Lost and Forgotten: Sunrise Resort

Remembering Sunrise. Once a booming resort housing up to 500 vacationers at a time, now lies desolate and forgotten. It sits alone midst the trees, succumbing to the elements and vandals.


Remembering Sunrise. Once a booming resort housing up to 500 vacationers at a time, now lies desolate and forgotten. It sits alone midst the trees, succumbing to the elements and vandals.

Sunrise Resort was established in the 1930’s by Ted Hilton, a Hartford Taxi Driver. Over its 92 years the resort became Frank Davis Resort then what we know it as now, Sunrise Resort. In its heyday, the resort was known for theme weeks, meals, parties, music, and its excellent family atmosphere. It provided services such as maid service, childcare for those parents who wanted a break, boating/sailing, horseback riding, and children’s programs. They even allowed you to bring along the family pet! The resort provided many forms of housing may it be rustic cottages, motel rooms, apartments, or resort lodging. Sunrise had it all. Over the years Sunrise’s old fashion look and feel began to lose customer’s interest and it slowly began to wither. Near its end customers were found to complain of it being “out-of-date,” musty, and unclean. Sadly, in 2008 Sunrise was closed and sold to the CT Government. At first the government had plans of making it into a newer, updated Campgroup or into a camp for the disabled. This never happened. The Connecticut Government put things off and forgot about Sunrise until it became too late; nothing was left to save.

Since then it has fallen into ruins. It has been vandalized (windows smashed, copper piping ripped out of the walls, items stolen, memories shattered) and nature has moved in to reclaim it. This once beautiful resort that I had the privilege of visit on a school trip in eight grade is now a ghost town resembling Chernobyl. Everything is left the same as it was as if its happy, smiling patrons simply vanished. Children's artwork still hangs in the childcare building, food trays and ketchup packets still sit in the dining hall. The only thing that has disrupted this atmosphere of “frozen in time” is the many vandals that have swept through like a tornado. The office still contains the paperwork, brochures, and bill stubs that where there when the resort had been open (albeit they are now strewn all over the place). Why was it left this way? Why are there still bed sheets neatly folded on top of beds waiting for vacationers that will never come? I cannot say. It is an ominous place to visit but is still a gorgeous area. Luscious woods, fluttering butterflies, bird calls, and the sun shining down through the trees. While there, one can still feel the “spirit’” of Sunrise that was once present when it was full of tourists and vacationers walking its paths, swimming in the pools, and eating in the dining halls

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Tim Matregrano February 02, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Those who are intrigued by abandonment, decay, history, and exploration, we find the current Sunrise Resort fascinating. To those who also have visited the resort in their youth (me included), the exploration is bittersweet. When visiting the resort in it's current condition, I knew that restoration was not feasable, neglect and time has taken us past the point of returning. Sunrise has sunset unfortunately, history is passing...as steadily noted by the low battery chirp of a few smoke detectors near the pool. I expect others to disagree with me that I see beauty in the current state of Sunrise, that's ok, many people don't understand urban or rural exploration. It is a visual and emotional moving experience...beauty, wonder, history, rememberance of the past and people, combine to create stirring, creative, and personally engaged emotions. I have documented the abandoned Sunrise Resort by taking over 200 photographs in 2012. Also note that while vandalism can be part of the exploration and decay of a building or complex...it is childish. This post is not political or inciteful in any way...only observing. No pun intended.
Amanda Hopkins February 02, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Tim, I find it fascinating as well and was sad to hear that they plan to demolish it in the coming months. I love exploring the abandoned and forgotten places of New England and hope to explore more places in the future! I find Sunrise to be the most beautiful and emotional place to explore because I have memories there. Walking through the park was like walking back in time, surrounded by the ghosts of my memory. I could still feel the happy, family atmosphere and hear the laughs of children in the pool. I hope to go back soon before it is gone forever. It's so sad that a memorable place will soon be gone forever, it will only exist in our photos and memories. I would love to see the pictures you took! If you're willing to share you can email me at hiddenwondersphotography@gmail.com. I too took 100's of shots but chose my favorites to share with this blog. Thank you very much for your comments!
Ex Republican February 02, 2013 at 08:22 PM
I wonder what town/area it was in? The article does not say.
Observor February 02, 2013 at 09:37 PM
The problem, of course, is that loads of people have memories of it from their youth but none of those people ever spent a dime there since. The end was inevitable. The country is a lot more affluent than it used to be. Forty years ago a trip to Orlando was a vacation of which most folks could only dream. Now I think you'd hear from DCF if you didn't take your kids there at least once. I hope you will share your pictures with the East Haddam Historical Society, there are way too few pictures of the old Moodus center. But as for demolition my greatest fear is that there will at some point be arson and that a firefighter will be injured, or worse.
Barbi B. February 03, 2013 at 02:34 AM
Hey there Amanda! Nice photos! I miss this resort, as well. My favorite memory is driving (with permission and thanks to the owner, Bob Johnson) the 1945 GMC Pumper Fire Apparatus. It was supposed to be in service only for giving children a 'ride' around the resort....but I was very honored to be able to 'fire it up' for a roll around the grounds, just to feel the engine.....what an AWESOME truck!
Amanda Hopkins February 03, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Sunrise is in Moodus, CT.
Rhonda Wooldridge February 03, 2013 at 05:58 AM
Wow! I used to work summers at the resort from the time I was 14 until I was 19 years old. I think it's sad that it looks the way it does now. I have so many great memories of all the people I worked with and the resort itself. It is a wonderful location, I hope the state uses the land as a public park.
Amanda Hopkins February 07, 2013 at 04:35 PM
I am making sure to keep up with CT's plans for Sunrise. Lately they have been discussing when to demolish the resort and the costs. Knowing CT and how long they take to do, well, everything, I do not think this will be put into action anytime soon (will probably take 6 months or more). But, sadly, we are at the point of when, not if. I plan to visit one more time in the coming months so I can see the splendor that was Sunrise before it no longer exists. Fore the latest on Sunrise and CT's plans please visit the following link; http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-sunrise-resort-future-1120-20130123,0,6228110.story
Amanda Hopkins February 07, 2013 at 04:39 PM


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