Longfellow Wayside Inn of Sudbury, Massachusetts has been a working inn for over 300 years so as you can imagine, it’s haunted. Actually, it’s largely considered to not only be the oldest working inn in the entire United States, but it is said to be one of the most haunted inns in all of New England, not because of the amount of spirits that haunt it’s rooms but because of one very, very active spirit that still resides in room 9.
The inn started as a modest, two-room family residence in 1707, and officially became a working inn by 1716. Originally known as Howe’s Tavern, this quaint inn was made famous when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow employed it as the setting for his book of poetry, “Tales of a Wayside Inn” in 1863.
Henry Ford, the billionaire founder of the Ford Motor Company and long admirer of Longfellow’s work, purchased the property in 1923 and restored the inn and the over 100 acres of land it sits on, to it’s former tranquil glory. His goal was to turn it into a living history museum to save it from modern development. He added to the property a grist mill, old red schoolhouse, chapel, and more.
Despite all these renovations room 9 is still to this day haunted by Jerusha Howe.
The original inn got the name Howe Tavern because it was built by the Howe family who handed it down through four generations. The Howe’s innkeeping legacy ended with Lyman Howe, Jersusha’s brother since he never married or produced an heir by the time of his death in 1861.
Jerusha was known as “the belle of Sudbury” and her musical and artistic skills were renowned. She famously owned the first piano in town and was known to play it for visitors at the inn. night.
So the story goes that she was engaged to an Englishman and that he sailed home to England to make arrangements for the wedding, and was never heard from again. It’s not known if he just abandoned her or he drown at sea or who knows!? What is known is that she never married. She lived out her days at the inn by her brother’s side helping him run the business before she died at the age of 45 in 1842 of a broken heart.
Today she is said to haunt room 9.
Some guests in room 9, and also in room 10, have reported smelling Jerusha’s citrus perfume or feeling her sweep past them on the stairs. There have even been claims of being awakened by her touch or seeing her presence at the foot of the bed. People also say they can hear her playing the piano while they’re in the room.
Room 9 is also home to the Secret Drawer Society which is a name given for the many visitors who leave little notes, usually reporting on any Wayside Inn ghost encounters, stuffed into little cracks, crevices, and drawers all throughout the room. Some of the notes still in the room go back decades.
Beth and I actually got to go with BPI to investigate at Wayside prior to starting this podcast with our buddies Boston Paranormal Investigators.
Want to learn more? Join Amelia and Beth this week as they go over some truly haunted inns here in the great state of Massachusetts! Inns we go over include The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, The Concord Colonial Inn of Concord, The Longfellow Wayside Inn of Sudbury, The Beechwood Inn of Barnstable, and the former Crown Plaza (now the Holiday Inn Suites) of Pittsfield! Find it wherever podcasts can be found of by clicking HERE