsound, its remarkable she’s still standing at all. A few pieces of old furniture still wait inside for someone to return to them. Peeking in through the window was almost like taking a peek back in time.

For our first investigation in the great state of Vermont, this was certainly an interesting visit. I personally found it fascinating to see so many people flocking to the tourist area, and yet experiencing total solitude mere yards away at the ruins of the ski area. It has become a ghost to the rest of the community, haunting the mountain with the memories of its former glory. It is indeed curious why these old relics where not demolished when the land was sold off. While other ski areas flourish and thrive, this one was forced to close up shop. It is good that the land has found another use, and that so many people from so many places can now enjoy it. But it is still sad to see a place like this in a state such as that. For life, as we all know, is a lot like a ski slope. Some are able to navigate it all the way to the bottom and enjoy the ride. Most of us, however, just end up falling on our asses.

Lock the Gates – The Abandoned Seaside Sanatorium

Posted: November 29, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Seaside Sanatorium, State Parks, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Waterford, writing
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Lock the Gates

The Abandoned Seaside Sanatorium

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Lock the gates. Bar the doors. Bolt the latch. Close up shop. You don’t have to go home. But you can’t stay here. Much that once was is now gone. We have certain traditions here at Abandoned Wonders. We like to look up places on Google Maps before visiting them, so we can figure out precisely where to go. We like to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s after exploring a cool place, just for the salad bar and Mr. Pibb. And we visit certain places once a year because they are just so damn cool. Seaside Sanatorium is one of those places. Sitting smack dab on the beautiful shores of Long Island Sound, Seaside Sanatorium really is one of the most picturesque abandoned places in all of New England. But this year, things have taken a turn for the worse. We are sad to say that this once abandoned wonder will never be the same.

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The main buildings on the grounds were designed by the world renowned architect Cass Gilbert in the early twentieth century. He was the same man responsible for masterminding the famous US Supreme Court building in Washington DC and New Haven’s Union Station. The facility was opened during the early 1930’s, seeing a long and colorful history that lasted until 1996. Over the years it has served as a children’s hospital, a treatment center for the elderly, and a facility for the intellectually disabled. Its beautiful setting along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean were said to provide a very peaceful atmosphere for its residents. Sadly though, the facility was allegedly home to several incidents of violent treatment of patients in the early 1990’s which would ultimately cause the demise of Seaside. It now sits abandoned, though it can be legally walked as a recreation area.

Like I said before, this was our fourth visit to the grounds in the last four years. Earlier this year, we published a video about Seaside using footage that we acquired last summer. Several of our readers were quick to point out that there are now chain link fences surrounding all of the main hospital buildings. Naturally, we had to go investigate. In the waning days of the summer 2016, we returned to visit our old friend. I can honestly say that things have changed. A lot. Indeed there are fences everywhere. The beast of the abandoned hospital has been caged, as has the old nurse’s building. Most heartbreaking of all, the old playground has been removed. Seeing this amazing and hauntingly beautiful old building now locked up was a sad sight indeed. It is not the thought of not being able to get inside anymore that makes it tragic. Its more that the fences mark what more than likely is the beginning of the end for Seaside Sanatorium.

Much like our previous visit, there were plenty of beach goers frequenting the grounds. And just like last year, none of them even seem to notice the giant abandoned hospital sitting right in front of them. Plenty of these people gave us weird looks as they watched us take pictures. One other young photographer was there though, which was a nice site to see. Even though she kept getting into our shots. One family even seemed to be camping out on the beach. Something that is interesting though is that state security guards have returned to the grounds. On our previous two visits, we couldn’t take one step without being followed by a security guard, though they were all very courteous and more than happy to talk about the abandoned hospital. Last year we were there for a whole day, and didn’t see a single one. But today, a very nice guard kept watch over the grounds and all of the beach people. And the work on the hospital is clearly far from over. Plenty of construction equipment and tools lie in the fenced off sections of the grounds.

The grounds have been officially commissioned as a State Park, and the old hospital buildings have also been named to the National Register of Historic Places. It is both rewarding and depressing to see the grounds in their current state. While the protective fences keep bad people out, it is also sad to see this former hospital trapped behind bars. State workers have been working to make the grounds safer to visitors, and allegedly considering several different options of what to do with the grounds. It is an ongoing process, but fortunately is one that seems to make progress. But until its final judgement day, the grounds of Seaside Sanatorium now sit under lock and key. Even the fabled ospreay seemed to have moved off. Over the last two years we’ve seen a flourishing family of them taking up residence in the chimney of the nurse’s building. But today, there was only one. She cawed in loneliness to the great blue ocean before her. Maybe the rest of her family is still out there. Or maybe those days are long gone.

Destroy or Decay – The Abandoned Mansfield Training School

Posted: October 13, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Birds, Broken, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Mansfield, Mansfield Training School, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Seaside Sanatorium, Stories, Storrs, Sunrise Resort, UCONN, Uncategorized, Undercliff Sanatorium, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing, WWII
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Destroy or Decay

The Abandoned Mansfield Training School

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Decay, it’s a bit of a fickle word. Just the mention of it conjures up unsettling images of rot and decomposition. Destroy, do I really have to define this one? It’s a word we all know and maybe even use too much. But which is worse, to destroy or to decay? It is a question that many of our great abandoned wonders have faced over the years. Many local legends such as Sunrise Resort and Undercliff Sanatorium have been demolished. But others, such as the abandoned Mansfield Training School, have faced decay. Rather than being demolished it has merely been left to rot. Sure, certain precautions have been taken to shore up the property. But let’s be honest, we’re simply delaying the inevitable. Though many tall fences have gone up since our last visit, Mansfield Training School is continuing its slow decent into destruction.

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The facility was created following the merger of the institutions in both Lakeville and Mansfield, Connecticut during 1917. It was christened the Mansfield Training School and Hospital, a facility for the care of the intellectually disabled. They started off with a relatively small number of patients. Major events in history such as the Great Depression and World War II caused the population of patients to grow and become overcrowded. But during the sixties and seventies, regulations began to change, resulting in more staff and caregivers being provided. Some years later, patients began to be moved from the hospital to on-site cottages and group homes. Regrettably, while there were many stories of good and fair treatment of the patients, there were also several tragic ones. Under a pile of lawsuits, the facility was forced to close its doors in 1993. The property was then split amongst the University of Connecticut and the neighboring Bergin Correctional Institute.

In the waning days of Summer 2016 began to slowly fall off the calendar, like leaves from a tree, we made our return to the abandoned Mansfield Training School. Some places are just worth a second or even a third visit. And this is certainly one of them. Sitting on the far side of the Depot Campus of the University of Connecticut, the abandoned Mansfield Training School was as quiet as I remembered it. Just a short stroll from the hustle and bustle of the main campus, it is shocking how desolate this corner of the school feels. We did not come across a single soul on our walk through the former hospital quad. Just like our previous visit. The whole place felt like something out of a nightmare. Even though it lies in such close proximity to one of the largest and well known schools in the country, this place was as quiet as a tomb. The only signs of life were the scurrying families of squirrels darting for cover as we strolled through this abandoned wasteland.

While the atmosphere of the abandoned Mansfield Training School may not have changed at all since our last visit, the grounds themselves have taken a rather serious toll. Chain link fences have been installed around the infamous Knight Hospital and a few of the farther south buildings. The tunnels systems have all been dug up or filled in. But even worse, vandalism has taken a massive rise in the past year. Doors have been kicked open. Windows have been smashed. Access to these dark and dangerous places is as easy as it has ever been. And inside these former hospital buildings is like the edge of Hell. Around each corner lies more chaos and destruction. Though it is as quiet as death in here, the pain and the anguish that this place feels cannot be ignored. We’ve seen a few spooky things happen here, such as the fabled “Angel of the Asylum,” but today this place felt more haunted than ever. The Saint Mary Statue had been moved. Shadows crept in the corners of every room. And there was a strong presence to be felt.

And so I ask again, is it better to destroy or to decay? Over the years, there allegedly have been many different proposals to demolish these infamous grounds. But none have come to fruition. With the recent additions of the chain link fences, clearly someone wants to preserve this place. It is, in fact, listed as a Historical Landmark. But one would not likely be able to guess that after one look at the state of the Mansfield Training School. It has fallen quite a long way in just twenty odd years since its closure, mostly at the hands of vandals. To destroy it would cost the state millions of dollars, and be the end of a once beloved landmark. But to leave it to decay would be the same result, except for the number of years it would take to get there. Neither of them seem like good options, and seems that some have chosen to forget about the abandoned Mansfield Training School. But its still there. Everyday. Wondering. Waiting. Destroy or Decay? Destroy or Decay? Destroy or Decay?

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Mountain Sound – The Ruins of the Aspinwall Hotel

Posted: September 29, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, abandoned home, abandoned new england, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Berkshires, Birds, Broken, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Graveyard, Great Barrington, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Mountain Sound

The Ruins of the Aspinwall Hotel

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

“It’s kind of strange, isn’t it? How the mountains pay us no attention at all. You laugh or you cry…the wind just keeps on blowing.” – Red Dawn (1984)

We’ve covered the beauty of the Berkshire Mountains on here before. It is one of our favorite places to visit in New England. And in fact, our piece on the abandoned Great Barrington Fairgrounds and the efforts tor revive it has been one of our most popular articles this year. It is place of wonder and beauty. It is home to the true spirit of New England. The sleepy little communities can be so peaceful, yet so alive at the same time. There has been quite a history up here in these mountains. Bridging between Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, this mountain range is one of New England’s best kept secrets. And frankly, its’ better that way. But amongst it lie a few places that many have forgotten. Lost amongst the woods and the memories of the community, one such place is the Aspinwall Hotel.

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The luxurious Aspinwall Hotel was built in the early nineteen hundreds by a wealthy businessman. Located in Lenox, Massachusetts, the hotel attracted guests from all over the world. It hit great prosperity over the years while being located in the heart of the picturesque Berkshire Mountains. Not even the Great Depression could slow down the popularity of the hotel, as it expanded to over 400 acres. But all of this wondrous success was to be short lived. Much like many great hotels of the era, the Aspinwall was struck down. But not by financial hard times, it was tragedy. In 1931, before the season had even begun, a great fire was started. Before help could even reach her, the once great hotel succumbed to the flames. She never rose again. The land was then sold off to the town of Lenox in 1956, and proclaimed a national park.

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To the untrained eye, this appears to be nothing more than a scenic recreational area. But if you look closely throughout the woods, the signs of the hotel are still here. It starts with rogue rock walls that look like they used to be apart of something larger. But as you continue down the trail, things get even more interesting. Old wells and fireplaces stand at random parts of the forest. Lamp posts can still be seen on a few trees. Large pieces of scrap metal lie amongst the brush. And in a few sections, massive stone foundations and pillars still stand. Old water piping can still be seen protruding from the earth. These are the last pieces of infrastructure from the former 400 room hotel. Though they are now covered with moss, they are some of the soul survivors from the vicious fire that claimed the Aspinwall Hotel so many years ago.

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This is more a piece for the hikers. Much like our previous installment, you will find no abandoned asylums or haunting structures here. It is a nice hike indeed, but hidden all over the woods are the ruins of this former New England hotspot. Take a walk off the beaten path in Kennedy Park, and you can find a place that few remember and even fewer still appreciate. Pale beams of sunlight peak through the gnarled trees. The earth is soft and fertile. The grass grows thick and green. And as the wind whispers through the undergrowth, the ghostly aura of the Aspinwall Hotel still haunts the woods. It is hard to believe at times that some one hundred years ago, this now wild woodland was one of the most popular and prestigious hotels in all of the region. But, as we all know, time is unforgiving beast. All of the pomp, circumstance, and grandeur is now gone. All that remains are the ruins.

Into the Cages

The Abandoned Shade Swamp Shelter

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I have always hated seeing animals in cages, for as long as I can remember. Few things in life make me sadder than that. As a kid, I never liked going to the zoo or even the aquarium. Whereas most children found seeing the animals to be quite a fun and exciting experience, I felt only despair. Seeing what was once a wild animal trapped inside a cage always brought about feelings of sadness and anger. I can’t really explain it. I mean, not all cages are bad. Zoos aren’t the only ones to keep animals in cages. Animal shelters and rescue facilities keep their residents in cages, but for better reasons. Healing of injured animals or protecting endangered ones are a noble task indeed. But still, the thought of freedom being taken away is a dark one. And the image of cage can be a frightening one, especially when its been abandoned for many years.

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Our subject of this piece is a peculiar one: the abandoned Shade Swamp Shelter in Farmington, Connecticut. It is a far cry from most of the pieces we have done on here. First established in the early 1930’s, the purpose of the shelter has varied over the years. The rustic log shelter that has since become its signature was originally designed and built by the historic Civilian Conservation Corps. It has ranged from being a roadside attraction to being a wildlife sanctuary. One of its nobler pursuits was being home for wildlife rehabilitation. The sanctuary was based in the Shade Swamp, and featured a variety of enclosures for injured wildlife. It sadly went under during the 1960’s, and has been more or less abandoned ever since. A stroke of luck, however, came in 1986 when the shelter was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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We made the trek to the abandoned shelter in the waning days of summer 2016. The heat was beginning to die down, and the first glimpses of the fall season were just sprouting up. Sitting alongside the heavily trafficked US 6 North, the Shade Swamp Shelter is not difficult to find. It is almost hard to believe what is hidden back there when you first see it. The area surrounding it is teaming with traffic, busy intersections, and office buildings. But here in the swamp, everything is quiet. Upon arrival, there is a small pull-up spot where a few cars can be parked. Luckily, we were the only visitors there that day. You are then greeted with the old structure of the shelter itself. Though it has clearly been taken care of, there is also sadly evidence of vandalism and a recent fire inside of it. Given its age though, I’d say she looks pretty good. But it is further down the trail that the true hidden gems of this place lie.

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A short walk down the winding and nearly overgrown nature trail, we found the cages. Rusted to all Hell and in varying ranges of decay, there are nearly two dozen large pen cages lining either side of the trail. The ones on the right side are smaller, and feature stone dens at the back. The ones on the left side are much larger and have blue painted exteriors. Off the beaten path there is one bigger enclosure that is far different from the others, and was in the worst shape. The rusty fence is still up in a few places, and a few gagged pieces of metal are still nailed to a few of the trees. Be careful where you step. The trail will lead you further into the swamp, but circles back in one big loop. After the cages, you will find a few old relic from the sanctuary’s heyday, but nothing truly of note. The strange aura and mystique of these large abandoned enclosures are enough of a sight to see. You can even set foot inside a few of them, if you are brave enough.

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What is it about cages that make them so unsettling? Is it the thought of being trapped with nowhere to hide? Or is it something more? Perhaps the very notion of that precious freedom that we all seem to take for granted being taken away is what makes them so unsettling. Anyhow, the abandoned Shade Swamp Shelter is a great visit for anyone looking for a good hike and adventure seekers. There are no abandoned buildings or asylums here: just the remnants of a place long forgotten. It literally sits a few meager yards from a hustling and bustling community. But everything is silenced by the aura of the swamp. Chipmunks and birds roam freely here, making their homes into these old enclosures. Their world is seemingly untouched by ours out here. And though these cages now sit empty, they stand as a grim reminder of what was and what could have been.

Cold War Ghost Town – The Abandoned Truro Air Force Station

Posted: August 18, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Cape Cod, Abandoned Forts, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned military bases, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Bates Motel, Beaches, Birds, Broken, Cape Cod, Closed, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Fortress, Forts, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, Magic, Massachusetts, Military, Military Forts, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, State Parks, Stories, Truro, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing, WWII
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Cold War Ghost Town

The Abandoned Truro Air Force Station

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

War is a lot like love. It is easy to start, difficult to end, and impossible to forget. No conflict in human history has ever been truer to these words than the Cold War. Decades of mutual hatred between the East and the West brought our entire planet to the brink of destruction. It was an era of fear, anger, and paranoia. And out of those dark emotions came a massive military build-up that spanned across the globe. Today, it is a different world. All of these fears and doubts have faded away, but the ghosts of the Cold War conflict have not. They are hidden, amongst the darkest corners of our forests and our memories. Ruins of old military bases are now nothing more than graveyards. But on the far reaches of Cape Cod, there is one that stands out from all others.

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In the dark days following World War II, the United States military began to prepare to adjust to the changing international atmosphere. Across the country, missile defense bases began to emerge. In 1951, the North Truro Air Force Station was born. Situated on the far end of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the base had many different jobs during the Cold War conflict. With ever changing and advancing technology, the station was largely used as a radar and air defense base. It housed hundreds of American military personnel over the years, and was complete with on-site housing and recreational facilities. But when the Cold War came to a sudden end in 1991, the future of the station became cloudy. In the turmoil that followed, the North Truro Air Force Station was closed in 1994 and the land was sold off.

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Over the years, we had heard many rumors and stories about the North Truro Air Force Station. Many debated whether or not the place was worth a visit, and even more argued about what was actually left to see. Finally, in the early summer of 2016, we were finally able to stop by the curious facility. The sun was shining. The beaches were busy. And the true magic of Cape Cod was just beginning to wake up. The Air Force Station lies off a quiet road on the far side of North Truro. It is actually only a short drive from the fabled Bates Motel, which is more than worth a visit. The base is technically part of a national park, and is legal to visit. Certain areas are still used for community functions though, and are off limits. It doesn’t look like much, but hidden amongst the heavy underbrush and beach foliage is a ghost town, as old and as spooky as the Cold War itself.

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Upon arrival, the first thing to greet you is what appears to be a large open field. But in actuality, this is the overgrown baseball field from the station’s heyday. The old dugouts and diamond can still be seen if you look hard enough. It is a short walk down the old road, though, where things start to get interesting. Here lies the ghost town. Lining a short stretch of road are what remains of the on-site housing for the military personnel. Each one has simply been left to rot. The doors aren’t even boarded up. Inside, kitchen supplies, mementos, and relics of the past have been simply left behind. The houses at the front of the street were for enlisted men. Down the road were the officer’s houses, which were larger and included garage bays. Many tools and pieces of scrap metal could still be found in a few garages. But beware, asbestos warnings and broken glass are everywhere. Watch your step.

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Hidden farther off in the woods is the old helipad. There is not much to see here, save for a few concrete foundations and filled in tunnels. A slight breeze from the nearby ocean blows through the tall sea-grass. Sea birds and gulls caw overheard, singing a soft eulogy for this forgotten place. We only ran into two other people, an old couple walking their dog who were more than happy to tell us what they knew about the site. If you truly wish to see urban decay at its finest, without running the risk of being arrested, then this place is a must see. It truly is a ghost town, as if everyone just got up and left someday. Never to return. Of all the former military bases we have explored, North Truro Air Force Station was the most intact and most interesting. It is in a class all its own. But to us, this place, much like the Cold War, will be impossible to forget.

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Places to Visit this Summer – Seaside Sanatorium

Posted: July 21, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Cape Cod, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, Mystery, nature, new england, Ocean, Ocean View, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Seaside Sanatorium, State Parks, Stories, Urban Exploration
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Please check out our new video on the abandoned Seaside Sanatorium! If you are going to visit one abandoned place this summer, put Seaside Sanatorium on your list.

Cape Cod’s Psycho 2 – Return to Bates Motel

Posted: July 6, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Cape Cod, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Bates Motel, Beaches, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Cape Cod, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Stories, time, Truro, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Cape Cod’s Psycho 2

Return to Bates Motel

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Every great Hollywood movie ends up getting a sequel. Especially horror movies. Jaws. Saw. Halloween. Friday the 13th. Scream. Yes, even Psycho. While the sequels are not as wisely known or as fondly remembered as Alfred Hitchcock’s original classic, they set a precedent as far as horror sequels would go. In an effort to outdo their predecessors, most horror sequels end up being much darker, brutal, and more sinister than what came before them. Most of these films fail to meet these expectations. But some go a little bit too far. This is our first “sequel.”

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Over three years ago, we visited an abandoned landmark along the white sandy beaches of Cape Cod – Bates Motel. It has stood silently amongst the bustling vacation community of North Truro, Massachusetts, for over two decades. It’s origins are a mystery. Nobody anywhere seems to know just what this place was or how it came to be in its present state. We wrote a piece on it about a year ago, and it went on to become one of our most popular articles. A few weeks ago, while on vacation in Cape Cod, we decided to stop by to see how our old friend was doing.

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Let’s just say that the years have not been kind to the Bates Motel. Where once rusty old padlocks kept people out of the rooms, not everything is boarded up. The windows. The doors. The office. Everything. The tall seagrass has grown wild and uncontrollable. The pavement of the old parking lot lies in jagged chunks mixed among the scorching hot sand. The gulls still soar overhead, cawing at the misery of this sad place. On either side, happy vacationing families pay no heed to the Bates Motel. They simply ignore it, like a stray dog lying wounded in their summer paradise.

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We don’t break in to places. We never have, and we never will. But someone, or something, had broken into the Bates Motel before our visit. The old plywood covering the maid’s closet had been busted open, so we popped in to take a few pictures. While it was damn near pitch black inside, plenty of stuff has been left inside. Small beams of sunlight peaked through the cracks in the wooden planks. We even found the entrance to the basement, but it was much too dark to get any good photographs. Though we were unable to get inside the office, plenty of furniture is still sitting in there as well. It is almost as if Bates Motel just up and closed one day. Never to re-open.

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Our first visit to the abandoned Bates Motel was much like the first film in a great horror franchise. It was shocking, fascinating, and highly recommendable. Our second visit was much like the sequel. While it was unavoidable, it was much darker than the original. It was much like Psycho II: it left us feeling like we had never come back, that we could just remember the Bates Motel how it was. The slow rate of decay on this place is a bit depressing. The place looked like it was about to just collapse in on itself at any moment. Will there be a Part III for us at the abandoned Bates Motel? Only time will tell.

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