The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors …

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

This is without a doubt my favorite inn. It’s located in Sudbury, MA, and is the oldest operating inn in the United States. Originally known as Howe’s Tavern, this quaint inn was made famous when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow employed it as the setting for his book of poetry, “Tales of a Wayside Inn” in 1863. This charming inn has everything you could possibly want: a full restaurant, an old tavern, historically appointed guest rooms (especially rooms 9 & 10), picturesque function and dining rooms, an outdoor canopy tent, museum exhibits, beautiful gardens, a gristmill, and walking trails. And the best part? For those who have a fascination with the spirit world, it’s considered to be haunted by the beautiful Jerusha Howe (wayside inn ghost real or imagined). She was known as “the belle of Sudbury” and she was famous for her musical and artistic skills. It’s reported that she owned the first piano in town and regularly played for visitors. Today, some guests claim they have heard ghostly tunes played in the middle of the night…

Here is her famous piano

This is the entrance and staircase when you first step into the inn and to the right is the old tavern pictured below.

The tavern actually dates back to 1707 and is part of the original home of David and Hepzibah Howe.

One of the famous drinks in the tavern is the coow woow, considered to be America’s first cocktail which consists of ginger brandy and rum. It’s one very strong drink!

The breakfast room where full sumptuous breakfasts are served

Here is our room and it was very comfortable with this king-sized bed.

These are some of the many dining areas.

I just love these old worn wood floors
The staircase to the left with the “Private for Guests Only” leads rooms 9 & 10 (room 9 was Jerusha Howe’s room)

My husband and I had a chance to stay overnight in room 9 four years ago. We had to reserve it months in advance due to its popularity. I did not experience anything but my husband, a no-nonsense firefighter, was awakened in the middle of the night by a sweet delicate fragrance. He woke me up and asked me if I could smell the perfumed fragrance, and I could not smell it. The fact that it was strong enough to wake him up speaks to the fact that it was not his imagination. He swears that he was not making it up and I believe him. I later found an article online that stated Jerusha makes herself known to men through her citrus perfume.

There is an odd and unique custom that has developed over the years at the inn which is referred to as the Secret Drawer Society. Little notes, usually reporting on any ghost encounters (or no encounter) are stuffed into little cracks, crevices, and drawers all throughout the room. Some of the notes go back decades. Often guests will spend hours searching the room and reading the secret testimonies of those who have come before. Here is a picture of some of the notes stuffed in this ceiling beam.

Here is an old chest full of notes left by guests over the years.

The inn has 10 beautiful guests rooms and this hallway reminds me of the Stanley Hotel. What do you think?

This delicious breakfast is complimentary at the inn with an overnight stay. The omelet was to die for…

I highly recommend the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. This post was a brief reprieve from fashion. I hope you stay healthy and safe.

One thought on “The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

Add yours

  1. It looks wonderful…you were very fortunate to have stayed there. Wonderful memories, now. I did not know your husband was a firefighter. I wake up from time to time due to a strong odor…but it does not smell like perfume.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Janet Elaine Paige Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: