7 Hauntingly-Beautiful Stops on the Haunted History Trail of New York State

Haunted History Trail of New York State: All the natural light at Rolling Hills Asylum.

Did you know that New York State has a fun Haunted History Trail? Filled with all-things spooky, kooky, and even downright creepy at times, the trail covers plenty of locations that have been deemed haunted. So, where do you start? I mean, where are the must-see spots on the trail? A recent visit to New York State put me right in the middle of the HHToNYS and there are some that are definitely worth a stop. From a store where time stands still to a Scottish Inn to the most haunted place in the U.S., here are seven must-visit stops on the Haunted History Trail of New York State.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Hauntingly-beautiful rooms at Rolling Hills Asylum.
Hauntingly-beautiful rooms at Rolling Hills Asylum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

I’ve been attending ghost hunts for years, mostly in my hometown. Sure, ghost hunting and haunted locations have really ramped up since a few known television shows have brought it to the masses, and I love watching them. But there really is something about going to a known location that has plenty of haunted tales to tell.

So, you can understand my bliss when I road tripped with my teen daughter through New York State for a week and had the pleasure of stopping at several locations on the Haunted History Trail of New York State. Filled with a mix of fun NY history and spooky tales, these seven stops were not only a hoot to visit, they were hauntingly beautiful.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: An exterior sign at Rolling Hills Asylum letting you know what you're in for when you step inside.
An exterior sign at Rolling Hills Asylum letting you know what you’re in for when you step inside. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

1. Rolling Hills Asylum

So much tragedy has happened on the grounds of where Rolling Hills Asylum sits, that it’s truly no wonder that it’s called the second most haunted location in North America. If you watch ghost hunting shows on the tele, you may have seen it on “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Adventures”, and plenty of others.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: One of many bedrooms in Rolling Hills Asylum - so beautiful.
One of many bedrooms in Rolling Hills Asylum – so beautiful. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Originally the 1827 Genessee County Poor House & Farm (my mother used to tell me I was going to put her in the poor house!), RHA has gone through additions as well as owners. Not only were orphans housed there, criminals, the elderly, and folks with no place to live were all put in the RHA to live out their days. Flash to present day where Sharon Coyle, owner, lives on the property and calls the spirits her friends.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: I dig the fact that Rolling Hills Asylum is not pristine.
I dig the fact that Rolling Hills Asylum is not pristine. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

During our visit, there was a painting class (there are plenty of tour options including overnight lockdowns and day tours) with Guest Medium, Tessa DelZoppo. If the second most haunted location in N.A. can be a lovely experience, that day it was. After a reading, we had a tour with Sharon who told us about the spirits that inhabit the rooms.

While I did find a few orbs in my photos, this is what I found most: beauty. The rooms during the day are filled with natural light, and the property has a quiet calmness that I dig.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: This exterior at Rolling Hills Asylum was made for photos. So beautiful.
This exterior at Rolling Hills Asylum was made for photos. So beautiful. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Location: 11001 Bethany Center Rd.  East Bethany, NY 14054

For Information on Tours: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/rolling-hills-asylum

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Historic Palmyra's William Phelps General Store.
Historic Palmyra’s William Phelps General Store. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

2. William Phelps General Store & Historic Museum

Historic Palmyra has been named “The Most Haunted Place in The Finger Lakes”, so we had to make a pit stop and check out two of its famous properties. The William Phelps General Store is a trip back in time and it’s absolutely gorgeous. From the brown paper and string that used to tie up purchases to scales and cash registers, the store is a history lesson come to life.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Brown paper packages tied up with string...I can keep going.
Brown paper packages tied up with string…I can keep going. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Then there’s the Historic Palmyra Museum. Make sure you have good walking shoes on, because you’ll be climbing stairs and walking through several rooms. Antique furniture creepy dolls, and even a tour of where the Phelps Family lived, there’s plenty of eye candy for photos.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Is it me, or are all old dolls automatically creepy?
Is it me, or are all old dolls automatically creepy? Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Location: 140 Market Street, Palmyra, NY 14522

For Information on Tours and Times: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/historic-palmyra-wm-phelps-general-store-and-historic-palmyra-historical-museum

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Wayne County History Museum in Lyons, New York.
Wayne County History Museum in Lyons, New York. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

3. Museum of Wayne County History

Start visiting old county jails and you’ll recognize a crazy pattern: many times the sheriff and his family would live in the same building as its prisoners. The wife would cook for the family, as well as any inmates, and that’s how it was. I couldn’t imagine it, if only for the noise and chaos that would take place daily.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Upper jail cells in Wayne County Museum
Upper jail cells in Wayne County Museum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

The Museum of Wayne County History is part of that crazy history. The former Wayne County Jail, we took a tour of its 24 cells and learned about William Fee. Fee was the only man to be hanged in Wayne County and it caused quite a stir in 1860. To avoid a large crowd, gallows were constructed inside the jail and the history surrounding that day is fascinating, so don’t forget to ask about it when you tour.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: A bonus museum filled with old-fashioned tools at Wayne County Museum: The Carriage Museum.
A bonus museum filled with old-fashioned tools at Wayne County Museum: The Carriage Museum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Also on property is a 13-room museum filled with county history and artifacts including weapons that inmates made while incarcerated. Another must see is the Lyons Pottery room. Gorgeous pieces including a one of a kind vase.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Famous Lyons Pottery - and a one-of-a-kind vase at Wayne County Museum.
Famous Lyons Pottery – and a one-of-a-kind vase at Wayne County Museum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Location: 21 Butternut Street, Lyons, NY 14489

For Information on Tours and Times:https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/museum-of-wayne-county-history

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Brae Loch Inn in Cazenovia, NY.
Brae Loch Inn exterior. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

4. Brae Loch Inn

During our week-long tour of New York State, we stayed at Brae Loch Inn on our last night. Just a few miles from Chittenango Falls State Park, the Inn has very affordable nightly rates, summer outdoor entertainment, and a dining room that’s ideal for a nice dinner.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: A nip at check-in at Brae Loch Inn.
A nip at check-in at Brae Loch Inn. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

But let’s get to the haunts. I had a great chat with the co-owner, Val Barr, and loved hearing several stories including orbs that float through bed canopies and a woman walking through a closet. Val even told me stories that she and her husband have personally experienced. My favorite? A Christmas Eve tale that you have to hear for yourself.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: The staircase in Brae Loch Inn that leads to the hot spot guest rooms.
The staircase in Brae Loch Inn that leads to the hot spot guest rooms. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Here’s my takeaway from Brae Loch and its ghosts: they’re all happy haunts. I didn’t hear one story about folks being truly scared; most were simply curious over what they’ve seen.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: There are only a couple of double rooms at Brae Loch Inn, most are queen and king bed guest rooms.
There are only a couple of double rooms at Brae Loch Inn, most are queen and king bed guest rooms. We got lucky. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Each morning, Brae Loch Inn offers a complimentary breakfast. Sadly, we had to hit the road before sunrise to get home, but if dinner was any indication, it’s a lovely addition.

Location: 5 Albany Street, Cazenovia, NY 13035

For Information on Inn Rooms and Rates: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/the-brae-loch-inn

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Seneca Falls Historical Society Exterior.
Seneca Falls Historical Society Exterior. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

5. Seneca Falls Historical Society

The Seneca Falls Historical Society may be three stories tall, but the haunted stories are tenfold. The property is a 23-room, Queen Anne-style mansion that includes furnishings from the period. Ask the tour guides and they’ll tell you there are three ghosts that stay in the mansion: an Irish girl that was injured and died onsite and the original owner, Edward. The third, the former nanny that still looks over the home.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Check out those orbs in an upstairs bedroom at Seneca Falls Historical Society.
Check out those orbs in an upstairs bedroom of Seneca Falls Historical Society! Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

I found a few orbs in photos, but the museum’s standout are the two rooms dedicated to hundreds of historical outfits. These pieces have been viewed and photographed by movie scouts looking to recreate period costumes and there’s good reason why. Most of the pieces are in amazing condition!

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Called the Beehive (a place where folks would shop, get the news, etc.), this Beehive is on-property at Seneca Falls Historical Museum.
Called the Beehive (a place where folks would shop, get the news, etc.), this Beehive is on-property at Seneca Falls Historical Museum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Location: 55 Cayuga Street, Seneca Falls, NY 13148

For Information on Tours and Times: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/seneca-falls-historical-society

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Erie Canal Museum exterior in Syracuse, NY.
Erie Canal Museum exterior. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

6. Erie Canal Museum

A couple of week ago, Mr. Locke and I had the pleasure of biking the Ohio & Erie Canal from Canton to Canal Fulton, Ohio. Biking 15 miles in only a couple of hours, we made a few stops along the way to simply take in the sights. I thought about those canal boats and how each was pulled for its entire journey by mules and young boys. Yeah. Those young boys has a rough life, for sure.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Eric Canal Museum. Make sure you walk across the street to check out the bronze sculpture depicting exactly how the canal boats made their way.
Make sure you walk across the street to check out the bronze sculpture depicting exactly how the canal boats made their way. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

So, you can imagine my delight with the Erie Canal Museum, which brought even more history to my eyes and ears. The last standing Weighlock Building in the U.S., it has 150 years in its rooms and halls.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Test-driving a canal boat at Erie Canal Museum.
Test-driving a canal boat at Erie Canal Museum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

If you want to know more about the ghosts, get a group of 10 or more together and book a docent-led haunted history tour. If you’re not up for that, you can always check it out by day- that’s what we did. There are plenty of learning opportunities, too.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: A recreation of a tavern in New York at Erie Canal Museum.
A recreation of a tavern in New York at Erie Canal Museum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Location: 318 Erie Boulevard East, Syracuse, NY 13202

For Information on Tours and Times: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/erie-canal-museum

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum exterior.
Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum exterior. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

7. Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum

My grandfather used to work at the dry docks in Saint John, New Brunswick, so I already knew what they were. If you don’t know what dry docks are, here’s the quick version. It’s where boats are removed from the water, repaired, and sent on their merry way.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: A canal boat recreation at Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum.
A canal boat recreation at Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

It’s the dry docks at Chittenango Landing that are now home to its Canal Boat Museum. Sure, you’ll hear tales of a massive boiler accident that killed workers. You’ll also hear the tale of a young boy that jumped off a bridge and into the water, losing his life. But you’ll see so much more.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: Check out the working Blacksmith's shop when you visit Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. And make sure to ask about ghostly tales, too.
Check out the working Blacksmith’s shop when you visit Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. And make sure to ask about ghostly tales, too.Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

The Museum has paintings, a scale canal boat that you can walk through, and a working blacksmith’s shop. You’ll also dig the guides that have plenty of personal stories to tell.

Haunted History Trail of New York State: The store warehouse at Chittenengo Landing had everything needed to operate a canal boat.
The store warehouse at Chittenengo Landing had everything needed to operate a canal boat. Photo Credit: Karyn Locke

Location: 717 Lakeport Road, Chittenango, NY 13037

For Information on Tours and Times: https://hauntedhistorytrail.com/explore/chittenango-landing-canal-boat-museum

Headed to New York and ready to get your fill of heaunted spots? Here are seven must-see, hauntingly-beautiful places on the Haunted History Trail of New York State that are worth a stop! #ILOVENY #HauntedTrail #HauntedHistory #Haunted #Spooky #NewYorkState

Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the folks at I Love NY to give you fine folks the scoop on its Haunted History Trail. All opinions are my own. Trust me, I have plenty to go around! #ILOVENY #ISpyNY

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