A nice weekend getaway is good for the soul, its a nice break from the every day stress of life. A little escape to a small town in Kentucky was on my agenda, and it was a much needed trip. My haunted travels have slowed down over the past few years but I had an opportunity for a short trip so I jumped right in and found just the right place. The location of my choice this time was Berea, Kentucky. We also visited nearby Richmond on our way home for some quick sightseeing, and by sight seeing, I mean haunted and historic locations.
The Boone Tavern Hotel was built in 1909 and was named for Daniel Boone. According to the hotel's website some of the famous past guests of this hotel include: Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Calvin Coolidge, Henry Ford and the Dalai Lama. The hotel is operated by Berea College. The Boone Tavern is pretty much located on campus
The hotel is believed to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy, the ghost is said to be shy and can usually be found in the basement area of the hotel. There is no general access to the basement for the average guest to check this out on their own. However, in recent years the hotel has teamed up with Lexington ghost hunter, Patti Starr (she hosts the annual Scarefest event in Lexington). Starr and her crew have offered public ghost hunts and classes at the hotel and other ghost hunting teams have explored the hotel for ghostly activity too.
Our evening at the hotel was quiet, aside from the living beings walking though the hallways, opening and closing doors. We didn't have any personal encounters, or see or hear anything strange during our stay. There was a memorial service taking place in the event hall the evening we arrived, a sign outside of the door had the event listed. That was a rather somber thing to encounter.
Overall the ambiance of the hotel was historic and charming, the rooms were nice and were a combination of modern amenities and glimpses of the past. The town is very much a hub of art culture and history. I feel like this may be one of those little areas where there is a lot of ghost stories In a small area, and for anyone who loves a good haunted town, Berea is probably worth exploring further.
On our way home I wanted to stop by an old cemetery we passed coming through Richmond on our way to Berea. The Richmond Cemetery stood out as were driving through, it looked old and I wanted to check it out. Upon entering there is a historical marker dedicated to Cassius Clay, he was a former U.S. Ambassador to Russia in the mid 1800s. I recognized the name after finding a photo of his home when I was searching for haunted places in the area. He is buried here, although I didn't spot his grave. The cemetery dates back to 1848 and the first burial in 1856. This cemetery was part of the Battle of Richmond, a Civil War battle that took place in 1862. Soldiers took cover behind the tombstones during the fight and there is a mass grave located in the cemetery where 174 Confederate casualties from the battle are buried.
From the cemetery we headed over to White Hall, the home of Cassius Marcellus Clay built by his father Green Clay in 1798. The home was remodeled and a new addition was added in the 1860's where very modern amenities for the time period were added such as central heat and indoor plumbing. The home was eventually abandoned and vandalized, but the State of Kentucky received the house from the family and a full restoration began. This home is open to the public for tours and as much as I would have loved to have taken a tour, I will have to go back at another time. The home is only open from April through October for visitors. I imagine this impressive 44-room mansion is as much a sight to behold inside as it is from the outside. This house also boasts a few ghosts, when the home was being restored there were reports of lights inside the home where no source could be found. There have also been reports of phantom smells inside the home. An annual historic ghost walk is done at the house every fall.
I think this area deserves a future return trip, unfortunately both White Hall and Fort Boonsebourough, which is also located nearby, were all closed for the season. Our first day was cold and rainy so we didn't get to explore and our time was limited the day we had to head home. I would love to see White Hall up close, I want to explore some more of the battlefields between Richmond and Berea, and the Fort area too. It's a small area packed with a lot of history and the potential for a lot of ghost stories. I really feel I have only scratched the surface of the hauntings of this area.