I initially wanted to write about the Jean Bonnet Tavern back in Halloween when I was theming all my “Weekend Trip Ideas” around haunted PA attractions, but for whatever reason did not get around to it, so am plopping it right in the middle of your holiday season. Ghosts can be Christmasy too, right? Charles Dickens thought so.
Located in Bedford County, the tavern dates back to the 1760’s, where it became an important meeting place for settlers and traders in western Pennsylvania and became a meeting place for farmers participating in the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion. Today the tavern holds a restaurant, bar, lodging as well as a gift shop that carries several interesting books about PA folklore and history.
I was going to initially write about the tavern because it’s recognized as a haunted place in Pennsylvania, a fact that the tavern whole-heartedly embraces as evident by the “folklore” section of their website which chronicles the various paranormal encounters. Patrons have experienced being touched, doors open on their own and more than one person has reported seeing people dressed in “frontier garb” in or outside of the tavern. I emailed Shasta Decker, the general manager, who gave me some more personal insight into the ghostly encounters. She said visitors often heard footsteps going up and down the halls in the middle of the night and have even heard them inside of their rooms. Additionally she said that people have heard babies cry, cats meow and that the blender often turns on by itself (maybe ghosts like Margaritas too?). One of the ghosts is reportedly the mistress of Robert Caliender, who bought the property is 1762 and was a scout for George Washington, was a fun bit of historical trivia.
Bedford County is pretty quiet from what I was able to gather (from an exhaustive hour-long research session on the internet). There’s a lot of hiking and outdoor-related options and Tussey Mountain is nearby if you want to ski. Perhaps this would be a nice day trip once it gets nicer out or in the fall in conjuncture to a visit to State College which is about an hour and a half away. And if you’re sticking with the haunted theme (maybe next October) Lincoln Caverns in Huntington PA has haunted cavern tours and while I couldn’t find exactly where it’s located this website documents a very haunted brothel in Bedford County.