LONGFELLOW’S WAYSIDE INN: History, Dining and yes…even Ghosts!

While all of us at Silver Fox work very hard day-t0-day on advertising and graphic design projects it is certainly part of our lives to enjoy family time. Every year we make the annual trip to Sudbury, Massachusetts to visit the lovely Longfellow’s Wayside Inn and this year we did so around the Christmas holiday.

America’s oldest operating inn, Longfellow’s Wayside has been showing hospitality to travelers since 1716 and was run for generations by the Howe family until 1861. Originally known as Howe Tavern with innkeeper David Howe, it was later passed on to his son Ezekiel (a Lieutenant Colonial who led the Sudbury Minute and Militia to Concord center at the beginning of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775) who then passed it on to son, Adam, in 1796, who in turn handed it down to his son, Lyman, in 1830.

In 1862, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visited the inn and was so inspired by the atmosphere and beautiful landscape, he wrote a series of poems on a group of fictitious characters that regularly attended the old Sudbury tavern. The poems were published in 1863 as the Tales of a Wayside Inn. Innkeeper Lyman Howe was the inspiration for “The Landlord’s Tale,” more widely known as “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.” Hence the name was morphed into “Longfellow’s Wayside Inn”.


What we enjoy so much about the inn is its quiet charm and quaint cozy ambiance. Dining in one of their little rooms, complete with old hardwood floors and warming fireplaces, is a bit like dining in the colonial days. The Inn serves lunch and dinner and the food is a tasty treat to the palate.


Along with it’s important history, the Inn even has its own supposed ghosts. According to the Inn, “reports of unexplained foot steps, soft music, and perfumed scents have led some people to believe that our “ghost” is the last Howe innkeeper’s sister, Jerusha. Jerusha was born in 1797 and died in 1842. While living at the Inn she occupied rooms 9 and 10, and most reports of a mysterious presence have come from houseguests who have stayed in those two rooms!” Even if this isn’t true, the kids love to take adventures around the Inn to see what mysteries they can unravel!

After a hearty meal, we spend time walking the lovely grounds and sites nearby such as the Martha-Mary chapel and the Grist Mill. Or on occasion, we will venture out to nearby historic Concord to Minute Man National Park and other historic landmarks in the area.

There is so much more history that surrounds the Inn that we cannot mention it all here. For us the Inn is not only about our own personal family tradition but also about America’s rich history and how proud we are to be living in such a wonderful country!

To visit Longfellow’s Wayside Inn for dining or staying, or any of the local historic sites, visit their website at: www.wayside.org


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