A Haunted Tour of the Finger Lakes
There’s something romantic about the Finger Lakes in the Fall. The leaves slowly change from bright green to intense red and orange hues, vineyards are alive with workers harvesting grapes, the roadside farmers markets switch from berries to apples, and around every corner is a pumpkin patch ready for picking.
But there’s something else… something… spookier. The sunny days are replaced by stormy clouds and darker skies. The small cemeteries that dot the back roads of the lakes seem to stand out among the barren trees. The dying leaves rattle in the wind, and the once lovely sunflower fields have become withered stalks.
Forget about harvest… if you’re a lover of haunted houses and spooky stories, the Finger Lakes is the place for you. In this article, we highlight some of our favorite wineries that have a haunted history in the region. Alternatively, you can also schedule a private wine tasting and guided tour across Seneca Lake.
Haunted Wineries To Visit in The Finger Lakes
Miles Wine Cellar
Numerous ghosts have been spotted at this Greek Revival mansion located right on the water of Seneca Lake. Doors randomly open, blankets have been pulled from beds, and footsteps have been heard throughout the house. Based on the hauntings, the owners believe that the spirits are a young couple who were rumored to have died tragically in the mansion.
In honor of these ghosts, Miles Wine Cellar created a white wine blend of Chardonnay and Cayuga. The bottle is ingeniously made of clear glass etched with the image of a dancing couple. When light is shone through the bottle, the couple appears as a ghostly figure on the wall. It’s a sweet way to celebrate the spirits.
If you’re really feeling brave, you can also stay overnight in one of their two rooms. Have a glass of their Ghost wine and see for yourself if the rumors are true.
Belhurst Castle was originally built as a private residence in the late 19th century. Now, it is home to a winery, restaurant, event space, hotel and spa. It’s no surprise this romantic, gothic, stone mansion has more than one ghostly inhabitant.
During construction, it’s reported that one worker fell from a spire to his death and another went insane while building the roof. Another story reports that an Italian opera singer and her lover died on site. The singer was attempting to leave her husband, and when the affair was discovered, they fled the mansion through an underground tunnel that was connected to the carriage house. The tunnel collapsed in the process, killing both.
The ghost of the opera singer is said to walk the property at night. When she’s approached by guests, she vanishes. If you stay late for dinner or book a room, you may run into this spirit still longing to find her lost lover.
Haunted Hotels in the Finger Lakes
Located at the southern end of Canandaigua Lake, this lovely brick hotel offers accommodation, dining and ghosts! Naples Hotel is home to a number of spirits, including a particular ghost known as Topper. Their presence even warranted a visit by SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters, hearing whispers and experiencing unexplained movement in artwork and within the light fixtures.
Today, you can schedule a private spirit tour of the hotel to experience the hauntings first hand. Better yet, stay there for a night and see what happens!
The Esperanza Mansion
Home to a classic “lady in white” spirit, this early 1840s mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a gorgeous place for dining and an overnight. No one knows who the lady in white is, but she has been seen in a variety of places throughout the mansion. Other hauntings include the voice of a teenage boy calling out and electronics spontaneously turning on and off. Guests at the hotel have experienced additional hauntings, so challenge yourself to an overnight stay!
Seneca Falls Historical Society
The Seneca Falls Historical Society is not only a great way to learn more about the region, it has maintained its Victorian feel and offers you a glimpse of life in the past. It’s also a fantastic location to communicate with spirits.
The property is home to at least three ghosts, including a former nanny that walks around the third floor, a young girl that cries on the back stair, and the original owner — Edward Mynderse — who likes to play tricks on the staff.
During October, the society’s tour guides offer ghost tours where they share their best stories and revisit haunted locations around the house. The organization also brings in a medium for guests who are interested in having their futures predicted. It’s the perfect spooky break from wine tasting and dining.
If you’re looking for more, and willing to venture a little bit out of the Finger Lakes, check out these sites:
- Rolling Hills Asylum: take a ghost tour of the abandoned poorhouse, which has been explored by numerous ghost hunting groups and always seems to turn up something spooky and unexplained.
- Historic Palmyra: explore this quaint town’s various haunted buildings, including a historic mansion where previous residents move objects and walk the floors.
- Fox Sisters House: the original home of the girls who began the Spiritualism movement based on their ability to communicate with the spirit of a man buried in their basement.
- Mt. Hope Cemetery: with famous residents like Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, it’s a place worth visiting. Their nightly tours in October make it a perfect Halloween stop.
More Ways To Experience New York’s Finger Lakes Region
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