‘Haunted Inns and Hotels of Virginia’
Unexpected company on your travels in the commonwealth
If you’re looking for travel lodging with a story, let “Haunted Inns and Hotels of Virginia” be your guidebook.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is packed with history, from indigenous people to Jamestown, the Revolutionary and Civil wars, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights movement, and beyond. While newsworthy events make it into the history books, ordinary people make their own stories, living and dying and, maybe, coming back from the dead. “Haunted Inns and Hotels of Virginia” tells these tales, set in historic lodging throughout the state. Well-known people and, mostly, everyday souls populate the pages of the book.
Like a travel guide, the skeleton of the book breaks down using geography, covering lodging in seven regions from Virginia Beach in the east to Hot Springs and Abingdon in the west. The lodging ranges from small bed and breakfast inns to grand historic hotels (with a handful of listings that have scaled back to dining).
Each entry covers a separate inn or hotel, setting the stage with an overview of its history.
And then, the entry launches into the meat of the book: mysterious sightings, sounds, and experiences alongside the people that just might be creating them.
Consider the grand Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach – the building is filled with history and hauntings: a soldier, a little girl and her cat, a server who walks through walls, and more. The most colorful story is of Adolph Coors of the long-lived beer family. In 1929, Coors died in a fall from the sixth floor. Today, when they walk past the spot where he fell, “some guests say they hear a loud thud,” writes Schwartz. He also supposedly showed up in photos from a 1970s wedding.
The Martha Washington Inn & Spa in Abingdon has been considered one of the most haunted hotels in the commonwealth. The tales are so numerous that the front desk keeps a log book to record sightings. I got a peek at the book during a visit to Abingdon – it’s a better morning read than at bedtime.
Other spirited spots include Market Square Tavern, one of the original buildings in Williamsburg with some of the oldest haunts, including, possibly, Thomas Jefferson; Natural Bridge Hotel, where the former owner’s family members may still wander, after said owner killed them; and the Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, which saw – and may still see – Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers and enslaved people.
Author Susan Schwartz has two decades of experience in writing and relishes delving into the paranormal. For the book, she visited the locations to compile her own experiences and photos as well as anecdotes and images from others – including owners, employees, and guests as well as other paranormal investigators.
I’ve had the chance to stay at or visit several of the hotels in “Haunted Inns and Hotels of Virginia,” including Hotel Roanoke, The Martha Washington, Cavalier, the Inn at Willow Grove, and King’s Arms Taverns. With 36 entries in the book, I have plenty more places to visit. Do you?
“Haunted Inns and Hotels in Virginia” by Susan Schwartz
Arcadia Publishing: Haunted America, August 2023