What’s a road trip without a stop at some obscure, dilapidated roadside attraction? We had about an hour to kill on Saturday because Lake Compounce didn’t open until 5 pm, so I convinced Henry to finally take me to Holy Land USA in nearby Waterbury, Connecticut. And by “finally,” I mean that I suggested we stop there once in 2013 when we were on our way home from visiting our friend Alyson in New Hampshire and he said “N-O.”
But you know me and odd religious things. Gotta see ’em all!
Chooch, who had his headphones on for 99% of the trip, was like, “The fuck are we?” when we rolled to a stop at the crest of a hill in what appeared to be a Mexican part of town (I kept begging Henry to stop at one of the Mexican markets so we could get candy but he was like NOT TODAY so I guess the next time we’re driving through Connecticut? Henry has no jams.
I guess this place was built in the 50s and was meant to be an actual, booming religious theme park. Were there going to be rides though? How can you have a theme park without rides? I wish this place had taken off because I could have sold them my plans for the Crucifixion-themed restaurant I’ve wanted to open for like 20 years now – The Rusty Nail. (Side of Pontius pilaf anyone?)
Up until 2013, the land was possessively presided over by a group of nuns called the Religious Sisters of Filippi Greco who got all nuts anytime they were approached by people who wanted to restore it, but apparently they could be bought for $350,000, which is what some car dealer and the mayor offered them on June 20, 2013. So I guess now those goons own the place and so far, all they have managed to do was replace the cross with a new and larger lighted cross, and I guess they cleared away some of the weeds or whatever.
I found this picture when scouring the Internet for more information on what this place was like in its heyday and I found this picture:
I 100% would NOT recommend crawling inside any of the structures that are still standing at Holy Land. Chooch made me look inside one of the windows and I had so much trepidation, expecting to see the jaw of a cat and Satanic symbols in dried blood, but there was nothing – just dirt and cobwebs.
Although I can’t rule out that there weren’t any demonic spirits swirling about. That’s where I would loaf if I was Satan’s relative.
The whole area was so scraggly and ugly. Someone’s comment on Roadside America said to check for ticks before getting back into the car so then I began obsessing about ticks and Chooch was like, “We’re wearing pants and long-sleeves, and it’s November. I think we will be fine.”
Thank god Henry wasn’t there when I was spiraling-out about ticks (he walked a different direction than us, and then went back to the car to look at Reddit probably) or else I would have received sedation in the form of a Hencyclopedia diatribe about ticks.
The view of Waterbury from the summit of Holy Land, USA.
Chooch slipped on a rock and almost slid down a hill by the cross and then denied it when I was standing right there and saw it happen with my own two eyes, and then wondered why I was all, “NO WAY, MISTER NIMBLE” when he wanted to scale some treacherous pile of rocks a few minutes later, so I kept imitating him slipping on the rock and it’s a wonder I haven’t won any awards yet for excelsior parenting.
I looked inside the Tower of Babel, expecting to see the remains of a Devil’s Night sacrifice, but all I saw was an empty water bottle.
NOT EVEN ONE BEER CAN!
Several other people showed up while we there, with the intent of casually poking around just like us, so Henry was less concerned about trespassing at that point. He is a big follower of warning signs. Like, if I ever wanted to just completely shut myself off to him, a strategically-placed “no trespassing” sign would easily get the job done.
THAT IS ALL I’M SAYING.
We walked back to the car, where Henry was casually leaning against the hood, scrolling on his phone like a teenager, when Chooch decided he needed to go geocaching and then got tangled in the bare branches of a tree and fell on another rock, so that was cool. If anyone came back with ticks, it was that careless dumbass.
I mean, Holy Land USA was a cool place to stretch our legs, but unless you’re a HARDCORE Roadside America app user and obsessed with marking sights as BEEN THERE, then I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going too far out of your way to visit this run-down plot of ruins.