It has been a long winter here on the east coast and we have found ourselves pushing forward through frigid temps, howling winds and falling snow that, even now as we near the end of April, continues to rear its ugly head. As stubborn as the two of us collectively are, we have not allowed the weather to dampen our spirits. We have trekked through knee high snow to spy an eagle soaring overhead as we explored an abandoned mill. We roamed through filth and muck in damp dark tunnels and skated cautiously over frozen basements at a forgotten village for the mentally disabled. We shivered our way through deserted cold war missile bases, seeking clues to a grim past that relented to a sliver of peace. At times we have berated those who only come out on bright sunny days...how dare they travel past our frozen footsteps to bask in the warm air! Do they not know that we have spent hours exploring through the winter chill? It has been frustrating, to say the least. So when the weatherman tempted us with one measly day of sunlight in the midst of the most absurd spring ever, we packed our bags and headed off to where we had the best chance of some much needed Vitamin D, the Catskills of New York. Destination...Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel.
It wasn't the first time that we laid eyes on the crumbling buildings nestled in between a lavish golf course and the best diner we have ever been to in our lives (if you do not try the Liberty Diner's signature salad dressing before you die, then you have not truly lived.). We had admired it's weathered landscape once before and had fallen in love with the idea of exploring the intriguing structures within. We had heard tale of it's posh past where it had hosted well to do guests, many who would leave their hectic lives in the city to be pampered in the serenity of the Catskills. Many famous faces walked through the now corroded hallways, making their way to the stages within to entertain the eager visitors or perhaps they were there to find a zen of their own. Hints of the past invited us to enter and stand in admiration of what once was full of life and laughter.
It is with great respect for the memories beyond the waiting walls that we entered the wooded area just beyond the clubhouse. Our eyes seeking glimpses of relaxing days gone by. The familiar smell of an oil tainted garage wafted through the air as we made our way toward the clubhouse and resort buildings beyond. Shards of glass lay like sparkling diamonds at the entranceways. We viewed fractured walls laced with graffiti and gazed upon once grand flooring littered with rocks used to strike through the very glass that was placed so carefully for protection from the elements. Destructive behavior in abandoned locations is inevitable and although fascinated by the artistry, it is ultimately disappointing to see such disregard for history. Comfort comes from the echoes of others who, like us, are driven by the intoxicating lure of abandoned places. We stand in awe of it's brilliance and softly close our eyes to be transported to its golden age, where guests checked into a beautiful hall with a grand staircase and magnificent fireplace. We tread lightly near the covered passageway to the breathtaking indoor pool where once children played and couples lay basking on a cold winter day in the warmth of the heat storing enclosed glass. The fractured tile now home to dust and seedlings of moss and weeds. Molded remnants of a dilapidated beauty salon remain, where at one time, gossip and big hair dos were the style. Making our way out of the damp, cool corridors of the host of buildings around us, we returned to the sunlit pathways outside. It wasn't long before we spied a wooden structure that seemed out of place. As Explorers, we have found that, that which is out of place will most likely lead to something that is, and at the risk of ageing ourselves, totally awesome. As we walked toward the mysterious object, we caught each other's eye and smiled. There before us stood an enormous colossus of a pool. How could this majestic oasis have almost eluded us? In a blink of an eye, it was filled with cool sparkling water which glistened like rare and expensive jewels under the light of the sun. The broken and battered chairs that lay tattered and torn upon the floor of the corroded basin, suddenly lined up in perfect formation and held sunkissed vacationers sipping fancy drinks with umbrellas while holding paperback novels in their hands. History had come to life as it always does when we explore our cherished forgotten places. As our day came to a close, we looked at each other and knew...we knew that it would not be long before we would return. There were more secrets awaiting and more beauty to see within it's deteriorating walls. We thank you for taking the time to read about our travels and urge you to seek adventures of your own. We encourage you to have a hunger for adventure, always explore this amazing world around us, give mother nature the middle finger when she so stubbornly lets winter lollygag its way into to spring and....most importantly....
Do whatever makes you feel alive!!!
Jennifer and Marcel
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