The Haunted Longfellow’s Wayside Inn
300 years of history to explore, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn is the oldest operating Inn on the one of the oldest commissioned roads in the United States. The Wayside Inn Historic District was designated a Local Historic District in 1967, a Massachusetts Historic Landmark in 1970, and a National Register District in 1973. For three hundred years, the Inn has provided the setting for historic meetings and
gatherings, the stories of which have been handed down from innkeeper to innkeeper and from neighbors to guests.
One example is the October 1862 visit to the old Howe Tavern by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his publisher, James Fields. This created afar reaching impact on the literary and artistic significance of America's oldest hostelry. Longfellow made the defunct Sudbury tavern the gathering place for the characters in his 1863 book Tales of a Wayside Inn, and because of the poet’s immense popularity, generations of readers, poets, and artists would seek out the colonial landmark for decades to come.
After the death of the last Howe innkeeper in 1861, the homestead operated as a boarding house for itinerate farmers and other temporary guests. But Longfellow penned such a vivid portrayal of the Howe tavern and its innkeeper—the Landlord of the Tales—he captured the public's imagination. The day-trippers who visited the tumble-down structure were only shown a few scantly furnished rooms, but that did not slow the near-daily rush of tourists.
The Wayside Inn provides plenty of rooms for fine dining, as well as an authentic looking 18th century barroom, though in fact it’s a replica built after most of the inn burned in the 20th century. A pet project of Henry Ford, the entire inn as well as a nearby grist mill, church and other outbuildings were restored and the whole place has a feel of a miniature Colonial Williamsburg, without the interpreters. There’s
even a museum and gift shop at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, so despite the fact you’re well in the country, there’s plenty to do and see.
Longfellow’s Wayside Inn is believe to be the longest running inn in the United States, and it’s a lot like staying in a living museum. There is no wonder of the incredible spirituality roaming through it's spaces. Rumors of ghosts in this haunted Massachusetts inn stretch back beyond 1868, but the real star here is Jerusha Howe, a charming woman who died in 1842. Handsome and slim, she remained unmarried and lived in what is now rooms nine and ten. Male guests in those rooms have reported waking to a soft breath on their face, then opening their eyes to find themselves staring into hers. Others have stated that she isn’t averse to snuggling up to men who spend the night here alone. Reports of unexplained foot steps, soft music, and perfumed scents have led some people to believe that our "ghost" is the last Howe innkeeper's sister, Jerusha. Jerusha was born in 1797 and
died in 1842. While living at the Inn she occupied rooms 9 and 10, and most reports of a mysterious presence have come from houseguests who have stayed in those two rooms!
There’s a secret staircase to rooms nine and ten, and Jerusha seems to enjoy playing with the locks.Room nine is a treat in other ways. Decked out in wood panelling, with a wood floor and no television, there are hundreds, if not thousands of notes left from previous guests. There’s even a secret treasure box if you can figure out the mystery.
Longfellow's Wayside Inn
72 Wayside Inn Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
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