From Dave Brigham:
I've spent a lot of time in recent years tromping through woods in the suburbs south and west of Boston. Most times, I go in search of ruins of one sort or another: a rifle range, a mill, a barn.
Thanks to the terrific Atlas Obscura, I learned about something completely different in the woods not more than 10 miles from my house.
Martini Junction sounds like the sort of joint you'd find hardcore alcoholics rattling off ribald tales of their younger days, while watching Fox News on the TV above a bar well-worn with spilled booze and broken hearts.
But it's not, fortunately. Rather, it's a whimsical place in the middle of the town forest of Needham, Mass. Built by a retired engineer who lives close by, the junction comprises loads of model train tracks and accompanying woodland scenes, such as fairy houses, water wheels and superheroes nailed to trees.
I explored it one day and just got such a good feeling from this place. I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures and thrilling at each new discovery. The guy who built it named it Martini Junction, apparently, because he and his wife like to have picnics at the spot with a few adult beverages.
Evidently battery-powered trains run on the tracks, but I didn't get to witness that. I had such a good time that I brought my wife and kids here a few days after my initial visit. I refused to tell them what was going to be at the end of our hike, and after 15 minutes or so they began to think I'd lost my mind.
But once we got there, they were all just as enthralled as I was. If you ever get a chance, you should check it out, too!