Take a walk down memory lane and the yellow brick road! Share your stories and photos from visits to the Land of Oz theme park.
Between 1970 and 1980, Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow could be found right here in North Carolina at Beech Mountain’s Land of Oz. If you were a child in North Carolina back then, or if you had children or grandchildren, you likely made a visit to the Emerald City.
Do you remember those visits to the Land of Oz? Did your summer vacation include a stroll down the yellow-brick road? Did you take a ride in the hot air balloon? Did you run into the Cowardly Lion or did you see Dorothy’s ruby red slippers?
Share your memory of those visits and tell us what you remember about your trip to the Land of Oz. We’ll post those memories and accompanying pictures here. Scroll down to see reader-submitted stories and photos, along with a gallery of images taken by acclaimed North Carolina photographer, Bruce Roberts, at the Land of Oz in the 1970s.
From Our Readers
-Jim Lackey from Charlotte, N.C.
My two daughters, Kimberly and Lori, now 43 and 41, were young girls and our vacation to the Land of Oz was a wonderful family adventure for which we planned and budgeted for a year.
The year was 1977, and Kimberly was 9 and Lori, 7. During the five-hour drive up from Georgia, in a time before cell phones, electronic games, and DVD players, we talked, laughed, played silly car games, and sang.
In pulling out these Oz pictures, I am transported back to those golden days of hiking and camping in North Carolina and the sweetest memories of my home state. At Oz, my girls believed, and so did I. (I still do.)
Thank you for the beautiful remembrances and for allowing me to share these happy times through our family pictures. -Judie Baker Hockman from Atlanta, GA.
So, my husband & I decided to take a weekend trip to Beech Mountain & check it out. It was great! We took the hayride up the mountain & saw the beautiful moutainside scenery. Our kids had such a good time! Dorothy’s house was the best, especially walking out into Munchkinland and onto the yellow brick road!
We plan to go back & enjoy it again. We’ve only been that once, but it was definitely something everyone that is a Wizard of Oz fan should see!
-Jennifer Parrott & family from Creedmoor, N.C.
-Briana Shelton from Marion, N.C.
My husband and I were out looking for places in the mountains to take photographs and were riding around the Beech Mountain area. We stopped in a likely place but soon discovered that the trees and power lines were blocking the view. We started to climb back in the car when we saw a man with a pair of binoculars came ambling out of the woods.
We struck up a light conversation and asked him if he knew of any good overlooks for photo opportunities. He smiled and said he used to live in the area and pointed us in a direction upward and said, “You need to go to the Land of Oz.” He said it was falling apart, to be careful but he was sure we’d find some great views up there. We laughed and he assured us it is a real place, or at least it was.
So, feeling like rube explorers being sent out on a snipe hunt, we headed off in the direction he suggested. And we found it. What’s left of it. The remnants, however, were so surreal. It was as if Disney Land had been swallowed by the Rain Forest.
I wish it could be refurbished and brought back to at least a portion of its former splendor. It haunts you — and it beckons you to follow the yellow-brick road once more. I’d like to go back.
-Ginger Gheres from Angier, N.C.
I remember being beside my Dad and there was something going on and I couldn’t see because I was so little. Dad picked me up and put me on his shoulders so that I had a pretty decent view of – guess what – two gigantic dancing mushrooms! And they were purple and far away, on a stage. Looking at some of the photos that folks have posted, I realize that I did not fabricate this memory, and I even recall now seeing “Dorothy,” too. Thanks so much for doing this feature and giving me assurance that my first memory is real and not the product a youngin’s overactive imagination.
-Kimberly Griffin from Durham, N.C.
-Jann Fisher from Waynesville, N.C.
My husband worked for Boren Brick in Pleasant Garden (near Greensboro), where the yellow bricks were made. They were fired with a yellow glaze on the brick and not painted. When we revisited the Land of Oz a few years ago (with our son and his family), we noticed that some of the bricks had been replaced and were painted yellow (probably because some were broken or missing and there were no more specially made glazed ones).
What wonderful memories were made there. Hopefully, the Land of Oz will continue to mesmerize young and old alike, even if it’s for only a weekend in the fall.
-Brenda Varner from Thomasville, N.C.
-Cassandara Sabo from Dublin, VA
-Debbie Lesley from Salisbury, N.C.
-Frances Humphrey from Burlington, N.C.
Now, I am an adult and still a huge Oz fan. My family and I attend the Return to Oz weekend on Beech Mountain every October. I have enjoyed reliving those special memories and making new memories with my daughter. Seeing the Land of Oz with her the first time was a treat!
For me The Land of Oz was like walking through the pages of my favorite book. I hope that every child who loves Oz as much as I do has the opportunity to skip down the yellow brick road.
I never dreamed that we were actually going to the Land of Oz. When we arrived at the Land of Oz, I was so shocked. We then got a special tour and acted out scenes of the movie. Then, I had a special wedding shower with a wonderful lunch with some of the greatest friends a girl could have. Now I have been married for 1 & 1/2 years, and I still have my ruby slipper on my Christmas tree every year. The ruby slipper was my last clue on my wedding shower adventure.
-Kelly Wike from Taylorsville, N.C.
All the kids dress up and most of the parents do, too. The Beech Mountain Chamber does a great job with this event. The mountain is beautiful that time a year, with mums, pumpkins, and scarecrows. Don’t forget to visit Fred’s General Store — its such a great place. There are several good restaurants and hotels, or you can stay in Banner Elk — just a few minutes away.
It is a perfect fall family event that you and your kids will treasure. Be prepared to wait in line as it does get really busy during the 2-day event! I suggest getting there early on Saturday, taking the bus up to Oz, and the hayride down the mountain. Make a weekend of it, also visit wonderful Grandfather Mountain! Go shopping in Boone and Blowing Rock. WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD!! October 1st and 2nd, 2011.
Hope to see you there,
Your COWARDLY LION “I do Believe in Spooks! I do, I do, I do!”
-Anna Olliff from Martinez, GA
-Jane and Phillip Rhodes from Lake Santeelah, N.C.
- Meredith Hall from Charleston, S.C.
– Kathie Lee from Pisgah Forest, N.C.
In the village at the base of the mountain was a shop with hand-crafted furniture. There was a hand-crafted dining room set made of black walnut and it was so beautiful! The entire set (large table, 8 chairs and a hutch) was selling for $800. I still think about that furniture and wish I had bought it but at the time we didn’t even have a dining room! Wonderful memories. We need more places like that. We later took other family members and everyone enjoyed their time at this magical place.
The trip down the yellow brick road was a grand experience for our family.
I had the pleasure to see the yellow brick road again from the air. I’m an Aerial Photographer for NCDOT and we were surveying N.C. Highway 194 when I saw the famous yellow bricks again.
We visited Beech Mountain again for one of the Land of Oz festivals, but my father had just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia and the weather was 36º, very foggy, and very, very windy, so we weren’t able to go in. I do hope soon to visit that magical place that brought an incredible movie to life.
— Dawn Dale from Statesville, N.C.
I guess the trip was more for me and no one else. I grew up watching Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz.
Well, years have passed and my granddaughter got to go to the Land of Oz in October. They got up early on Sunday morning so they could be the first people in line since the lines get very long to ride to the top of the top of Beech Mountain. Morgan, my granddaughter, enjoyed the trip thoroughly and being eleven years old, she sure enjoyed the trip a lot more than her dad did 36 years ago.
Morgan and her cousins came home with their faces painted by someone who did a wonderful job creating some of the figures from the movie. She came home with some great pictures.
In 2009, I got a group of friends together and I recreated the costumes to look like they did in the ’70s, from Dorothy’s mini-dress and knee socks to the Scarecrow’s checkered pants. We have been going the past two years for the Autumn at Oz event and we go in the summer months to recreate the old publicity photos.
— Billy Ferguson from Jonesboro, TN