FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FROM BEDandBREAKFAST.COM - January 8, 2008
CONTACT: Marti Mayne, 207-846-6331, Marti.Mayne@BedandBreakfast.com
Sandy Soule, 203-637-7642, Sandy.Soule@BedandBreakfast.com
B&Bs WITH UNDERGROUND RAILROAD TIES
Commemorate Martin Luther King's Birthday and Black History Month by staying in places where slaves were welcomed
Austin, TX - Throughout January and February, Americans celebrate the history and accomplishments of African-Americans with Martin Luther King's birthday in January and Black History Month in February. In recognition, BedandBreakfast.com describes B&Bs that were once "conductors" or "stations" on what came to be known as the Underground Railroad. Relive history with a stay at one of these historic BedandBreakfast.com B&Bs, listed below, alphabetically by state.
Amelia Island Williams House, Fernandina Beach, FL: According to family stories, Marcellus A. Williams bought this home in 1859, allowing escaped slaves following the Underground Railroad to use his home as a haven during their journey to freedom. Built in 1856, this mansion included a trap door in the dining room closet, offering access to a secret room where slaves could hide.
Inn at Aberdeen, Valparaiso, IN: The renovation of this 18th century home revealed a hidden ladder beneath the old entry closet floor, leading the owners to believe that the house served as a way station for the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The inn linked a known "safe site" in nearby Hebron with other locations to the north.
Christopher's B&B, Newport, KY: Throughout 2008, stay in the Loretta or Beverly Rose Junior Jacuzzi room and receive two adult tickets to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Through museum exhibits and films, learn how enslaved Black Americans were able to achieve freedom against overwhelming odds. The package price is $135 and includes a one-night stay and two adult tickets to the Freedom Center. Additional nights may be added for $105 plus tax.
Hall Place B&B, Glasgow, KY: Here is one place where the Underground Railroad was literally underground. A cave under this B&B linked to a network of other caves that eventually surfaced at a nearby spring. Access to the caves through this B&B and a number of other nearby homes gave this area the nickname "Cave City". Judge Christopher Tompkins, once a teacher for Abraham Lincoln and an Underground Railroad supporter, built Hall Place for his daughter. When he died, his will named each of the slaves working in his home, offering to care for them throughout their lives.
Ashley Manor, Barnstable, MA: Dating back to 1699, this historic B&B has a secret passage that can still be seen connecting the upstairs and downstairs, thought to be a hiding place for Tories during the Revolutionary War, and later, a temporary hideout for slaves. Allegedly, slaves climbed down a ladder, still found in the closet of the King George Suite, to reach the cellar, then fled into the night.
The Tern Inn & Cottages, Harwich, MA: Under the living room rug, a small round door leads to a unique little round cellar that has survived 150 years of restoration, remaining intact and undisturbed today. The trap door is still easily found, as the floor sags and creaks when one walks over the spot. They say that the cellar was used to hide runaway slaves awaiting ships going north to Canada.
Lathrop House, Springfield, MA: This inn's location is convenient for visiting the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, CT, providing an intimate glimpse into the life of the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Also about a half hour away is the Connecticut Freedom Trail, a tour of buildings reportedly used on the Underground Railroad. In celebration of Black History Month, a complimentary second night or second room is offered for February 2008 bookings, plus a 20 percent lodging discount in 2008 for visitors who visit one of these historic sites during their stay.
Samuel Fitch House, Westford, MA: The innkeeper grew up in this home and spent hours climbing through a basement tunnel believed to be part of escaped slaves' route on the Underground Railroad. The childhood bedroom offered a large walk-in closet with bookshelves in front of a removable wall, where it is believed slaves hid next to the warmth of the house's chimney. Guests can still explore the tunnels and see movable walls on historic inn tours.
Cambridge House B&B, Cambridge, MD: Here's a great lodging choice for those seeking to learn about Frederick Douglass and locally born Harriet Tubman. From here, visit the Harriet Tubman Museum, the Bazzel Methodist Church where her family worshipped, the Stanley Institute -- a 19th-century African-American schoolhouse -- and follow the Underground Railroad trails through Dorchester and Caroline Counties.
Insel Haus, Bois Blanc Island, MI: Throughout Black History Month, visit this secluded island B&B for a private screening of the Emmy-winning historic film Heritage in Black, produced and directed by innkeepers here and used by the Department of Defense for race relations courses. The Heritage in Black package offered throughout February includes two days' accommodations, breakfasts and family style lunches and dinners, air transportation from either Cheboygan or Ste. Ignace, MI, airports, and a screening of Heritage in Black with comments from the producer for $290 per person, per day, double occupancy.
Escape Guesthouse, Brooklyn, NY: This B&B is just a short stroll from Plymouth Church, the "Grand Central Depot" of New York's Underground Railroad. According to church history, slaves traveling to Canada were hidden in the tunnel-like basement beneath the church sanctuary; you can still visit there today. The church's first pastor, Henry Ward Beecher, was a dedicated abolitionist and younger brother to Harriet Beecher Stowe, famous author of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Inn by the Mill, Saint Johnsville, NY: The inn is comprised of a collection of 19th century buildings, including a barn, carriage house, hog house, and a stone grist mill built alongside the Timmerman Creek. The mill was once part of the Underground Railroad and has three secret rooms below the basement floor. Each night, the water to the 30-foot waterwheel was shut off, allowing slaves to pass safely through the 1,000-foot-long water tunnel.
Saratoga Farmstead, Saratoga Springs, NY: Former owners and abolitionists Clarissa and Benjamin Dyer used the farmstead to connect to the Underground Railroad. According to some, a young black boy and his enslaved mother died while hiding in the attic. Legend tells that for many years thereafter, each time someone tried to climb the attic stairs, the boy's ghost put an arm out, tripping the intruder and protecting his mother. During a session with a visiting expert on the paranormal, these ghosts were released to "the next level," and visitors can now navigate the stairs safely.
Whispering Pines B&B, Nebraska City, NE: Guests of the inn are a short stroll away from the Mayhew Cabin (aka John Brown's Cave), one of the oldest buildings in Nebraska and currently Nebraska's only recognized National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site. In 1855, Allen B. Mayhew, with the aid of his father-in-law Abraham Kagi, built the cabin out of cottonwood logs. The Mayhew Cabin became a stop on the Underground Railroad in the late 1850s, used by slaves escaping to Canada.
Six Acres B&B, Cincinnati, OH: The Underground Railroad was very active in Southeast Ohio. Many Quaker families and others in the community courageously hid and conducted freedom seekers toward Canada. This beautiful home was built between 1850 and 1860 by Zebulon Strong, noted abolitionist and participant in the Underground Railroad.
Columbian Inn, A Bed and Breakfast, Columbia, PA: Pennsylvania was filled with stops on the Underground Railroad, as the Amish and the Quakers were particularly sympathetic to the desperate search for freedom. This inn was a known stop along the Underground Railroad.
Speedwell Forge B&B, Lititz, PA: During Black History Month, stay here and explore the plight of escaping slaves with the nearby Bethel AME "Living the Experience" tour. This eye-opening and spiritually moving experience begins and ends at the Lancaster Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a station on the Underground Railroad. Learn how the Amish played a part, crafting quilts that led people to safety.
Tattersall Inn, Pt. Pleasant, PA: An underground concealed room once used as a stop on the Underground Railroad is found in the original part of this circa 1753 building. Just two blocks away, a containment of rooms with tunnels leading toward the river can be found in a former hotel-turned-store.
Passages Inn, Gettysburg, PA: Located near the cemetery honoring "Negro" veterans, stay here and take the "Freedom Lies Just North" Underground Railroad tour of Pennsylvania's rural Adams County with local historian Debra McCauslin. Stand in the footsteps of a former thriving "colored" community and learn how local Quakers sheltered escaping slaves while aiding their passage to freedom. The Freedom package includes two nights' accommodations, daily gourmet breakfast, town tour and "Freedom Lies Just North" program for $170 per couple.
Across the Way B&B Fassitt Mansion, White Horse, PA: Located halfway between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, this 1845 mansion was built by Captain William Fassitt as a way to entertain guests and throw lavish parties. A known "safe house" on the Underground Railroad, it was also a frequent stop for freedom seekers heading north.
Golden Stage Inn, Proctorsville, VT: Under the ownership of Universalist preacher Rev. Warren Skinner, the inn was a stop on the Underground Railroad for fleeing slaves making their way to Canada. Rev. Skinner was known locally for his sympathetic views on slavery.
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This press release was prepared for BedandBreakfast.com, 700 Brazos Street, Suite B-700 Austin, TX 78701