The remains of Holy Land U.S.A. stand atop a mountain overlooking the bustling city of Waterbury. After spotting the enormous cross from the highway, you will likely begin your goose chase to find the entrance. Since the GPS directions for “Holy Land Monument” leave you right smack in the middle of I-84, let me assist. Go ahead and plug-in 60 Slocum Street into your GPS. You’re welcome.
Holy Land, by definition, is a religious theme park which is now abandoned. The location has been closed for roughly 30 years, but the city is in the process of reopening it to the public. That leads my mind to two points… 1) Congrats to them!! Hard work by the mayor, the city residents, and volunteers will (and have been) making this project happen. 2) If you want to see this location BEFORE it’s resurrected (sorry, couldn’t help it), go now.
Also, when I say theme park, I do not mean you can ride Jesus, but rather, you can walk in his footsteps. The park is set up where you can go through the various stations of the cross, while walking through miniature replicas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Yes, a bit odd for a Sunday excursion, but hey – to each their own.
While we journeyed through the area in roughly 2 hours, I think you would be best with 3 or slightly more. The area is pretty contained, but you do find random ruins in the underbrush. Like the “Grotto of the Holy Family” which was hidden within a covered grassy slope. Then other areas where the signs have been long destroyed, but may or may not still have some remains standing. Also, while I’m on the topic, I did not find the catacombs. Ugh, I know. I’m a failure. Not enough time! 10 degree weather! Excuses… Maybe another time.
Overall, the location was interesting and certainly unique. Walking among all the tiny villages of Jerusalem was exhilarating – like being Godzilla in Tokyo. Fine… I didn’t smash any tiny houses (and neither should you, ya asshole), but the larger than life illusion was fun. However, don’t get too excited because the hills can be slippery , as I learned the hard way. Ask my knee and Tiffany’s hip – Nic managed to stay on her feet.
As far as the gruesome aspect of this location, Chloe Ottman was indeed killed beneath the 57 foot tall cross back in 2010. Don’t really want to touch on this, as it is a terrible tragedy, but it is a story that cannot be ignored.
Perhaps I will do a follow-up some time – do a little before and after segment. We shall see. Overall, worth the trip.