In case you didn’t notice, this past weekend was gorgeous. On Sunday I refused to sit at home and do nothing. We debated playing some tennis or going to Mansfield Hollow or Talcott Mountain, but we’ve been there, done that. So, The Betrothed suggested that we go try to find the Moodus Noises.
What the hell are the Moodus Noises? I’ve lived here all my life and have never heard of them. Apparently, in Moodus by Mount Tom, you can hear these “noises” and feel a shaking in your chest. These rumblings are apparently shallow earthquakes and small seismic disturbances. Supposedly, a Native American religious cult grew around these noises and the area was named “Matchemadoset” or “Matchitmoodus”, which meant “Place of Bad Noises.”
The noises are supposed to be most intense by a cave near Mount Tom, which lies on the property of Cave Hill Resort. When we pulled into this place, it was like taking a trip back in time. The place was deserted, but looked in fairly good condition which only made it that much creepier. It’s one of those vacation resorts that were popular back in the 1950’s. Think Dirty Dancing but a little smaller. In fact, I was waiting for Baby and Patrick Swayze to pop out of one of the cabins. Or zombies. Or Patrick Swayze’s zombie.
Since the place was the perfect setting for a B horror movie, and it probably would have been trespassing to park and go exploring, we decided to head to Machimoodus State Park across the street. Before setting out on our hike, we met Scarlett and Inky, two miniature American breed horses. Inky just stuck her head out from the trailer, but Scarlett had not yet been loaded in and we hung out with her for a few. I really should have kidnapped her because she was just my size and a sociable sweetheart.
Machimoodus was a nice park–an easy hike with some good spots to sit and chill. No trash cans and no bathrooms that we found, so you’ll have to mark your territory. There are even some grills available, had we thought to bring food.
From there we took a drive to Gillette Castle to check out William Gillette’s digs. Now, I had forever thought that he was a guy who wrote the Sherlock Holmes books, but he was actually a stage actor who played Holmes, donned the outfit and pipe we most associate with the character, and coined the “elementary” phrase. Shows what I know.
The crowd was surprising — everything from little old ladies who must have 23,982.019 cats at home to bikers and foreign visitors. They even had a nice gentleman dressed up like Gillette/Holmes. Apparently, his wife was also running around too, but we didn’t meet her.
The castle is brilliant. Clearly, Gillette was an eccentric fellow, but a creative genius. He not only designed the castle and commissioned his “railway,” but he also had all of the fixtures designed and created in a workshop within the castle. This included curtain rods, wall sconces, window frames and a clever bar that had a special trick to open it and access the booze. Gillette apparently had a grand old time tricking dinner guests with it. He also installed mirrors and little secret entrances and exits to spy on guests and perfectly time grand entrances. Even his light switches were handmade out of wood and modeled to look like the light switches in a theatre.
The bedrooms are fairly small, but the views are spectacular and everything is decorated in wood and woven grass. Definitely worth a visit — especially since an adult ticket is only $6 and you could bring a picnic and hang out on the grounds. Not a bad, and cheap way, to spend a beautiful Sunday.