Have you ever thought of exploring some of the nation’s most ghostly waterfront towns by boat? From ports with dark histories like the Salem witch trials, to watery graveyards of sunken ships and sailors lost, there has never been a better time to up anchor and set sail. Don’t be afraid. The colorful fall foliage and haunted ports are sure to make your next trip a beautiful adventure.
So, batten down the hatches because Snag-A-Slip has put together a list of spooky waterfront towns. Cruise one, or all of them, if you dare!
Infamous for its witch trials, Salem is the boating destination with a long and dark past of betrayal and superstition. History tells us that in the late 1600’s more than 200 residents of Salem were accused of being witches. The hysteria ended with the deaths of several of the town’s
members that literally haunts Salem to this day. It’s said that on Halloween nights the ghosts of those who passed haunt homes and streets. But, if you’re not afraid of the unnatural and ghostly, Salem is sure to bewitch you with its spellbinding beauty, maritime history and seaside charm. While there, be sure to visit the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast for a tour of the infamous house or the Hawthorne Hotel that is said to have mysterious things going on, especially in rooms 612 and 325.
Of course, if you’re scared, you can always stay in the safety of your boat and explore the shore without getting too close. But what fun would that be?
One of the most haunted cities, Savannah, also happens to be one of the greatest cruising ports. Just tie up and stroll down narrow, cobblestone streets, with welcoming shops and pubs, or past Victorian houses and under mossy live oaks. You can also check out Savannah’s eclectic Starland District with its art galleries and shops.
When you’re ready to do some ghost hunting, head to the Pirates’ House, one of the most historic locations in Savannah. It was once a residential spot for sailors passing through Georgia. According to locals, sailors would be kidnapped, brought through the tunnels that were under the building, and forced to join boat crews. Now a restaurant, it’s allegedly inhabited by ghosts that just can’t let this location go. Make sure you have your full crew when you leave!
Right off Norwalk harbor is an island with a 10-room Victorian-style lighthouse with an uneasy past. You’ll be surprised to learn that although built in 1868, the Sheffield Island lighthouse’s otherworldly oddities didn’t start until 1972. That year the lighthouse’s keeper died suddenly while watching passing ships with a spyglass. To this day, his death was never fully explained. Then in 1991 an archaeologist, working on historic site preservation, reported several mysterious happenings. They included eerie music coming from the shore, far-off cries for help, and
the sound of a foghorn. The unnerving thing is, there is no foghorn on the island. The locals believe the sounds are the work of the ghost of Captain Robert Sheffield, who originally purchased the island in the early 1800s. The good Captain was known for his knack for odd musical instruments. Be sure to listen closely!
Fell’s Point, Baltimore
Baltimore harbor neighborhoods have a long and colorful history, and Fell’s Point might just be the most colorful of all. In days past, it was a rowdy seaport town – its streets full of sailors from foreign lands, immigrants eager to start a new life, and more than a few ladies of the night. It was a volatile combination. Is it any wonder many ghosts remained behind? And although it is known for its night life, be careful not to go out alone or you might just meet some of the more “spirited” residents.
Cape May, New Jersey
When it comes to haunted towns, Cape May might be one of the most beautiful. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you stroll past one Victorian home grander than the last. However, dozens of these gems have been investigated and documented to have “spirit” residents. The owners say most are quite friendly. So, dock your boat, come on shore and see if a ghostly encounter is in your future!