A Night at Longfellow's Wayside Inn | Sudbury, Massachusetts

Earlier this year I wrote an article for Yankee Magazine online about the rumored ghost, Jerusha Howe, at Longfellow's Wayside Inn. The area she is said to frequent the most is room #9, her former bedroom.

I don't know what to call myself when it comes to ghosts, a hopeful skeptic or a skeptical believer, but whatever you want to call it, I take every claim with a grain of salt, especially when a ghost comes with a name and a whole story behind it. If there are ghosts, I wonder, how does everyone seem to know it's this particular person and for this particular reason they are haunting a place? Most reported ghost encounters are fleeting, vague, and without explanation given to the witness from the supernatural source. Though I am a skeptic and prefer to take all natural explanations into account first, I have always been endlessly curious about the paranormal, history, and all things spooky. I am drawn to it like a moth to flame; and so it was probably destined from the onset of writing the Yankee Magazine article that I would stay a night in Jerusha's room at some point.

As with almost all my adventures, especially of the spooky variety, I brought my best friend, Emily, with me. We booked a room, she came in from South Carolina, and off we went to the beautiful Wayside Inn. Haunted or not, the Wayside Inn is one of my favorite places in the world. I could spend hours wandering its grounds or sitting in its 300 year old bar room. I highly recommend anyone visiting the Boston area to go out of their way to visit the Wayside Inn for a drink, a meal, or an overnight stay. You won't regret it!

The barn at the Wayside Inn was an especially beautiful sight during our October visit.

The Grist Mill at the Wayside Inn provides at beautiful backdrop for photos or a stroll.

The old Redstone Schoolhouse and the Martha Mary Chapel are both on the Wayside Inn property.

Most of the evening, Emily and I spent our time in the old bar room. We had meant to eat a full dinner in one of the dining rooms, but the welcoming, cozy ambiance of the bar room, especially as we sat by the fireplace, kept us from wanting to leave (you can read another post I wrote about the Wayside Inn Bar room here). So, we ordered drinks and snacks there instead.

Longfellow's Wayside Inn Bar Room

After relaxing by the fire, our hunger satisfied, we descended up the old, steep staircase to room #9, our 18th century sleeping quarters for the night.

There is a definite feeling to the old room, but I wouldn't know what to call that feeling. Some may interpret the feeling as spirit, while others may say it's the dark corners, squeaky floorboards, and low ceilings of an old room. Living in a home that is over two hundred years old, I am well aware of the tricks old places can play on your mind. I am also aware of a certain sense of history and a feeling of centuries of lives having been lived that fills an old room with an indescribable atmosphere. I always find that environment intoxicating.

Room 9 is famous for being sort of the headquarters of the Secret Drawer Society at Wayside Inn. It started back in the 1950's and has grown into a really fun tradition. Guests will write of their experiences in the room, paranormal or not, and hide their notes throughout the room. Some even leave little treasures for future guests to take home. Emily and I spent a good portion of the night exploring every nook and cranny, reading notes, many filled with clues, from years past.

Other than the unique atmosphere of the room, nothing out of the ordinary happened through most of the evening. We quietly read notes and chatted. It wasn't until we put everything away and lay still that anything odd happened. A party that had been going on downstairs died away in the wee hours of the night and a hush fell over the inn. We silently got ready for bed, but the stillness was broken when a loud metal jangling was heard from a tiny closet in the room. It was as if someone had run their hand across the hangers, causing them to crash into one another.

The small closet, where the noise came from.

As we settled in for the night, our eyes were wide open and alert, we both saw something I can only describe as looking like a very fast moving fly, but surrounded by light, dart all around the room. This happened for quite awhile, and I'd never seen anything like it. Then I looked over at Emily, who appeared to be almost in shock, which gave me a fright. That's when she told me that something had just touched her arm, a light, feather-like touch, sweeping up her forearm.

The rest of the night was quiet and I slept soundly. I still don't know what to make of what happened, as my skeptical side always has a way of challenging my believing side. I know it was out of the ordinary and possibly something supernatural, but I also know there could be natural causes to this too. This is one of the reasons I love to visit these places with Emily. She has an easier time of noticing these things and believing, and as Mulder from X-Files would say, I want to believe.

Whatever the cause of the happenings that night, neither of us felt anything negative was going on. It was a comfortable room, that didn't feel at all scary. In fact, we both would love to spend another night there in the future, and perhaps see if we encounter any other strange occurrences.

One of the wonderful features of staying a night in the Wayside Inn is their delicious breakfast in the morning, which is included in your stay. Emily and I picked whatever we wanted from the extensive menu and it was one of the best breakfasts I've had in a long time.

Staying at the Wayside Inn is a whole experience, and not just another night at hotel. I can not recommend this place enough. It is pure New England and worth every penny, and for those not willing to brave staying in a room rumored to be haunted, the Wayside Inn also offers newer, more typical inn rooms. For those of you wiling to stay a night in room 9, Emily and I left a little treasure to be found, and if you find it, let us know! (Emily posted a video on our stay and the hidden treasure on her instagram.)

Beautiful Wayside Inn


  1. Ahhhhh!!! What a fun and spooky night! Im sure if I'd been there I would have missed everything spooky, as I always did, lol!!! What a beautiful place. Gotta get up that way again!~

  2. These pictures are STUNNING! So quintessential New England. I hope you had a great time there!

  3. Thanks for posting the pictures. I wanted to stay in that room but was afraid.

  4. We were married in Martha and Mary Chapel, had our wedding reception, including lunch at Wayside Inn. My husband and I had dinner and spent our wedding night at the Inn as well. It was in October and just as beautiful as these photo. And, oh yes, my father and I arrived at the chapel in an elegant horse drawn carriage in which I later left with my husband.

  5. Please come visit my store next time you're at Wayside. Only 15-20 mins west of there on route 20. purplerosehome.com.