Holy Land USA
Waterbury, Connecticut 

Holy Land USA was once an 18 acre Bible-themed park located in Waterbury, Connecticut. The park had about 40,000 visitors a year until it closed in 1984 for renovations. Holy Land USA never opened back up again due to the death of owner John Greco in 1986. It has been abandoned ever since. The abandoned acres of the theme park have been watched over by groups of nuns for decades, but the place keeps getting more and more creepy as the park continues to deteriorate. 

On top of the vandalism and eeriness the park gives off, a teenager was murdered on these abandoned grounds in 2010. Since then police records have shown that the amount of trespassers have been decreasing which just means abandoned Holy Land USA is as creepy and deserted as ever.


BACK TO THE VALLEY – Central & Lower Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut

Waterbury, the center of the brass industry in the United States, lies in the valleys of the Naugatuck and Mad Rivers, and on the somewhat abrupt, brown hills that rise from the streamsides. Black iron and yellow firebrick stacks tower above the casting shops and rolling mills, throwing off saffron-yellow and greenish clouds of smoke. The railway follows the river, with spurs running into the side valleys, where the flat cars and gondolas, like strings of square beads, are switched to the brass shops. In spite of the fact that the speckled-brown and granite-gray hillsides have been stripped of all except third-growth saplings to provide ‘muffle wood’ for the annealing and heat treatment of brass, exposed ledge outcroppings of granite prevent erosion.

Waterbury is a Yankee industrial town that has grown without a city plan. Office buildings of an imposing character were built along Grand Street by the brass companies before their mergers with western copper. A great fire in 1902 burned the entire business section of the city, but the rebuilding was done with little idea of plan.  - Connecticut: A Guide to Its Roads, Lore and People (WPA, 1938)


The Naugatuck River Valley refers to the watershed of the Naugatuck River in Western Connecticut. This is the corridor for both Route 8 and the Waterbury Branch of the Metro North Railroad. In the previous two centuries this was one of the main manufacturing centers of New England. Waterbury alone had more than 2,000,000 square feet dedicated to the city’s metal manufacturing mills. Their brass factories attracted workers from all over the world. They hit their stride in the early 1800s and declined until present day, most sorely brought to attention again in 1992 when they were voted dead last in a list of 300 U.S cities with the worst quality of life.

If you get off Route 8 and pick your way south from Waterbury on the smaller city streets you’ll pass through towns like Shelton, Derby, Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, while you witness what remains as the husk of multiple industries. If they weren’t made of brick they’d have blown away by now. You’ll come across old company complexes that were so robust and grew to such proportions they were essentially “Company Towns”, companies that sustained themselves and their worker residents. So big they required their own police force, hospitals and athletic fields.

It amazes me to see how many of these buildings sit empty, de facto gravestones for a deceased way of life. And then to realize all the unmarked graves of even more buildings crumbled, razed and removed over time. It makes me wonder what direction are we going now? Clearly that tipping point has long ago passed – we can’t go back, but which way forward?… have we broken the vessel?

(Editors note: For more images and perspective on life in The Valley see Klein’s previous post on the region here.)


Guide to the Northeast Brett Klein lives in Connecticut and pines to return to his native state of Maine. Work takes him all over the country and he’s rarely without a camera, always eager to get off the highways to lose himself on back roads. He curated The American Guide’s first zine, Rural Life. See more of his work on his website and follow him on Tumblr at The Coast is Clear and Instagram.

The Amazing Vermont

Here’s what I knew about Vermont before visiting:

They were the yin to New Hampshire’s yang- at least in terms of physical shape. Other than that, I expected them to be quite similar.

It’s the place to be if you’re into maple syrup.

They’re the second least populated state.

For some reason, there’s something about small populations that usually strikes me as interesting to visit. The smallest countries in the world have a mysterious appeal. Like Iceland. Something about the mysterious isolation.

Anyways, I left Vermont knowing a lot more than that. But the big thing I left knowing was that Vermont was one cool state. If it’s not my new favourite state, it’s at least cracked its way into my top five. The place had so much charm and an interesting blend of homeliness, history, and culture, and a lot more nature than people give it credit for. Despite it’s size, it had some scenery that could take on the Pacific Northwest.

Read More…

27. juni: New Hampshire og Vermont

Denne dagen begynte med kjøring til New Hampshire, deretter kjørte vi gjennom New Hampshire og opp til Vermont.

New Hampshires slagord er det sterkeste i hele USA!

On the road again

Vi stoppet i Keene, en liten by sørvest i New Hampshire, for å spise lunsj. Denne gangen falt valget på meksikansk mat på restauranten Pedraza’s.

Vi hadde selskap av denne papegøyen som Øystein likte spesielt godt :-)

Etter en god lunsj med bl.a. enchiladas, gikk turen videre i retning Lebanon og grensen til Vermont.

Vi stakk innom State Capitol i Montpelier. Der var det veldig fint med en stor gressplen og masse blomster.

Dette bildet dedikeres til alle blomsterelskere i familien!

Far ville også være med på et bilde :-)

Vi kjørte videre nordvestover mot en liten by som het Waterbury der dagens favorittattraksjon befant seg:



Tenk å ha en isboks med Øystein og Guro på lokket, for en glede!

Hadde bare verden bestått av fred, kjærlighet og is :-)

Inngangen til museumet

Vi fikk være med på en guidet tur gjennom fabrikken og slik så gangene vi gikk gjennom ut! Guiden snakka som en robot på autopilot og vi lærte mye rart om Ben & Jerry’s. Visste dere for eksempel at det har eksistert mer enn 450 forskjellige issmaker opp gjennom årene? Akkurat nå finnes det 60 ulike i USA, men i Norge tror jeg ikke det er mer enn 10 (?). På slutten av turen fikk vi smake på den nyeste issmaken.

Vi var selvfølgelig innom shoppen der de hadde alt fra isskåler og isskjeer til klær og skrivesaker med Ben & Jerry’s logoen. Øystein kjøpte joggebukse, far kjøpte kort og Guro kjøpte kort og kjøleskapmagnet.

Etterpå kjørte vi videre til Burlington i den nordvestlige delen av Vermont og sov der.


Waterbury, CT Autism Walk of 2014!!!

Damn I love these events! Kids love us! Parents keep asking us back! New friends big and small! Good feels all around!

I said it before and I’ll say it again…
Kids are the best! Proud to be a part of this!