From crumbling forts to desolate biblical theme parks, get out there and explore.
At this time of year, and even more so during a pandemic, Boston feels a bit like a ghost town. But if you’re in the mood to explore some real abandoned places, check out this roundup of ruins. All close to the city, each of them makes a perfect day trip to abandoned destinations.
Holy Land United States
If you’ve ever wondered what a biblical theme park that withstood the apocalypse could look like, all you have to do is visit Holy Land USA. You can’t miss the massive Hollywood sign on a hill overlooking Waterbury that brings visitors to the 18-acre site, filled with decaying dioramas of biblical places like Bethlehem and events like Jesus’ journey to the cross. The park opened in 1955 and has been mostly abandoned since 1986 due to a drop in worshipers, but a nonprofit is currently trying to resuscitate the place and give it some of its glory back. ‘origin. Visitors are allowed during the day – just watch your steps as you stroll through the miniature Tower of Babel and step over the occasional can of beer posed next to cracked slabs bearing Bible verses. A volunteer-led cleanup is underway, but the place is still in a state of purgatory.
60 Slocum Street, Waterbury, Connecticut, Holylandwaterbury.org.
Becket Land Trust Historic Quarry and Forest
Head to this abandoned quarry with some grout expectations and you won’t be disappointed. At the site of the former Chester-Hudson quarry, nestled in over 300 acres of forest, you can gaze at piles of grout and other quarry waste in jagged mounds that rise skyward. The mine operated from the 1850s to the 1960s, and at first glance – abandoned trucks with drills, winches, and other equipment – it seems workers have pointed their way, expecting to return the next day, before giving it up. permanently instead. Adventurers are invited to take a self-guided tour of the now quiet quarry during daylight hours.
Quarry Road, Becket, MA, becketlandtrust.org.
North Truro Air Force Base
North Truro, MA
Who knew that a 15 minute drive from Provincetown you could travel decades back? Cape Cod meets the Cold War at this abandoned base that scanned the skies for Soviet bombs from 1950 to 1985. Now known as the Highlands Center, the 110-acre site has been part of the Cape Cod National Seashore since 1994, but remains largely unchanged from its heyday. Most of the buildings that housed airmen and their families – the mess, barracks, family homes, etc. A few trails, like the Woods Walk Loop, meander through cracked and once guarded roads, making it a time capsule that slowly surrenders to the coastal scenery. Before you go, check the national parks website for possible closures, although the grounds are generally open from 6 a.m. to midnight.
Old Dewline Road, Truro, MA, nps.gov.
While Lovells Island in Boston Harbor is only accessible by pleasure boat at this time due to COVID-19, the extra effort is well worth it to walk around abandoned Fort Standish. The ruined walls of the fort, completed in 1900 and decommissioned in 1947, overlook the rugged coastline and surrounding islands, with the city center in the distance. Carefully walk along the ruined stairs and be sure to check the locations of the cannons. Although the armaments are long gone, the alcoves are a surprisingly serene place surrounded by trees.
Lovells Island, Boston, Massachusetts, bostonharborislands.org/lovells-island.
Ruins of Rutland prison camp
Follow the aptly named Prison Camp Road to some forgotten history in the Ware River watershed near 300-acre Rutland State Park: the ruins of a prison camp built in 1903 and abandoned in 1934. Scattered among the trees and dirt roads you’ll find old foundations, drainage tunnels, stairs leading to nowhere, the remains of a tuberculosis hospital and more. But what does the scary / depressing cake take? The ruins of solitary confinement, structures that call for claustrophobia lacerated with graffiti. With all the winding roads, you definitely don’t want to get stuck here after dark.
49 Whitehall Road, Rutland, MA, mass.gov.