DON’T GO TO THIS INCREDIBLE RENAISSANCE FAIR AN HOUR FROM DC

IMG_5833No seriously, don’t go.  I mean, yeah, it’s surreal and incredible and one-of-a-kind, but it’s also private property, with “No Trespassing” signs posted everywhere, and actively being used by a “hunting club,” which is a term used for packs of men tromping through the woods and firing high-powered rifles at the slightest movement.  The cops also check in on the place regularly.  So yeah, don’t go.  However, if you did manage to sneak in, you’d see one of the best abandoned sites on the east coast.  (Don’t do it, though.)khitrogueLocated off Route 3 just outside of Fredericksburg, this medieval amusement park was opened by the Renaissance Entertainment Corporation (yes, that exists) in 1996, and promptly closed down in 1999.  The park, built on swampy Virginia land that was once owned by George Washington’s mother, suffered from terrible heat and a plague of insects.  (Urban explorers who’ve been there say the site has some of the worst ticks and mosquitoes they’ve ever seen, as well as snakes, lizards, and frogs.)  Ye olde fair was left to slowly decay and fall apart.  Someone eventually picked it up for a little over a million (setting up the original fair cost over $5 million) but then promptly went bankrupt, and now the site is in private hands, and closed to the public.3wBuCJ5Some people have gone in anyway, though, and have described a surreal, eerily well-preserved spectacle.  WAMU sent a drone in, which captured some fascinating video footage, and a DCist writer braved sheriff’s deputies and unfriendly locals to get some great photos.  The place is especially popular on the various Abandoned Buildings subreddits, where local urban explorers trade stories about their adventures.  Redditors say parking at the front gate is a sure way to draw police attention, and that since the front gate is securely locked anyway, it’s best to be dropped off or to park far away.  The hunting club uses it mostly on the weekends, for shooting and off-roading, so explorers have had more success on weekdays, preferably in the morning or midday.YVg7GnQRecent photos uploaded by Redditors show Tudor-style buildings half-swallowed by undergrowth, pastel-colored towers rising out of the bush, overgrown wooden bleachers ringing the jousting yard, and lonely plywood castles rotting from the inside out.  It’s like if the Black Plague had killed off everyone on the planet and humankind had ended in the Elizabethan era.  Weirdly enough, the crown jewel of the site is a strange anachronism that has nothing to do with the renaissance era;  a full-sized pirate ship that sits on the shore of the park’s artificial pond, its masts still erect after two decades.  You can’t look at these pictures without thinking about getting all your friends together, quitting your jobs, and moving out there.IMG_5793Plot twist – you probably could!  Though the property’s not formally listed at the moment, locals have long said that it could be had for pennies on the dollar.  Developers have been scared off by nearby wetlands that make residential or commercial development complicated, but a civilian doing a simple rehab would be no problem.  Think about it – for the price of a house in LeDroit, you could have an entire medieval village, plus a pirate ship!  What’s the downside, other than your parents’ crushing disappointment?K3jBDn04qDVMv9mDsV2Hm2haWFMzNNTiOhDUECebdGcFhcyStQlpek3FHmU4eFivNJSr44UtVfA7HgwjXao90DretSaBtH0P08sUz9cMNxwAjPZ6yIPW2LS1rakEtuLE1wHg8cOzGACiMSDonBh

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