Posts Tagged ‘camp’

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

Remembering Sunrise Resort – Part I

Written by: Sean

Photographs by: Amanda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Camp of Shadows – The Mystery of Camp Connecticut

Posted: November 4, 2014 by Abandoned Wonders and 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?

— Any questions, comments, etc.? Feel free to comment on this post and we will get back to you asap! —