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Along Interstate 95 at the North Carolina / South Carolina border lies “South of the Border“, an interesting mexican-themed roadside attraction full of fireworks, mini golf, and even a few amusement park rides. According to Wikipedia the theme park took up as much as square mile at one point and required its own police and fire departments.

Nature meant to reclaim this place, and no one remained to fight it off.

But it doesn’t seem like time has been very kind to the southern fiesta. The theme park still exists and attempts are being made to revitalize it. But a quick look around makes it clear that the area’s glory days are solidly in the past. Directly across the interstate lies abandoned reminders of the tourist-trap’s former heyday, with old hotels left to rot, their doors open to vandalism and drug paraphernalia rather than greeting excited families eager for a rest.

That’s where I spotted a decrepit Knight’s Inn motor lodge and knew I had to pull over to take some photos. I’ve always had a fascination with abandoned buildings and ghost towns, and this was ripe with all of the eerie reminders of a vibrant past. Diner booths where parents used to fuel up on coffee were now rotted and splitting their seams. An old brochure stand advertising the area’s attractions was no longer protected from the weather and its papers hung in defeat. Nature meant to reclaim this place, and no one remained to fight it off.

There was a playground in the back of the property that I would have clamored for when I was a kid. I remember climbing those cramped stairs up the slide, to the top of the rocket when I was a child, looking down from a seemingly atmospheric height as I planned my orbital escapes. I spent hours at places just like this as my family traveled across the country, and many more hours wishing I could return. I suppose those memories contribute to my fascination. These photos are filled with trash – but this place is filled with memories and moments for thousands of travelers who may never know its fate.

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