The Wizard, as in The Wizard of Oz, of course!
Last weekend myself and two of my bestest friends piled into my car, with 90s hits blasting loud and proud from the radio (thanks to Slacker Radio!) and headed southbound on I-95 towards the lovely state of North Carolina.
This wasn’t just a weekend getaway, it was a weekend in Oz. Yes, you read that correctly, Oz. I went to Oz. Traveled, not by twister, but by Honda Fit to the land that’s paved with yellow bricks. And boy was it a whole lot of fun!
A few months back, which I was browsing SLJ’s website, I clicked one of the many SLJ blogs, not because I’m an avid follower, but because something caught my attention, and sparked an interest. So I clicked, and inside I found a small blurb, a reposting of a Huffington Post article (found here) about an abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park that has been closed for quite some time, but open every single year for only two days for an event called Autumn At Oz.
Now, before I continue on I want you to understand something: one of my friends is Oz obsessed. I’m not lying about this. Her collection is vast, her love for all things Oz runs deep and true. So when I heard about this, I knew I had to tell her. I felt a moral obligation to, not only my friend, but to our friendship, inform her about this event.
Being the fan(atic) she is I figured she already knew about this. I mean, how could she not!? So I told her, fully expecting a bored expression as a response.
Now, let’s be shocked readers! My wizard of Oz loving friend did NOT know about this! Yes, readers this was a proud moment for me! The Wizard of Oz fan imparted some wisdom on the Wizard of Oz fan(atic).
So from the moment this information passed my lips I knew we’d be off on our own Oz adventure.
This past weekend I went to Autumn At Oz in Beech Mountain, NC with my aunt and two bestest friends in tow. For any Wizard of Oz Fan fanatics this is a dream come true! Even for us regular fans it was pretty awesome!
It was a whirlwind of weekend, with us driving down to my aunt’s house in North Carolina (which took close to 10 hours give or take) on Friday, us driving just over three hours to get to Beech Mountain, NC to attend Autumn at Oz on Saturday, and then driving another 10 plus hours to come back home to NJ.
Crazy? Yes? Worth it? Most definitely. We had the chance to visit a place we were once only able to visit in our imaginations! We had the chance to see a part of Americana history.
So after many hours spent in a car, driving up and spiraling into the mountains of North Carolina, we arrived at Oz. Or well, the parking lot that would eventually lead us to the Emerald City. We had to park and then take a bus further up the mountain to the actual theme park (a very rickety, often herky-jerky ride up a steep mountain).
This is where the fun begins ….
He still hasn’t given Dorothy’s picture of Aunt Em back!
We may have been on our way to Oz but we certainly weren’t there just yet. We made a brief pit stop in Kansas, and visited Dorothy’s house – pre – twister!
Dorothy, Aunt Em, and Uncle Henry were out, but little Toto was home!
That chair right there, in the left corner of the room. That there chair is Uncle Henry’s chair. (imagine I said that with a thick Southern accent)
And this is Dorothy’s room. She even has a picture of her idol, Judy Garland, on the wall.
After touring the pre-twister house we made our way through the black lit basement. Man it was a twister!
“The wind began to switch – the house to pitch – and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch. Just then the Witch
to satisfy an itch went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch.”
Things got topsy – turvy on the other side of the twister!
Boy it was a real doozy walking through that twisted house.
A terrible accident happened while we visited Oz. Someone dropped a house on a ….
Ruby-Slipper Wearing Witch!
Greetings! And Welcome to the Land of Oz …
Follow The Yellow Brick Road? Follow the Yellow Brick Road!
Follow, Follow, Follow the Yellow Brick Road
As we made our way through Munchkin Land
We spotted Glinda’s bubble (which is a lot smaller than it appears)
We stumbled upon the Tin Woodsman and his tiny tin house. Cozy, isn’t it?!
We followed the Yellow Brick Road, and it led us to one of the greatest thinkers of all time
“With the thoughts I’d be thinkin’ I could be another Lincoln, if I only had a …. “
I could tell you why, the ocean’s by the shore, but I can’t tell you which way to go
And neither can he
So through the haunted forest, where lions, tigers, and bears roam freely we stumbled upon the Green Faced Witch’s castle.
We even stumbled upon the Witch herself!
(who slipped in and out of a British Accent. I thought I was in Oz, not back in London!?!)
But she’s wasn’t nearly as scary as these guys
But we made it out of the evil clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West’s lair, and before reaching the Gates of the Emerald City, met the whole motley crew!
It was a long, tiresome journey. But finally we reached the gates of the Emerald City
It was through this long journey that I learned that Dorothy was right: THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
The Four Friends Wave Goodbye!