Duration: Three days and three nights
Whether you're hunting ghosts or history, this road trip is not for the faint of heart. It's autumn, the season of harvest and hauntings. And we've picked out some destinations that will complement the chill in the air. Along your journey, you'll encounter spooky hotels, haunted prisons, and maybe even the ghosts of a couple founding fathers. We hope you brought your camera, and your running shoes because you’re in for a spooky ride.
Let's start off your trip with a stop at the notorious Carbon County Jail. If these walls could talk, they'd be telling goosebump-worthy stories of murder, violence, and centuries-old hauntings. But since walls can't talk, you'll have to count on the guides who'll be happy to share all the sordid details of this old prison, built in 1871. Along your way, be sure to make a stop at infamous Cell 17. This is where the ghostly handprint of a self-proclaimed innocent prisoner haunts the wall. No matter how much they clean, paint, or even concrete the walls, the handprint always returns. Creepy enough for you? Once your knees stop wobbling, brace yourself for our next spooky stop.Read More >
While you're walking around Jim Thorpe, you may notice a gigantic mansion looming over the town. That red-roofed giant would be the Asa Packer Mansion, built in 1861. Don't let its overwhelming presence scare you. There's no Doctor Frankenstein-type living up there peering out the windows, but you will find room after room of classic furniture and antiques from centuries past. While searching for ghosts take some time to enjoy the architectural details such as the wrap-around porch and mahogany wood-carvings throughout the home. It was built, after all, over a cast iron frame, consisting of three stories, 18 rooms, and about 11,000 square feet of living space. That's more than enough room for a spooky story of any size. In fact, the Harry Packer Mansion next door was used as the inspiration for Disney World's Haunted Mansion.Read More >
Next, take a walk through the historic streets of Jim Thorpe and you'll see that not much has changed over the past century. Back in the mining days this area used to be known as Millionaire's Row because of the dozen or so wealthy Pennsylvanians who took up residence here. Today you'll find a series of beautiful and sturdily built stone houses remaining as a throwback to the old days. Take a look around and be sure to make a stop at some of the quaint shops that pepper the area. They're full of friendly folks and handmade crafts.
Stroll down Main Street from the Historic Stone Row past the colorful trees to the Inn at Jim Thorpe. Built in 1849, it is known as one of the most beautiful structures in town. It is so beautiful, in fact, that some of its guests decided to stay there in the afterlife. Over the years, there have been tales of moving objects, cold spots, and even overturned furniture. Guests in room 310 have reported feeling the icy grip of a nurse who occupied the room over a century ago. If the sound of phantom children running through the hallway doesn't send you running for the hills, you'll hopefully stick around long enough to chat with visiting ghost hunters from across the country. You might even stay to grab a bite to eat at the inn's restaurant the Broadway Grille and Pub, as you could imagine this place is a pretty popular destination for both the living and the dead.Read More >
An hour drive south will lead you to our next destination, a detour from Bethlehem's Main Street, where you'll come across the Old Moravian Cemetery. The first things you'll notice on this brisk autumn afternoon (other than the general creepiness) are the flat gravestones lining the ground. The town's old Moravian inhabitants were strong believers in simple, not-too-flashy architecture. The cemetery itself is Bethlehem's oldest and was in use from 1742-1910. In the fall, tour guides will be more than happy to show you around and tell you stories about its occupants. Stick around long enough and maybe you'll even catch a glimpse of one.Read More >
Next, we have a stop for folks who like some history with their hauntings. The Brethren's House was built in 1748 as a home for single men and a place of work and worship. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington had more than 5,000 of his sick and wounded troops housed here. He even paid a visit himself some years later. With so much tragedy and history here, you'd think a place like this would have some spirits floating around. And you'd be right. A Revolutionary War nurse is still rumored to haunt these grounds, looking to treat wounded soldiers from centuries ago. Don't be afraid if you see her hanging around; she's just here to help.Read More >
Donegal Square is where Bethlehem comes for authentic Irish music, clothes, and gifts. It's also where they come for some creepy ghost tales. This is the site where General Lafayette rehabilitated from battle wounds he suffered in the Revolutionary War. According to legend, his caretaker's daughter was so in love with him that even to this day she wanders the site looking for him. Visitors have reported experiencing poltergeist activity like furniture moving and faucets turning on. But when you're not ducking ghosts, you can have a nice sit-down in McCarthy's Tea Room to unwind after a long day of ghost hunting.Read More >
Head 36 miles south to your next spooky ride. On the Haunted New Hope & Ivyland Railroad Haunted Halloween Trail, you'll find ghosts, goblins, and other ghouls on the nine-mile trip to Lahaska, Pa. For something less scary, take your kids on the Trick or Treat Train where assorted toys and candy will be given out as children enter in their costumes.Read More >
In this delightfully un-spooky stroll along the Delaware River, you'll replace ghost and goblins with bright autumn leaves and crisp fall air. The Delaware Towpath is the only remaining and intact canal of the Great Towpath Building Era of the 19th century. The surroundings paint a beautiful picture of cool flowing waters against the backdrop of the orange and red fall foliage. This is definitely a camera-worthy occasion. But don't let this relaxing change of pace fool you. We're hitting the road again to check in at a spooky hotel with a few centuries of ghost stories to share.Read More >
When the topic of PA's haunted houses comes up, the Hotel Bethlehem is one of the first names mentioned. The hotel was recently restored to its 1922 glory with floor-to-ceiling palladium windows and historic murals gracing the walls. Guests have reported being tapped on the shoulder, seeing ghostly reflections, and observing vacuum cleaners moving on their own. And if you hear any singing throughout the night, that just might be the voice of May Yohe, famous singer and actress from the 1890's. Also, watch out for room 932. Guests have awakened to find apparitions sitting at the foot of their beds.Read More >
Take a relaxing break from ghostly hauntings for tea from British Isles and Yorkshire, England. McCarthy’s offers fresh pastries for those craving something sweet.Read More >
From the outside, this gorgeous mansion seems like the perfect place to spend a tranquil weekend with loved ones. That's mostly true. But it's also a great place to meet some friendly ghosts. If you're lucky (or unlucky) enough to book one of the haunted rooms, keep an eye on the mirror. It's rumored that the ghost of Mrs. Sayre, who still keeps an eye on the rooms, will appear in the mirror.Read More >
Head south for just a little over an hour to the town of New Hope. As you enter into town, you'll want to take a moment to drive over the charming bridge just outside of town that looks like it stepped out of a different century. The Van Sant Bridge was built in 1875 to help locals cross the Pidcock Creek. Aside from its picturesque beauty, the bridge is also known for never disappointing curious ghost hunters. The spooky wailing sounds heard have inspired locals to call this Crybaby Bridge.Read More >
Established in 1727, this is one of the nation's oldest inns. And with an old inn comes old spirits. In fact, Logan Inn has been noted as one of America's most haunted buildings. Guests and workers have become familiar with at least four different spirits who make this inn their home. Whether you meet the Revolutionary War soldiers or the ghostly little girl who greets you in the parking lot, there's a good chance you'll leave here with a cool ghost story to tell.Read More >
Follow this lantern-led “walk” through the picturesque streets of New Hope to learn about the places and spaces that haunt its locals. From the phantom Hitchhiker who may pass you in the moonlight to the historic inn where Aaron Burr appears from time to time, you'll want to bring sensible walking shoes and a flashlight and be ready to discover the mystery and history of New Hope.Read More >
The Marsha Brown Restaurant offers authentic Creole recipes right in the heart of New Hope. Marsha Brown's is where a unique mix of rich flavors and bold personality come together to create one of the most refined Creole kitchens this side of the Mason-Dixon. By the way, the bread pudding is an absolute must.Read More >
Sleep amongst history, tradition and elegance at the oldest continuously run inn in Bucks County. While you're staying here, you'll be welcomed with some less-scary features like a spacious Colonial-style room, tavern, and a choice of restaurants. Sitting down for a meal with some of the inn's living visitors should take the edge off the chilling stories.
After a one-hour trip south, you'll find the Eastern State Penitentiary, ranked the “nation’s 5th best haunted attraction” by America Online. One look at the brick towers peering over the walls and you know that this place means business - ghostly business. The penitentiary opened in 1829 and operated until the 1970's. Today it's a famous destination for ghost hunters around the globe. Stop by for a guided tour through the building. Spiritual activity seems to run the gamut. People have encountered everything from voices to apparitions to the occasional physical encounter with a ghost. But even if you don't bump into a ghost, there's plenty of creepy stuff to catch pictures of. Around Halloween, there's even a haunted house – as if one of the world's most haunted destinations needs one.Read More >
Just a few miles south of the Penitentiary is Old City. An area rich in tradition, nightlife, and oh yeah, ghosts. In this upscale area, you'll find yourself immersed in boutique stores and restaurants. But as with anything in Philly, there are centuries of history lurking beneath the surface. And with so many creepy destinations in Old City, you'll have trouble finding them all in one day. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ghost tours for you to choose from. From the Spirits of '76 Ghost Tour to the Ghost Tour of Philadelphia, a knowledgeable tour guide will take you around to the area's most famous haunts like the Old Pine Street Church and Cemetery. If you see people walking around in colonial garb and powdered wigs, don't scream. They're probably re-enactors. Probably.Read More >
Scared enough yet? If not, head west into Society Hill to St. Peter's Episcopal Church. This church first opened its doors on September 4, 1761. Over the centuries it has hosted some of Colonial America's most important figures. George Washington even had a pew here. The cemetery has some intriguing stories of its own. Sharing this final resting place are Revolutionary War heroes, Indian chiefs, and painters. Despite the spookiness, it offers visitors a lot of tranquil photo ops and some interesting history to go with it.Read More >
A few blocks away you can't help but encounter the cornerstone of American history; a place that seems to be as popular with its living visitors as it is with ghosts. Security guards have seen apparitions in 18th century clothing wandering the halls well past closing time. Even some of history's big names have been seen here long after they expired. Ben Franklin's ghost still might be wandering the halls in search of his ghostly buddies, even Benedict Arnold has been spotted roaming the building. Stop by for a free tour of Independence Hall and a little history lesson. But be sure to bring a camera. You might catch a snapshot of one of our founding fathers admiring their handiwork.Read More >
Stroll along the cobblestone streets to Washington Square, once used as a burial ground from 1706 to 1825. More than 2,000 Revolutionary War soldiers who passed from diseases or wounds were buried here. Then during British occupation, prisoners of the Walnut Street Jail were also buried here. And finally, the grounds were used to bury the victims of the 1793 yellow fever epidemic that claimed the lives of 5,000 Philadelphians. With a history so traumatic, it's no wonder this place is known for its haunted history. Feel free to walk around. You might discover something on your own that ghost hunters have missed. Best of all, if you see a Revolutionary War apparition beckoning you from across the square, you'll have a running start to the finish of this ghostly tour.
When John Adams first came to Philadelphia, his first stop was “the most general tavern in America.” And although it's about 250 years later, we still couldn't agree more. Stop by Philadelphia's City Tavern for a taste of the good life - 18th century-style. Whether it is a tall pint of brew or the Martha Washington turkey potpie, you'll find a way to party like your forefathers.Read More >
After spending so much time on the road, you deserve to unwind a bit. No better place than the Morris House Hotel. Registered as a national historic landmark it has been renovated into a Philadelphia luxury boutique hotel offering the coziness of a bed and breakfast in an 18th century setting combined with the luxuries of today.Read More >
Head 31 miles west and check into the Bates Motel for the most incredible display of terror and mayhem. Considered one of the best haunted houses in America, the motel is filled with high tech special effects and lighting. The Bates Motel takes Halloween to a new level.Read More >
Featured on the Travel Channel and rated as the number one haunted attraction in America by Haunteworld Magazine and USA Today, the hayride has been scaring visitors for more than 20 years. The Haunted Hayride is a 25 minute, action packed, heart pounding ride through the dark forest of Arasapha Farm. With scenes like a 100 foot long, 40 foot tall drive through an insane asylum, the hayride is sure to scare. With more than 75 actors and 25 scenes, it is no wonder the event is always on the “top 13” national list.Read More >
Continue on your spooky ride 24 miles north at the Pennhurst Asylum to send chills down your spine. The hospital themed walk-thru attraction features items and artifacts that were part of the original state school. The attraction combines high tech animatronics, digital sound and motivated actors, as well as fine detail and realism. Walk through the dungeon of lost souls that features a labyrinth of old cells and a series of human experiments that have gone wrong. If that doesn’t scare you enough, walk through the 900 foot long tunnel of terror underneath the grounds of the old state school.Read More >
The Roxy Theatre
When you see the Roxy Theatre's shimmering marquee, you might feel a little underdressed for the occasion. Northampton's Roxy Theatre takes movie-going back to its glamorous roots when popcorn was plentiful and tickets were affordable (movie tickets are only $3!). But don't feel obligated to break out your tuxedo and top hat. On the inside, this place is just as modern and relaxed as your local theatre. The only difference is, this building has been showing movies since the 1920's. So they know a thing or two about how to keep an audience happy and coming back for more.
The State Theatre
Back in its heyday during the roaring 1920's, the State Theatre was the cultural center of Easton. This is where you'd bring your date to see the latest Vaudeville acts. Then during the age of talking pictures (or movies as we like to call them), they renovated with a bigger movie screen and newer audio equipment. During the 70's, many a rock musician would take the stage and perform for rowdy crowds. These days, you'll catch everything from comedy shows to musical performances here. So while a lot may have changed since 1920, one thing remains the same: the State Theatre is still Easton's entertainment destination. And it plans on staying that way.
Valley Forge National Historic Park
This historic park in the King of Prussia area is teeming with natural beauty and epic history. When George Washington and the Continental Army settled on this location for their winter encampment, they used old-fashioned American perseverance to turn the weary winter terrain into a home. Today, the landscape isn't nearly as tough, but it's rugged enough for a solid day of hiking, fishing, and boating. And since Washington sent those redcoats packing, you're free to enjoy it all. Go USA.