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
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