Virginia is one of the most beautiful, serene and scenic destinations on the East Coast, with legendary southern hospitality. Some of Virginia’s finest homes, hotels and inns and historic sites are so hospitable, in fact, that some guests decide to stay forever, as in well into the afterlife. With more than 400 years of spirits, it’s no wonder Virginia has more listings on the National Register of Haunted Places than any other state in the nation. For those who believe in things that go bump in the night, Virginia is filled with places that are high on the list of any dedicated ghost-hunter. The sites and tours below promise for a hauntingly good trip, with more ideas found on www.Virginia.org.
Guided “ghost tours” take on a more authentic feel when walking some of America’s most historic sidewalks. The Haunts of Richmond tours use the Edgar Allan Poe Museum as the base for one of its nighttime walking tours. Richmond’s haunted sites can also be toured by trolley with Ghouls Ghost Tour by Trolley. Colonial Williamsburg’s Peyton Randolph House and George Wythe House are considered to be among America’s most haunted abodes. Those are two of the stops on the Spooks and Legends Haunted Tours on which door knobs and shutters rattle and guests are met by costumed interpreters along their route. In Southwest Virginia Appalachian Ghostwalk Tours guide visitors through the streets of Abingdon and Bristol where famous ghost stories abound. Charlottesville’s Ghost Mystery Walking Tour is a tour with a twist. Guests are presented with the tale of a 1904 murder and try to solve the mystery of who’s guilty during the two-hour adventure.
Haunting spirits are said to be seen at historic sites across Virginia. At Alexandria’s Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, visitors have reported the apparition of a beautiful young woman who died there in the early 1800s. The city’s Ramsay House also has a famous haunting. Dumfries’ Weems Botts Museum is reportedly inhabited by a ghost who likes to throw books and turn lights on and off. At Colonial Williamsburg visitors might hear Lady Ann Skipwith on the stairs of the George Wythe House. Hurrying home late one night after a party she broke her slipper and hobbled up the stairs with a distinctive clunking sound that some say can still be heard there at night.
Abingdon’s venerable hotel, The Martha, is said to be home to the ghost of a young woman of the Civil War mourning for a soldier. Across the street from the hotel at the Barter Theatre, the State Theater of Virginia, actors have reported seeing theater founder Robert Porterfield sitting in the audience. Porterfield died in 1971. Visitors need to watch their step inside Winchester’s Cork Street Tavern where a ghost seated at table L-6 likes to stick a foot out and trip unsuspecting guests.
Even Virginia’s popular theme parks get in on the seasonal fun all decked out for Halloween. Busch Gardens’ annual horror-fest Howl-O-Scream features sinister tricks and terrifying fun. Younger guests will enjoy Sesame Street characters in the Forest of Fun. Kings Dominion’s “Halloween Haunt” transforms the park into a rolling good time where roller coasters aren’t the only scary things.
Visit www.Virginia.org for information on planning a Halloween getaway to Virginia this fall, or call toll-free 1-800-VISITVA for a free Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide.