Monday, April 26, 2010

The Inn at Phillips Mill

Nestled in Bucks County, PA, just outside of New Hope, is an old charming inn that I was lucky enough to stay in while visiting the Mercer Museum & Fonthill.

The Inn at Phillips Mill has been entertaining visitors since the 1750s when it began life as a farmhouse with attached barn. Numerous outbuildings are on the site which house a community center, an architect's office, gift shop, horse barn and a house or two.
The actual mill has been a community arts center since 1929 - one of the old mill stones rests in the garden, seen above.
The area has a rich history dating back to Aaron Phillips who constructed the original buildings. In 1894 the artist William Lathrop purchased the buildings and began an art colony here which would become known as the New Hope Group.
But back to the Inn. While it does have a few guest rooms, it primarily is a well-known restaurant with DELICIOUS food. You don't come here just for the food however, but for the ambiance. Romance and history pour out of every corner -everything lit by candle doesn't hurt. The service isn't exactly amazing but the ambiance and food more than make up for that fact.
The rambling inn has another darker history though, which I didn't find out about until I left. I've been debating writing about this since I got home. I don't want to be seen as the crackpot blogger and loose any of the little respect I may have earned. I suspect many of you have stopped reading by now though and are just looking at the pretty pictures!
Apparently the Inn is haunted. Allegedly. Two weeks ago, I might have scoffed as you just did, but I had an odd experience that has really put me on edge since my return. I'll share it with you now.I've never been one to believe in ghosts; I wasn't raised that way, but I never DIDN'T believe in ghosts. Truthfully, I never gave the topic much thought. I'll tell my little story matter of factly, as my experience unfolded and let you judge for yourself.
After a delicious meal and a trip into New Hope to walk around and see the sights, we returned back to the Inn as things were winding down for the evening and went to bed.
Around 3am (I think), I was woken by a loud noise, a rocking chair. Now, you might think a rocking chair isn't that loud and how did I know it was a rocking chair? I'm not an idiot and thats what it was! The inn is out in the woods along a small country road and only a few of the other guest rooms were being used that evening: it's dead silent and completely dark. Relaxing you might say. So I lay there trying to get back to sleep but the rocking seemed to be getting louder. I figured it was because I was annoyed and singling out the sound but I could not fall back asleep for 10 minutes. After this I started to get really angry: some other thoughtless guest was ruining my good nights sleep! The odd thing was, our room was out in a wing over the kitchen, with windows on all 3 sides and an upper dining room outside our door. As I contemplated getting up to knock on the rockers door and ask them to stop, I felt heat on my face and sensed light - like a candle. I opened my eyes and saw nothing -this went on for another 5 minutes -back and forth. I was confused. Did I have heartburn? Was I imagining things? Thats when my irrational thoughts began - "I'm in a 250 year old mill in the woods.....ghosts, yada yada yada".

By this point I was convinced the rocking was from our room. It was too loud to be in another guest room and I just KNEW it was from closeby! At this point I shook awake my roomate and said 'do you hear that rocking'? THE ROCKING IMMEDIATELY STOPPED. He hadn't heard anything, and without the annoying sound, I quickly fell back asleep. Yes, I tend to move on and forget things quickly. Blessing in disguise?I thought nothing more of the incident while photographing the inn the next morning or indeed till 2 days later when I thought I would write a post about this beautiful inn and recommend it. Some of the first hits that came up with my google search made mention of a HAUNTED Phillips Mill. Well, thats odd, I thought. It wasn't until I opened those websites and saw that they mentioned an old woman in a long dress who had been seen in a rocking chair that my experience came back to me and I really freaked out. Seriously freaked out. I questioned everything I had ever believed or not believed. I wanted to distance myself from the experience (and feelings) so I've waited a good 10 days to record my experience.Do I believe in ghosts now? Well, I suppose I do but I won't be thinking about it much. I am utterly convinced that I DID NOT imagine this. I hadn't seen any mention of a haunting or rocking chair before my visit. Indeed, I knew nothing at all of the Inn's history so I know it wasn't my subconscious. I just wonder if one of the previous guests, Charles Schultz had a similar experience. Was it a simliar experience that led him to repeatedly pair the peanuts gangs with ghosts? Now I'm grasping at straws so I'll leave you with the drawing he left at the inn which hangs in the foyer. He simply writes: Great Food, Great Lodging. I agree, but I won't be returning!

31 comments:

24 Corners said...

Well...that went down a different road! Now I'm all scared and it's 3:00 in the afternoon. Good thing my trusty friend Ginger the Dachshund is by my side...sleeping away, or I'd be *really* scared!

Well written...to bad it isn't 10/31!
(don't know about the whole ghost thing either...but you did have quite the experience!)

Debra Phillips said...

loved the lead up; beautiful inn, cozy, charming......but aha, a dark side!

a truly frightening experience, good thing you were unaware until well away.

the design freak in me loves the shot with the window box on the door
debra

Dandy said...

Creepy! I'm in Savannah, and we have a lot of ghost tours, and I don't go on them!! I just don't want to know anything about ghosts....and I certainly don't want them to know me either!

Renee Finberg said...

S,
it's real. really real.
my parents had an old in in n.c. and i had experiences just like that....
and it did indeed turnout to be haunted.
many other people who i did not know had the very same experiences that i had had.

great post i loved every word of it.
xx

ArchitectDesign™ said...

thanks for making me feel a little less crazy everyone! I wasn't sure if I should share it or not -it's not a typical 'design' thing -but the inn was just so PRETTY I had to share that at least! The candles, the antiques, the flowerbox......charming.

camdesign said...

That was a cool post, funny I must go back now and look at the pictures properly, I liked the window box on the door too!
I think stories like this should be shared, thanks for sharing with us...I think you are completely normal...but I would have never fallen back to sleep that fast... must be a guy thing, my hubby can fall asleep on a dime too... I would have had all the lights on and been making coffee at 3am..lol
Regards, Carol Ann

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Carol, I was just plain exhausted (and too scared to turn on the lights LOL)

tartanscot said...

Wow - wicked cool.

Karena said...

Love that door and adore the side porch dining area. Quite a story Stefan, I do believe it happened!

Karena
Art by Karena

Turner Pack Rats said...

good thing you don't live in maine. all these old houses hold the spirits of all those that went before. it used to really freak my ex-wife out when we first moved back to the old homestead (the family has lived here since 1856). unexplained noises are normal - footsteps - doors closing, etc. after a while (i grew up here), you just get used to it.
however, 24 Corners comment got me laughing so hard i almost fell out of my chair but an unseen hand steadied me.

security word definition - "foribegr" - the rationale of handouts

The Down East Dilettante said...

Well, there I was, thinking 'that old inn has way more than its share of real old fashioned charm', when suddenly Halloween comes early.

I totally do not believe in ghosts. You hear me? I'm a rational grown-up guy who absolutely does not believe in ghosts. That said....

Years ago, I rented a grand old house that had belonged to an elderly architect who had gone into a nursing home. One pleasant Spring night, I woke up to the weirdest feeling I'd ever had---the room was literally 'alive' with a really weird energy. After carefully establishing that I was truly awake and not having a dream, I finally went down to the library, only to find it was even stranger. Skin thoroughly crawling by now, I went to the kitchen and started a kettle. Dawn broke, my nerves pretty frayed from the oddness in the air. My houseguest, staying in the room over the library, came in, looking thoroughly bloodshot. Before I could even say a word, he said "I've been awake for hours, something really weird was going on in this house last night" and he proceeded to describe the same thing I had experienced. And then, I kid you not, the phone rang, and it was my landlady, the architect's daughter, letting me know that her father had died in the night. And there you have it. As I said, I don't believe in ghosts...... :-)

Kerry said...

Very interesting!
Had my own brushes with ghosts (I think) in my own house. An old lady died in the house (on Halloween just to be even creepier)and I kept thinking someone was behind me. Of course there never was. I was not yet married and was talking to my soon to be husband on the phone and he told me he kept seeing some woman in my bedroom and he had been afraid to say anything for obvious reasons. The next day I made a joke about our house being haunted and my oldest daughter said , "Do you mean that lady in your room?"
I proceeded to grill her about when and what she saw and it was eerily the same. We have not seen the ghost since. I did not make this up.
Spooky

Pigtown-Design said...

The house where I grew up had a ghost. It would turn the water on and off and also turn the dining room light up, right before dessert was served, regardless of how long the main courses took.

There's a ghost here at our offices, which are in an 1850's house. I have seen it's shadows twice.

Then there was the 1200's castle I worked in when I lived in Wales. That place was just crawling with strange energy, things that went bump in the night and funny sweet smells.

I do believe!

Toby Worthington said...

Though I resolutely refuse to believe in ghosts, there have been a few sightings in the 1860s house that I live in~ not by me, but by my rational, no-nonsense partner who has seen Civil War soldiers in his bedroom. Since he is an historian that might easily be put down to flights of fancy (or even fantasy) but on each telling, there was authentic terror of the kind you described. Oh, and one more thing: this house is a short distance from a cemetery where those veterans are buried.
For my part, I am left blissfully unbothered by ghosts. They can leave a message on the voice mail if it's all that urgent.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Toby, you just need one experience to change your mind! like mine!
Down East, an architects soul is attached to his buildings: that prooves it!

home before dark said...

Loved the story, the pictures and the comments. One has to be open to believe what one thinks is irrational. Making plans for another trip back there?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

HBD - NO WAY, NEVER AGAIN!

Janet said...

Well my dear...clearly you are not alone.

Love the sign with the pig...!

David said...

I've never had any experience with ghosts, but I'm open to the possibility. Theres too much we don't know and can't explain.

Lucky for me my other half is the light sleeper in the family. If something ever were to go down he'd be the one to know about it, I'd more than likely sleep right through.

Isabel said...

Loved your story. Haven't been able to look at the pictures yet!

The Shiny Pebble said...

OK, first of all I think this place looks fantastic and my first thought was I'd live there forever. Aparently, someone else does!!! Yikes!

I have had a similar experience at this very old hotel in Galveston (the most haunted county in the US). I will share it with you all around Halloween.

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

I' going to have to go back and look at the pictures since I was so into reading the narrative. Ain't life fun? You had an eerie experience and got material for your blog at the same time....all in a good night.

pve design said...

You had me at "crackpot blogger" - which is what I love about this post, it is wicked funny and the other just darn scary...
I have stories like this, and now since you have shared, I think I can too. (shaking in my blog boots!!)
pve

pve design said...

Check out my Architect's blog, I think I may have had some influence or scared her into it-
cga on my blog roll - cga studio
pve

Jürgen said...

An absolute dream of a beautiful house, great photos thank you regards jürgen

VictoriaArt said...

I love a good ghost story, yours is great! Love the pictures and I cannot say I do not believe in ghosts. What do we know?
Call it energy or spirits!
I believe you!

XX
Victoria

The Shiny Pebble said...

I keep coming back to get spooked again and again. I love this stuff.

Maurie said...

After living in Haiti for six years, I know the supernatural is alive and well. In our sophisticated western world we often discount the other dimensions--the evil and the good. Both are very real! I could tell you stories that would curl your hair, but also accounts of good overcoming evil that soothes the hairs which were standing up on the back of your neck! Thankfully, good wins in the end...not just in the movies! Maurie@ graciousinteriors.blogspot.com

BWS said...

Great post. Of course there are spirits...

Lesley said...

Great post and you got a fantastic array of comments from it.

That place needs looking at by a psychic.

For sure there is something in it.

We do leave vibes behind us.

Best Wishes
Robert

Leanor said...

My son was just six years old when we made a u-turn in the parking lot at the Inn at Phillips Mill. The front door to the inn was open and my son was looking in from the car. He remarked to me in a frightened way that he saw someone on the stairs and they "just disappeared"...
He knew nothing about the inn or its reputation.