About 20 years ago I was bicycling around the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts and stumbled across the tiny village of New Salem. I found a long town green lined with mature, old trees, surrounded by 18th and 19th century homes and buildings. There was no sign of a traffic light, convenience store, gas station, or of any modernity what-so-ever. I felt as though I had stepped through a window in time to the year 1830.
I half expected to see a movie crew appear from behind the false facades of each of the buildings. But, these building were real on my first visit, and just and fantastic today when I returned to New Salem on the way home from a photo shoot in Hadley, MA about 15 miles away. A sign indicates that this is indeed an historic district.
It is so important to preserve windows in time like New Salem. I imagine that each of the 50 US states has precious little villages like this one, seemingly unaffected by the giant footprint of development and economic growth. I’ve felt the same sense of wonder and excitement while “discovering” a silver mine in Colorado, the remains of a logging camp in Maine, and a farm valley in Rochester, Vermont known as North Hollow.
If you know of secret little villages like New Salem, please let me know. Maybe this will the beginning of a photo essay or book!