Jim Abbott on Travel
Postcards from Florida
October 5, 2013
It's the season for ghost hunting and there are numerous destinations that offer potential encounters with departed souls.
Put these haunted stops on your itinerary, if the spirit moves you.
The Florida House Inn, Fernandina Beach (floridahouseinn.com): Built in 1857 the Florida House Inn is considered the state's oldest operating hotel. Its 17 rooms, English-style pub, parlor, dining room, courtyard and gardens also have inspired reports of paranormal activity by spirits that include a morose, mourning man and a madam who apparently likes to get into bed with guests in her room. The inn is part of the haunted trolley and carriage tours in Fernandina Beach. Cost ranges from $15 to $30.
St. Augustine Lighthouse, St. Augustine (staugustinelighthouse.com): By day, the St. Augustine Lighthouse offers a family-friendly glimpse into the maritime lifestyle of the Nation's Oldest City. At night, however, the tower is one of the featured stops on trolley tours devoted to St. Augustine's paranormal activity. The lighthouse offers nighttime ghost tours of the tower. Cost: $20-$25.
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Cassadaga (cassadaga.org): There was a time when the legitimate spiritualist community of this tiny town in west Volusia County didn't welcome an onslaught of Halloween visitors. Nowadays, however, the 118-year-old community embraces the curious with weekly Nighttime Encounter Orb Tours. Guests are invited to bring digital cameras for tours that start at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays at the camp bookstore. Cost is $25.
Spook Hill, Lake Wales (cityoflakewales.com): In the not-so-scary department, this hill in Polk County — where cars defy gravity by rolling backward uphill — is accompanied by its own ghostly explanation. According to legend, an Indian chief killed a huge gator that had been terrorizing a village. The phenomenon of Spook Hill is either the chief protecting his land from beyond the grave or the gator taking its revenge.
Robert the Doll, East Martello Museum, Key West (ghostsandgravestones.com/key-west): Key West has the reputation of being one of the most haunted spots in the United States. Of all the spirit tales, the most famous is the saga of Robert the Doll, a voodoo doll that supposedly emits evil giggles and scurries around in the old East Martello Fort. Trolley tours: $26.25-$33.60.
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