Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

More From Massachusetts

A young spirit is being itself.

”Hey! We used to work here, but we like to tease now!”

“My broken heart won’t stop me from doing my job and seeking some entertainment.”



“Legendary Tales. Timeless Hospitality”

“Whether it be for a romantic weekend getaway, a special retreat, a quintessential New England excursion, or simply a quiet evening away, (Longfellow’s) Wayside Inn offers a timeless country experience any time of year.”

The Wayside Inn, a Massachusetts historical landmark, is a 300-year-old wonder, a real step back into time, with a sampling of architecture from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The Inn hasn’t changed much in decorum or style from its beginning, thanks to careful renovation by the Ford Trust, founded by historical preservationist Henry Ford of the Ford Auto Company.

Seven additions have been made to the original dwelling over its long history to make room and accommodate the needs of travelers and “family, slaves, farmers and tavern workers.”

The Wayside Inn offers a restaurant and ten guest rooms, nicely decorated with antiques that reflect 18th and 19th Century tastes in decor. Two rooms, numbers nine and ten, are original to the early 18th Century Howe’s family home, before he added to it to open an inn and tavern. All the rooms have a fine view of the lovely grounds and gardens.

The Wayside Inn is part of a one hundred acre historical park that has many other historic properties, besides The Wayside Inn. Many were brought in from other places, and restored. These include the Martha Mary Chapel, the Wayside Inn Gate House, the Wayside Inn Barn, the Wayside Inn Boys School, the Redstone School House, and the Cidar Mill.

The Wayside Inn Foundation is a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that holds the reins of responsibility with much enthusiasm “for the care and maintenance” of all of its historic structures. Driving/WalkingTours can take the visitor all over the 100 acres of historical buildings. The property is used for educational purposes, and social events, making good use of the historical structures.



The original structure was built for the David Howe family. In 1707, David Howe built a two-room house on his own land, with an upstairs sleeping quarters for his wife Hepzibah and their baby, the first of seven offspring. His land had formerly belonged to the area’s Native Americans, going back some 3,000 years.

In 1716, Howe was granted a license to run a “House of Public Entertainment” which was known as Howe’s Inn, keeping a long family tradition of running an inn and tavern. The original downstairs, which was the kitchen, became a bar, while another two-story addition was built for family quarters and eventually the parlor, which Longfellow made famous.

Thirty years later, under the new management of David’s son, Colonel Ezekiel Howe, Howe’s Inn became known as the “The Red Horse.” The Colonel’s additions included the Back Parlor (which doubled the size of the Inn in the mid 1700s), the West Kitchen, the bed chambers above it, and The New Hall, used as a ballroom or reception area.

Interestingly, the inn became a meeting place for the militia to group and organize before following Colonel Ezekiel on April 19, 1775, to fight in Concord during the Revolutionary War.

True to family tradition, Ezekiel Howe passed the The Red Horse Inn down to his son Adam Howe, in 1796, who renamed it Wikerson’s Tavern. Adam was as successful as his father. He added the old kitchen building. When the time came, Adam in turn passed the inn onto his son Lyman Howe in 1830. Lyman never found the right woman to marry and died childless.

One of the most famous guests to grace the sign-in book was the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who came in 1862 for a rest, to recover from his wife’s death and to find inspiration to overcome his writer’s block, right in the middle of the Civil War. In 1863, he did indeed find comfort and inspiration here, writing his book, “Tales of a Wayside Inn,” in the inn’s parlor.

In 1863, Longfellow described the inn as an old Hobgoblin Hall, in need of a little TLC. “Old Hobgoblin Hall. With weather-stains upon the wall, And stairways worn, and crazy doors, And creaking and uneven floors, And chimneys huge, and tiled and tall.”

By this time, the inn had undergone yet another name change and was now the Larrick Hotel and Tavern. Among other things it was just a few miles away from a fierce battle at Cedar Creek. Uh OH! Luckily they were just far enough away to avoid getting hit with a cannon ball or two.

During the Civil War, the Red Horse Hotel and Wilkerson Tavern, then known as the Larrick Hotel and Tavern were just a few miles away from a fierce battle at Cedar Creek. Uh OH! Luckily they were just far away enough from getting hit with a cannon ball or two.

During the conflict, the Larrick Hotel was an equal opportunity inn that accepted guests from both sides, depending on whether the Union or Confederacy had control of the area.

After Lyman Howe died, the buildings were no longer used as an inn, though the nice hall was rented for receptions and special events.

In 1897, a well-to-do wool merchant, Edward Lemon, bought the whole property, and reopened the inn, which by this time really needed some TLC. Lemon renamed the hotel the “Longfellow’s Wayside Inn,” with the idea of making it a place for aspiring writers and poets.

Besides sprucing up the inn to 1897 standards, Edward remodeled the one-time carriage house into an art gallery, by adding onto the building to make it big enough to showcase his entire art collection.

After Edward died, his wife Cora sold the property to Henry Ford in 1923. He in turn renovated/restored the inn, and moved other historical buildings from around the country onto the large property. He had them restored as well, including an old school house that was in shambles. His restoration workers accepted the challenge, and it was reconstructed to be historically accurate, restoring it to its former glory.

Henry Ford was also interested in giving an education to orphan male teens, turning some of the old houses into dormitories, and building a school there, offering opportunities for the lads to learn a trade as well as get an education.

When Henry died, he willed it all to the state in an educational and charitable trust, to be used as a historic museum. The restored Wayside Inn was reopened and leased to new owners. It became popular with both the living and the spirits who had personal ties to this very old building.

Other preservationists have meanwhile stepped into Henry Ford’s shoes and continued to restore old buildings on this property.



Throughout the eras, children have been victims of disease and accidents. Their spirits sometime stay where they felt love.

Lafitte’s Guest House, LA (A girl died here from yellow fever).

Bullock Hotel, SD (A child died here due to a disease epidemic that swept through town).

Shandley Hotel, NY (A young girl fell down the hotel’s well and drowned).

The (Longfellow) Wayside Inn, MA (The spirit of a small child has made itself known in The Wayside Inn).


Servants, employees and slaves sometimes choose to spend their afterlives where they worked in this world.

The Curtis Inn, CT (The spirit of a hostess still helps in the dining room).

Glebe House Museum, CT (The spirit of a female slave likes Girl Scouts who visit).

Morgan House Museum, KY (The spirit of a Nanny still enjoys taking care of the living.)

The (Longfellow) Wayside Inn, MA (This inn apparently has spectral employees, not on the payroll).


Suffering from a lost love can continue into the afterlife, keeping spirits in this world, with eternal hopes that a beloved will return.

Jean Bennett Tavern, PA (The spirit of a wife of a dead soldier still waits for him to return).

Edgewood Plantation Bed and Breakfast, VA (The spirit of young woman still waits for her beloved, while simultaneously managing the living).

Westover Plantation, VA (Forbidden to marry her beloved, this matriarch spirit still waits for him to find her, but keeps herself busy in the mean time).

The (Longfellow) Wayside Inn, MA (The spirit of Jerusha Howe still nurses a broken heart, as she waits for his return).

The Story of Jerusha Howe

Jerusha was the sister of one of the owners during a period of time which spanned four generations of this family. She fell in love with a sailor from Britain, who wooed her, promising his love forever. When he left to go back to the British Isles, he solemnly promised to return and marry her.

It is an age-old story. Something happened to him on the way to Britain, or on his journey back to America, because he never returned. Perhaps he was a Casanova with a wife or lover in England!

No one knows what happened to this suitor, but Jerusha Howe’s heart was broken. Yet remained resolute. She never gave up hope, pined away for him, and never married anyone else.

While she continued to live her life, to enjoy her musical abilities, and tended to her duties, her love life was frozen in time. She needed counseling with a good therapist, but that wasn’t an option then. After forty-four years of living/working in the house, she died a single lady. In the afterlife, her spirit still waits for the love of her life, and amuses herself by teasing the living males who visit, and seeing after others.




General Paranormal Activity

Items move around The Wayside Inn. Perhaps, spirits are borrowing them, or perhaps they have found a better place for them. Perhaps the spirits are simply letting the living know they are present.

The disembodied voices of spirits are heard when The Wayside Inn is empty.

The footsteps of unseen presences are often heard.

The Spirit of a Young Child

Guests have heard a young child running happily up and down the hallways.

This child likes to visit the living when they are sleeping.

This spirit’s first initial is L, and she or he still knows it.

One guest left some coins on the table next to the bedside. After waking up in the morning, the guest saw that his coins were arranged in the shape of an L, like a small child would do.

The Spirits of Former Slaves

The Old Slave Kitchen (Now a Dining Room) is an area that has been claimed by the spirits of former slaves.

While they are willing to share it with the living, they guard their privacy, and try to discourage nosy paranormal investigators.

The spirits turn off cameras and drain batteries, trying to send a message to the living.

The Spirits of Former Employees or Owners

In The Wayside Inn Kitchen, items have the habit of flying off the shelves, landing safely, unbroken.

A small plate once swooshed off a shelf and landed softly on the floor as if some unseen presence put it down.

A dishwasher who was working in the kitchen wore an apron. A mischievous spirit liked to untie it, and still does today.

The Spirit of Jerusha Howe

Jerusha has been active all over the inn for a long time.

Secret Drawer Society – Since the 1900s, ghostly experiences with Jerusha have been written down in notes and stuck into drawers and other crannies in the rooms of the inn.

While Jerusha likes to hang out in rooms nine and four, she has been experienced all over the inn.

Her Unseen Personal Appearances

The feeling of her unseen presence has been noticed by many through the senses.

The aroma of her citrus-scented perfume is noticed.

When the inn is empty of visitors, her favorite piano piece, “Copenhagen Waltz” has been plainly heard by the living, coming from her old piano.

She has been known to gently touch the living.

On the stairway which winds up to the second floor where her living quarters were located in life, the living have experienced a “haunting, faintly perfumed presence and a light, swift step on the narrow twisting stairway.”

Making Herself Visibly Known

Her actual apparition has been seen here for a very long time as well.

She has been observed wearing a blue dress with a high collar.

A see-through woman has been witnessed standing in the parlor by the fireplace, perhaps cordially welcoming guests.

Jerusha Howe Visits Rooms

The three rooms once used by Jerusha were located over the kitchen.

They were made into one room, room nine, when the new hall was finished.

She occasionally visits other rooms as well, to check on her guests.

She has been seen standing in their corners, just watching.

A male guest shares, “Around five am she came into my room, sat at the foot of my bed, and a few moments later, walked in front of my bed (she looked like a small strip of green light) disappeared in front of the door.”

Room four is located above the famous parlor in the first addition. Here, artist/writer Victoria Shearer was once treated to a spectral light show.

Lonely For Male Attention

She sometimes forgets her social manners and gets a little affectionate with male visitors.

Some of these male guests claim to have been caressed and gently touched by Jerusha in an alluring fashion.

She has been known to climb into bed with unsuspecting men on occasion for a brief time, perhaps giving them an affectionate hug!


There have been years of personal experiences with Jerusha and the spirits who reside here.

Zac Bagans and his Ghost Adventure crew have caught hard evidence and had personal experiences with Jerusha. He also recorded a male voice as well as Jerusha’s when Zac was in her room nine. Perhaps the spirit of a male family member of Jerusha is keeping an eye on her.



Yes Indeed!

The spirit of Jerusha keeps the living company, and other benign but mischievous spirits also amuse themselves. Possibly, a male spirit from Jerusha’s family visits or stays to keep an eye on Jerusha, perhaps trying to comfort her.



72 Wayside Inn Road
Sudbury, Massachusetts 01776

The Wayside Inn is located on Wayside Inn Rd, between Boston Post Rd (Hwy 20) and Dutton Rd.


  • The Ghost Hunters Field Guide, By Rich Newman, Llewellyn Publications, 2016
  • Dailymotion website:xqhuok,”Ghost Adventures” – Longfellow’s Wayside Inn Episode, posted by Bary Cochrane, 2012
  • The Northern Virginia Daily website, “Wayside Inn’s Spirits are Friendly” article, By The Northern Virginia Daily, July 11, 2011.
  • Sudbury Historical Society, Subury Driving Tour 2, with pictures and reading material about each spot.
  • http://sudbury01776.org/tour2.html
  • Sudbury Historical Society, Subury Walk Tour 2,
  • http://sudbury01776.org/walk2_2.html

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

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