The first time I laid eyes on this roadside attraction I was leaving my Aunt and Grandmother, my Mom, and heading into Portland for an overnight stay. I saw the sign from the interstate, and even driving at 65 miles an hour, it had an impact on me, "What in the world is that?"
I Googled it. A family amusement park. An Enchanted Forest.
It was the actual forest for me, and the allure of a place that looked whimsical. If it involves even a suggestion of fairys, make-believe, if I see just one red mushroom, or a cottage playhouse, I am going to be a sucker for it. But, at the time I couldn't imagine how soon, if ever, I'd be back, let alone with my kids, or the right transportation. I was curious, but not committed. On this trip, something clicked. I saw another reference to Enchanted Forest while at my Mom's, and delved deeper, reading up on its history, and the logistics of possibly visiting. That sealed our fates! Our family loves homegrown, homemade.
We love makers, especially when the makers think big, think wild, and go for it!
That's why we can't get enough of House on The Rock, cosplay, Burning Man, Maker Faires, Madonna Inn, Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum, Ella's Deli, Salvation Mountain, The International Banana Museum, Watts Towers, art cars, because they are full of the creations and creators that acted on impulse, on an idea they could not deny, and they made something! Our curiosities, interests, pursuits, and involvement in making, and sharing, is well documented,
and the more I read about about Roger Tofte and his dream, the family's journey
, the plainer it became that this was one of those places that we couldn't not
see. It should have been all of us going, and someday we will get back there. But, I decided to buy tickets for three, and surprise William and Maria with a totally spontaneous, unexpected adventure.
If I had any doubts about whether this would be a good idea, or worthwhile, they were completely obliterated from the moment William grapsed what lay ahead, and I should not have ever doubted that he would respect, admire, and cherish everything before him, and all that made it possible. This man, is the same boy that has always wanted to build rides, that designed parks, rollercoasters, built a 12' tall robot cosplay, made dozens of replica tombstones, made a giant backyard swing. He studies Imagineering, he looks into how things are made. We all enjoy these subjects, admire the men and women that dream, design, research, that blend art with engineering, and make
Maria was no less enthused, and wildly giddy. We took pictures like inspectors, like connoisseurs of kitsch, and with awe and appreciation, wanting to bring it all back in anecdote and evidence to share with the rest of the family. I won't share all of the pictures. Maybe this sparks something in you, too, and I wouldn't want to give it all away. About every three minutes, Maria and William exclaimed in wonder, and just as frequently practically swore oaths to come back with their Dad, with Alex, Max, and Bambi. Here is some of what we saw and the tiniest fraction of what we found to be a really fun experience.
Make believe is just a jumping off point, and if we believe in what we can make, it can take us to wonderful places. I hope I never stop believing.
Make-believe knows no boundaries - we have a similarly magical place not far from us in the UK! :-)
It's easy to see how this place would have a lot of appeal for a family of art-engineers. Not sure why I'm flashing on that frontier park (near Brawley, I think) that we stopped at on our way to Wisc in the RV. So fun!
Ruth, I think about that entire adventure all the time! Yes, it was a silver/borax mining place turned ghost town. Wait! It popped in to my head: Calico Mine Ghost Town? It's time for another road trip! We made great memories the first time!
Little Dorrit... how can I thank you enough for that link? When the camera goes into the gaping mouth and I saw the giant uvula... LOL. That's when I knew this place is an absolute gem. I don't buy lotto tickets, and yet I have a detailed plan for When I Win The Lotto, and it involves gathering all of my friends for a world tour of festivals, museums, faires, theater, art, and oddities. I am sure we will make more friends enroute, and I must add The Forbidden Corner to the itinerary! Shall we meet there?
Count me in! :-)
Calico Ghost town, that was it!
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