It has been a while since I have had the chance to head on out and explore some long forgotten places. Seems that in Montreal, the city has decided to crack down on abandoned places and 6-7 spots have been demolished in the last 6 months. With the rise of popularity of urban exploring (aka urbex), these places have been frequented more and more by vandals and arsonists. An abandoned hotel in the Laurentiens was set to flames just last week.
I love finding history in the places I explore. Graffiti and empty concrete factories are nice, but it’s nothing like a feeling of stepping back in time. So my girlfriend and I headed out late this summer on an urban exploration road trip, with this abandoned honeymoon resort as our main destination. 2 Canadian provinces and 3 US States later…. we found it.
It seems that we were a bit late in getting there, as many of the amazing photos that led us to research and find this place no longer gave us the same feel and vibe that we were hoping for. The resort is still watched by locals, and we had a run in with a few of them while walking through some of the areas (more on that later).
Opened in the 1940s as a local drinking hole (seems to be a theme of many old resorts), the place quickly grew to owning hundreds of acres in the area, had multiple bars, pools, a sports complex and over 100 rooms. The entire setup was made to attract honeymooners and romantic vacation seekers. The hotel was listed on Tripadvisor as the time we visited (it is no longer there) and had some pretty bad reviews of being way over priced with poor service and broken down rooms. This dated back to the late 2000s. As vacationers preferred going down south for their honeymoons, the vast resort simply cost too much money to up keep. Even the employees wondered why it was still open.
In 2009, the owner passed way and owning millions in back taxes, the place was shut down and has been on the market looking for a new owner, while mold and water damage continue to spread.
While exploring the 100 rooms trying to find some still intact heart shaped baths (freakin vandals just destroy everything), a pick up truck pulled up and parked right in front of where we were. It is always a tense moment when you have a run in, whether it be with a fellow explorer, but more so when it’s a vandal or a local. I always prefer simply going up and talking to people, saying what we are doing, and striking a conversation. We approach the gentleman, who kept his truck between us and him. He wasn’t too sure about us at first, but after chatting for 10 or so minutes with him, we found out that he lived not too far away and came by routinely to paint the outside of the resort to cover up the graffiti, in case a potential buyer would drive by. He wasn’t paid for this, but living in the area, the place has become an eye soar. We even learned that he had spent his honeymoon here in the 1970s! We shook hands, and he told us that he was fine with us going around and taking photos. We ran in to some of his friends a little later, but simple name dropping ensured we received smiles and hellos.
The resort is broken into a few sections for guests. You had the standard hotel rooms, bed, heart shaped bathtub and balcony. These were the ones that took the longest to explore as they were split over many floors. Most of the rooms have pieces of furniture left, some TVs and other odds and ends you’d find in a hotel room.
There were also some more luxurious split level condos with direct access to the pool. These were empty, save for the rotating beds and mirror ceilings. Oh… and the shag!! OMG!!! THE SHAG!!! They had shag all over, even on the walls!
And then you had the more remote cabins, a bit further out in the woods, up a little hill. These mostly had bigger beds, with saunas and jacuzzis. Oh… and more shag!
And then there were the installations. The old hair salon was totally empty, nothing to be seen. The wedding bell shaped pool, a piano bar (and yes, more shag here). We found a second bar across the street near the sports complex (sadly, it is only an outdoor tennis court, the main building being gone), along with a little chapel and a house where the owner used to live.
And then we hoped back in the car and headed back home. 🙂