THE BETTER WAY TO SLEEP WITH A GHOST: A 2013 Roundup of Bootiful and Spirited “Dead and Breakfasts”

Avenue Inn, New Orleans, LA Hysterical or historical?  Sometimes spirits make themselves as comfortable in America’s B&Bs as living guests do, and not just in the dead of night. Whether it’s the great breakfasts, the welcoming hospitality, or the spirited conversations at  these often historic homes, it’s not uncommon that friendly spirits simply don’t want to leave the B&Bs they call home. A BedandBreakfast.com survey compiled a few years ago, revealed that nearly 20 percent (an estimated 4000) of the inns in the United States are haunted. This leaves ample opportunity to sleep with a ghost for those open to the other world.  In the same survey of inn travelers nearly 64-percent of respondents either preferred to stay at inns where ghosts have been seen or admitted it didn’t matter if it was haunted or not haunted.  Nearly all respondents’ answers indicated they believed in ghosts!

While some innkeepers worry about sharing their ghost stories, many others feel friendly spirits are an additional attraction to the B&B experience.  Either way, it’s clear that plenty of friendly spirits have decided that B&Bs are the better way to stay. The Better Way To Stay campaign  compiled this list  of 30 great places to sleep with a ghost  from innkeeper stories, written legends, and thorough research with the intention of building a complete list of great places to sleep with a ghost. Read on for the Better Way to Stay campaign’s colorful list of  ghost stories from America’s B&Bs, organized regionally, then alphabetically by state.

WEST

The Groveland Hotel, Groveland, CA: An old gold-miner named Lyle was found dead with a box of dynamite under his bed here yet still prefers to hang around. Spirited storyteller and innkeeper Peggy Mosley has a collection of Lyle stories compiled from employees and guests that she loves to tell. Although a recluse in life, Lyle’s spirit tends to the playful. He particularly dislikes women’s cosmetics on ‘his’ dresser and has been known to move such items to a nearby sink. One Groveland Hotel guest watched as her new makeup ‘hopped’ over the back of the dresser and landed on the floor. Lyle is a great tease who likes to tinker with lights and water, and enjoys moving items around desktops.  www.groveland.com.

MIDWEST & GREAT LAKES STATES

Inn at Aberdeen, Valparaiso, IN: Featured in the book Haunted Hoosier Trails, guests report seeing a little girl ghost, often observed late at night on the master staircase. She has been noted to “mess with the guests’ stuff” or turn on the fireplace in their rooms. The Indiana Ghost Trackers investigated the inn and reported that Sarah Ritter, an original inhabitant, and her two children died in the home. The Ghost Trackers detected the presence of a young girl and a male with high EMF (electromagnetic field) meter readings and positive EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recordings. A door repeatedly opened behind them when the girl’s presence was felt during the Ghost Trackers’ stay. www.innataberdeen.com.

Ghosts-GrandAveBandBGrand Avenue B&B, Carthage, MO: While the “no smoking” rule is in effect for all guests, the former owner is exempt. A ghostly whiff of his trademark cigar smoke wafts through the rooms from time to time when he makes his visits to his 1893 Victorian mansion. The Murder Mystery weekends add to the ghostly fun too. http://grand-avenue.com

Mill House B&B, Grand Rapids, OH:  From time to time, guests have claimed that the inn is haunted.  After hearing a noise in the attic, the son of the innkeepers checked it out and created a video for the Internet about his spooky adventure. Come find out if what they say is true. http://themillhouse.com/

Honeybee Inn B&B, Horicon, WI: It’s believed that a lumber baron named Coton is still hanging around with his female companions. His beloved rocking chair, where he took his last breaths, rocks by itself, and the innkeeper’s family has spotted a woman in a long skirt with an apron. Paranormal Investigators explain that stairs squeaking at night and the unexplained ringing of bells are evidence of an active spirit in residence. www.honeybeeinn.com

SOUTH

St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, FL: The oldest inn in St. Augustine, the property was built in 1791, and you can count on a few of its former residents still making an appearance from time to time. According to a former guest, shortly after he and his wife checked in, strange things began to happen. Another visitor at the inn described seeing a young African American girl, dressed in white, floating down the hallway. Later, just before going to bed, she said she saw the girl again in her room. Another guest reported that each time they tried to fill the bath with water, it kept getting hotter and hotter, no matter how much cold water was added. According to stories told, In the mid-1800s the man who owned the St. Francis Inn discovered that his nephew and his servant were having an affair. To punish his nephew, he fired the servant. But the nephew couldn’t live with a broken heart, so he hanged himself in the attic. Now they say two lonely spirits haunt the inn and play games with guests’ belongings and friendly pranks on guests, just to be sure they are not forgotten. For more detailed ghost stories from St. Francis Inn, click here: www.stfrancisinn.com/ghosts.html.

AuthenticWaytoStay-AzaleaInn-SavannahAzalea Inn and Gardens, Savannah, GA: Located in what is disputed to be America’s most haunted city, photos taken by guests here have revealed orbs, ghostly like circular glows seen in photos but not in real life. For days one room stayed icy cold despite the heater. Alarms sounding and phones ringing inexplicably in the middle of the night and a baby’s footprints appearing on the carpet are among the clues that former inhabitants are in residence. The original owners of the mansion had a son who suffered from dwarfism and died at an early age; clearly he’s not yet ready to leave. http://azaleainn.com.

Glen-Ella Springs Inn, Clarkesville, GA: Several unexplained incidents have been reported over the last 10 years. Unusual activity included guests reporting that they awoke to an old woman in 1800s-style clothes standing in the room. The woman just stood quietly and then disappeared. Other ghostly occurrences include the opening of screen doors, lights fading on and off, music playing in empty rooms without radios, and voices heard in dark air. www.glenella.com

Central Park Bed & Breakfast, Louisville, KY: Located in the heart of “the other” Central Park, where numerous ghost sightings have been reported, it’s no wonder this 1884 mansion has a few friendly spirits still roaming the halls. Included in the twice-weekly local ghost tours, many a strange sighting has occurred in the flickering of gas lights outside. In nearby Central Park A tall, sad male entity in a cape has been known to appear briefly in Central Park at dusk, in front of people and children. One little boy lost his ball in some tall grass. A tall male entity appeared, holding the boy’s ball, studying the lad. He eventually threw the ball to the boy and disappeared. www.centralparkbandb.com/

Avenue Inn B&B, New Orleans, LA: Beds move and shake in the night, singing can be heard coming from the old Nanny’s quarters when no one is there, and strange power surges in computers have all been reported from this Queen Anne style mansion in the New Orleans Garden District. Once, during a wedding ceremony, loud knocking sounds came from the inn’s dining room fireplace. Was it the wind or the original resident of the home signaling his approval? We’ll never know. But it comes as no surprise that ghosts may still be hanging around in this spirited town!  www.avenueinnbb.com

Ghosts-5 Continents Bed and Breakfast, New Orleans, LA5 Continents B&B, New Orleans, LA: In a city known for its ghosts, vampires and Voodoo culture, this inn promises not to disappoint guests with its offer to sleep with not only one spirit, but three. This 1890s Greek Revival Mansion has three resident ghosts, including a man said to have been a previous master of the house, a mysterious woman of color in a flowing white dress, and a very unusual part-time spirit in the kitchen area. www.fivecontinentsbnb.com

Cedar Grove Mansion Inn, Vicksburg, MS: Some have seen a child, some have heard voices, but the most common paranormal incident is the scent of pipe smoke in the gentleman’s parlor. It is thought that the spirit of John Klein, the owner of the house during the Civil War, smokes his ghostly pipe when he is dismayed.  If you smell it, delight in the fact that your very presence is dismaying! www.cedargroveinn.com.

By The Side of The Road Bed and Breakfast, Harrisonburg, VA:  When the innkeeper went to turn off the basement light, something grabbed her hand, yet nothing was there.  Just about every day footsteps are heard in hallways, and doors unexplainably open and close. For those who wish to experience a ghost, this might be one fun place! www.bythesideoftheroad.com

Black Horse Inn, Warrenton, VA: Four different ghosts have been accounted for in this former Civil War hospital. The first ghost is a woman believed to have been a nurse in the hospital, who is inclined to laugh only in gentlemen’s ears. She is believed to be comforting them with her soft, kind laughter just as she did the soldiers she tended. The second ghost is known to the whole community as “The Dancer” because the tap, tap of his shoes is heard throughout the night as he dances at the top of the stairs. Another male ghost inhabiting the Burgundy Room makes an impression on the comforter each time he sits on the bed. And the Ghost of Christmas has tipped over the Christmas tree — breaking all the ornaments — each year for the past three years. The tree is now wired to the corner of the room. www.blackhorseinn.com

MID-ATLANTIC

Ghosts-InnatMitchelHouseInn at Mitchell House, Chestertown, MD: Orange juice glasses don’t just shatter without a reason. And chandeliers don’t turn themselves off and on without electric malfunctions. But here they do. In addition to the legend that Sir Peter Parker, a British navy captain who died at the nearby Battle of Caulk’s Field in 1814, haunts the house, unexplainable incidents have happened. One morning, when guests were discussing a rumored dog ghost in one guest room where animals would always act very strange, an orange juice glass, just sitting at the breakfast table, shattered. In another incident, a chandelier turned off while all the other lights in the house stayed on. When the innkeeper went to check the circuit, which was fine, it turned back on. Paranormals also captured audio of a girl and a man speaking, separately, on digital recorders. They claim voices like this are often inaudible when they are in the room. www.innatmitchellhouse.com.

Main Street Manor, Flemington, NJ: A strange presence has been felt by guests of the inn, including one expert on ghosts. One woman asked if a baby had been born in her room, feeling the presence of mother and daughter. While no actual sightings have been reported, guests feel an ethereal presence here. www.mainstreetmanor.com

White Lilac Inn, Spring Lake, NJ: Many guests have smelled a floral scent on the staircase, always in the same place. The owners of the inn learned that former owner Sally Mann Randock Francis, now deceased, wore a floral perfume. Given the colorful nature of Sally Mann Randock Francis’s life, it is believed that she’s hanging on to insure guests share in the fun and frivolity that endured there during her lifetime.  We’re thinking the floral Sally’s signature floral scent was White Lilac! www.whitelilac.com

Mill House Inn, Easthampton, NY: Some say that Patrick Lynch has remained with the inn all these years; afterall  it must be hard leaving such a lovely home. He loves to raise havoc with the electronics at the inn. Several years ago, on a Friday the 13th with a full harvest moon, suddenly all the electronics in the inn went haywire.  The printer started spewing out gibberish and the telephone system went berserk. The main lines started ringing in the guest rooms; the voice mail was all confused. According to innkeepers, it took us most of the weekend to get it back under control and according to telephone system experts, this kind of thing simply can’t be blamed on a surge or blackout.  Guests have also reported seeing a grey lady in full petticoats standing in the corner of the dining room. When they blinked, she was gone. She is believed to be  Patrick’s wife who was killed when her petticoats caught fire in a barn fire on the property. Innkeepers feel the spirits are happy there and content with their hospitality; they applaud the extra guests who come and go from the inn.  www.millhouseinn.com

White Inn, Fredonia, NY:  Attracting guests not only for the food but the thrills that the rooms might bring, Guests have reported smelling cigar smoke, possibly from former owner who died there, Jack Maloney’s own cigars. One woman even claimed a female figure appeared at the end of her bed one night and talked to her. Many staff members at the Inn claim to have experienced strange paranormal activity. ”Several staff mentioned that they have seen Isabella White, an original resident of the inn, in the kitchen, room 264 and her room where she actually resided when living there. With its 40 Victorian-styled guest rooms, a dining hall and of course, its mysterious “bump in the night” noises, the Inn remains a major icon within the community. www.whiteinn.com

Ghosts-InnatHerrRidgeInn at Herr Ridge, Gettysburg, PA:  Formerly known as Herr Tavern & Public House, the tavern here served as an impromptu field hospital for the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the Battle of Gettysburg. It appears that the spirits of the wounded soldiers are still enjoying the spirits at the tavern here.  Innkeeper Steven Wolf said that once someone ordered a beer, but no one was there.  Odd occurrences regularly happen, including mysterious whispers, calling the names of the employees, plus cold spots, glasses and silverware flying off tables, even knives and forks falling blade or prongs first into the floor. Occasionally, computers type gibberish on their own, extinguished lamps relight, and unexplained crashes occur in the  kitchen. One employee was looking for a glass of water she had left sitting somewhere else; giving up, she returned to her desk to find it sitting there, frosted over. Innkeepers attribute much of the activity to the “house ghost,” Frederick Herr, who purchased the tavern in 1828. Be sure to take the Gettysburg Haunted Field Hospital Tour, available only to guests of the inn.  www.innatherrridge.com

Cornerstone B&B, Philadelphia, PA: A sweet, floral scent precedes sightings of a ghostly female shape at the Cornerstone Inn. Innkeepers claim she is an ethereal presence, and her signature perfume always occurs as she gently taps the foreheads of those at the inn. Some claim she’s a resident angel; others feel she’s a ghost.www.cornerstonebandb.com.

NEW ENGLAND

Stonecroft Inn, Ledyard, CT:  Stay in the Stonecroft Room in the older building  and you’ll be impressed with the beautiful hand painted mural on the wall.  If you look very closely, you just might find the ghost, if the light is just right.  Does he haunt the room?  Only for those determined to find his picture and can’t!  Hint: He’s dressed in colonial garb. www.stonecroft.com.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADeerfield Inn, Deerfield, MA: With so much colonial history preserved in Historic Deerfield’s living museum, it’s no surprise to learn that a number of colorful spirits are still hanging around. Flashing lights, knocks on doors when no one is there, moving books, and tables moved into the middle of the room are regular occurrences here. From time to time, the innkeepers report a gentle shove in the back, indicating it is time to go to bed and female guests enjoy a gentle pinch on the bottom. For ghost-seekers, much of this other world activity occurs in rooms 48, 43 and 41. There are actually two ghosts here, a man and a woman. The female ghost is believed to be the original owner of the house, Cora Carlisle, still hanging around to offer a little extra-worldly hospitality.  The male ghost, still a bit of a womanizer, is named Hershel.  Come on Halloween night and enjoy the spooktacular soirée and frightfully fun eat your heart out banquet featuring things like Ghastly Goulosh and mashed “boo-tatoes”. www.Deerfieldinn.com

Birchwood Inn, Lenox, MA: Certifiably haunted, the ghosts here date back to 1800. One guest swears a cat sat on his feet the first night, then it changed into a beautiful female apparition the second night. Few rooms at the inn have gone without ghost sightings. Come try your luck, and be sure to bring along some catnip, but don’t let Charley and Quinn, the resident  dog/assistan innkeepers know you’re partial to cats!  www.birchwood-inn.com

Emerson Inn by the Sea, Rockport, MA:  Guests have shared photos of shadowy figures in the doorways, and staff tell stories of a dark shadow of a man seen at the left side of the building.  Lights have been known to go on and off too, perhaps it’s the spirit of Ralph Waldo Emerson, former guest, simply turning off the light after a night of inspiration. www.emersoninnbythesea.com

One of the two parlors, all dressed up in the holiday "spirit" at the LimeRock InnLimeRock Inn, Rockland, ME: When experts of the paranormal visited the LimeRock Inn, they felt the presence of many people in the front parlor – vestiges of the patients who once sat in the parlor waiting room when the inn was home and office to Dr. Lawry, the local physician. A number of giggling phantoms played at the top of the stairs. Many of the presences at the LimeRock Inn gaze longingly out the windows. All are friendly, and it’s clear that happy family members are still hanging out here to welcome guests also in search of friendly spirits. www.limerockinn.com

Golden Stage Inn, Cavendish, VT: The innkeepers have become so familiar with the young friendly spirit who appears dressed in a traveling cloak and a large brimmed hat, that they’ve named him George. He appears often and sometimes plays tricks on the innkeepers. This Halloween, come dressed in costume and you might even get a glimpse of George.  www.goldenstageinn.com.

Whether ghostly, gorgeous and grand, the one word you won’t use to describe these B&Bs is ghastly. These spirits are hanging around for a reason.  They know the better way to stay when they find it.  While we can’t promise you will actually meet or sleep with a ghost, you will have a good…no grand…time trying to find them.

 

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