13 Spooky Saratoga Area Spots to Dine, Stay and Visit This Halloween Season

Saratoga County is full of old buildings and historic sites, so it’s no wonder that ghost stories abound. Somewhere between colonial times, the Gilded Age, and the present day, Saratoga Springs and the surrounding towns have collected their fair shares of haunted houses, spirit sightings, and other strange and unexplained phenomena. If you’re in the Saratoga area this October, we have your perfect itinerary with 13 great historic and spooky places to check out.

WHERE TO VISIT

Canfield Casino & the Saratoga History Museum

Location: Saratoga Springs

Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

This gorgeous old building in Congress Park is home to both the Canfield Casino and the Saratoga History Museum. The Casino was originally opened in 1870 by John “Old Smoke” Morrissey and was an elegant venue for Saratoga’s elite until 1907, when anti-gambling movements forced it to close. 

The building is now the home of the Saratoga History Museum, which exhibits historical artifacts from the Spa City. It’s speculated that some of the spirits who reportedly haunt the majestic three stories may have come along with the items. 

The third floor is especially of note: it’s decorated with furnishings and artifacts from the prominent Walworth family, who had a successful, yet tragic history. Reuben H. Walworth was Chancellor of New York from 1828 to 1847. His daughter-in-law, Ellen Hardin Walworth, was a well-known writer, historic preservation advocate, and lawyer. Her husband Mansfield, however, was abusive and repeatedly threatened her life, until their eldest son Frank eventually took matters into his own hands and killed him, leading to a sensationalized trial. 

Whether some of the old gamblers are still begrudging their bad bets or “Old Smoke” continues his reputation as a prankster isn’t known, but sightings of a Victorian woman have been reported by multiple people. Reubena Walworth, Ellen’s daughter and a nurse in the Spanish-American War, may also haunt the building. There have also been strange occurrences, like the smell of cigar smoke, drafts, moving objects, and unsettling energy. 

SyFy’s Ghost Hunters stopped by in 2010, and in August 2019, the Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places visited Canfield Casino to film content for two episodes, one which premiered on October 22, and one that’s scheduled for October 31. 

Although you can visit the museum during open hours, if you’re interested in the paranormal, you’ll want to sign up for the Saratoga Springs History Museum’s Ghost Hunt Tour on October 30 and experience it for yourself!

Yaddo Gardens

Location: Saratoga Springs

garden gates
Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

Yaddo Gardens is a beautiful spot to spend the afternoon, but Yaddo’s long, sometimes haunting history seems to have left it with some ghosts. The land is said to have been the site of Native American battles, and it’s believed that Edgar Allen Poe composed parts of “The Raven” at Barhyte’s Tavern, which once stood on the property. 

Spencer and Katrina Trask later purchased Yaddo in 1881 as a peaceful abode after the death of their first child, but it seems the Trasks would be followed by darkness. Tragedy struck repeatedly, and the Trasks lost three more children within the span of two years, followed by their house in a fire in 1891. They then built the mansion which still stands today and turned it into an artistic haven, but Spencer died in a train crash in 1909, and Katrina passed away after an illness in 1922. The mansion has since become a famed artists’ retreat and hosted literary figures such as Sylvia Plath and Truman Capote. 

With so many people passing through, and so much tragedy entwined in its history, it’s no wonder Yaddo is said to be haunted. Echoes of childrens’ laughter, a Victorian-era woman in white (possibly Katrina herself), and odd light phenomena have been reported. 

The house isn’t open to the public, but you can take a stroll through Yaddo Gardens during daylight hours. To hear more about the hauntings, however, stop by on Fridays and Sundays through October 27 for their drop-in ghost tours at 5 pm. 

Greenridge Cemetery

Location: Saratoga Springs

This may be an obvious choice, but you can’t get much spookier than a cemetery, particularly one whose inhabitants date back over a hundred and fifty years. Greenridge was founded in 1844, and is the final resting place of members of many famous Saratoga families, such as the Batchellers and the Walworths. 

In addition to very old headstones, there are also mausoleums, vaults, gates, and statues that are sure to give you some chills, especially if you attend the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation’s annual Twilight Cemetery Tour. The tour takes place this year on Tuesday, October 29 at 5 pm and will center around “Madness, Murder, Untimely Deaths, and Strange Coincidences.” You’ll want to bring a flashlight along!

Saratoga Battlefield

Location: Stillwater

cannon on fall day
Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

While the Battle of Saratoga is known as the turning point of the American Revolution, the battlefield is also the spot where many soldiers on both sides gave their lives. Strange phenomena have been occurring here for years, including unearthly green lights, the sounds of horses running, voices, and sightings of uniformed soldiers in the park and along the road nearby. 

Saratoga National Historical Park is free and open to the public from 9 am to 5 pm each day, and provides miles of tour roads and trails on which to drive, hike, or cycle. You can learn more about the battlefield at the visitors center before taking a self-guided tour of the hauntingly beautiful landscape, which is particularly stunning during the fall.

Grant Cottage

Location: Wilton

The final home of President Ulysses S. Grant sits high up on Mount McGregor. It’s where the former president, swindled out of his fortune and suffering from throat cancer, went to finish his memoirs. He passed away only a little more than a month after moving into the house in 1885. Visitors can still see his bed, furnishings, and flowers from his funeral on the first floor of the house. 

The complex of buildings that share the top of Mount McGregor have gone through many reincarnations over the years, but the first was as a hospital for patients suffering from tuberculosis. Ghostly figures have been documented there for decades, and it seems that some may have made their way over to Grant’s Cottage. Faces have been reported in the upstairs windows (the second floor isn’t open) and a Victorian-era woman has been spotted along the road up the mountain. 

WHERE TO EAT

Olde Bryan Inn

Location: Saratoga Springs

exterior photo of Olde Bryan Inn
Photo by saratogaphotographer.com

This popular restaurant traces its history back to 1773, giving this location plenty of time to accumulate some spirits. Alexander Bryan was a Revolutionary War hero who warned General Gates of the British army’s plans to surprise the Americans in Stillwater, which became the turning point of the Revolution. In 1825, he built the stone part of the structure that still stands today as his home, making him Saratoga Springs’s first permanent resident. 

Although you could certainly have lunch at Olde Bryan Inn, dinner seems like the best time to catch sight of a ghost. In addition to serving amazing eats, Olde Bryan Inn has hosted spectres over the years as both a private home and as a restaurant, including an elderly Victorian-era woman dressed in a green gown and colonial soldiers (one on horseback). The “Lady in Green” seems to be the most common apparition, but don’t worry, she’s quite friendly — she’s thought to be Beatrice, a past resident whose green Victorian gown was found in the attic.

Power’s Inn & Pub

Location: Clifton Park

Power’s Inn & Pub traces its long history back to 1786 and serves delicious lunch and dinner fare. It’s the perfect place to eat if you’re hoping to run into some friendly spirits. The place was once known as the Dater Tavern, and over the years it has attracted its share of stories. Ghosts who have fondly been named Emma, Robert, Sophia, and Jim frequent the establishment, and according to Power’s Inn & Pubs’ website, Jim is even known to answer you back if you knock on the floor. 

Old Jim is thought to be a devoted regular from the Dater Tavern days, who was buried on the other side of the creek, not far from the tavern. Moving objects and ghostly pranks (like loosened light bulbs) have been reported for years and years, and they often are attributed to him.

The Parting Glass

Location: Saratoga Springs

Stop by The Parting Glass for delicious Irish eats, like bangers & mash and shepherd’s pie, inventive Irish-inspired takes on appetizers like nachos and quesadillas, and a large selection of craft brews. You might also catch sight of a ghost while you’re there. 

The Parting Glass began its life in 1926 as Rocco’s Royal Spring Grill, which served up Italian cuisine. Somewhere between now and then, the building seems to have gained a couple of spirits, including a woman in white and the ghost of a man. There have also been reports of moving objects, unknown sounds, and strange additions to photos taken there.

WHERE TO STAY

Batcheller Mansion Inn

Location: Saratoga Springs

exterior of Batcheller Mansion Inn
Credit: Amity Photos

An absolutely stunning 1873 Gilded Age mansion located near Congress Park, the Batcheller Mansion Inn is a lovely place to stay. In the nineteenth century it hosted lavish social events, but fell into disuse by the 1960s and 1970s, before it was restored to its former glory.  

You shouldn’t be at all nervous about staying in this historic inn, however: reports of ghost sightings, if any, seem few and far between. More common are gusts of air, moving objects, and other slight phenomena, which could very well be from spirits reliving the gilded glory of the mansion’s early days.

The Adelphi

Location: Saratoga Springs

You can’t miss The Adelphi and its stunning architecture on Broadway. The hotel, which dates back to 1877, was one of the grand hotels of Saratoga Springs, and has recently been completely restored and is as regal as ever. Even if you don’t stay at the hotel, you can still stop for a meal at one of their amazing dining options. 

Did the renovations rid the hotel of ghosts? Even if they didn’t, these spectres aren’t anyone to fear. A woman in a blue Victorian gown has been reported, and it’s speculated that John “Old Smoke” Morrissey may haunt the hotel (it’s said that he passed away there) along with his old business, the Canfield Casino.

MORE HAUNTED TOURS & ATTRACTIONS

Capitol Hauntings Tours

Location: Albany

interior shot of state capitol

While technically not in Saratoga County, you can’t explore the ghostly lore of the Capital Region without stopping by the State Capitol Building, which is only a short drive away. 

Multiple spirits are said to haunt the State Capitol, including a night watchman who died in the tragic 1911 fire. The tours, which are free and run most days from now through November 1, highlight some of the strange phenomena, ghost sightings, legends, and eerie details of the building’s storied past.

Haunted Saratoga Ghost Tours

Location: Saratoga Springs

If you’re really interested in Downtown Saratoga’s ghostly history, you’ll want to sign up for a Haunted Saratoga Ghost Tour, a 90-minute walking tour that highlights some of the Spa City’s haunted landmarks and folklore, such as the legendary “Witch of Saratoga.” 

Tours are held on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 pm through the middle of November.

Double M Haunted Hayrides

Location: Ballston Spa

If you don’t catch sight of any spirits on your tour of Saratoga County’s historic and haunted buildings, you can always get spooked at Double M Haunted Hayrides in Ballston Spa, which has been around for over 25 years. Take a ride through the ghoulish woods and brave their other haunted attractions, including haunted buildings and zombie laser tag.

SOURCES

David J. Pitkin, Haunted Saratoga County, 2005

Mason Winfield, Supernatural Saratoga, 2009

https://www.saratoga.com/aboutsaratoga/history/canfield-casino-haunting/

http://www.murderbygaslight.com/2013/05/the-walworth-patricide.html

http://archives.nypl.org/mss/4795

https://www.yaddo.org/about/history/

http://www.oldebryaninn.com/restaurant/history/

http://www.oldebryaninn.com/spirits-at-obi-not-just-from-the-bar/

https://www.powersinnandpub.com/about/

https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/capital-region/news/2017/09/28/adelphia-hotel-saratoga-reopening