NOTE: This blog post is about Santa’s Land in Putney, Vermont. it is NOT about Santa’s Workshop, a theme park in the Adirondack Mountains, and no confusion should be made between the two locations.
Four yearsa go, I wrote a blog post about the horrible and deplorable conditions at Santa’s Land, a Christmas-themed roadside attraction in Putney, Vermont. The park had made when dead zoo animals were found on the property, and that the park itself had fallen into painful disrepair.
At the time I wrote this piece – way back in 2014 – one of my readers took me to task, claiming that I was jumping on a bandwagon to criticize a situation. “You’re condemning the owners without giving them the benefit of the doubt. Instead of calling for them to sell Santa’s Land, assuming that all the animals are in danger, and writing a OMG THIS IS HORRIBLE POST you should have been more moderate … What if there IS no wrong doing, that they are taking care of the animals and it was just very, very bad luck … Will you post an abject apology and retraction?”
Well, no. I’m not posting an apology, nor am I posting a retraction.
What I am posting today … is an update.
See, in 2014, Santa’s Land was finally closed down and whatever animals were left on the property found new homes. The buildings were left to the whims of Mother Nature and the vandalism cousins. By 2016, the property was a favorite haunt for urban exploration.
But then … something happened. Something wonderful, something that maybe, just maybe, reinvigorated the Christmas spirit as a magical, fantastic entity.
Santa’s Land was saved.
After the last owners finally sold off the property, a man named David Haversat purchased the grounds. Haversat visited Santa’s Land often in his youth, and now he had a chance to bring back a treasure of his childhood. He worked tirelessly to fix up as many of the old buildings as he could, he stocked the gift store with Christmas treasures and souvenirs, and he even negotiated the purchase of a vintage merry-go-round from an old amusement park in Coney Island.
In 2018, Haversat and Santa’s Land were given a preservation award from the Preservation Trust of Vermont. Here’s a video of their honorarium.
Santa’s Land reopened for business in November of 2017, offering weekend hours up to Christmas Day. The response was nothing short of exciting. Families who visited Santa’s Land for 60 years returned in droves.
There are some changes to the park – the new carousel, for instance – but the buildings are repainted and cleaned, new Christmas exhibits and dioramas are on display, and the train that travels through the 42-acre evergreen-lined property has been fully restored to its original glory.
The one thing that’s not part of Santa’s Land at the moment is the petting zoo. For the moment, the animal cages and pens are still on the property, but they currently remain empty. Perhaps someday some animals may return to Santa’s Land … or perhaps there may be a new future use for those cages and pens.
The future does indeed look bright for the roadside attraction that almost vanished forever.
I’m good with that.
Especially since … at the time of this blog post … there are only 130 days until Christmas. 😀