Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

What We Left Behind

The Mysteriously Abandoned Green House

 Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

The older we get, the more things we have to leave behind. That’s life. Friendships. Habits. Memories. Times change, and some things do not change with you. These are the things that we leave behind. But some things don’t go as easily. Some things that should not have been forgotten, still wait in their darkest hour. This is true of the abandoned Green House. Before reading any further, understand that this article will be unlike any other previously seen on this site. There will be no history, identifiable landmarks, or anything that can help you find this place. It’s nothing personal; it’s just that this place is a mystery, even to us. And we wish to keep it that way. This place is so dark, depressing, and dangerous that it is best that it stay lost and forgotten. It is better for this lost home to stay in shadow.

There is no history here for us to report. We found no information at all from anyone on this strange site. Though it sits beside a very busy and highly trafficked road, this mysteriously abandoned house sits completely empty and utterly silent. Just to be clear, the Green House is our label for this place. We don’t know who once lived here, or why they left. And, based on the signs posted on the front door of this strange house, neither does the bank that now owns this derelict property. We simply call it the Green House because of its distinct green color. What separates this house from many of the other abandoned sites we have explored, this place was seemingly left overnight. There is still food in the fridge. A calendar still hangs on the wall. Children’s toys still wait for their return. But it will never come.

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I have driven past the abandoned Green House many times over the last few months. It caught my eye because I never saw anyone coming or going from it, and the lights never came on. It always sat in darkness and in silence. Large amounts of trash bags and liter surrounded the outside of the house as well. Unfortunately, the Green House sits alongside a very busy road. It has a high traffic rate and a large police presence. Since we were not able to find any information on this place, caution had to be taken. Luckily, a series of hiking trails stood a short walk away from the abandoned house. This is where we chose to park to avoid any suspicion. We chose to visit this site on a gloomy winter day. The leaves had all fallen from the trees. The skies were grey. And a thin layer of ice coated the ground.

The Green House is located in a small former farming town in New England. Following parking our car at the local walking trails, we began our short walk along this busy stretch of road. Until at last we came upon the Green House. Right off the bat, there is a very unsettling feeling about this place. It is clear that all feeling of comfort and joy were ripped away from the Green House many years ago. It is now devoid all of things bright, standing  in complete despair. Windows are smashed. Doors are open. Paint peels from the siding. Bags of trash and former possessions lie strewn about the property. Nothing lives here anymore, other than the sad ghosts of what once was. There is a small driveway out front, though it would be unwise to park there. Not only would you be in plain sight of all passerby’s, but the pavement is also in very poor shape.

The building itself is in very poor shape. It is just one floor, with some sort of small attic above that. A beat up garage stands beside it. In the backyard, an old swing set has been crushed by a falling tree. As previously mentioned, a sign is taped to the front door. It states that the house has been winterized for up until the year 2017. Curiously, it also requests that if you know or are the owners of this property to please contact them. It made us wonder just who once lived here, and what happened to them. The house was obviously abandoned in a hurry, a very abrupt one at that. Whoever once lived here left behind literally all of their possessions. They are now sadly scattered all over the property. Everything from clothing, trash, old basketballs, and stuffed animals cover the front yard. It was literally an apocalypse movie come to life.

The inside of the buildings are complete chaos. The smell was unimaginable. We’ve had some bad smelling places, but this one took the cake. All kinds of stuff was all over the floor. Believe it or not an old Bow Flex workout machine was still standing in the garage, though covered in trash. A lot of trashed old 90’s things were amongst the liter. VHS tapes, CD’s, and Nintendo controllers could all be spotted in and out of the house. The inside of the house was the edge of Hell. The side door was just sitting open, beckoning anyone and everyone to witness the horrors inside. There are holes in the floor. The roof is collapsed in spots. The stairway to the attic is still open, though only darkness emanates from it. The bedrooms of children and adults alike lay in complete ruin, with the things they once treasured cast about all over the place like mere trash.

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Trust us when we say, this place is not for the faint of heart. For it is indeed heartbreaking. Only a few times has an abandoned place been as unsettling and as depressing as the Green House. There is a reason that this article is the first we have ever released to not include any information. The place that a family once called home has been reduced to near rubble, still waiting for them to return. Not even the bank knows what happened to them. But this place was more than just their home. It was the place where family bonds were grown. It was the place where childhoods were experienced. It was the place that people once found comfort above all others. It is now the place that they left behind.

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The Changing of the Guard — Hiking Manchester’s Former Nike Base

Posted: February 17, 2015 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Forts, abandoned military bases, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Birds, Bolton, Broken, Children, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Fortress, Forts, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, lost, Manchester, Manchester CT, Military, Military Forts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Nike Missile Base, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, The Walking Dead, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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The Changing of the Guard

Hiking Manchester’s Former Nike Base

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

We have visited quite a few former military installations across New England over the last few years. Most people find it hard to believe that there are so many sites out there left abandoned by the military, but they are out there. You just have to look a little harder for them. Some are simply hiding right under the public’s noses. We have covered abandoned coastal fortresses in Rhode Island, deserted Air Force bases in Massachusetts, and of course the decaying Nike Missile bases in Connecticut. Here in our home in the Nutmeg state, the Nike Missile bases are some of the more iconic and well known abandoned places. We have explored most of the Nike Missile bases that are still standing across the state. Most have become lost and forgotten sites, falling victims to nature’s fury and mankind’s neglect. But a few of these sites have found salvation through resurrection.

During the most vicious years of the Cold War, there were at one time hundreds of Nike Missile sites all over the country. Some of these bases were even established in Europe. There were at least twelve known in the state of Connecticut. Most of these sites were coastal or along the Connecticut River. Others were in place as a defense for the city of Hartford. First established in 1945 as a project for the US Army, the Nike Missile sites were created as a new form of defense against aerial attacks on the United States homeland. By the mid-1950’s, there were sites in almost every state in the union. But also around this time, technology began to develop. The Army was moving forward with more advanced forms of missile defense, and Nike slowly became obsolete. It wasn’t long until the project came to end.

With most sites being a part of active military bases, their shutdown was not a big deal. Some shutdown sites were demolished. Others were donated. But a few were simply left to rot. See our write-up on Portland’s Nike Missile base here (https://abandonedwonders.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/sound-the-bugle/). On an early spring weekend, we decided to visit another former Nike Missile base in Manchester, Connecticut. The base was in operation between the years of 1956-1961. When the site was decommissioned by the United States military in the early 1960’s, the site was returned to the town of Manchester. Over the next few years, the town began to make use of the property by turning it into a recreational area. All of the missile launch pads have been removed, and most of the old buildings are still standing. The site is known today as the Nike Site Recreation Area.

Finding the site is no problem. Just google it. It is in close proximity to a few nicer residential neighborhoods in Manchester, not too far from the Glastonbury town line. A large and well maintained sign will welcome you to the area, as opposed to the armed guards that once protected this place. When entering the park, the main road will take you right into the heart of the former base. All of the buildings still stand, and there is ample parking. Though most of the buildings appear to be abandoned, they are not. One of the older buildings has been converted into ballet studio. Another one is now a preschool/daycare, with a brightly colored playground outside. All of the other buildings appear to be used just for storage. One is rumored to be a shooting range, but we found no such evidence to confirm this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though they are still in use, the buildings all look abandoned. A lot of the windows are boarded up and they are not in the best of shape. One building even has white hand prints scattered all along its outer wall, though we would guess this is from the preschool from across the lot. Standing right behind the old buildings is a baseball diamond. Though it was not in use while we there, it is clearly maintained. There were actually a good number of people here when we visited, but they were all congregated in the main area of the base. In order to get a real glimpse of the former site, you have to do some walking. There are a clear line of trails throughout the park. While following the main trail further into the base the old overgrown chain link fences can be seen, still protecting the grounds.

Following the trails into the base, the old access roads into the missile site can still be seen. We followed them through the fences and further into the woods, leading to a large clearing with large power lines overhead. This is where the missile launch pads were once located, remnants of them can still be seen. Continuing down the trail, we found the three former missile platforms. Each of these is a large cement foundation with a rusty metal blast plate attached, used to protect the concrete from the rocket’s heat. Alongside of these, there are several collapsed ruins that were once small buildings. Scattered amongst the site were random items such as old tires, cement markers, and old telephone lines. Closer to the main grounds of the base, there is the old water pump station. A large blue tank stands beside an old cement building. Both have become very rusted and covered in graffiti. 

Though the site is designated as a recreational area, it clearly has its share of secrets. We found one small underground bunker that we were able to get into, though it was merely a small electrical duct. Mixed amongst the trees, the old wire system can still be seen. We even curiously found a large area of the grounds that was literally coated in broken glass sitting beside a dying fire pit. Either the Terminator has recently returned from the future, or this place has a vandal problem. Unfortunately, it will not be long before all of these ruins disappear. Though the remnants of this place’s past are slowly fading away, there are still reminders everywhere of what it once was. The Manchester Nike Missile Base may have swapped its garrison of soldiers for children and tiny ballerinas, but the ghosts of the Cold War still haunt these wooded grounds.

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Sunset on Sunrise

Remembering Sunrise Resort – Part III

“Once more into the fray. Into the last great fight I shall ever know.

Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.”

The Grey (2011)

This will be our final installment on the now fabled Sunrise Resort. We have covered our discovery of the resort in the first issue, followed by our investigation of the resort in our second. This final issue will cover our final visit to the grounds, after they had been demolished by the State of Connecticut. We hope that you have learned a thing or two about this place, and why it is important to us. It may be long gone, but it will live forever in the photos that we have taken and the stories that we tell about it. Sunrise Resort was loved by the people of Connecticut for many years. Following her demise, she was left abandoned for over half a decade. Finally, she was demolished by her owners leaving nothing but the memories and the tattered remains of what once was.

Spanning over 140 acres, Sunrise Resort was sold to the State of Connecticut for 2 million dollars after going out of business in 2008. When the state failed to act on reusing/redeveloping the resort, the grounds’ 82 buildings slowly fell into disrepair and became derelict. Though they sat empty and decaying for many years, one state lawmaker was determined to do something about it. Connecticut State Representative Melissa Ziobron, a former employee of Sunrise Resort, was the driving force behind the demolition. For many months, her proposition toiled in the state’s offices. Finally, in the summer of 2013, the demolition was approved. Over the next few months, every last deteriorating building was destroyed. The site has since been rechristened as Sunrise State Park. It was not until over a year afterwards that we decided to return to the site, to see what was left to see.

Since we had first discovered the resort in 2012, we watched it closely. We followed Representative Ziobron’s campaign to have the resort demolished. We had even written a script for an apocalyptic short film to be filmed there in the spring of 2013. Plans for this however fell through following the devastation of several nasty snow storms during the winter, which made the grounds completely impassable. Shortly after that, the grounds were designated off limits to visitors as the state prepared for the demolition of the resort, which would last throughout the summer of 2013. It was later reopened during the fall of that year. In the summer of 2014, we finally decided to make our return to the grounds. Almost exactly two years after we first discovered this abandoned wasteland on a hot summer day, we returned to see what had become of Sunrise Resort.

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At the time we visited the grounds, there was still no visible sign designating the space as Sunrise State Park. We parked our car in the same place that we had parked the last time we had visited the resort, though there is no longer a guard shack to stop cars from pulling up closer. The few buildings at the front of the resort are actually still standing. These buildings are still used by the State of Connecticut for storage. They are heavily padlocked and protected against any intruders, and they still remained as remarkably untouched as we had last seen them two years prior. A few of the buildings have their windows boarded up, some with plywood and others with just cardboard. Though they are looking quite old, they are clearly not abandoned and are the only structures still standing on the grounds.

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We continued down the road further into the resort, though there was no dog following us this time. The large parking lot where school buses used to load and unload visitors is still there, though now it is all dirt and chipped asphalt. From the parking lot, you can see the spot where the old office building and pool used to be. The pool has been completely filled in, and a deep layer of wood chips has been placed on top of it. The office building has been demolished, leaving only a checkered cement foundation that looks like a human chessboard. Farther down the path, we came to where the rows of cabins once stood. Much like the pool, there are just layers of wood chips covering the spots where the structures once stood. Though it had been a long time since we had been here, you can always tell where an old building once stood by the wood chips.

There really wasn’t much to see. Down by the river, everything had been cleared out. Even the old pine tree that stood in front of the dining hall had been removed. The only thing left to distinguish what once was, was the old chimney, still partially standing at the back of the lot. The only other real thing of note here were the sports fields. A few chain link fences had been left up around the baseball diamond, though it is long since overgrown. The tennis courts are still here too, just in very poor shape. We even found the old bocce ball and basketball courts, lost in the weeds where the old children’s center once stood. If you had never seen this place the way it used to be, it would be hard to imagine that is was once a fun filled resort. But with our daylight dying, we decided it was time to call it a day. We bid farewell to Sunrise State Park, as the sun began to set.

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We all have different feelings when we see the sunset. Some of us see the end of the day. Others see the dawning of a new tomorrow. But in a strange way, we can all agree on one thing about them: they can be indescribably beautiful. Not just to the eye, but to the heart. Because a sunset always gives way to sunrise, the dawning of a new day and the chance for a new beginning. That is what we hope that this place has. The sun may have set on Sunrise Resort, but there is glimmer of hope here. Though the resort is long gone, the grounds are still enjoyed. Hikers, fishermen, and dog walkers now heavily frequent the area. The large abandoned buildings have given way to recreational space. The painful sorrow of seeing this doomed summer dream world has passed. And in a place where darkness once ruled, there is finally sunlight for Sunrise.

Abandon All Hope

Remembering Sunrise Resort – Part: II

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Much like the city of Pripyiat, the home to the workers and families of the Chernobyl tragedy, Sunrise Resort was literally abandoned overnight. However, it was not because of a nuclear disaster. Sunrise Resort, which had stood for decades, had become a thing of the past. Over the years, attendance to the once popular vacation destination steadily declined. When it finally went under, the owners were able to sell the land to the state of Connecticut, who hoped to use the grounds as a camp for the disabled. Unfortunately, this never happened. Over the years, Sunrise Resort stood empty and alone, nothing more than a sad afterthought. Because the land had been purchased by the state, it was designated a state park. This created a massive legal loophole, making this large abandoned resort completely legal to visit.

Our return to Sunrise Resort came just two days after our initial discovery. We arrived early in the morning, intent of covering every inch of the property. Luckily, the sun was out and the weather was fair. We drove directly up to the resort this time, rather than walking in. The gates from the guard shack at the front were still closed, so we parked there. At the very front of the property, two large older buildings stand. They have large padlocks on them, and are used by the state for storage. They are the only buildings on the property to still be in use and that have been untouched by vandals. Beside them stand the old dining hall. Windows have been smashed, furniture has been removed, and the old fireplace is now full of trash. A road connects the entire camp together. A large stray dog accompanied us as we began our descent into the wasteland.

Our first stop was the main office. I first walked down these steps was I was in the sixth grade. I was on a class wide picnic, and this place was full of people having fun. I did not return until I was twenty one years old. There weren’t any more people, and the fun times were long gone. The glass doors to the office were smashed, littering the ground with large chunks of broken glass. Inside the office, papers and all kinds of debris coat the floor. We found several first aid kits that had been torn apart, though curiously only the syringes were missing. There were also gaping holes in the walls, with all of the buildings copper wirings torn out by scavengers. This was a common trait throughout the resort, as we found almost every building suffered this fate. On the wall, in red crayon, was written: “No God. No Joy.”

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Beside the main office stood the old pool. The last time I saw this pool, it was full of water and happy children enjoying the vacation. Now, it lies empty. The water and swimmers are long gone, with the pool now only holding nothing but graffiti and debris. This ranged from tree branches, garbage bags, and even a roller chair. The pool had a window on the deep end, where people could watch swimmers from. We moved on into the pool house to reach this window. Lockers had been ripped open. Walls had been trashed. Even a few bathing suits had been left behind. We then reached the room with the window looking into the pool. A large colorful octopus was painted on the wall.

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Moving past the pool, we found the cabins. Sunrise Resort offered all kinds of camping, and cabin camping was very popular. Most of these cabins still stood untouched. The clean sheets were still waiting for the next guests, neatly folded atop the beds. The bathrooms were all still fully stocked. Notes indicating checkout time were still there. Past the cabins, we explored “The Frog.” This was the restaurant of the resort. The tables were all neatly stacked up in one corner. A bible lay abandoned on the ground. An old tabletop Christmas tree had been knocked over. The run down television set had been smashed. Several vending machines still stood against the back wall, though there was nothing left inside of them. Packets of mustard and ketchup were still sitting in their dispensaries, though they had long since gone bad. We continued down the road, leading us to the banks of the Moodus River.

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Along the river stood a series of cabins. They were each three stories high, and completely ransacked. In one of these cabins, the room at the top floor had been converted into a makeshift sex den with a heavily used mattress and condom wrappers galore. Beside these cabins was the now empty boat house and the dining hall that we had originally seen the other day. After a short lunch in the old gazeebo, we explored this large building. Carpet was ripped up, windows were smashed, and walls were demolished. Against the very back wall stood a fireplace with a sturdy chimney. A few fire logs were still inside. The kitchen was completely dark, but most of the equipment had been gutted. Several empty pavilions stood outside. Rather than taking the rickety staircase we had seen last time, we continued up a different path back into the heart of the resort.

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We passed several more sets of cabins until we came up the children’s area of the resort. It was complete with a small building, where kid’s artwork still hung from the walls. An old overgrown wooden playground stood beside it. A small in-ground pool was at the front of the area, though its water was now stagnant green. An old push car had been unceremoniously dumped into it. A miniature golf course was there as well, though now completely overgrown. At the farthest side of the resort stood the apartments. Two large buildings full of apartments were there: one high-rise and one low-rise. They were totally ransacked by vandals, though a small family of raccoons guarded the basement. Finally, there was the spa. Workout equipment and machines were still there, abandoned overnight just like everything else here.

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With our daylight dying, we decided it was time to head home. We began to head back to the car, bidding farewell to the abandoned Sunrise Resort. Though we didn’t know it at the time, this would be our last goodbye. Stay tuned for Part III next week.

Stay tuned for Remembering Sunrise Resort Part III coming next week!!

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

Posted: January 27, 2015 by 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.

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Torn to Pieces

Remembering Undercliff Sanatorium

By: Sean and Amanda

The state of Connecticut is home to many well-known abandoned mental hospitals. In the shadow of the rolling hills of Southern Connecticut once stood one of our most feared and legendary facilities: Undercliff Sanatorium. Located in Meriden, CT, the grounds stood just a short walk off the beaten path of Hubbard State Park. Though several buildings on the grounds are still active state facilities, the main hospital had been abandoned since the seventies. Since its creation, it served several different purposes including a mental hospital and a storage facility. For many years after its demise, the facility sat empty and decaying. It was not until the spring of 2014 that the old hospital was finally demolished, torn to pieces over a few weeks. We were lucky enough to visit the abandoned Undercliff Sanatorium while it still stood in the early months of 2013.

First opening in 1910, Undercliff Sanatorium is still an active state facility. It has recently been renamed by the state as Undercliff State Hospital, since it is no longer used for its original purpose. Covering over forty acres in the town of Meriden, the facility was originally built to treat children with tuberculosis and other diseases. As modern medicine developed and these diseases became less common, the facility slowly evolved into a treatment center for adults. In the 1950’s, all adolescent patients were transferred to Seaside Sanatorium. (see our write-up here) In the 1960’s, Undercliff evolved once again into a state mental health facility. The main hospital officially closed in 1976, and has essentially remained unused. Much like all abandoned hospitals in Connecticut, there were rumors of patient abuse and there have been many alleged hauntings on the property.

Reaching Undercliff Sanatorium was no easy task. Due to large amounts of vandalism and trespassing, the official road signs for the facility had been removed to discourage visitors. We had read reports about some people being able to simply drive down the road and up to the facility itself. We found these hard to believe, especially considering a Connecticut State Trooper is housed on the grounds. Since it is still an active state facility, Undercliff was said to have a heavy police presence. We decided to park at the nearby Hubbard State Park. We made the climb up the mountain to Castle Craig, which gave us an excellent aerial view of the entire Undercliff campus and the surrounding towns. We then moved down the mountain to find a better way to get to the abandoned facility.

After climbing down the mountain, we came upon a road leading off into the distance. Across the road from us, we found an old path into the woods and decided to follow it. It led us deep into the forest, and eventually we came upon an open field leading up to Undercliff Sanatorium. It was massive, looming ominously in the distance as we slowly got closer. Despite all the rumors, we did not encounter a single trespassing warning. There were no fences, no signs, and we didn’t see a single police officer or security guard. The entire grounds seemed empty. It was weird. We cautiously moved closer and closer to the facility, unsure if it was illegal or not. But oddly enough, the closer we moved onto the grounds, the quieter things became. There was not a single sign of life. We continued moving up cautiously and quietly until we finally reached the hospital.

The abandoned hospital was huge. After successfully crossing the open field, we entered the parking lot of the main hospital. There were two buildings adjacent to each other.  One was a simple rectangular building while the main hospital was blockier with each floor going up a little smaller than the one below it. Both were made entirely of brick. Every single window on the ground floor had been smashed and sub sequentially boarded up. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much graffiti on the hospitals exterior. A rickety chain link fence surrounded the main hospital, but there were so many holes cut into it that it was pretty much useless. The doors were all heavily boarded up, except the main door ironically, which had been busted open at the bottom. People were able to crawl inside easily through this hole, which looked relatively new. But there were asbestos warning signs posted everywhere.

We encountered several other explorers, who helped us get inside via the opening at the main door. Inside, Undercliff Sanatorium was a maze of darkness. There are no pictures of the interior because we foolishly forgot our flashlights. The main hospital was at least seven floors, including a basement which was mysteriously flooded when the facility was abandoned. Rumor has it that the facility’s crematorium and morgue were located down there, and it was flooded to keep people away from them. Each hallway was a little creepier than the last. Each staircase was in ruin. Around each corner lay more shadows and more destruction. Vandalism was rampant everywhere. Oddly a lot of supplies seemed to have been left behind, and summarily destroyed by vandals. The main attraction of the abandoned facility was the theater. On the north side of the main hospital, which could be seen from the outside, was a large and ghostly theater featuring hundreds of empty chairs staring at a rotting stage. There was definitely a dark vibe about this place. It could be felt throughout the entire facility.

Though it has since been demolished, the darkness of Undercliff Sanatorium can still be felt. When you visit a place like this, it never really leaves you. Just looking at the facility from the outside, we could feel presence that lay within its walls. It is unclear at this time what the state plans to do with the now demolished site. Since the grounds are still an active facility, it will more than likely continue to serve that purpose. One fun rumor we heard about this place is that the Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventures” wanted to do a paranormal investigation here and even offered the State of Connecticut a good sum of money to allow them to do so. But all offers were mysteriously turned down. Unfortunately, whatever dark secrets and evil deeds this facility once held are no more. But the ghost of Undercliff will always be there.

Hiding in Plain Sight – The Wonders of Seaside Sanatorium

Posted: November 8, 2014 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Seaside Sanatorium, State Parks, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Waterford, writing
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Hiding in Plain Sight

The Wonders of Seaside Sanatorium

By: Sean and Amanda

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Overlooking the waters of Long Island Sound stands the hauntingly beautiful Seaside Sanatorium. One of Connecticut’s many abandoned former mental health facilities, Seaside holds a dark past. With the waves of the ocean crashing against the shores a few yards from the facility, Seaside is as captivating as it is depressing. As one of the only major abandoned locations that is legal to visit, we have checked out Seaside Sanatorium on multiple occasions. During the winter, it is an empty and sad shadow of its former self. But during the summer, the grounds become an active place for swimming and recreation. Located in the town of Waterford, CT, Seaside sits seaside to the Atlantic Ocean. It is located along Shore Road in Waterford. While it faces the ocean, the grounds are nestled within a rather active neighborhood.

While the state of Connecticut is home to many abandoned medical facilities, Seaside Sanatorium is one of the more picturesque locations. The building itself was designed by the famous architect Cass Gilbert, the same man responsible for 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 mentally handicapped. Sadly, the facility was 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.

Our trip to Seaside was very easy to plan. There is a ton of information online about the facility including its history, location, where to walk, and where to park. It is in the middle of a residential neighborhood on Shore Road. Located right next to the abandoned grounds is an active state facility, so do not get mixed up. When you first arrive at the location, it will look like you do not belong. But trust us; it’s okay to be there. Online we found the official address to be Seaside Drive, Waterford, CT. Our GPS took us down Shore Road, located in close proximity to Harkness State Park. The facility is on the left, along the shore of Long Island Sound. Seaside Drive is NOT where you park. There is a steel gate blocking traffic into the facility. That is not where you belong. To the right of the gate is the active state facility. To the left of the gate is a parking lot, where it is legal to park. It is then a very quick walk onto the grounds.

There are several smaller buildings that are empty towards the parking lot. There is also what appears to be a security office and a Port-O-John. The first large building that we came across is the Nurse’s Quarters. Though it is slightly smaller than the actual hospital, it is just as picturesque. This building is effectively impossible to get into without vandalizing it. The windows are all boarded up from the inside. There are locks on the entrances. And the steps on all of the fire escapes have been removed. We would not advise you to try anything stupid. Besides, a family of very large sea birds called Osprey nest in the upstairs of the nurse’s quarters. You do not want to mess with them. Through not as good looking as some large birds, the Osprey family is just as strangely mesmerizing as Seaside itself.

Moving on past the Nurse’s Quarters, we came upon the hospital itself. Directly overlooking the ocean, it is a good sized building. There are four floors to the hospital. The main entrance is sealed up very well with boards, locks, and nails. Most of its windows are broken, and the inside walls are coated with graffiti. Large flocks of much smaller birds nest in different areas of the building. Facing the ocean lays the facility’s abandoned recreational area. A derelict chess board still stands with its two seats still intact. A broken down merry-go-round lies in ruin. What remains of the playground is overgrown with vines and vegetation. A child’s slide is still there, its yellow paint job slowly chipping away. Atop the building is a rusting weathervane, shaped like an old school whaling ship. Behind the building is what remains of Seaside’s parking lot.

The facility is very easy to get inside. There are many places that would be an easy jump or climb to get inside the facility. We do NOT recommend or condone this though. The facility is very unstable on the inside. And though the grounds of Seaside are legal to walk, it is ILLEGAL to go inside the facility itself. On most days, during the summer especially, there is a security guard on duty who is authorized to detain any trespassers. On one of our visits, one of these security guards saw us taking pictures of the buildings and came over to tell us all about the facility. He explained to us the history of the buildings and what plans the town of Waterford hopes to have for the grounds for the near future. He also gave us fair warning not to go inside the facility. He was very respectful and informative. We ask that you respect the guards and their job to keep people out of the facility.

Even though you cannot legally go inside Seaside Sanatorium, it is still well worth a visit. The grounds are very popular for dog walkers and beachgoers during the summer. But no matter what season you go, the buildings are just hauntingly breathtaking. They are something that you will never forget. There have been many rumors throughout the years of the grounds being demolished for either a condominium complex or a strip mall. But none of these rumors have come true yet. Until they do, Seaside Sanatorium continues to sit hiding from the world that left it behind in plain sight. Waiting.

Camp of Shadows – The Mystery of Camp Connecticut

Posted: November 4, 2014 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned new england, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Birds, Broken, Camp Connecticut, Children, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, dreams, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Haunting, Hebron, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Marlborough, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, research, route 85, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex
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Camp of Shadows

The Mystery of Camp Connecticut

Written by: Sean L.
Photographs by: Amanda H.

Nestled deep in the woods bordering Colchester and Hebron, Connecticut, lies a place of mystery. Though allegedly not completely abandoned, it is a shadow of its former self. Countless rumors have emerged throughout the years as to why it closed, but nobody seems to know for sure. I’m talking, of course, about Camp Connecticut. Having lived in the area my whole life, I had visited the empty camp several times in my youth. It has been a staple in the community for as long as I can remember. It was seen as a “rite of passage” to sneak into the camp when I was young. Though little of the actual structures of the camp remain, the ghosts of the past still hold a strong presence over this former summer hotspot. Growing up around Camp Connecticut, every kid I knew seemed to have a different story about why this place was abandoned. One of the most popular rumors was that one of the camp counselors went crazy and killed several campers. Another popular one was that the daughter of the camp’s owner was drowned in the lake.

No such evidence to support these claims has ever been found.

The rumors of satanic activities and Devil worship were also very prevalent. Stories of hauntings and paranormal activity were strong as well. As part of my high school news team, we were planning on spending the night at the abandoned camp in an attempt to gather evidence of the hauntings. Our investigation was shut down though by the local authorities.When researching this site for our current investigation, we found little to nothing online about the camp. There was no information on this mysterious place anywhere. Even the website of the alleged owners of the site, the local Shriners, was mysteriously taken down. There were a few photos on some very old blogs, but mostly Camp Connecticut seemed to be a place forgotten by the public.There is a main entrance on Old Hebron Road, but it is now heavily watched by multiple security cameras. Through the use of Google Maps, see Rule #4, we were able to find a way into the camp via the local Airline Trail.

Camp Connecticut is deep in the heart of darkness. It is protected from the outside world by a forest of dense foliage and thick woodlands. The main entrance is now blocked by a sturdy metal gate that is locked at all times. There is, however, one old trail into this lost world. It has been nicknamed “Hell’s Trail.” It is lies off the Airline Trail just over the Hebron border along the banks of the winding Judd Brook. Parking at the Old Hartford Road entrance of the Airline, it was a little over a mile walk to the mouth of the Hell’s Trail. This is not an easy path. Being an unofficial trail, it is not maintained like the rest of the Airline. The only users of this trail are the local wildlife and people like us looking to get a glimpse into Camp Connecticut. The trail follows Judd Brook as it winds through the woods.

The deeper you go, the quieter things become, until you are left in complete silence. About a mile down the winding trail, you will find the remains of Camp Connecticut. The trail leads directly into the camp, only the path is blocked once you cross into the property by a very large fallen tree. The fallen tree has clearly been placed here for a reason. A crude sign is stapled to the fallen log with a clear warning from the “Camp Connecticut Board of Directors.” The sign states “No Trespassing” and that “We are watching you.” They aren’t joking either. Multiple security cameras can be seen from the trail guarding the property. Beyond the fallen log lies a large clearing with small piles of junk scattered around. There are several roads visible leading off further into the camp. It is quiet as a tomb. It is the middle of summer. Yet there are no sounds of birds, or bugs, or anything. Just silence.

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We explore what we can for the next few hours. Climbing up the nearby cliffs, we were able to get a better view of the camp. A single lean-two is still standing deeper into the camp. There is also an abandoned truck and several more piles of junk. We also found a very well hidden and well maintained tree stand, meaning someone is still using this property for something. Coming off of the river there is also a small pond. This pond is allegedly where most of the devil worship is supposed to take place. We saw no such devil worship. But that is all that is left of this former summer camp. There is, however, some sort of presence here. There is an ominous feeling in the air. It is hard to explain.

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Our investigation of Camp Connecticut left more questions than answers. The alleged owners of the site remain elusive. The local Shriners are said to own the camp. But their website cannot be found. At the gates of the camp, we even found an old sign for the Shriners. Lately we have even heard rumors that camping is allowed on site with permission from the owners. But much like everywhere else surrounding this strange place, these are only rumors. On our journey we found no ghosts. No devil worship. No Shriners. Just a sad, empty, and foreboding former summer camp heavily guarded by a silent army of security cameras. But the mystery continues. Who are the mysterious Camp of Connecticut Board of Directors? Who, if anyone, is watching these security cameras? But even more importantly, what are they hiding?

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