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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

Resort 02, July 2011


According to my exploring friends, this place is known as the “Catskills of (name of state redacted).” The campus was sprawling, including several hotel-type buildings, three different styles of cabins, recreation/community areas, tennis courts, a mini-golf course, children’s playgrounds, a beautiful pool (complete with viewing portholes in an adjacent basement!), kitchens, garages, and more.

The heat that day was punishing (especially when you’re wearing black clothing and a backpack full of camera equipment), which made the rust-colored water of the river look pretty inviting. Many were tempted, but in the end, I was the only male in the group willing to strip to my unmentionables and jump in (a grateful shout-out to the woman – named after The Greatest Party Rock Band Of All Time – who joined me, probably out of pity). I now live in terror at the thought of those photos showing up on facebook, at which point my burgeoning political career will be terminated.

We also liberated an ancient pedal-boat, but the less said about that, the better. For legal reasons.

Best Part: Dropping trou and diving into the cool river.

Worst Part: Stepping out of the water in my wet, clinging, suddenly transparent underwear, to an unsmiling audience of nine fully-clothed acquaintances. Look, the water was cold. I’m just saying.

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  1. I used to work there as a kid. My sister was the operating manager’s (later owner who renamed it Sunrise) secretary and she would get me part time work during events doing grounds clean-up. I was around fourteen then and the place was in it’s heyday. Later I did some weekend driving for Yankee Pastry which was famous for it’s eclairs. That operation was in the white two story building to the right of the large picnic/bar-b-que pavilion behind Frog. When Bob Johnson sold Sunrise to the state, it was in turnkey condition, ready for the next season. Linens turned down in all the rooms, dishes washed and stacked, the grounds spotless. It was rumored that the state was going to make it into a state campground. By your pictures I would guess you were there early this summer. I did a thorough exploration and photo session there last fall. I was just there again this week and the place is now trashed. The vandals have gone to town mindlessly smashing everything and spray painting, and the thieves have stripped the copper out and stolen anything of value. Sad because many people in town tried to get the state to donate the mattresses, linens, dishes, fixtures, etc. to needy causes. They were even willing to do the work. But typical bureaucracy, the state stuck their thumbs in their asses and stonewalled any attempt to do anything. So now it’s just a playground for dysfunctional pinheads to tear up while they’re training for a career in the big house (I know, I know, don’t hold back Tim).

  2. Once again, Jason – some great photos. I’m continually amazed at the look of some rooms like the people just got up and left. The McDonald’s bag still on the counter. What caused them to leave? Why hasn’t anyone sold those colorful deck loungers? Did the deep fryer(s) still have oil in them? It’s like “poof!” they’re gone.

    Then I continually get a “Damnation Alley” feel that any moment some mutant radioactive bugs will come out from somewhere and eat one of the members of your party (you know, the black guy – because they always die first).

    Too bad you’re not putting all this on film and then tracking down Magda Carmichael who use to go to Sunrise every summer for a week and fell in love with Dirk Cooper – the pool boy who taught her the ways of “love” behind the Frog building.

    I think the saddest moment of this photo journey was the mini-golf course. Just sad to see these attractions – fallen over, lead paint peeling, grass covered…no one to care for…no one to play with.


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