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Santa's Land saying goodbye - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Santa's Land saying goodbye

Tim Wells Tim Wells

Putney, Vermont - December 4, 2011

A longtime holiday landmark in Putney is closing it's doors.  Santa's Land, a 54-year-old attraction along Route 5, is going out of business.

At Santa's Land in Putney, riding the Santa train has been a tradition among families for nearly 60 years.

"We remember eating pancakes in their little igloo pancake house a long long time ago and the igloo slide I remember doing that and the cho-choo train is what my kids are loving this year," said Debbie Urban, a visitor at the park Sunday.

Like the Peckham family from Connecticut, who've been making the drive to what they affectionately call the North Pole, for three generations. But this year will be their last visit because Santa's Land is closing in just two weeks, according to owner, Tim Wells. "The cost of business has gone up and at the same time that revenue has gone down, and I think the economy is directly attributable to what's happened," he said.

Santa's Land has wintry decor reminiscent of the North Pole -- a petting zoo, and fun for kids of all ages. It opened its doors 54 years ago, but has been owned by the Wells Family for the past seven. "It's a tradition in Vermont that's going to be closed and gone, and I think that's the hardest part for us," he said.

Wells attributes the cost of gas as one reason for the decline in business.

"We would love to come back. We schedule it in to our Christmas every year -- we always do," said visitor Lynn Peckham.

Unlike the Peckhams, who are an exception, much of Santa Land's out-of-state visitors have stopped coming and that, according to Wells, has caused revenue to drop by nearly 66-percent.

While the Wells are sad to see Santa Land go, Santa himself, a.k.a. Arthur Bailey, who is 92 years old, says he thinks maybe it's time for him to retire. "I'll do what every retiree does, watch some TV, fine (inaudible) with the neighbors and just enjoy myself," he said.

The park is up for sale, which the owners hope will keep the Santa train rolling down the tracks during holiday seasons to come.

Like the Peckham family from Connecticut, who've been making the drive to what they affectionately call the North Pole, for three generations. But this year will be their last visit because Santa's Land is closing in just two weeks, according to owner, Tim Wells. "The cost of business has gone up and at the same time that revenue has gone down, and I think the economy is directly attributable to what's happened," he said.

Santa's Land has wintry décor reminiscent of the North Pole -- a petting zoo, and fun for kids of all ages. It opened its doors 54 years ago, but has been owned by the Wells Family for the past seven. "It's a tradition in Vermont that's going to be closed and gone, and I think that's the hardest part for us," he said.

Wells attributes the cost of gas as one reason for the decline in business.

"We would love to come back. We schedule it in to our Christmas every year -- we always do," said visitor Lynn Peckham.

Unlike the Peckhams, who are an exception, much of Santa Land's out-of-state visitors have stopped coming and that, according to Wells, has caused revenue to drop by nearly 66-percent.

While the Wells are sad to see Santa Land go, Santa himself, a.k.a. Arthur Bailey, who is 92 years old, says he thinks maybe it's time for him to retire. "I'll do what every retiree does, watch some TV, fine (inaudible) with the neighbors and just enjoy myself," he said.

The park is up for sale, which the owners hope will keep the Santa holiday train rolling down the tracks during holiday seasons to come.

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