Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

Parts Unknown – The Abandoned Tidal Marsh Polar Bear

Posted: November 17, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Boston, Abandoned Cape Cod, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Railway, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned Statues, Abandoned Tower, Abandoned train station, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Cedar Hill, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, time, Trains, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Parts Unknown

The Abandoned Tidal Marsh Polar Bear

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

We have a lot of secrets here at Abandoned Wonders. I think that just comes with the territory of what we do. We used to be very open with our identities and personalities on here. But as our page grew and the places we explored became increasingly dangerous, we decided to go underground. We use codenames. We never show our faces. We never let anything slip about our personal lives. But there’s something I’ve been alluding to for years. I’ve left lots of references here and there, hoping someone might pick up on them. Things like dilapidated boats, the Devil’s playground, and Cowboy Shit. But nobody ever has gotten any of my references. So I guess I might as well come out and say it: I am a huge pro wrestling fan. Yep. Not the WWE. Never the WWE. But Impact Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling are my two can’t miss shows every week. I’ve been a wrestling fan since the second grade, when a classmate traded me a TOPPS trading card of wrestler Kane for a Micro-machines X-Wing. Kane quickly became my favorite wrestler. He was big. He was scary. And he was always billed from a place called “Parts Unknown.” I soon came to realize that all of the mysterious characters in the world of pro wrestling came from this place. Kane. The Ultimate Warrior. Abyss. Papa Shango. All came from Parts Unknown. As a kid, I always envisioned it as this mystical jungle. Where the skies were grey. The trees grew wild and dangerous. And monsters were around every corner.

For our final expedition of 2021, we chose a place very familiar to us. We first covered the abandoned Cedar Hill Railyard way back in the fall of 2014. It’s hard to believe just how long ago that was. Long story short, Cedar Hill was once part of the Northern Atlantic railroad. This system ferried goods up and down the Eastern seaboard, keeping the economy booming and hundreds in employment. But with a changing tide, it was eventually forced to close down. The Amtrack system still runs very close by, but this area was then left become the feral monster that we visited way back when. Everything was unkempt. There was a serious homeless problem. And the abandoned skeletal remains of the railyard were everywhere. But in recent times, the area has become redeveloped into a hiking trail. We always love to see places like this get brought back to life. That said, several abandoned structures from the railyard’s past are still standing. And at the furthest corner of the trail, a local artist has created something very special. Their codename is “refractualism.” And you can check out more of their work here –https://instagram.com/refractualism/ In an old warehouse, using fallen roofing and debris, this creative mind has constructed a 14 foot tall polar bear sculpture. This wasn’t for money, fame, or fortune. Just for expression. Though few are ever able to find it, this fascinating structure has become the talk of the town and the prime destination for the trail.

Naturally, we had to go check this out. I figured it would be the perfect end to our season. Especially because we have stayed out of Connecticut for the entire year. We have almost exclusively been exploring things in Massachusetts. It was time to hit something a little closer to home. After having not seen the abandoned railyard since its redevelopment, it was quite a shock to see how much has changed. Though there is now a nice trail going along the marsh, most of the area we once explored has become completely overgrown. That said, the amount of liter and other creepy stuff has been greatly reduced since our last visit. Using our old knowledge of the railyard and some geographical intel, we were able to place the polar bear’s location no problem. Getting there was the challenge. The Tidal Marsh Trail is great, until it gets deep into the woods. Then all sense of direction falls by the wayside and you basically have to guide yourself around. We had to do a lot of crouching and climbing through the underbrush for this one. But if you follow the bear tracks, you will find what you are looking for. We passed by two archaic brick lookout towers. But they were both filled with garbage and graffiti. The homeless clearly haven’t been totally removed either, as each tower had a makeshift campsite set up at the farthest perch. Eventually, we came upon the massive decaying warehouse. And inside waiting for us, we found the Tidal Marsh Polar Bear.

As I mentioned before, the bear stands 14 feet tall. It is made entirely of roofing debris that has fallen from the decaying warehouse. It is held together by an amalgamation of nails, both old and new. The whole thing was then painted a ghostly shade of grayish white. The face was then carefully crafted at the front with two corned ears and a gaping mouth full of fangs. As if the beast were caught in a perpetual roar. Black doll-like eyes have been painted on as well. They are just as welcoming as they are frightening. I spent a good while just looking the beast deep into those black eyes. Yet I saw nothing in them. There is an odd sense of wonder about this peculiar structure. The polar bear has been standing for over a year now. And the slow decay of time is clearly starting to show amongst her outer hull. Several key pieces have fallen off and there is a bit of rust growing along the left side. But other than that, the polar bear has been left remarkably untouched. The only graffiti was the artist themselves tagging their name across their unique creation. The warehouse itself, on the other hand, looks as if a strong wind might blow the whole thing over. The polar bear is pretty big, yet looks quite small inside the greater building. Plenty of old machinery and relics have been left behind. Everything is rusted to Hell. The wood is wet with rot. The frame shakes with uneasiness. And the floor is coated with broken glass, jagged metal, and dirty brown water.

Eventually, it was time to go. We had gotten all the pictures we could and finally bid farewell to the great wooden beast. The walk back was a bit of a challenge. Much like the walk in, the underbrush of the old railyard is a God Damn labyrinth. On our way back, we came across a few slack-jawed graffiti taggers marveling over what looked like a fallen tree. But as we approached, we realized that it was actually an old rail tower that had finally come down. The forces of nature can be quick and cruel. And they are clearly starting to finally overtake what was once the Cedar Hill Railyard. But I am glad to see that the polar bear is still standing. I do not know if she will survive another winter. I recommend anyone wishing to see her go as soon as you can. For this very place reminded me very much of what Parts Unknown must be like in the mythical world of pro wrestling. If it were to actually come to life. Ever after all these years of redevelopment, you never quite know what you’re going to find out here. The old railyard is no longer the scary and off-putting wasteland that it once was. But some things about it remained all the same. Now, it is a mystical place where our world and the natural one have found a unique balance. For the time being, that is. Because at the end of the day, the wild always wins. The vegetation grows untamed. Great steel towers fall from the sky. Mystery lies around every corner. The former world passes away, and another one rises to take its place. Here there be monsters.

Dark Fairy Tales – The Abandoned Highland Statues

Posted: October 20, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Amusement Park, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Boston, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Golf Course, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Statues, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, Disney, dreams, empty, Exploration, fantasy, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Love, Magic, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, Ruins, Safety First, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Dark Fairy Tales

The Abandoned Highland Statues

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

We all know a fairy tale or two. Especially us kids who grew up in the “Golden Age” of Disney movies. The Emperor’s New Groove was my favorite. What was yours? They were always stories of far off places, with brave heroes and beautiful princesses. They would face evil, conquer darkness, and always live happily ever after. Why did we love to hear them so much? Was it comforting to think that if Prince Charming could rise to the occasion and conquer the day, then so could we? Did we see ourselves in these characters and their struggles? Or perhaps they just provided a brief distraction from the mundane comings and goings of everyday life. We all wished we could be those heroes. Honest, brave, and true. And that if we just kept believing and kept going, everything would always be alright. We liked that. Some of us even loved it. But the older we got, the more we came to realize that it wasn’t real. Prince Charming doesn’t always save the day. Our heroes don’t live happily ever after. And even if you never stop believing in yourself, you can still lose everything. You slowly begin to realize that these stories are exactly that. Just stories. Make believe. Lies. Innocence is lost. Evil prevails. Life is not a fantasy for most us. And even though we wish we could live in a fairy tale, our world can actually be a much colder and scarier place than you’d find in any storybook.

So please allow me to introduce our subject for October: the abandoned Highland Statues. Quite fitting for this month, aren’t they? These spooky relics reside in what is now known as Highland Park in Attleboro, Massachusetts. But this isn’t the way things used to be. This area was once known as Highland Country Club. First opening in 1901, this was a traditional club for private members. The club came to be when a member of the local community donated his farm for its creation. It was one of the largest and most successful venues in the area. Features included a nine-hole course, a driving range, a pro-shop, clubhouse, and practice area. Members enjoyed the golf course. Lavish events were held at the clubhouse. And the wealthy elite did whatever it is that the wealthy elite do at country clubs. I imagine drinking brandy, smoking cigars, and congratulating each other on being Masters of the Universe. Hopefully somebody got that reference. Anyway…the club unfortunately was forced to close its doors for good in 2018, ending a historic 117 years in business. Due to undisclosed financial troubles, the club’s owners filed for bankruptcy. The land sat empty and forgotten for a couple of years. Waiting for something, or anything to happen. But then, the town of Attleboro purchased the former country club and turned it into the park that we see today.

The history of the statues themselves has been a little murky. I have scoured the internet looking for any sort of information on them. But all searches have come up empty. If anyone reading this has any information, memories, or even stories about these statues please do share them. We’d love to hear from you. If I were to guess, I would bet they were once apart of some sort of family friendly mini-golf course within the country club. They certainly look like something of that sort. The park is quiet and placid. We arrived on a chilly Sunday afternoon, and we were pretty much the only people there. Though the park is vast, it still very much feels like a golf course. There are random sand traps lost amongst the vegetation. A couple of unkempt ponds stand at the corners. There is a paved cart path that meanders along throughout the weeds. Lonely benches peak out through the tall grass. But it is at the farthest point that the park’s most unique feature resides. Off the beaten path and through the wild weeds, we came upon the group of forlorn statues. They are all made of wood. Each one once representing some character from children’s cartoons and fairy tales. Some stand together. Others stand alone. Their appearances range from hauntingly beautiful to absolute unholy nightmare fuel. Most of them are Disney. Some are even downright unidentifiable.

The Beauty and the Beast gang is up first. The Beast has completely broken apart. As if the final pedal of his rose had finally fallen. Chip lies beside him. A large crack splits down the face of Mrs. Pots. Belle’s skin is now a mute grey. Next comes the main cast of Sesame Street. They are all waving and friendly. But the color and warmth has all but faded from their rotting carcasses. Miss Piggy stands alone. Popeye is here. Olive Oil by his side. And the Small World crew. Barney the Purple Dinosaur lies in a splintered ruin. Next comes the Wizard of Oz brigade. The Wicked Witch of the West stands tall, though several pieces of her have broken off. The others have collapsed. Someone has placed Toto on top of the fallen statue of Dorothy. As if he were innocently trying to revive her. Poor sweet Paddington is down for the count. The Flintstones characters have been all but lost to the ever growing brush. The rotting corpses of Smee and Peter Pan lie with them. Last but certainly not least was my personal favorite, Captain Hook. Though he now looks much more like a decaying figurehead adorning the bow of The Jolly Roger. A large dead rabbit lies alongside the statues. Not a victim of some sort of predatory kill. But just an innocent animal frozen in death. It is eerily silent here, and the gang of decaying statues are all quite creepy in their own unique way.

There are several other statues that are being maintained at a neighboring house. These include Pinocchio, Bambi, and Pocahontas. Though we are still having trouble figuring out exactly what that building is. It is fenced off all around and made of stern brick. There are security cameras, NO TRESPASSING signs, and the property is clearly being taken care of. Curious, indeed. Again, if anyone has some info they’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. It was interesting to see the statues on one side of the fence so vibrant with life and on the other side being completely devoid of it. As we drove home, we passed by a woven doll lying face down on the side of the highway. She must’ve been lost by some poor young child. Or perhaps she was cast aside by someone who once loved and cherished her. For whatever reason that may be. It reminded me very much of the Highland Statues. This once beautiful and beloved artifact left behind to the mercy of the cold world. Seeing such innocence lost can just make everything feel so hopeless. We can believe our fairy tales and our stories. We can believe in our heroes and far off lands. But some things are simply darker than we would ever wish for. This lost doll, the dead rabbit, and our rotting statues are all examples of this. But then again, maybe believing in something is better than believing in nothing.

Time Flies – The Abandoned Leicester Airport

Posted: August 25, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Airport, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Highway, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Restaurant, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, New Hampshire, New York, overgrown, Pennsylvania, photography, research, Rhode Island, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Time Flies

The Abandoned Leicester Airport

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Is it August already? Shit. Last time I checked summer had just started. And now it’s about to end. How did we get here? How did things end up like this? Where are we heading? Who knows anymore. As they say, time flies. When I was a boy, that was the title of my favorite book: Time Flies. It was only a few pages long and there were no words. It was quite large for a book, probably meant for teachers showing it to their wide-eyed students during circle time. The story followed a small bird that flies into a museum late at night through an open window. The bird soars through the large auditoriums past many different skeletons of dinosaurs long since passed. But as the bird flies by, these dinosaurs all slowly come back to life. One by one. It is as if the bird is flying back in time. Some try to eat the bird. Others just marvel at the miracle of being alive. But as the bird flies on, the dinosaurs each begin to return to their skeletal forms. And before you know it, the sun has risen and the museum has returned to normal. Almost like none of it ever happened. That’s how I feel sometimes when we go exploring. For a brief moment in time, it feels like these skeletal abandoned places come back to life. We get a glimpse as to what things were once like for them. But then it all passes like a fleeting shadow. And all things return to their bitter state.

Our subject for the final month of summer 2021 is the abandoned Leicester Airport. A reader tipped us off about this place a few months ago, suggesting that we check it out soon as the buildings were slowly collapsing. Located in Leicester, Massachusetts, this was a privately owned airport that was in operation between 1940 and 1970. There were three airfields in operation around the area at this time, including Oxford and Worcester. It was used both as a commercial and personal airfield. Features included a unique dual runway system, a single hangar bay, and a private office building for airport staff. I have yet to find a reason as to why the airport was shuttered. I know we have quite a few fans that live in the area, so if anyone reading this would like to share some info/stories we’d love to hear them. But my guess is that being in such close proximity to two other airfields, only one of which is still in operation today, contributed to it’s downfall. From what I’ve been able to find out online, the grounds almost came back to life a few times after its closure. The facility was re-opened and rebranded as a bar at least once over the years. And while all stories I’ve heard about it have been positive, it was not meant to be. And sooner or later, these establishments closed up shop as well. Again, if anyone has any stories, please do share.

We have been on a quest this year. Ever since I created our “Locations by State” page, which you should definitely check out, I noticed how lopsided our reporting was. We had plenty of locations in Connecticut, but not so much in our neighboring states. And so, we’ve been trying to get out and about as much as possible. This month, we once again found ourselves in Massachusetts. I’ve spent a lot of time up here this year working on film stuff. And I can honestly say at this point that we’ve covered damn near every inch of the southern part of the state. We made our trip up to Leicester on a grey Tuesday. We both had the day off, and it’s always best to go exploring during the week if you can. There’s much less people around, you see? It was a quiet ride up. We’ve been hitting a lot of places in Worcester County recently. And it can be a really underrated area during this time of year. Pulling up to the abandoned airport was a little challenging. The old runway/parking lot is no longer accessible by car. So you just kind of have to squeeze your ride onto a small bumpy pull-off. Luckily the neighborhood is nice and chill. Nobody was around or seemed to be bothered by us. And the road was not very heavily trafficked. We took a quick look around, made sure the coast was clear, and then made our way inside of the abandoned airport.

Remember how one of our readers tipped us off about this place? Saying how it was collapsing? Well, friends, they were absolutely right. There is not too much of the abandoned Leicester Airport left to see. We walked as much of the old runway as we could. But the pavement is quite cracked and uneven. It runs long and deep into the woods, before dead-ending at some local farmland. Parking spaces, which must’ve been from the airfield’s days as bar, have also been painted all over the place towards the front. An old wooden sign still stands by the street, but we couldn’t quite make out the name on it. The main hangar has almost completely caved in on its self. A bit of it still stands, but I wouldn’t recommend going inside. The doors and windows are full of dust and cobwebs. The floor is rickety and shoddy. Ancient shelving rusts into oblivion. Pieces of roofing and debris now create a total gridlock amongst the abandoned grounds. It is near impassible. All kinds of junk and old machinery can be found amongst the rubble. The office building has been almost completely swallowed up by vines and vegetation. Yet it still holds a few relics within its walls. Everything reminded me very much of Centralia, Pennsylvania. You know, the real life Silent Hill. And though the abandoned airport was as quiet as a tomb, it looks like it had just been blown to Hell.

Like I said earlier, it’s hard to believe it’s August already. Why is it that summer always goes by so fast? It felt like just yesterday school was out and the good times were in. But in the blink of an eye, everything changes. Pretty soon we’ll be beginning our slow decent into the Fall. And before you know it, 2021 will be over and another year will be gone. I honestly would not recommend the abandoned Leicester Airport for a visit. I’m glad we got to see it, but the property just changes too fast. It’s too vulnerable. Things just keep collapsing and falling apart. For all I know, the whole place could be gone by now. Walking through it’s long forgotten grounds was like a brisk walk through this place’s past. Relics from each of it’s many different eras still stand as grim reminders. The old runway still stands, though it eventually gives way to a parking lot. A crumbling hangar stands now as nothing more than a twisted jigsaw puzzle of rubble. A wooden bar signs still hangs as a greeting, though it has been swallowed up by the rage of the forest. I am once again reminded of the small bird from the children’s book. There are still glimpses of what this place once was. But they are merely passing shadows. The past is gone. Reality is lost. The sands of the hourglass cannot be stopped. For as they say, time sure does fly. And if you are not careful, it just might take off without you.

I’m Not Okay

The Garden of Sweet Remembrance

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I want to talk about something important today. Yeah, I know. This is supposed to be a blog about abandoned places and urban exploring. That’s what you all come here to read about. But this is also a personal blog. I try to share my experiences and life lessons with anyone who cares to listen. If reading my words was enough to help just one person, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. We’ve had a lot of readers reach out over the last year telling us how much our work means to them. And there is no greater compliment to us than that. Especially considering how rough last year was. And so today’s piece is going to be a little different. I get one of these a year, so please bare with me. If this isn’t for you, I won’t be offended if you stop reading or unsubscribe. You have that right. I want to talk today about mental health. It’s something that I personally have struggled with for a long time. And I know that a lot of us here feel the same way. I advocate for mental health awareness whenever I can. We’ve all either had our issues with mental health or know someone who does. It’s never easy to talk about. Sometimes it can be down right terrifying. No matter how hard we try, there will always be this stigma around mental health. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last few years, but some still have a hard time accepting that it’s okay to not be okay.

And so allow me to introduce our July investigation: The Garden of Sweet Remembrance. Located in the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, this place was once the lavish home of one of the area’s most prominent businessmen. Matthew J. Whittall was the owner of the property, and christened it Juniper Hall. There was a vast estate to behold, but the garden was the true jewel in the crown. Mr. Whittall and his wife were so very proud of their garden that they invited all manners of the public to tour it whenever they pleased. But like the blooming flowers, nothing lasts forever. The proprietor and founder passed away in 1929. The garden’s pergola was dedicated to him by his widow and christened the name “The Garden of Sweet Remembrance.” Following Mr. Whittall’s passing, the mansion changed hands several times before finally being demolished after years of abandonment. All that remains of this once lavish wonderland are the old pergola and the once flourishing garden. The property remained this way for many years. The weeds and vines grew wild, overtaking this once sacred place. But it was never truly forgotten. A small movement grew and grew to eventually restore the property and garden to their former glory. Now, what remains of the property has been revived and resides in Shrewsbury’s Prospect Park.

This, once again, was my birthday investigation. I always try to explore something on my birthday. It’s just a great way to spend the day away from the world with my partner Lassie. Doing what we love. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to find at The Garden of Sweet Remembrance. I had received a tip about it a few months ago, but found conflicting information on the web. The land had been lost for a long time. And though the movement dedicated to it’s upkeep has grown over the years, vandalism has still continued to scar the face of the iconic pergola. So we decided to go take a look. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon. We usually NEVER go exploring on Saturdays (too many people out and about) but, it was my birthday after all. So, what the Hell, right? We arrived at Prospect Park as the only visitors. There is still a grand stone archway at the entrance with a brand new sign. There are trail maps and well marked paths throughout the grounds. The garden itself is a relatively short walk down one of these paths. All throughout the woods, there are old relics marking what this park once was. Old fire hydrants rust into oblivion. Ghostly power poles blend in amongst the fading trees. And there is a certain mystique in the air here. But once you arrive at the garden, this slightly mystical place truly comes back to life.

I haven’t used the word “abandoned” in the title or tags of this article for a reason. Because it’s clearly not. The garden itself is truly alive and well. Flowers and all kinds of plant life burst through the fertile soil. It has also become a collection point for painted rocks from people all across New England. The pergola, on the other hand, stands at the far back of the garden. It’s presence looms like a great shadow of both remembrance and sorrow. The wooden roof has collapsed all together. The blue sky floods in like a ship taking on water. The foundation crumbles slightly, yet never wavers. Graffiti adorns the outer shell, but the words “GARDEN OF SWEET REMEMBRANCE” still stand strong. But what makes this place so special are the names. On certain pillars of the pergola, and some of the painted rocks, the names of people have been painted. Out of respect for the families, I will not name these names here. But what I can tell you is that each of these names are victims of suicide. Most were just teenagers. We even found a bundle of old roses left beside one of the names. This garden has clearly once again found it’s home as a place of remembrance. It brought about a mix of both sadness and spirituality seeing them. It shows that no matter what, it is the job of those of us left behind to carry on the memory of those we’ve lost.

Like I said in my introduction, this place is not going to be for everyone. It isn’t one that we usually cover and was not what we were expecting at all. But honestly, I am happy to be proven wrong. And while this post goes against most of what we post here, I would highly recommend the Garden of Sweet Remembrance to all of our readers. Not for adventure or thrill-seeking. But for reflection. It really is a beautiful place. Seeing the names on the walls of the pergola and on the painted rocks was a very moving experience. I lost one close friend to suicide five years ago this summer. His name was Troy. He was an actor like me. And I think about him everyday. It’s always hard to process losing someone like that. Much like these beautiful flowers, we are all slowly fading away. That’s why we always have to remember to keep ourselves well and to keep those we’ve lost in our memories. The Garden of Sweet Remembrance’s history reminded me a lot of the struggles we all go through everyday. There were good times. There were bad times. There were times where all hope seemed to be lost. But with a little bit of help, this place came back to life. And always remember, it’s okay to not be okay. Never be afraid to ask for a little help. If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with mental health issues, please check out the list below.

Find a Therapist, Psychologist, Counselor – http://www.psychologytoday.com/therapists

Suicide Prevention Hotline – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The Trevor Project – http://www.thetrevorproject.org

Mental Health America – http://www.mhanational.org

Feeding the Birds

The Abandoned Batterson Park

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Last September, we finally moved out of the city. It was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. Not just because of Covid, or the ever increasing crime rate. I just really missed the woods. I missed looking out my front door and seeing trees. I missed waking up to the sounds of birds singing. I missed looking up at the stars on dark nights. You get none of that in the city. One thing we started doing again was feeding the birds. In the city, you basically get the same batch of shrewd little birds day in and day out. But we thought, now that we’re out in the country, we might finally get some interesting avian visitors. But we were wrong. For the first few weeks, that is. We bought our bird seed. We set up our feeder. And we waited. But nobody came. The feeder stayed quiet for days on end. No birds would even come near it. Until one day a large redheaded woodpecker, whom I have come to call The Harbinger, showed up. He came from the woods in our backyard, as if driven by some otherworldly force. He ate from the feeder until he nearly burst. When he was finished, he perched himself up on the railing of our deck, and began to sing. His calls pierced through the trees and echoed through the forest. And before long, birds of all shapes and sizes began flocking to the feeder. All at once. They had heard the call, and they had come to feed.

Allow me to introduce the subject of our June article: the abandoned Batterson Park. This is another one that I have had my eye on for a long time and one that no other major explorers have covered. I have always been a sucker for abandoned parks. There’s just something really special about them and the stories of how they got this way. It’s just fascinating how a place like this eventually fades away from thought and time. Even after being enjoyed by so many for so long. First established in the early twentieth century, Batterson Park was created from land once designated as a reservoir. It is unique in that it covers three different towns. Though the park is officially under the Hartford system, it actually exists outside of the city limits. The landmass of the park stretches across parts of Farmington and New Britain. It is all centered around the large and aptly named Batterson Park Pond. But this uniqueness would eventually lead to the park’s downfall. For many years, the towns that Batterson Park belonged to were never able to reach a deal on who would be paying to maintain the park and its amenities. In the fall of 2015, the park was forced to close its doors for good due to budget cuts. It has remained shuttered and forgotten ever since. Many deals and sales have been proposed over the years, but nothing has yet to come to fruition.

As I mentioned to you earlier, this place had been on my radar for awhile. We just never quite had the time to check it out. But, since it’s just about summertime, we were in the market for some new shoes. And let me tell you, there is no better place for explorer shoes than REI in West Hartford. No, we aren’t getting paid to say that. They’re just that good. Check them out if your outdoorsy. Since it was a nice day, after shoe shopping, we decided to take a stop at the nearby abandoned Batterson Park. It is a quiet section of town. And arriving at the deserted park is a little perplexing. The gate is down. But there are several heavily trafficked paths around it. There are signs up saying that the park has been closed. But then there are other signs welcoming you to the park and listing its hours. Mixed messages. No matter. Sitting right alongside the beautiful Batterson Pond, the park is easily accessible. We weren’t too sure about being there at first, but after running into a few other young adults with their dogs, our worries were laid to rest. The abandoned park may be on the small side, but there is also quite a lot to see. Walking through the old gates, you are immediately greeted by a rotting sign. It lists the admission prices to the park from days long since past. My how times have changed. And as we continued down the road, things just got more interesting.

Things are quiet. Very quiet. There has clearly been some fire damage here, as one building near the entrance has been completely burned out. Most of the other buildings have been boarded up, but a few can still be accessed. Inside you will find nothing but old equipment and lots of chairs. The beach’s dock is still floating in the waters of the pond. Several old lifeguard chairs rot off to the side. A maintenance shed sits wide open, and it is full of old disused equipment. A basketball court and pavilion are slowly being overgrown. Forgotten grills and fire pits still stand amongst the brush. The main boathouse curiously still has a few boats under its roof, but they appear to be in good condition. Let’s keep it that way. Perhaps they are just being stored there. But the main star attraction, and the whole reason I am writing this article, is the sea of picnic tables. A little way’s down the main path, there are dozens of derelict picnic tables standing in formation. Their green paint is slowly peeling. Bushes and vegetation is engulfing them. And combined with the dead silence of the old park, they provide a very eerie spectacle to behold. They truly encapsulated the sad story of the abandoned park. A place that was once designed for recreation and fun, now lies empty and cold. The memories stacked up and locked away like these ghostly old picnic tables.

The abandoned Batterson Park was certainly a unique visit. Though there was not too much to see here, the silent army of forgotten picnic tables really provided a haunting window into this place’s long lost past. Plus the park appears to be relatively untouched by the outside world. For now, that is. Who knows what the future holds. It reminded me very much of our bird feeder when we first moved in. You see, we urban explorers are like the wild birds. When one of us finds something good, they usually let out a song of their own to beckon others to come get a taste. And though I do not consider myself The Harbinger, I know that by posting this article, many other explorers will soon be coming to take a look at Batterson Park. And one of the most interesting things I have noticed from feeding the birds is that there are two types of visitors. First, there is the Chickadee. They are beautiful yet simple birds. They come to the feeder, eat their share of food, and then sing a small song before flying off. But then, there is the Grackle. They are obnoxious and disruptive. They scare away the other birds, eat more than their share, and usually knock over our whole feeder. Ruining things for everyone. Most of you reading this, I know, will be quiet and respectful. Like the Chickadees. Some, however, will be loud and destructive. Like the Grackles. Which will you be?

Roadkill – The Abandoned Sutton Drive-In

Posted: April 21, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cinema, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Drive-In, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Restaurant, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned Stores, Abandoned Theaters, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Automobiles, Broken, Cinema, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, New Hampshire, New York, photography, research, Rhode Island, Ruins, Searching, Showcase Cinema, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Vermont, writing
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Roadkill

The Abandoned Sutton Drive-In

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

This is an ugly place. So this will be an ugly piece. You have been warned. I’ve run over three squirrels in my life. A lot of people don’t believe me. But it’s true. It’s something I’ll never forget. I remember each one. I ran over a turtle once, but he was fine. I was seventeen years old. It was in my first car, an old Dodge Neon I bought for four thousand dollars in cash I made washing dishes and refereeing paintball. I got out my shitty old car thinking I had hurt the poor little bugger, but he was just hunkered down in his shell. Staring back at me. Probably quite cross with the whole situation. So I just picked him up and moved him out of the road. I’m kind of foolish in that way, I will do whatever I can to avoid hitting an animal. I’d like to think that most of us do. But sometimes, it’s simply unavoidable. Things happen. Innocence is lost. Life is extinguished. A once wild and fleeting flame is snuffed out by the unyielding juggernaut of man’s world. I hate driving by them. Cold. Lifeless. Hurt. Their faces usually frozen in a sharp sense of shock and sorrow. Whenever I pass something like this, I can’t help but look away. Life is a cruel road. Some get lucky like that brave little turtle. Others, not so much.

And so, allow me to introduce this month’s subject: the abandoned Sutton Drive-In. Originally named the Sutton Motor Inn, most in our community have just come to call it the latter. This is in fact not our first abandoned drive-in movie theater. And I’m sure that it won’t be our last. You see, these places were a big fad in a passed life. And Sutton Drive-In was no exception. It was first opened in 1947, earlier than most drive-in movie theaters in the area. But still, this was right at the peak of their rise to dominance. Plus, this place was located in the ideal location of the Providence-Worcester Turnpike. This busy highway was and still is the main route between Worcester, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. Many businesses have come and gone from this hot-spot over the years. The drive-in theater remained on top for quite awhile. But with only one screen, this old heavy hitter simply could not keep up with the times. After playing many blockbusters on her screen, the Sutton Drive-In was eventually forced to close its doors for good in 1996. Though ownership has been up for grabs ever since, the old theater has been left rotting and abandoned ever since.

As I said in our last piece, we are going to try exploring as many places outside of Connecticut as possible this year. Now that the vaccine is finally making a difference, we plan on taking full advantage of venturing to as many other states as possible. Slowly, and safely, of course. So we decided that now was the perfect time to pay a visit to the abandoned Sutton Drive-In. After some rather bizarre weather this past week, including some snow, we finally found some decent weather on a late April Sunday. It was quiet. The sun was shining brightly. And there was a slight breeze in the air. The one thing holding me back from exploring this place before was it’s location. There is no other way to get into it without going through the main gate. Being on such a busy road, there are no side trails or anything to help with exploration. The abandoned theater is just sitting there alongside the busy interstate turnpike. Many other rural and big businesses are neighbors, making this place really stick out. It felt rather weird, but we just pulled up to the main gate. Beneath the old marquee. You really feel like you’re doing something wrong, but nobody else seems to care. There weren’t any NO TRESPASSING signs or anything of the sort at the front.

The main gate is made of ornate stone and rotting wood. Even in its current state of decay, it it quite grand. The marquee itself still beckons all visitors to it, even with it’s fading light. Wires and other junk hang from its ceiling. The sole movie screen looms out of the distance like a colossal monolith. An old sign still stands by the gate, but the only word left standing is “APPROXIMATELY.” I wonder what it once said. Walking down the main road takes you to the ticket booth. It is an A-frame type structure covered in colorful paint. But beware. It is full of bees. They are easily startled. They weren’t as bad as the spider crickets of the Clausland Mountain Tunnels. But still, not fun. A few steps away stands the great grey screen. Panels are missing. Graffiti is rampant. On the side of the screen is the old access door. The frame of the screen appears to be slowly collapsing. There is an even an old ladder leading to the top, though I dare not climb it. Outside, the old road is cracked into a jagged jigsaw puzzle of earth and pavement. Ghostly critters scurry amongst the underbrush. A short walk down the vacant lot is the projection house/snack bar. It is absolutely gutted on the inside. Each room is coated in graffiti and rampant with liter. Everything just felt old, broken, and lost. And though there wasn’t too much to see, this place certainly leaves an impression.

I honestly wouldn’t recommend a visit to the abandoned Sutton Drive-In. It’s just not worth it. It’s one we’ve had on our list for awhile, and it certainly is unique. But in a very dark sort of way. Though there was not a single NO TRESPASSING/KEEP OUT sign at the main gate, this place just felt rather off. I really didn’t like how to close to the main road it was. I prefer doing my exploring deep in the woods or the darkness of the underworld. Anywhere away from prying eyes. The air here is putrid with the stench of car exhaust, old cigarettes, and rotting wood. The ground is coarse with cracked pavement and glittering gravel. And while most abandoned places are eerily quiet, this one is filled with a frenzied chorus of noise. The neighboring highway runs wild and busy. Cars from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and wherever else cruise back and forth. Day in and day out. Chasing that American Dream. While the abandoned Drive-In sits rotting along the side of the road. Like an animal that’s been hit by a car. Forever frozen in a state of terror and sadness. It’s future just as grim as it’s fading screen. Dozens pass by it everyday. Perhaps some notice. Perhaps some still wish there had been something they could’ve done to help. Most just look away.

Spider Weeds – The Abandoned Helen Lohman House

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

The Abandoned Helen Lohman House

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

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

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

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

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

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

Before the Fall – The Abandoned Willimantic Thread Mill

Posted: September 30, 2020 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned mill, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Railway, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned train station, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, paper mill, photography, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, Trains, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Williamtic, writing
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Before the Fall

The Abandoned Willimantic Thread Mill

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

It has begun. The leaves are starting to turn orange and yellow. The skies grow grey. The days are turning darker. The hour is growing very late, indeed. Summer has come and passed. Fall is here. Scary movies are popping up on television. Pumpkins are appearing on everyone’s front porch. The morning dew is now a ghostly frost. It is the changing of the seasons. This article is a little later than we usually post. And for that I apologize. This has been one of the busiest months we’ve had in a very long time. But that is a story for another time. And due to a recent job change for Lassie, we won’t be leaving our home state for the rest of the season. So upstage, Connecticut. It is your time shine once again. We’ve been playing it safe for the last few months due to global pandemic. We’ve mostly covered old relics of the past that have been lost in the woods. But with the turning of the tide, we decided that now was the time to do some real urban exploring. This was no ordinary hike. This was us putting ourselves right back into the thick of it. Into some real danger. And little did we know, but we were in for a bit of an adventure.

This is another one of those places that I have yet to find an actual name for. I’ve done a lot of research, but it has been inconclusive. If anyone reading this has any information, please do share it with us. So, for now, we shall be calling this place the Willimantic Thread Mill. You see, the town of Willimantic used to be known as “Thread City.” It was one of the mill capitals of New England. There were over half a dozen prosperous mills operating in the town at the turn of the century, all working on textiles. They provided jobs and sustenance for the entire local community. But this time of great success was not meant to last. It never is. As time marched on, the American economy began to shift from a manufacturing one to a service one. One by one, the great mills of Thread City shuttered their doors. Many rose again as apartment buildings or municipal offices. One was tragically lost to a great fire long ago. But another was lost to the woods. Cut off from the rest of the community by trees and train tracks, this old industrial titan has now become a black hole. This is our story of visiting the lost thread mill of Willimantic.

If you are a follower of our blog, you should know that we have covered many places here in Willimantic before. From the railway, to the theater, to the Bridge of Death, we have come to know this town quite well. You see, this place has been on our radar for a while now. It was first described to me by an old friend as a train station for the old railway. Considering its proximity to the train tracks, this always made sense to me. But a little more digging showed this to not be the case. Since we were now confined to finishing off our year here in the Nutmeg State, we decided it was finally the time to search out this old monster. Though we were now in the first official week of Fall, it was still bloody humid out. The sweetness of summer hadn’t quite given up yet. It was a Sunday, after a long typical week here in the Hellscape of 2020. We mapped out our location. We found a place to park. We trekked alone down the train tracks, like wandering vagabonds. Not really knowing what we were going to find out here in the woods. Until we took a heavily used trail, and wound up somewhere we clearly weren’t supposed to be.

It was a tent city for the local homeless population. They are living in the ruins of an old mill that burned to the ground long ago. We should’ve known, seeing there were several old mountain bikes and bags of trash strung up in the trees. Like warning signs. We quickly took what pictures we could and got the Hell out of there. These communities usually don’t like visitors. We continued on none the less. And it was here that things really fell silent. Continuing along the train tracks, we eventually crossed through the old gates and onto the grounds of the old mill. It’s hard to tell how big this place was, given how overgrown the underbrush is. It is held together by an amalgamation of brick, wood, and metal. We slipped inside via the old loading dock. Graffiti is everywhere. Trash coats the ground. Archaic machinery rots into oblivion. There are several large gaping rooms, but they are filled only with debris. The once ornate roof has even caved in in a few spots. But the main attraction of the old mill is the elevator shaft, which really didn’t disappoint. You can look straight up through the old machinery and into the grim grey sky. We then began to hear a dog barking very close by, followed by some footsteps. It was time to leave once again.

We both got really bad vibes from this place. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was the tent city. Maybe we were just having an off day. Maybe we were feeling a tad rusty. But the abandoned Willimantic Thread Mill is certainly creepy. Funny enough, it’s always the mills that give us the creeps. Perhaps that’s because it’s always the mills that have squatters. Union Pond. Talcotville. Montgomery. We are no strangers to this sort of thing. We’ve been doing this a long time. But like I said earlier, this was our first taste of real urban exploration in awhile. Most of the places we’ve been covering lacked the old school danger feeling. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good hike and a little history. But few things get your heart pumping as much as slipping into a place like this one. Just in time for Fall, too. It was chilling at first, then it reminded me of how much fun this urban exploring stuff can be. It was pulse-pounding, but also felt good to be back at it. Much like the fall season can feel chilling, yet exhilarating. There may be some scares here and there. Things will start to get colder. But if you keep your wits about you, it’s all in good fun.

Once Upon a Time

The Abandoned Madame Sherri’s Castle

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Once Upon a Time, there were two explorers named Wilk and Lassie. They lived in a small house with their dog, guinea pig, and hedgehog. Oh, how Wilk and Lassie loved to explore. They had been North. They had been South. They had been East. And they had been West. They had seen just about everything there was to see. They watched with glee as their little blog grew from a few followers to over a thousand. Exploring was their favorite thing to do. And they were good at it. Until the dark times. Until the world as we all knew it came to an abrupt end. And poor Lassie and Wilk were stuck inside. Their pets enjoyed their company very much, but they longed to explore the great outdoors. So they found time here and there, when they couldn’t bear it anymore, to get outside and have some fun. But it was never quite the same. Still, they carried on. And explored whatever places they could during these times of great sorrow. Following the rules of this new world they found themselves in, they stayed close to home. Most of the time. Until one fateful day, they found a place they just couldn’t resist.

Our story begins a long time ago in a mythical place called New York City. An eccentric woman and her husband become famous in the City of Lights through show business. Oh yes. Antoinette Bramare and Andre Riela became quite the talk of the town wherever they went after striking it rich. One was an affluent costume designer. The other was a glamorous actress. And to embrace their new found fame, they change their last name to Sherri. But when Mister Sherri passed away, Madame Sherri took her fortune and fame to the wooded realm of New Hampshire. Here, she built a lavish castle to host parties and enjoy the Roaring Twenties in the middle of the woods. Everyone in the local community had heard of her and her socialite lifestyle. But eventually, her money ran out. The parties all drew to a close. The limelight faded. The curtain was called. And poor Madame Sherri died poor and alone shortly afterward. Her castle fell into disrepair, and eventually a fire caused by local miscreants in 1962 consumed the lavish palace. Now, all that remains are the ghosts of so very long ago and the legend of Madame Sherri.

And so, on a quiet summer day, Lassie and Wilk made their long trek up to the magical land of New Hampshire. They were sure to be prepared for this long journey. They passed many unique things along the way. The dark times had really changed the world around them. They listened to no music on the way up. They just talked and enjoyed each other’s company. Eventually, they came upon a long, narrow, dirt road. This was the way the directions told them to go, but it looked rather treacherous. They followed this road all by themselves for several miles, wondering if they were still going in the right direction. The houses along the road began to disappear, they soon found themselves deep in the forest. But it was here that the road came to an end at the head of the Wantastiquet Trail. This was the final stop that would lead them to their next path: the hike to the enchanted castle. Fortunately, this trek was not far at all. As the ruins of the castle were a mere short walk from the trail lot. A few minutes later, Lassie and Wilk found themselves gazing on a very unique site: the abandoned ruins of Madame Sherri’s Castle.

Though most of the castle now lies in ruin, what struck Lassie and Wilk the most was the so called “Stairway to Heaven.” This winding stone staircase is the only truly defining feature left of this former relic. When people think of Madame Sherri’s Castle, they think of this old abandoned wonder. It truly looks otherworldly, almost from a bygone era. Wilk loves to climb, and he wanted to climb the staircase really badly. But, Lassie advised him against it. Though the staircase is hauntingly beautiful, it is also very structurally unsafe. A crude sign even sits nearby reading, “Please do not climb the staircase.” Wilk found this unfortunate, but acceptable. He was in luck, though. Beneath the ruins of the castle is the old stone basement. It can be accessed through the air duct or from the outside. There is not much to see down here besides rubble, but it did provide our heroes with a welcome break from the heat. Up above, the old fireplace slowly crumbles into despair, while the stone pillars all stand firm and proud against the march of time. It was truly a mix of ruins and wonder. Some parts of the castle remain strong. Others are eroding away.

Wilk and Lassie don’t really like people. They prefer solitude on their adventures. And while Madame Sherri’s Castle is a true wonder to see, you will rarely be alone in these mighty woods. But, our explorers were able to get all the great photographs they needed and got a nice walk in. Satisfied with their prospects, they bid farewell to the fabled abandoned castle. Though parts of it are weathering away, the great soul and wonder of this place stands strong. Wilk and Lassie headed back to the car with smiles on their faces and excitement in their hearts. It was another long car ride home, though this one was filled with songs and tales of adventures long since passed. When they arrived home, their animals were quite happy to see them. And the feeling was mutual. As nightfall commenced, they each cracked open a beer and sat on their couch. Lassie began to look through her wonderful pictures. Wilk began writing his crazy article. And they both reminisced about how much they loved going on adventures together.

The End.

The Abstruse

The Abandoned Westledge Ski Slope

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

It’s an unusual word, isn’t it? Abstruse. I had never even heard of it before. I asked Lassie if she had either, but she had the same answer. “Is that even a real word?” Yes. Yes it is. You can look it up. Originally I had titled this article “The Obscure.” With the global pandemic still ravaging our homeland, we’ve had to get a little bit creative with the places that we visit. We don’t like to go too far, since we can’t really stop anywhere to grab a bite to eat or anything. We don’t like to leave the state, as we both still have jobs to do. And we both still believe in following the physical distancing guidelines. Plus we have covered pretty much every major abandoned place here in Connecticut. So…that kind of narrows down where we can and cannot visit right now. So as you can see if you’ve been following our blog for the last few months, our investigations have been kind of unconventional. A lot of them have been in the middle of the woods. They’ve also been ones that nobody in our community really pays attention to.

Allow me to introduce our latest subject: The abandoned Westledge Ski Slope. It all began in summer of 1969. If that song is now stuck in your head, you have my sympathies. Anyhow, the ski slope was built along the edges of Westledge Mountain to service the aptly named Westledge School. You see, skiing was becoming kind of the fad up here in New England during this time period. We have covered several other ski slopes in the past that followed very similar paths and suffered the same fates as Westledge. It was a big hit at first, servicing as a simple single-towing ski system used mostly by the students of the Westledge School. Their system was unique, as it was one of the first electrically operated towing lines. This had it’s advantages and disadvantages, for being efficient/quiet but also very slow. Unfortunately, Westledge School came under new ownership in 1978. The land that the ski slope operated on was divided up between the new school and the local land trust. And thus, the Westledge Ski Slope was no more.

Like I said earlier, we were a bit vexed on what to cover for our July piece. Due to the ever growing heat, we also wanted a place that didn’t involve too much hiking. I had stumbled on Westledge Ski Slope during the early days of the outbreak, and had kept it aside on my list of potential places. Since it was kind of obscure and fit all of our criteria, we decided to pay a visit. In the middle of July, we made our trek out to the area. Not wanting a repeat of our earlier adventure in Rhode Island, we were sure to bring lots of water and map out our route exactly. It had been a long time since I had been out to North Western Connecticut. And I had honestly forgotten how beautiful it was. We arrived at our destination, only to find that the parking area had been mysteriously closed. Luckily, we had mapped out our route better this time. We found a different one a short drive away. It made our hike a bit longer, but the forest out here truly is captivating. It was about a mile in before we came upon the abandoned ski slope.

The first thing to greet you here is the main attraction: the abandoned rope tow shed. It is a small but sturdy building, and honestly is quite funny looking in it’s own way. With a triangular roof and decorated with some bizarre oddities, the building is rather interesting. Inside is plenty of old machinery, but be wary as the floor is quite unstable. There are still several old utility poles standing around the shed, but they blend in quite well with the trees surrounding them. A few of these trees have random articles of clothing tied around them, such as ties, jackets, and shirts. I found that to be kind of strange. The slope itself is steep as bloody Hell. But we had to walk all the way down it. Along the way, the old post used as part of the rope tow system still stand. Unlike all of the other slopes we’ve seen in the past, they aren’t traditional posts per se. The wheel system was actually attached to the trees themselves. Over the years, the old metal wheels are slowly being devoured by the trees growing around them.

Eventually we made it to the bottom of the slope. Here, we found the wrecks of several old cars. But they were so overgrown, we couldn’t get the best pictures of them. Then came the hard part; getting back up the slope. I see now why this hill was used as a ski slope. But using the old wheel systems as breakpoints, we eventually made it to the top and began our hike back to the car. So is the abandoned Westledge Ski Slope worth a visit? Depends on your taste. You see, the word “abstruse” means obscure or mysterious. And that’s what places like this are. And usually for good reason. Aside from the rope tow shed, which is really cool, there isn’t much to see here. But if you’re looking for a good hike and something different, check it out. Places like this one usually don’t get enough attention these days. They end up getting lost to the pages of history. They are, as you would say, obscure. But like the word “abstruse,” just because you’d never heard of it before doesn’t make it any less interesting.