SANTA’S LAND – PUTNEY, VERMONT – REOPENED NOVEMBER 25, 2017

I first visited Santa’s Land when moving to New Hampshire in 2002 – I love classic early Roadside Americana. When it came up for sale my late-wife and I even toyed with the idea of purchasing it. It changed hands. I visited with my grandson in July, 2013, and published a post on my travel site – Shunpiking with Ray. That post (click on this link to see it) has had about over 5,200 page views, and actually many more (about 20,000) with the images people have opened up. Since that time I have documented the demise of Santa’s Land, and happily beginning in May, 2017, told everyone of its rebirth. I have been communicating with the new owner, and updating my post, and sharing on Facebook. Those posts resulted in over 1,000 “shares” and more views on my travel blog. TODAY WAS RE-OPENING DAY — and I had

I arrived early, and was first in line.

to be “first,” and I was. So, here is a photo documentary of what I experienced in 2 1/2 hours. I have never seen more people there, and David (the new owner) promises to give me the attendance figures. It was hundreds, if not a thousand folks, and I hope it continues. Open now on weekends through Christmas 2017.

What was most rewarding were the smiles, and I am still hurting from smiling. I talked with folks who had come decades ago, a family with four generations working here, I saw friends who brought their daughter and granddaughter (they last came 60 years ago). Here is a tradition in Vermont that must continue and is amazing – visit soon and often to go back in time to a simpler way of life.

About ten minutes before opening time – 10 AM – there were at least 30 people in line and in the parking lot.

The door opened – I am a gentleman, so let the couple who were in the parking lot before me get the first tickets, which meant I could get this image of the BEGINNING, and first sale.

but, look at the time on my ticket – opening day – (ignore the age thing, only a number)

And, they come pouring in

to journey into the magical entrance to this magical place

here is Santa’s new map of his Land — and you can click on it to open a large image – and even print it out.

I let this young lady and her family move in front of me – I wanted to share in her enthusiasm.

She told Santa above what she wanted (upon prompting from her family), and again to the real Santa who was greeting everyone on the grounds. What did she want? “I want a new toothbrush.” You cannot make this up. Bless her.

crossing the bridge, there was still ice on the pond. The slide (see my earlier post for a video of my grandson enjoying it) will be open in the spring.

I guess being “first” is important when something means so much to you. I ran up to the train station just as the train was pulling out with the couple that I “let” buy the first tickets. “Hey, wait for me.” Engineer Bill stopped, and I hopped on.

Here are two views from the train — now, remember, whenever you see a “gallery” of grouped pictures, just click on one to see larger images.

 

let me now tour you around even more.

 

and, the school where you may mail a letter to Santa.

Years ago I believe this building was a gift shop — on Santa’s new map it is Bear Mountain. And, if for no other reason, visit to see the mechanicals Santa (aka David) has installed inside (remember to open the gallery below for full size images)

The Iceberg Slide (now repaired – it had been closed under the previous ownership)

Fresh paint (over 700 gallons) everywhere

and inside Santa’s home.

Iconic “picture op”

Besides the three kiddie rides in the original location there is this merry-go-round that was packed the whole time I was there (I only took one ride)

and now the other rides with young riders.

looking back at the packed parking lot from the kiddie ride area. I was so thrilled to see this.

The train had a problem early on – actually the track. By now you should know I enjoy chatting with people and learning. Bill, the locomotive engineer, told me that a chipmunk (or some rodent) had dug under the track and a spike popped allowing the track to spread. A repair crew was called in (David I bet was nervous all day with happenings like this, but those are the events you solve and then recall as memories and laugh). I was ready as Engineer Bill brought the train back to the station.

and I took another ride

When I got off (had to give others a chance to ride) I waited for the train to finish another look and took a movie. Enjoy

It was (sadly) time to head along, but I noted that Rudolph was extremely pleased with all that was going on.

I got back into the gift shop/entrance, and found a line of people buying memories from the shop.

keeping warm by the fire.

My friends know, and if you have read enough of my posts, you have learned that I have unbelievable timing, or fortunate luck. I opened the door to leave, and there was David (aka Santa – the owner). We chatted, promised to stay in touch. I told him with a chill running up and down my spine how wonderful a job he had done, and the absolute pleasure I saw everyone having. GOD BLESS YOU DAVID, and keep going. Remember folks, “vote with your dollars” – visit and start (or continue) your traditions at SANTA’S LAND, PUTNEY VERMONT

Thank you, yours, RAY

Click this link to read the history of Santa’s Land

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9 Responses to SANTA’S LAND – PUTNEY, VERMONT – REOPENED NOVEMBER 25, 2017

  1. Andrea Booth says:

    How wonderful!! Good luck!!!

  2. George Lush says:

    Adorable! Very cute and quaint. Having lived all my life in New England except for four years in Philadelphia and now 6 months in Las Vegas, I do so enjoy Shunpiking With Ray. People are decorating their houses here in Vegas and it seems so incongruous to me. Christmas lights on palm trees and cactus. Who woulda thunk? And yes Ray, I’m still organizing the 1500 or so of my father’s books I brought cross country. My best to you this Holiday Season, George

  3. Carolyn says:

    You did it again Ray, can’t wait to take my niece and great nephew . As always great shunpiking.

  4. Eric Chase says:

    Ray! You still need to make a trip to One Morning in Maine! Maybe I’ll arrange for Mrs. Ambler to give you her ’14 model T if you make it!

  5. Aine Paulus says:

    Ray, Wonderful pictures, wonderfully displayed–now it’s on my “to do list.” You bring a lot of enjoyment to many. Thank you.

  6. Betty says:

    Wow, it looks great! When you showed this place to us a few years ago, it was closed and looked very sad…what a fantastic job David has done! It looks so much happier and people seemed to be enjoying it. Great job on this post! Merry Christmas!

  7. carnini31 says:

    How great. thank you for the photos. We went on Sunday and it was well worth it.

  8. Marian says:

    So enjoyable Ray. You did a wonderful job with the pictures and train ride. Thank you so much.
    Happy Holidays.

  9. So happy to hear this we spent many years up there when our kids were young now we can take our grandchildren. we are so exited to hear this

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