Haunted Inns and B&Bs Outside of Williamsburg
We’ve previously posted about the top haunted places to spend a scary night in Williamsburg, including the Brick House Tavern, the Market Square Tavern and the Fort Magruder Hotel & Conference Center. In case your adventures in our great state of Virginia take you elsewhere, below is a list of haunted lodgings located in other cities.
The Linden House B&B (Champlain, Virginia)
The Linden House B&B can be found on 11770 Tidewater Trail in Champlain, Virginia. The structure dates back to 1750. It is a part of a 204-acre estate, which was granted to the Browne family in 1719. It is listed on the National Historic Register and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
After Lewis Browne inherited the property from his father Merriday, he had the Linden House built on it. “After several generations, ownership passed to bachelor Albert O’Neal; then, in 1853, to Sarah J. Ellis whose daughter married J.H. Pitts.”1
By the early 1970s, the Linden House was abandoned; with no one to maintain it, it grew shabbier and shabbier. In 1990, Ken and Sandy Pounsberry came to the house’s rescue – they purchased the building and transformed it into an elegant bed and breakfast. Outside, the couple planted 650 trees on the lawn and added a six-stall stable barn and fenced pasture. They then built a beautiful carriage house (complete with a banquet room and a commercial-grade kitchen) on the property.
The next set of additions the Pounsberry pair made to the Linden House was completed in 1999. These included a grand ballroom, six porches, a gazebo, a fishing pond and several walking trails.
The Linden House B&B has four levels, and its design follows a three-bay, side-hall plan. There is a den and library to relax in, a formal dining room for enjoying meals, and huge foyers on every floor. All of its bedrooms have their own private bath and are furnished with various 19th-century antiques and period pieces. Many of the Linden House’s rooms are named after famous people – including the spacious Robert E. Lee Room on the second floor and the luxurious Jefferson Davis Room in the main house.
But don’t expect your night at the Linden House B&B to go completely undisturbed. The inn is rumored to be haunted. Some who have stayed there have heard disembodied footsteps on the third and fourth floors, while others recall hearing ghostly conversations in the night. A few guests have even seen a spectral, floating mist while staying in one of the main bedrooms, or come across yellowish orbs floating eerily in the halls. Objects are also prone to mysteriously disappear, and strange aromas have been smelled in multiple areas.
The Wayside Inn (Middletown, Virginia)
The Wayside Inn is the oldest continuously operated inn in the United States. It is located in Shenandoah Valley and has been open since 1797. Back then, it was known as Wilkenson’s Tavern. It was a popular “stagecoach stop, a relay station where fresh horses were readied, and where bounce-weary passengers could rest and refresh themselves.”2
Before the Civil War, the inn was purchased by a man named Jacob Larrick, who changed its name to Larrick’s Hotel. During the war, the inn was frequented by both Union and Confederate soldiers and was used as a makeshift hospital.
In the early 1900s, the inn was acquired by Samuel Rhodes, who gave the building its current title. He also added two wings and a third floor to the structure. Then, in the 1960s, the financier Leo M. Bernstein bought the structure and introduced numerous renovations. Bernstein hailed from Washington D.C. and had a keen interest in preserving American history. He was also a very savvy real estate broker and adored collecting antiques. He decorated the Wayside Inn with many of his lavish pieces.
The inn was then sold in 2009 to Jacob and Lois Charon. Since then, guests and employees alike have encountered ghosts all around the building. One staff member, for example, recalls seeing the apparition of a woman in a high-collared blue dress floating around in the lobby. Others have spotted the ghosts of war veterans flitting from room to room.
Other strange things are seen and heard at the Wayside Inn. Several people have caught the creepy sounds of children running in otherwise empty hallways. Servers have seen dishes fly off shelves in what was once the slave kitchen, even felt something brush their arms while working.
If you stand next to the fireplace in the inn’s lobby, it is said that you will encounter an unusual cold spot. If you leave a pile of coins on your nightstand, you will wake up to find them rearranged in the letter L. The Wayside Inn’s Room 14 is especially prone to paranormal activity.
But according the Charons, the ghosts of the inn are friendly. “All the spirits here are good. There are no evil spirits here.”3 In fact, many go to the Wayside Inn just to experience something supernatural.
Page House Inn (Norfolk, Virginia)
The Page House Inn, located on 323 Fairfax Avenue in Norfolk, is said to be haunted by the mother of former innkeeper Stephanie DiBelardino. The inn was opened a little over a year after Stephanie’s mother, Jean, passed away. At her dying mother’s request, Stephanie kept the china closet “just the way she had it set up.”4 Nowadays, the dining room’s china cabinet frequently opens on its own, despite being tightly locked.
The Page House Inn was once a mansion, built in 1897 and owned by the Page family. It was transformed into an apartment complex in the 1940s, during World War II. It was then restored and turned into a bed and breakfast in 1991.
The inn stands right next door to the Chrysler Museum of Art and is located in the heart of the Ghent Historic District. It is pet-friendly and offers the best of Southern hospitality from dusk ‘til dawn. With a four diamonds rating under its belt, the Wayside Inn has been “referred to as ‘Norfolk’s Hidden Treasure’”5. Its rooms are quaintly named and decorated (check out the Mistress Adella’s Suite6 and the Master Lawrie’s Room7!)
By the Side of the Road B&B (Harrisonburg, Virginia)
If you don’t mind things going bump in the nights, book a room at By the Side of the Road B&B. This historic bed and breakfast was opened after the American Revolutionary War. One of the early leaders of the Mennonite Church, Bishop Peter Burkholder, once lived there. Burkholder was known for his writing and authored “The Confession of Faith of the Christians known by the name of Mennonites, in Thirty-Three Articles” in 1837. He was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania on August 27, 1783. He was a progressive leader who spoke both German and English.
During the Civil War, By the Side of the Road B&B was used a hospital. General Philip Henry Sheridan tried to burn the building several times in 1864, but the structure’s sturdy foundations allowed it to withstand all three of his attempts. John B. Wenger, who lived in the building at the time, hid wounded Union soldiers in his home.
By the Side of the Road B&B is a post-Federal period structure. Today, it retains much of its original mid-19th century architectural integrity, as well as the spirits of its former tenants. At night, guests have heard ghostly footsteps creeping outside their rooms and the sounds of spirits in conversation. They have also seen doors close and shut by themselves.
According to local lore, the B&B is haunted the ghosts of two former innkeepers and their daughter. People often hear the girl’s spirit, trying to sneak back into the building in the early hours of the morning.
Chamberlin Hotel (Hampton, Virginia)
The present nine-story, U-shaped Chamberlin Hotel was constructed in 1927 and completed in 1928. Its red brick foundations were laid in Flemish bond. The acclaimed architect Marcellus Wright designed it in the Beaux Arts style. He topped its central pavilion with a pediment en ressaut and gave its entryway a pair of magnificent exterior stairs. Inside, Wright equipped the hotel with long corridors and a remarkable indoor swimming pool, known for its multi-colored mosaic tiles. Several of the hotel’s guest rooms and public spaces boast terrific views of the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads.
The Chamberlin Hotel of today is actually the fourth in a series of resort hotels built to cater to the visitors of Fort Monroe. It replaced a hotel which burned down in 1920.
Fort Monroe, named after our fifth president, was made in 1609, with further fortifications added after the War of 1812. Its purpose was to protect Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay from naval attacks.
The Fort served as a Union stronghold and transfer point for mail exchange during the Civil War. Today, it encompasses over 150 historic structures, including the Chamberlin Hotel, a boarding school and the Casemate Museum. It is a popular tourist destination and a National Historic Landmark.
During the roaring twenties, the Chamberlin Hotel was one of the most opulent hotels in the United States and a favorite vacation destination among the wealthy class. By the 1990s, however, the hotel lost much of its early grandeur and appeal. A group of investors swooped in to rescue the building, restoring it to its original magnificence and opening its doors as a waterfront retirement community in 2008.
Ghosts have been spotted at both Fort Monroe and the Chamberlin Hotel. In the Fort, the ghosts of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln have been seen. According to local lore, Davis “was imprisoned there after being wrongly accused of plotting the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.”8 The spirits of an angry-looking man and a woman dressed in a white nightdress have also been spotted. People say that the woman was shot and killed by her husband, after being caught in bed with another man.
The Chamberlin’s most famous ghost is that of a young woman, known as Esmeralda. Esmeralda is believed to be the daughter of a ship captain or fisherman, who never returned home one day from sea. According to a gift shop clerk, “She’s still waiting for him […] She knocks things off shelves every once in a while, and sometimes she plays the piano.”9
Some claim that the hotel is also haunted by the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s been seen on the hotel’s porch, often wearing a top hot. Poe actually once served as a sergeant major at Fort Monroe, before deciding that the military life was not for him.
Conyers House Country Inn & Stable (Sperryville, Virginia)
The Conyers House Country Inn & Stable is currently operating as a cozy seven-room bed and breakfast. It dates back to the early 1800s and was once used as a general store and a hippie commune. In 1979, the building was purchased by the Cartwright-Browns.
Today, the inn offers guests a true taste of the past. Guestrooms are equipped with antique beds, bath tubs and various period pieces. Outside, the inn’s gardens are well-kept and fully stocked with colorful flowers and fruit-bearing trees. But behind this relaxing atmosphere lurks a lonely but benevolent spirit – the ghost of a man named Sim Right, who lived in the house from 1924 to 1964. A suite in the inn is actually named in his honor. According to innkeeper Sandra Cartwright-Brown, “Sometimes things disappear, and then they are put back exactly where they should have been after you search for them very thoroughly […] We just laugh and say, ‘Sim’s busy again.’”10
Wherever your travels in Virginia take you, let us know what ghosts you encounter!
1. Crookshanks, Barbara. “An Old Virginia Christmas.” The Free Lance Star, 18 December 2003. Web. 4 September 2016. Page 84.
2. “History.” Wayside Inn, n.d. Web. 5 September 2016. Para. 1.
3. Ash, Linda O’Dell. “Wayside Inn’s spirits are friendly.” The Northern Virginia Daily, 12 July 2011. Web. 5 September 2016. Para. 27.
4. Turnage, Sheila. Haunted Inns of the Southeast. Published by John F. Blair, Third Printing, 2007. Copyright 2001 by Sheila Turnage. Page 193.
5. Hagan, Lauren. “Weekend Getaway: The Historic Page House Inn.” VAMDDCDog.com, 18 November 2010. Web. 4 September 2016. Para. 1.
6. “Norfolk Bed and Breakfast Accommodations ~ Mistress Adella’s Suite.” Page House Inn, n.d. Web. 5 September 2016.
7. “Norfolk Bed and Breakfast Accommodations ~ Master Lawrie’s Room.” Page House Inn, n.d. Web. 5 September 2016.
8. Hames, Jacqueline M. “The haunting of Fort Monroe.” Army.Mil, 28 October 2011. Web. 4 September 2016. Para. 7.
9. “The Chamberlin Hotel.” Road Trip America. Information contributed by the Fort Monroe Cultural Resource Manager. Last update: 26 June 2005. Web. 5 September 2016. Para. 7.
10. Turnage, Sheila. Haunted Inns of the Southeast. Published by John F. Blair, Third Printing, 2007. Copyright 2001 by Sheila Turnage. Page 195.