Posts Tagged ‘Places to Explore’

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The Abandoned Marlborough Commons

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Marlborough, Connecticut, is and always will be my home at heart. I grew up here. I spent my entire childhood and young adult life here. I know this town like no other, especially growing up in the time where kids used their bikes to get everywhere. But as much as I love this little town, so many things have changed about it. Many of the smaller local businesses are no more. Construction is underway on a large supermarket. And many of the people I once knew have moved on. It is simply the way of life. We have covered the abandoned Marlborough Commons shopping center in the past. But several years later, it has taken a grim turn for the worse.

 A mere stone’s throw from the now hustling and bustling center of town lies the now abandoned Marlborough Commons. I can’t tell you exactly what year it officially went under, but I do know that this place never quite picked up traction as a local business. Maybe it was their location, sitting pretty right off the entrance/exit ramp from Route 2. From what I remember, it was always a two-floor business complex with the restaurant a bit further down the lot. Many different establishments came and went from here, none sticking around for too long. The complex limped on as long as it could, and has now sat empty and deserted for almost ten long years.

On a beautiful summer day in 2017, we decided to pay the Marlborough Commons a visit. Though it is still listed as FOR SALE, we did not encounter a single NO TRESPASSING, KEEP OUT, or PRIVATE PROPERTY sign anywhere on the property. Since the almost three years since our last visit, the Commons has certainly entered a downward spiral. The once minimal vandalism has run rampant at this former shopping center. Windows have been smashed. Doors have been boarded up. Graffiti stains the old brick walls. Farther down the lot, the old cafe is slowly being engulfed by the wild and hungry vegetation.  Nature, much like the vandals, has struck back in a big way.

They say the older we get, the more things we have to leave behind. That’s life. And as my old hometown grows and grows, places like the Marlborough Commons seemingly get left behind. Most of the old businesses I grew up with are now gone. It is sad to see what was once a cornerstone of our local community now sitting in a state of such disrepair. But like I said, a big FOR SALE sign sits out front. The Marlborough Commons is not beyond salvageable yet. I hope to see her rise again someday, stranger things have happened. And if I’ve learned anything growing up in this lovable little community, it’s that you can never count the town of Marlborough out.

Mansions of Memory

The Abandoned Elmcrest Hospital

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

We’ve explored many different abandoned hospitals in our time. Each one has had their own special little details that make them unique. Undercliff Sanatorium, before her demolition, was full of darkness and danger. Seaside Sanatorium is both captivatingly beautiful and hauntingly tragic. Mansfield Training School is its own Twilight Zone dimension in the middle of a bustling campus community. But today’s subject is a little different. Her name is Elmcrest Hospital, and she is bit more peculiar than most. With a much more intimate setting and a much less trouble past, Elmcrest Hospital stands in a class all her own. Though her future is uncertain, her halls are still full of memory.

 Unlike the other facilities that we listed earlier, Elmcrest Hospital was a private psychiatric treatment center. Opening in the early 1940’s, Elmcrest was established by uniting four mansions together in Portland, Connecticut, to form the facility. For decades Elmcrest Hospital went about its business, serving a small number of patients. In 1997, it was then purchased by the larger Saint Francis Hospital. This is where things took a turn for the worse, a patiently tragically died a year later following an accident. Under increased scrutiny, ownership was transferred to Hartford Hospital shortly after before the grounds closed all together in 2006.

Though many redevelopment proposals have come up, the grounds still remain empty. Visiting Elmcrest Hospital was a bit of a challenge. Lying smack dab on a very busy intersection and featuring some nosy neighbors, we weren’t able to stay very long. Unfortunately, there was not much to see here anyway. The buildings are all boarded up, some even coated in a thicket of vegetation. But what we were able to see was far different from all other abandoned hospitals we have visited. There were no feelings of dread or despair here. There was no graffiti or vandalism. This place did not feel haunted at all. It almost felt hopeful, like it wasn’t ready to give up.

Elmcrest Hospital has no dark secrets, that we know of. This is one of the rare, positive pieces you will find on this site. This place was not creepy or haunting. It was tragic. It was a unique facility and staple of the local community. Talks of demolition or redevelopment have come and gone over the years, but Elmcrest still stands. There is a local movement currently working towards the preservation of Elmcrest – https://www.elmcrestportlandct.com/ – and its good to see people still invested in this place. The grounds have their own unique mystique about them, and it would be shame to see these old mansions of memory fall.

Imaginary Monsters

The Abandoned Downs Road

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Our imaginations can be fickle things. Sometimes our minds can play tricks on us. Sometimes we can play tricks on our minds. Is it the truth of the mind or the truth of the eyes that can be trusted most? There is a place where the two find a strange sort of middle ground: where both reality and fantasy become one strange amalgamation. The woods of Bethany, Connecticut, are certainly one of the most haunting forests I have ever trekked through. And I was an Eagle Scout. Nestled deep within their fiery core lies a place that time seems to have forgotten. It is a place that has seen more myths and stories pop up about it than any other abandoned place we’ve visited – Downs Road.

There really isn’t much to say about the history of Downs Road. It is a wooded stretch of road that once connected the towns of Bethany and Hamden, Connecticut. But some hundred years ago, a bypass occurred that left a fraction of the road abandoned. Since then, it has become a mythical breeding ground of rumors, urban legends, and haunting. Stories of ghosts, monsters, and all sorts of paranormal madness have been told over the years. Some say they have seen ghosts and other spirits haunting the forest. Others claim to have encountered a wild feral group of humans. It is unclear how or why all of these stories came to be. But clearly people are seeing and/or experiencing something on this lost lonely road.

We made the trek to Downs Road during the early days of Summer 2017. A fierce and torrential rain had just subsided, giving way to clear blue skies. We parked at the Bethany end of the road, greeted by several old stop signs and a yellow gate. The property is apparently owned by the local water company, but we did not find any NO TRESPASSING signs along the road. A walk down it is like a walk into a dreamland. A mere few steps along the path plunges you into a peacefully lively forest. The road is paved at certain points, yet mostly rubble at others. Running alongside it are many old crumbling foundations from days long since passed. The mysterious woods run wild as far as the eye can see.

Sometimes our eyes see what we want them to see. As I passed through the abandoned Downs Road, I could not shake the feeling that I was being watched. Shadows darted around the corners of the tall trees. Though only a short distance from civilization, the forest is as quiet as a tomb. And while we encountered no monsters on our trip, there is certainly a foreboding presence about this place.  I’m not sure what people are seeing out here in these mysterious woods. But it is undeniable that there is some sort of mystique about this place that separates it from all others. Maybe all the legends and stories just give it a bad rep. Or maybe it is something more…

 

Up Horsebarn Hill

The Abandoned UCONN Ski Slope

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

We’ve taken a walk up Horsebarn Hill several times in the past. It’s beautiful out there. It is a much needed touch of farm life a mere stone’s throw away from a hustling and bustling city. Going to school close by, and having many friends up on the campus, the University of Connecticut is a place that I am all too familiar with. But what’s special about this campus is no matter how much you think you know about it, it can still surprise you. We have covered the abandoned corners of UCONN in the past, such as the Depot Campus. And we had heard rumors about the old ski slope for a long time. But now, after all this waiting, we finally went looking for it.

Opening in the 1960’s, the UCONN Ski Slope was at first a booming attraction. Open to both the public and the student body, it was one of many smaller skiing areas to pop up in the area as the sport began to reach its popularity. Sadly, though, most of these smaller ski areas did not survive for long. It was a single slope attraction, featuring a rope tow system to the top of the hill and a few smaller buildings to boot. The UCONN Ski Slope eventually faced its closure a mere ten years later due to budgetary restrictions and a changing climate. It is now a piece of history lost to the wilderness, and something that the campus seems to want to forget.

It was a beautiful Saturday in the waning days of Spring 2017 . We made the trek through the woods and onto Horsebarn Hill, but found only the skeletal remains of the UCONN Ski Slope. Any and all buildings have been lost to the heavy hands of time. The ghostly rope tow system still leads straight to the top of the hill, though her path is now only used by the local deer and coyotes (which we encountered both of on our trip). A few old rusted pieces of metal lie amongst the underbrush. And the main hub of the rope system still stands at the bottom of the hill…barely. Still, it is a very nice hike through what may be the quietest corner of the UCONN campus.

If you’re up for an adventure, take a walk up Horsebarn Hill sometime. You never know what you’ll come across.

The Bridge of Death

The Abandoned Willimantic River Railway

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

“He who approaches the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three, heir the other side he see.” Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

I love this quote. I always have. My friends and I used to quote this and all the other great lines from the immortal British classic all the time. Hell, I still quote it every once in awhile. It may sound a little extreme for this piece, but there has never been a structure we’ve come across that is more menacing than the abandoned bridge that was once the lifeline of the Willimantic River Railway. We’ve crossed it once before, and it was quite an exhilarating experience. Until our way back across it when the old structure began to creak. That is not a sound you ever want to hear when you’re standing fifty feet in the air over the running waters of the Willimantic River. Heart-stopping as it was, we did make it back safely.  It is an experience that I shall never forget. Though it may have been a bit scary, it was a nice thrill ride to conquer the bridge. Since then, we unofficially christened the old bridge with the quotable nickname. That was over two years ago. So in the early days of spring 2017, we decided to return to the Bridge of Death.

 The official entrance to the Willimantic River can be found on Columbia Avenue. Sitting right before the Columbia/Windham town line, the area is technically a part of the Hop River State Park Trail. Commonly used for biking and hiking, the trail begins here and extends all the way to the Vernon town line. It is describes as a perfect two mile ride or walk for your average outdoorsmen, but it wasn’t always this way. In the mid 1990’s, the town of Willimantic was a hotspot for railways and train yards. One of the older and more prominent lines ran across the picturesque Willimantic River. However, a fierce rainy season during the summer of 1955 caused major flooding in the area. The flooding permanently crippled some of the bridges on the Willimantic River line, causing it to be decommissioned shortly after. Following its closure, the land was converted into a recreational area. The former railway bed was removed and covered with gravel, making the paths perfect for bikers. It is now managed by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Energy and Protection, and maintained by local volunteers and organizations. However, not everything was removed from this former railway line.

Returning to the abandoned Willimantic River Railway was quite different than our first visit. The multiple tent cities had been completely cleared out. A few pieces of junk were still left behind, most notably some beat up bedroom furniture and a deck of playing cards. But the bridge itself still proudly stands…barely. Though she may look just as sardonically beautiful as she once was, we chose not to cross it this time. The old wooden supports for this former workhorse have taken a turn for the worse. And though the water was exceptionally high that day, it was still not worth the risk of crossing it again. Adventurer’s beware. Around the bridge, a lot of old track is still standing. Farther down the line, a couple chunks of old machinery can still be found. Even without crossing the bridge, it is still truly a sight to marvel at. It is a relic of the past, and a testament of fortitude to its original crafters. And while the world around her continues to change at a whirlwind pace, the Bridge of Death is still standing.

Winter’s Chill – The Abandoned Blackledge Beach Houses

Posted: March 31, 2017 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Farm, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Broken, Cabin, Closed, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, research, Rhode Island, Ruins, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex
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Winter’s Chill

The Abandoned Blackledge Beach Houses

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

“So fair. Yet so cold. Like a morning of pale Spring still clinging to Winter’s chill.” – Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

We’ve all felt it. Those of us here in New England have felt it pretty viciously this season; the icy grasp of winter as she chokes the life out of the green world around her. It seems like this year, just as you think winter is finally over and spring has sprung, it comes right back with a vengeance. This has prevented us from exploring a few of the new places we’ve been planning to explore. Every time we plan on exploring a new place, a big pile of snow gets dumped from the clouds and into our path.

Lucky for us, we were able to snap a few pictures while driving around. I wish I could tell you more about this place, but I haven’t been able to find anything about it. These abandoned beach houses sit alongside a slowly thawing lake. We would have gotten closer, but the friendly neighborhood watchdogs wouldn’t let us get any closer. Unfortunately, they will have to do for now. Soon the ice will melt. The snow will disappear.  And spring shall finally break the icy hold of winter’s chill. Stay tuned.

Top 5 Abandoned Places that Aren’t There Anymore

Posted: February 22, 2017 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Fairgrounds, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned mill, abandoned new england, abandoned paper mill, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Cabin, Children's Hospital, 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, Information, left behind, lost, Meriden CT, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, paper mill, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, Sunrise Resort, Talcottville Mill, Uncategorized, Undercliff Sanatorium, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex
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Top 5 Abandoned Places that Aren’t There Anymore

Guess what? It’s still winter, and there’s still a ton of snow on the ground. It’s hindered us from several planned urban exploration journeys this month. But we really like to keep getting things out there for our followers to read. We really do appreciate your support. Since the last few Top 5 Lists we’ve published lately have gotten some decent views, let’s keep this going. Parting is such sweet sorrow, and there are several abandoned places we’ve covered here on our site that regrettably have been demolished since we’ve visited them. Here are the Top 5 Abandoned Places that Aren’t There Anymore.

#5 – The Green House, Andover, Connecticut

The Green House was an absolute chill in the bone to visit. We had been covering abandoned places for several years at this point. But for some reason, this abandoned house was really disturbing to me. Literally everything had been left behind. Toys. Clothes. Furniture. Workout equipment. Hell, there was even still food in the fridge. It was like whoever lived here had just disappeared one day. But recently, the entire house has been refinished. All the trash has been cleaned out. The siding has been replaced. It looks like a brand new house. She is either currently for sale, or already been sold. While she was once a terribly haunting specter of her former self, her story actually got a happy ending.

#4 – Norton Paper Mill, Colchester, Connecticut

I grew up right down the street from this place. I used to drive by it all the time on my way to the coast. After a raging fire had left this place totally gutted, she simply stood there for many years as a ghostly skeleton. The entire place was fenced off, but you could still see the remnants of what this place used to be. In the last few months, the property has been reacquired by the town of Colchester, and been scheduled for demolition. The damn that was once the life source of the mill has already been removed, and what still stands of her bare remains is next on the chopping block. But it is all done in the name of the environment. With the damn removed, fish can now swim up the river. And with the old mill gone, she can finally rest in piece.

#3 – Talcottville Mill, Vernon, Connecticut

Back in 2015, we named this place the #1 abandoned place we had visited that year. It earned that honor for a reason, as this place was huge and captivating. There was so much to see here, with massive amounts of space simply left behind. But today, that is no more. Shortly after our visit to the historic Talcottville Mill, funding was approved by the local government to redevelop the area into apartment complexes. The work got underway shortly after that, and continues as we speak. The property has stood for almost 150 years, and after being abandoned for some time, is finally getting a makeover. After sitting silently for far too long, the historic Talcottville Mill will finally be working to serve the local community once again.

#2 – Undercliff Sanatorium, Meriden, Connecticut

To date, this is still my favorite abandoned place that I have ever explored. And though she is now long gone, she will always hold a special place in my heart. Even after all these years she still remains such a mystery. Once heralded as one of the most haunted places in all of Connecticut, Undercliff Sanatorium had quite the story. Serving for years as a state hospital and institution, the main hospital was closed in the 1970’s. Though the rest of the grounds remained operational. For years, she was a major target for urban explorers and ghost hunters. Many legends and stories abounded about this place. And I can tell you from experience, it more than lived up to its reputation. Sadly, the main hospital was razed beginning in 2013. Though we have yet to make a return trip, I am sure that the ghosts of Undercliff still haunt these wooded grounds.

#1 – Sunrise Resort, East Haddam, Connecticut

Of course it was going to be this. It’s no secret that this was our first exploration. We even did a three part piece on it a few years ago. And anyone who was around to explore this place before it was demolished should know why this place has earned the top stop. Sunrise Resort was functional and flourishing for years. I even went there once a kid for a class picnic. Returning to it years later after its closure was breathtaking. Windows were smashed. Copper wiring was ripped from the walls. The massive in-ground pool had been drained. The baseball field had grown wild and dangerous. It was an apocalyptic ghost town. The scariest part of all? It was all legal to visit, due to its status as a state park. But sadly, that was her undoing as certain state officials pushed hard for her demolition. And it was all for the best. Today, Sunrise State Park can now be enjoyed by all. And if you look close enough, you can still see the shadows of the former resort.

And that’s our list! Know of any other great abandoned places that aren’t there anymore? Please leave us a comment! We look forward to hopefully getting some new material out here soon!