Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bayside Park Colchester, VT Digging Into The History Of A Park

 Clarey's Bayside, better know as Bayside Park

Some areas that are open to metal detecting are the town parks located throughout Vermont.  No matter what you do, make sure to be careful about leaving the area looking better than when you found it.  Remove old trash that you come across and make sure to cover any holes that you may dig.  Parks can be a great area to metal detect in.  Many parks are used by all sorts of different people.  What I want to focus on today is to dig a little deeper into the park's history to find out how old the park really is.  If you find that the park is old then this the coins and items that you will discover here will be older and worth quite a bit more.  Because it is a park, you always have the opportunity of discovering rings, necklaces, watches etc... 
One such park is Bayside Park located in Colchester, Vermont.  I researched the area and found out that it used to be called Clarey's Bayside and was a popular spot in the early to mid 1900's.  You know what that means.  Silver Coins!  I searched for old photos of the area and am including them in the History section of the post.  By using the older photos and comparing them to the photos of the area today, one might determine where the old buildings used to stand.  Check for areas that were being used more often in the older pictures, "baseball field, courts, people gathered etc..  Then figure out where those spots are today.  By doing so you can then narrow down your areas to search.  I bet you will find a lot more older targets that way too...  If you get a chance to get out and make any discoveries, let me know. 


Older residents of Chittenden County will remember the first big establishment on the bay which catered to all ages and types of people bent on recreation. In 1927 George F. Clarey opened Clarey's Bayside, Inc. Vacationsist's paradise. On his 25 acres, again on the south side of the bay near Coates Island, Clarey put up numerous housekeeping cottages and cabins, as well as a pavilion for ballroom dancing, square dancing and roller skating-to say nothing of pin ball machines and bingo, or beano as it was first called.

Bayside From Lake Champlain, Malletts Bay, VT
Pavillion activities were only a portion of the entertainment fare at Clarey's. One could swim from their private sandy beach, and from its shoreline set out for boating and fishing. The recreation park featured a baseball diamond, lawn basketball court, volleyball couert and areas for badminton and ping-pong. In the "shady grove" one found open fire grilles, picnic tables, shelters, and a children's playground. According to Clarey's granddaughter, "Many school picnics and other annual outings staged by clubs and similar organizations were held at Clarey's. She adds that pie-eating contests were one of the special feature highlights on square dance nights.

Clarey's Bayside Cottages,
 About ten years ago the pavilion burned in a spectacular blaze, and thereafter for a time Clarey's daughters continued to rent the cottages and cabins. In 1969, however, the two owners, preferring to see the area used for recreation rather than for residential development, sold the land to the town of Colchester, which was able to procure both state and federal funds to assist in the purchase. From this exchange grew the present Bay Side Park. 

Deluxe Cabins at Bayside, Lake Champlain Malletts Bay

This town recreational area so impressed the Chittenden County Historical Society that in 1971 the Town of Colchester received one of nine awards made that year recognizing outstanding scenic and architectural improvements.

Today, in 1975 Colchester is conducting a whole series of activities to satisfy every type of recreational need. The park is annually the center of Colchester's big Fair Day held on the Fourth of July, with its traditional features of an all-day picnic, a parade and fireworks after dark.


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