Yes, considering circumstances with COVID, long distance trips are just a memory, and a distant hope. But, today BLUE BELLE and I got itchy, and off we headed to local great places we enjoy, and are safe without crowds refusing to wear masks. You do not have to go far to have fun. And, if you are itchy, jump below to SANTA’S LAND which opened today.
I have always enjoyed adventures and activities at the Fort at No. 4 in Charlestown, and for a number of years had been a member. This week I wrote my August CLARION “Did You Know That…” history article partially on the Fort. Not having visited in a long while, and knowing there probably have not been many visitors I decided it was time to visit, and “vote with my dollars” and again become a member. I entered, greeted Wendy, and she remembered me saying, “well it would have been easier if you parked one of your little cars in front.” “BLUE BELLE is off in the shade,” I replied. We visited, I wrote my check, and I headed back to the mid-18th century.
Wendy told me to make sure to see the new diorama of the fort – I did, and it is great.
Below is inside the sutler’s, and some great log exterior lines (click to enlarge).
and you know I like shots looking in or out windows. This view is from the guard tower through the gun port looking over the doctor’s garden, and over the field towards the Connecticut River.
Wendy and I chatted some more, and she reminded me of the event next weekend – Saturday and Sunday 25 and 26 July, 10 AM to 4:30 PM — OUT OF TIME: THE COMPANY OF WOLF ARGENT AND GUESTS — it is going to be something different. So do attend, take your checkbook, and tell Wendy that I told you to become a member and support the Fort.
Then north a tad, and across the old toll bridge across the river and heading west another tad to pick up US Route 5 South — you know both my BB ladies and I love US 5 — the old “main road” north and south along the river. Scenery, little change, and a few good spots to “blow out some carbon.” Passing Herrick Cove Road I turned around and headed into the park. If I have been there it was over 15 years ago. I was pleasantly surprised what is there – you can click the below aerial view for a larger version.
Not just the boat launch area to the Connecticut River, but lots of picnic and play places. Picnic tables currently “closed,” I guess to stop any COVID spread, but on a day I want to get out, I will pack my lunch and go just over nine miles and relax with food, beverage and a book. Back to US 5, and fifteen miles south to Santa’s Land.
Authentic vintage Roadside Americana, you should know I have written often about David’s efforts to save this National Treasure. And, he is succeeding. I get to be known, well, at least my ladies. I had barely turned BB2’s key off, and Santa (aka Tom) came out to greet me. “Great to see you again,” he said. And as we started to head inside, on this opening day for 2020, he began telling me all the new things David was adding to this classic and special park. (Santa is off this time of year, so coming in from Hawaii for the weekend, still had on his Hawaiian shirt.)
to get you in the mood.
Santa began sharing with me the new additions David has brought to Santa’s Land for the enjoyment of all ages. We soon bumped into David. It was great to see again this fine young man, and Roadside Americana hero. We headed up to the maintenance barn to see the cars for the new Model T Ford old car ride. Here are some of the cars in the barn, and you can click to enlarge.
David just obtained these cars that were formerly at Dogpatch USA in Arkansas , a theme park which was open from 1968 to its closure in 1993. Unlike the kiddie rides that David has traded off, adults can share the thrills while their youngsters drive these gas powered cars. Work on the ride’s road began yesterday, and winds from the carousel through the woods and over a bridge. The ride will be ready by the fall.
walking up to the train station, these new critters come from a water park at Lake George.
how can you not love this place?
Another new plus is the last car on the train ride. An extra car was refurbished and added to the end allowing access for two wheel chairs for handicap visitors.
Continuing along the upper path, the miniature golf course was added last season. Once you pay your admission, all activities are included at no additional charge.
See what is in the background where the kiddie rides used to be? Paint still wet, but opening on 19 July is the new FUN HOUSE.
Another classic amusement park or traveling show attraction, you enter and work your way across moving floors, stairs, to eventually come out the rolling tumbler.
David is working very, very hard to provide the very best family entertainment in the area. First opened in 1957, many area families have three generations of memories visiting the park on US 5 in Putney, Vermont. Next to be added is a massive model train layout. And, you know that kids of all ages (especially the older ones) love trains and model trains. Once I get an image from David, I will include it here.
I strongly encourage you to click on and view and read all my previous posts of Santa’s Land. One more project in the works for David is to establish a museum of old Santa’s Land memories, photographs and souvenirs. I have a large collection of souvenirs, brochures and souvenirs I have promised David when he is ready. If you have anything you would like to share, let me know, and I will let David know, or bring them to the park. David has a picture his family took of him as a young visitor maybe in the 80s (yes, David is a young star), what do you have?
Remember, VOTE WITH YOUR DOLLARS — visit Santa’s Land, and visit Fort at No. 4. Thank you, yours, RAY
Great afternoon adventure.
Hi Ray, I had not heard of the Fort at No. 4 prior to your post. I kinda figured it dated from French and Indian War days. You might say the debts Great Britain ran up from The Seven Years War lead to the taxes imposed on the American colonies, and thus were a precipitating factor in the American Revolution. I got a chuckle out of the juxtaposition of Santa and his Hawaiian shirt. (I love that word: juxtaposition. Every art student is required to use it when defending their thesis.) We’re off to Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks next week. Gotta love that desert heat! George
Oh, Ray, glad there are places up there for your adventures during these unusual times. Thanks for taking me on a much needed “road trip”!
Yes, so badly need significant “road trips.” At least I got out a little bit, and we have to remember that we are better off and safer than most people. Enjoy, and be well, someday we all can visit again – RAY
Ray, are there still animals there? When I was a resident elf, I was followed around by llama named Feckles, and there was a dangerous chimpanzee named Jingles, that had to be locked up to keep the public safe.
That should be Freckles, not Feckles!
No animals there now – they left following the previous “bad owner.” David has done a wonderful job restoring and rejuvenating the park. You need to visit and tour around. RAY