Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

More From Massachusetts

A young spirit has fun.

Former spectral employees make their presences know.

A female spirit has both a broken heart and a sense of fun.


“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, this Massachusetts historical landmark is a 300 year old wonder, a real step back into time; with a sample of architecture from 17th-19th century eras. This 300 year old Hotel hasn’t changed much in decorum or style from what it had been from the beginning, thanks to careful renovation by the Ford Trust, founded by historical preservationist, Henry Ford of the Ford Auto Company.

As to be expected, The Wayside Inn throughout its three hundred years of existence, seven additions were made to the original dwelling to make room and accommodate the needs of travelers and “family, slaves, farmers and tavern workers.”

The Wayside Inn offers a restaurant and 10 guest rooms, nicely decorated with antiques that reflect the 18th and 19TH Century tastes in decor. Two rooms; 9 and 10 are original to the early 18th Century Howe’s family home; before he built onto his home 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. Some of these are,Martha Mary Chapel, Wayside Inn Gate House, Wayside Inn Barn, Wayside Inn Boys School, Redstone School House , and Cidar Mill.

The Wayside Inn Foundation is a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that holds the reins of responsibility and enthusiasm “for the care and maintenance” of all of the historic structures; including the Wayside Inn and the gardens that also are there. Driving/WalkingTours can take the visitor all over the 100 acres of historical buildings. The property is used for educational purposes, and events using the variety of historical structures that were moved on the same 100 acres of land.


The original structure was built for the David Howe family. In 1707, David Howe built a two room house with an upstairs sleeping quarters for his wife Hepzibah and their baby, the first of seven offspring. This track of land which Howe owned had formerly belonged to the Indians, going back 3,000 years.

In 1716 Howe was granted a license to run a “House of Public Entertainment” and was known as Howe’s Inn in 1716, keeping a long family tradition of running an inn and tavern. The original downstairs, which was the kitchen, became the bar, while another two story addition was added for family quarters and eventually throughout the years became 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.” Colonel Ezekiel Howe additions included the Back Parlor (which doubled the size of the Inn in mid 1700s), the West Kitchen, and the bed chambers above it, and The New Hall, which was a ball room or reception room.

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

True to family tradition, Colonel Ezekiel Howe passed the The Red Horse Inn down to his son, Adam Howe in 1796., who renamed the tavern of The Red Hosre Inn, to be Wikerson’s Tavern. Adam was as successful as his father. He added the old kitchen building which was separate. 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 for a rest, to recover from his wife’s death and to find inspiration to overcome his writer’s block, in 1862; right in the middle of the Civil War. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow indeed found comfort and inspiration here. He wrote his book, “Tales of a Wayside Inn” in 1863 in the Hotel parlor.

Longfellow described the Inn, in 1863, 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.”

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 Civil War, The Larrick Hotel was an equal opportunity inn that accepted guests from both sides, depending on whether the Union or Confederacy had control over 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 need some TLC. It was Lemon who renamed The Larrick Hotel to be “The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn,” with the idea of making it a place to come for aspiring writers and poets. Besides sprucing up the place, Edward added onto the building what was once the carriage house, remodeling it into an art gallery, where Edward showcased his art collection.

After Edward died, his wife Cora sold the property to Henry Ford in 1923, who was the one who renovated/restored “The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, as well as moving other original buildings, from the time; such as the remains of an old school house, that he then reconstructed to what the wood was originally used for. He moved other historical buildings from around the country onto the large property.

Henry Ford was also interested in giving an education to orphan male teens 14-17, so he turned some old houses into dormitories and had a school there, with opportunities for the lads to learn a trade as well as get an education that would lead to a brighter future.

When Henry died, he willed it all of his historical park to the state in an educational and charitable trust; to be used as a historical museum. The restored Wayside Inn was reopened and leased to new owners.The Wayside Inn became popular with eh living and has delighted some entities who have made their home here once again as well.

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



Throughout the eras, children were victims of disease and accidents.

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

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

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

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

Servants, employees and slaves sometimes choose to stay where they worked in this world.

The Curtis Inn, CT (A hostess still helps in the dining room).

Glebe House Museum, CT (A female slave likes Girl Scouts who visit).

Morgan House Museum, KY (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 lost love can continue into the afterlife; keeping a spirit in this world, having eternal hope that the beloved will return.

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

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

Westover Plantation, VA (Denied her beloved, this matriarch still waits but keeps herself busy).

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

The Story of Jerusha Howe

Jerusha was the sister of one of the owners during the period of time which spanned 4 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 the 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 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, as she waited patiently for him to return.

While she continued to live her life, enjoying her music abilities, tending to her duties, her love life was frozen in time. She needed counseling with a good therapist, but that wasn’t an option during her time. After spending 44 years of living/working in the house, She died a single lady, whose spirit still waits for the love of her life, having fun teasing the living males who visit, and seeing after others as well while waiting.



General Paranormal Activity

Items move around The Wayside Inn. Perhaps, spirits are borrowing them, or find a better place for them, and /or letting the living know they are present.

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

Walking from unseen presences is often heard.

Spirit of a young child

This spirit’s first initial was an L.

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

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

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 in the shape of an L, like a small child would do. Apparently, this little spirit still knows that its name starts with an L.

Spirits of former slaves, employees, owners

Old Slave Kitchen; (Now a Dining Room)

The spirits here turn off cameras and drain the batteries, enjoying the privacy they have in their after-life.

Wayside Inn Kitchen

Kitchen items have the habit of flying off the shelves, landing safely.

A small plate swooshed off the shelf and landed softly on the floor like some unseen presence put it down.

A dishwasher working in the kitchen wears an apron.  A mischievous spirit likes to untie her apron.

Spirit of Jerusha Howe

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

Secret Drawer Society –Since the 1900s ghostly experiences with Jerusha have been written down in notes and stuck into drawers in the rooms and in other crannies found in the Hotel. While Jerusha likes to hang out in rooms 9 and sometimes 4, she has been experienced all over the Hotel..

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

These activités listed below have been occurring here for a very long time indeed.

The aroma of her citrus-scented perfume is noticed.

Her piano playing:When the hotel is empty, of visitors, the piano piece, “Copenhagen Waltz” can be plainly heard by the living; perhaps coming form her old piano.

Seeing her actual apparition has been occurring here for a very long time as well. She has been seen wearing a blue dress with a high collar. A see-through woman was seen standing in the parlor by the fireplace; perhaps cordially welcoming guests.

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, the living have experienced “haunting, faintly perfumed presence and a light, swift step on the narrow twisting stairway.”

Personal Room Visits…Jerusha Howe

The three rooms which were Jerusha’s living space were located over the kitchen. They were made into one room, Room 9, when the new hall was finished.

She occasionally visits other rooms as well, to check on her guests. She has been seen standing in the corner of the room, just watching.

A male guest shares, “Around 5 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 4 – Located above the famous parlor in the first addition. In Room 4, artist/writer Victoria Shearer was treated to a spectral light show.

Lonely For Male Attention

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

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

She has been known to climb into bed with an unsuspecting male visitor on occasion for a brief time, perhaps giving him 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 caught hard evidence and had personal experiences with Jerusha that he caught on tape. Zac caught a male voice as well as Jerusha’s when Zac was in her room . Perhaps a 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
(978) 443-1776 * (800) 339-1776

Longfellow’s Wayside Inn can be found in the countryside just outside of Boston.

Longfellow’s Wayside Inn is part of a nonprofit educational and charitable trust established by Henry Ford, and is both a working inn and a museum.


The Ghost Hunters Field Guide, By Rich Newman, Llewellyn Publications, 2016


The Northern Virginia Daily website, “Wayside Inn’s Spirits are Friendly” article, By The Northern Virginia Daily, July 11, 2011; Updated Nov. 13, 2018


Sudbury Historical Society, Subury Driving Tour 2, with pictures and reading material about each spot.

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Massachusetts