The Mountain Times

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Vermont’s hunted highways gives travelers a season to be scared

This October, Vermont is launching Haunted Highways, a collection of ghost stories. Travelers can follow Vermont's historic highways exploring haunted sites from the southwest "Bennington Triangle," where a number of hikers mysteriously went missing between 1920 and 1950, to Lake Memphremagog on Vermont's northern border where the ghost of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne has been spotted walking across the top of the lake, and many mysterious places in between. Visitors are encouraged to have their own ghostly experience now through November with special packages starting at $60 per person based on double occupancy.

"Ghosts have been part of the Vermont landscape for hundreds of years, marking each phase of Vermont's historical development," said Joseph Citro, Vermont's official Ghost-Master General and author of The Vermont Ghost Guide. "Across all corners of the state, vengeful vagrants, lovelorn ladies, and lonely lads lurk in Vermont's eternal shadows, and it's wonderful how the state is embracing its spooky past."

Travelers hoping to catch a glimpse of one of these elusive figures can follow Vermont's easily navigated highway system, which connects one haunted location to the next. Starting in the southern part of the state in Bennington, visitors can drive North on Route 7 to The Equinox off exit three in historic Manchester Village where the spirit of Mary Todd Lincoln is rumored to haunt the third and fourth floors of the resort's south wing.

Visiting central Vermont one can find many haunted locations; several from exit 10 off I-89. At the Old Stagecoach Inn in Waterbury, the innkeeper was baffled when an unfamiliar couple came downstairs saying they had been admitted by an older woman. No such employee existed, but it did sound exactly like the hotel's former owner - the long-dead Nettie Spencer.

Visit West Castleton off Route 7, where immigrant slate workers crossed Lake Bomoseen to visit a tavern on the opposite shore. One particularly gloomy evening, three men did not return and despite a painstaking search, were never found. Residents today claim that during a full moon, a dark, vacant and ghostly rowboat can be seen drifting silently across the lake.

Along Interstate 91 in eastern Vermont is the Golden Stage Inn in Cavendish off exit six, where the innkeepers have become familiar with a young friendly spirit they've named George, who appears dressed in a traveling cloak and some say bears a remarkable resemblance to Robert Redford.

Off of exit nine between Windsor and Woodstock, a solitary rider dressed entirely in black is spotted from time to time splashing along the rotted timbers of an old plank road built through Snail Swamp. No one knows who he is or why he patrols Snail Swamp, but he always travels towards Woodstock.

Further North off of exit 15 in Fairlee, Robert Fulton once stole Samuel Morey's invention of the steam engine due to a technicality in the patent registration. Angered, Captain Morey sank Fulton's boat, the Aunt Sally, and today on a still, moon lit night, the Aunt Sally rises to the lake's surface, floating without a sound, as the ghost of Captain Morey watches from shore.

The Green Mountain Inn in Stowe is encouraging guests to listen for the tap dancing steps of the inn's former horseman Boots Berry. Stowe is home to numerous ghosts, but Berry is perhaps the most famous. Born in 1840 in the servant's quarters of The Green Mountain Inn, he was a local hero before he was dismissed for excessive drinking. Legend has it, he saved a little girl stuck on the Inn's roof during a snowstorm before slipping and falling to his death. During severe winter storms, Boots can still be heard tap dancing on the third floor of the hotel.

Stowe's Gold Brook Bridge is also known as "Emily's Bridge" as it is haunted by the ghost of a lovelorn Emily who died on the bridge after being stood up on her wedding day. Visitors to the bridge have reported scratch marks appearing on their cars and strange noises such as footsteps, ropes tightening, and screams.

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Tagged: ghost stories, vermont