I watched as the early morning sun made its way through the thick trees of the mountainside surrounding the resort. The vibrant colors of fall did their best to bring some essense of life back to the faded landscape as I took in the sights before me. Nestled at the base of this beautiful mountain sat the remnants of a lovers’ paradise, its brilliant buildings now fallen into disrepair, the windows standing solemnly as they waited for the next round of guests that would never come. Bordering a busy road made for extremely easy access so I waited for a break in the cars and fell into a light jog across the street and hid within the shadows of the front building. Once I was certain I could not been seen from the road I settled into my surroundings. To my left stood a row of tri-level condos and some bungalos following a winding path to the base of the resort’s waterfall. To my right stood two hotel style buildings and what looked like a few houses in the woods beyond. Curiousity got the best of me and I went right, staying out of sight as I made my way toward the woods. I stopped under the safety of the metal staircase connecting the hotel buildings and looked around. I knew their rooms would be one in the same so I continued on toward the little houses. Stepping into the woods with its thinning foilage, the mountainside came into view and what I saw caught my breath. They weren’t houses at all, but rather inividual chalets offering guests a more private retreat in this majestic spot on the mountain. I was looking at not one or two of these dwellings but a small village of almost thirty of them scattered throughout the woods before me.
I glimpsed a portion of paved road hidden beneath the fallen pine needles, raised and broken as if crying out for one last show of patronage so I followed its path until I decided which chalet I would visit first. A faded sidewalk veered off from the road, winding up to a small set of tattered stairs and the saddened doorway just beyond. A wooden heart, faded and warped with time, hung lopsided under an aged Welcome sign. Stepping lightly on the fractured wood I slowly twisted the door handle and pushed the door inward, watching in awe as the sreeching hinges brought it to the wall, offering me an inculpable view of the room within. With the exception of a few years of dust and the dirt that made its way in, it stood in perfect order with the living room offering a wrap around sofa and two end tables which held untouched lamps and even a phone resting on top of a phone book. A slight push of the phone revealed the year on the cover below and the discovery that the resort had closed its doors only a few short years before. Even the TV remained and I walked over to it to marvel at its aged appearance. Not in the way of being abandoned, but how it seemed out of date for the time that the resort closed. In fact, all the decor seemed to belong to a time long since passed. Being within these walls the decades slipped away and I found myself in the era marking shag carpets and psychedelic wall paper.
I was beginning to understand why the resort had shut down. In today’s world of flat screens and cell phones, the dated decor with its console TVs and rotary phones was lost on the newlyweds and seasoned lovers seeking a quiet reprieve away from the world. Even the beautiful view framed within the windows before me was no longer enough to draw them in. As I stood paused behind the unwashed glass something caught my eye as I looked down on the center of the resort from my elevated spot on the mountainside. I could see enough of the outdoor pool to realize it carried a unique shape, but being far enough away my full view was obstructed by the buildings below. Curiosity claimed my next destination for exploration and I quickly made my way back to the entrance of the chalet. I scanned the untouched quarters one more time and closed the door on this facsinating time capsule before starting back down the mountain. I kept my attention on the pool as I descended, but reaching ground level brought disappointment as I took the path back through the hotel-style buildings and stood at the pool’s edge. Losing my bird’s-eye view made it difficult to make out what the unusual shape was and I stood pondering for a moment as a crisp breeze swept through the grounds. It brought movement behind me and I turned to follow the source of noise it created with my eyes as it brought me to the top floor balconies.
The sliding glass door on one of the rooms stood open and the blinds were rippling wildly in the wind. A smile crossed my face as my dilemma disolved and I headed back to path between buildings, taking the staircase to the top floor. I set to work looking for the room which held access to my view, Opening the doors to find each room in a suspended state of emaculate decor as if the next round of occupants would be arriving with their suitcases at any moment. Finally I was rewarded for my efforts and I closed the door behind me and stepped out onto the balcony, instantly looking down. I watched as the pool took the shape of a wedding bell and I pictured happy couples relaxing poolside in the sun as their lives together begun and all was right with the world. Young love, new and fresh. But it had left this place, taking with it its breath of life as the clear water turned dark, weeds overtook the grounds and buildings lost their luster. Another breeze made its way in, this time kicking up into a reasonable gust as it brought with it a thick blanket of intimidating clouds and I watched as the trees began to dance in reaction to the approaching storm. As much as I was not ready to end this explore, I knew it was time to go before the rain arrived so I secured my camera in my bag, pulled my hat down over my ears and worked my way back to the road. Standing at the threshold between ordinary life and that of the abandoned I looked back one final time at the remarkable gem I had found, knowing it wouldn’t be long before I ventured back into its tarnished but beautiful setting.
© Olivia Wolfe~2012