Posts Tagged ‘Boston’

The Last Hummingbird – The Abandoned Highover Estate

Posted: September 19, 2022 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Castle, 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 Statues, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Art, Birds, Boston, Closed, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, photography, Preserved Ruin, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Last Hummingbird

The Abandoned Highover Estate

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Summer has come and passed. The innocence can never last. Wake me up when September ends. Well, that’s just about now. So wake up, everyone. We’re back. But the summer season has taken its final bow. And we are currently on the fast track toward the end of the year. It all just goes by so fast, doesn’t it? Time keeps on slipping into the future. I close my eyes only for a moment and the moment’s gone. Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time. Alright. No more classic rock lyrics. Wait a minute. Is Green Day considered classic rock now? Damn I got old. Seriously, though. I always measure the days of summer by the hummingbirds. We have two feeders sitting outside on our back porch and we love to watch them. The little birds first start sparingly appearing in early June. By July, there are dozens of them waging nasty territorial battles for control of the skies. But by August, things begin to quiet down. The birds fly off one by one into the great unknown. The days fall off the calendar. The sunshine fades away. And the glorious season of summer fun disappears into our collective memories. Gone. But not forgotten. And as I currently write the words of this article, only one hummingbird sits outside.

As I mentioned to you earlier, we’re experimenting with quarterly articles this year as opposed to monthly ones. A: we were just getting too busy with school, work, movies, etc. And B: frankly, we’re just running out of abandoned places to cover that are nearby. For years now, it has become increasingly hard to find quality abandoned places that have a story to tell. But there is one that has been on my list for a couple years now. And interestingly enough, nobody that we follow has covered it yet. So allow me to introduce the subject of Quarter #3 of 2022’s article: The abandoned Highover Estate. Located in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts, this area was once well known as Moraine Farm. It was famously owned by the high-society elite family of Boston: The Phillips Family. For years they lived on and managed the farm, and in 1913 the family built their lavish estate known as “Highover.” But in 1968, tragedy struck and the family mansion was destroyed by a raging fire. The remains were subsequently abandoned and the land sat empty for several long years. It was saved, however, when the grounds officially changed hands to the town of Beverly in the early 1990’s, and the JC Phillips Nature Preserve was established.

We made our trek to the abandoned Highover Estate during the final days of summer 2022. It was a bit of a drive for us. So we decided to make an overnight trip of it. Most people don’t seem to realize it, but there’s actually quite a bit to do north of Boston. Gloucester. Salem. Danvers. All great towns. But maybe it’s better that they stay more low-key destinations. That’s the way we like it. Except for Salem in October. If you dig big crowds, long lines, tourist traps, costumed characters, overpriced beer, and religious zealots yelling at you from street corners, you’ll love it. If you’re an awkward introvert like myself, it will NOT be your cup of tea. Anyhow, this place had been on my list for a very long time. And we were finally on our way to see it. The sun was shining, there was a bit of traffic, and we arrived at the JC Phillips Nature Preserve ready for some adventure. It was a quiet place. A few dog walkers perused the area. But for the most part, we were alone. Just the way I like it. The abandoned Highover Estate is not marked on any map, so we did have to go in more or less blind. But lucky for us, the abandoned estate is rather easy to find. As we meandered down the main trail, we soon found exactly what we were looking for.

The main blue trail of the nature preserve passes straight through the abandoned estate. The old iron gate still stands, though now fully overtaken by wild vine and vegetation. A trail bulletin board with historical facts on it is now rotting into oblivion. But the main attraction of this place lies a short walk up the neighboring hill. The estate’s former fountain still resides amongst the fertile forest floor and watching over it is the final surviving piece of the Highover Mansion. It is quite odd looking, honestly. Almost like a white room standing all alone amongst the underbrush. Three walls and a floor, or what’s left of them. Though now coated with graffiti and full of trash, it still casts a strong sense of character. We honestly took a ton of pictures as its just a very photogenic piece. See for yourself above and below. A short walk down the trail lie a few more broken down foundations and structures. It honestly feels like at this point you’ve seen everything there is to see. But if you continue long enough, you will find a small copper statue perched upon a stone pedestal in the middle of the trail. This was honestly my favorite part of the abandoned grounds, as it still has so much character to it. Even being such a small piece.

To be perfectly honest, there isn’t too much to see here. If you’re a hardcore urban explorer, this place will disappoint you. But if you’re a hiker or a photographer, you will enjoy this one. The photos we got just have their own weird sense of charm and derelict dignity. Looking back though, the abandoned Highover Estate still truly puzzles me. For years, she has sat alone in the forest. Many have come and gone past its ruins. But most never seem to take notice. And those that do notice have not been very nice to it. Time and time again we have seen places like this get cleaned up, renovated, and reborn into places of public interest. But the abandoned estate has had no such luck so far. She just continues her steady decline into oblivion. I encourage anyone who is looking for a good hike and a bit of legal mischief to check this place out. It’s honestly perfect for people wanting to get into urban exploring, but don’t know how. There isn’t too much to see, but what is there is very cool and very photogenic. Because whether by the hands of a local cleanup crew or the slow decay of time, I don’t see this place lasting much longer. Not in the state that it’s in. So plan your trips now. For just like the days of summer, nothing last forever.

Last Looks

The Abandoned South Weymouth Naval Air Station

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

We lost a dear friend of ours two weeks ago. It still hurts thinking about him. We’d known him for over ten years, and I personally worked with him on over a hundred different movies/commercials/TV shows/live performances/etc. So this piece is dedicated to Special Effects wizards, friend of the site, and all around stand-up guy Skippy. I hadn’t seen him since the pandemic started. The last time I saw him, we were working together on a short film up in Worcester, MA. But the sad part is, I had no idea that this would be the last time we’d see each other. It makes my heart break, wishing I had known, and wishing I had told him how good of a friend he was to both Lassie and I. It’s an unsettling fact that many of us take for granted. Whenever you spend time with someone, you very well could be seeing them for the last time. And you’d have no idea. Life moves so slow sometimes. But when it moves fast, it’s amazing how much you can lose in the blink of an eye. So to everyone reading this, I have a homework assignment for you. A dare, even. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in awhile. You never know how much hearing from you might mean to them. And always make sure your friends and loved ones know how you feel. Don’t leave things left unsaid. You never know when you might be seeing them for the last time.

This month’s subject is something that’s been on our list for a very long time. But since it was so far away, we just never found the time to go see it. But with a film premiere in Boston, we decided to take a pit stop on our way up. This is the abandoned South Weymouth Naval Air Station. This place is legendary amongst our community, and for good reason. There’s honestly too much history here to fit into one little paragraph, so I would like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to another friend of the site, Jason Allard. He is an absolute pro, and his “Abandoned From Above” series is one of our favorite things to watch. A couple of months ago, he did a fabulous video on this place that I cannot recommend it enough. Here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tpCtUOkCb0 And if you have time, please do give him a subscribe. If you’re in New England, he does some of the best work we’ve ever seen. But if you prefer to read, here are some quick facts. The base was first opened during the early days of WWII. It’s main claim to fame was being the main headquarters of the US Navy’s anti-submarine blimp division. During the Cold War, it transitioned into a more traditional airfield focused around homeland defense. The base was unfortunately forced to close it’s doors for good in the late 1990’s due to military budget cuts.

The defunct air base now lies spanning across the towns of Abington, Weymouth, and Rockland. And her former territory is slowly being taken over. Apartment buildings and construction keep creeping closer and closer to the property. Last year, arsonists burned down several of the smaller buildings on the far side of the base. Now all that stands are the two derelict control towers and a few small hangar bays. It was over a mile trekking across the old runway to get to our destination. Though the sky was grey, the tips of the towers began to peak through the treeline. And I can tell you know, the towers are breathtaking. Like I said earlier, there are two towers. Orange and White. Orange Tower is the first one to greet you on the trail. It is the older of the two, has a strong military atheistic, and is in the worst shape. Broken glass, watermelon rinds, and empty spray paint bottles coat the ground. The tower casts a long, grim shadow over the land. Though we were able to get inside, we did not climb to the top of this one. The staircase is easily accessible, but its steps are absolutely rusted to Hell. They are coated in graffiti, and most are now just flimsy/jagged metal that look like they could collapse at any moment. So we unfortunately had to enjoy Orange Tower from the ground. But even from down here, it is truly a sight to behold.

White Tower, on the other hand, is a completely different animal. Unlike Orange Tower, this one was never actually used. The base was shut down before construction could be completed. It has a more modern look and feel to it. Almost like something you’d see at an airport, as opposed to a military base. Lying a few dozen yards down the path, this grand monolith stands tall and foreboding against the cold sky. What I found most unusual about White Tower is that it appears to be much more untouched than its counterpart. With Orange Tower, stuff was all over the ground. Graffiti was everywhere. It feels absolutely trashed. Though clearly scarred by her more vicious visitors, the spirit of White Tower still appears to be quite strong. As if only the brave or the stupid continue forward to see it. Well, we were both today, because we climbed all the way to the top of this old guardian. We went up floor after floor, witnessing true urban decay and destruction everywhere we looked. Unlike Orange Tower, the stairs were quite sturdy. Clearly not too much stuff had been left behind either. Though whenever we did come across some old relics, they had been absolutely destroyed. We even got a peak down the old elevator shaft. And once we finally reached the top, the view is quite grand. A mist was in the air, and we could see all across Eastern Massachusetts.

As I mentioned earlier, there are a few smaller hangar bays still left standing on the far side of the base. But there really isn’t too much to see here. They are absolutely coated in graffiti and filled to the brim with garbage. Probably because they are much closer to the road and much easier to access than the two towers. During our long walk back to the car, I would periodically turn around and look back at White and Orange peaking through the treetops. They grew smaller and less visible the farther we moved away. Eventually, they completely disappeared from sight. Vanishing amongst the thick treeline and fading sunlight. It made me a little bit sad knowing that I would probably never see them again. With the continuing development of the land and the persistent vandal problem, it’s hard to say just how much longer these old warhorses have left. Time will tell. But I would highly recommend a visit to any experienced urban explorers. This place is definitely not for beginners, tourists, or the faint of heart. As always, I encourage any potential visitors to please be safe and respectful. The abandoned South Weymouth Naval Air Station is truly an amazing place, and let’s try to keep it that way for as long as possible. It’s an adventure that I will certainly never forget, and a place that I hope to someday see again. But until that day comes, goodbye for now.

And Then There Was Darkness

The Abandoned Clinton Tunnel

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Not for a long time. It’s a scary thing, sometimes. You’re a prisoner in your own mind, but you’re also the guard of it. You’re the only one who can get yourself to sleep, but just can’t seem to find the path. You just kind of walk around trying your damnedest to function in a perpetual state of fog. Things appear and disappear at will. You hear things that aren’t really there. And you sometimes wonder what is real and was is not. You can lie awake in the dark for hours. If you have an alarm clock, it feels like that alarm could come at any second. Sometimes you find comfort in thinking that it is right around the corner. But then these seconds turn into minutes. Those minutes into hours. And what was supposed to be right around the corner turns into a lifetime. Every once in awhile, you fade in and out of reality. Dreams come and go. You feel like you might actually be getting some rest. But you never really rest. It’s all just an illusion. Or, is it? The thoughts come and go. And then there was darkness.

Since I’ve got your attention, allow me to introduce our subject for today. This is the abandoned Clinton Tunnel. She is truly a marvel to behold, running just shy of a quarter of a mile underground. First constructed in the early 1900’s, the tunnel was once apart of the state’s longest running railroad pipeline. It was built going through a hill and heading toward a bridge going over the nearby Wachusett Reservoir. This area in particular had a lot of construction and organized flooding during this time to meet the growing demands of nearby Boston. From here, these railroads carried goods and passengers all across New England for many years. But that time was not to last. With the end of the industrial revolution, things began to grow quiet. The demand for railroad traffic began to dwindle, and the abundance of this once great industry began to wane. By the 1970’s, the bridge over the Wachusett Reservoir had been demolished. And with that, Clinton Tunnel became totally abandoned.

We made the trek to Clinton Tunnel on a grey Spring Sunday. Things were quiet on the way up. And the tunnel lies right off the side of the road. It’s great stone archways are like the Mines of Moria: a grand gateway into the dark. The first half of the tunnel is paved all the way around, from the sides to the ceilings. It still very much looks like an old train tunnel. The walls are coated with graffiti and the floor is all dirt. But the other half is pure stone and has a very cave-like appearance to it. It reminded me very much of The Decent, especially with the constant echo of dripping water. We had heard many stories of just how bad the water levels could get inside of the tunnel, and we had planned our visit on a day where it hadn’t rained in some time. But it turns out that there is no good time to visit Clinton Tunnel, since there was still tons of water. There’s water falling from the ceiling. There’s water flooding the path. There’s water dripping down the stone siding. It’s just everywhere. All sorts of trash and filth float amongst it.

Though only a quarter mile long, the tunnel can seem never ending. But the North end of the tunnel is where things can get a little weird. Frogs, both dead and alive, decorate the muddier patches of water. The train path continues to an old overpass, which now serves as a bridge for a lonely back country road. The great stone borders glisten with moss and mist. While we were photographing the North end, we noticed two strangers standing at the far side of the tunnel. We caught them in a photograph just standing there, staring at us. Maybe they were contemplating walking through themselves. Maybe they couldn’t quite figure out why someone would trek that far out. Or maybe they were just marveling at the tunnel’s majesty. I don’t know. But then, up on the quiet road, a lone car pulled up. It just sat there. Watching us. For a time, I thought they were just looking at the tunnel. But after awhile, it started to get weird. They took off as soon as I waved at them. It was then that we decided it was time to leave.

A great man once said, “With insomnia, you’re never really awake; but you’re never really asleep.” That’s what walking through the abandoned Clinton Tunnel was like; stuck in the void between two different dimensions. There’s never total darkness, but there’s never much light either. You’re underground, but you don’t really feel like it. No matter how deep you get, the end always feels like it’s right around the corner. We’ve seen countless other tunnels like this one get renovated and become part of walking trails. But not this one. It is truly an adventurer’s gutter. Filled with darkness. Trash. And mystery. If you wish to take the plunge into the abandoned tunnel, heed our warnings. As far as I know, visiting is completely legal. Wear your boots. Bring your flashlights. And don’t forget your hand sanitizer. You have to touch the walls a few times if you want to make it to the other side. And once you start, don’t ever lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.