My daughter has started the painstaking task of visiting prospective colleges. When my Alma mater, Valparaiso University, made the list for campus visits, I jumped at the chance to play tour guide.
Spending time with just my daughter is a rare occurrence and I wanted our girls weekend to be special. In researching accommodations in the Northwest Indiana area I came upon an award-wining bed & breakfast, The Inn at Aberdeen.
Originally built as a farmhouse in the 1850s, the home has been linked to the Underground Railroad. A trap door was found in a closet near the front entrance with a set of stairs leading to a root cellar and crawl space. This stop was perhaps one of the last few the escaped slaves used before reaching freedom in Southwest Michigan.
The land on which the Inn is located has been used for a dairy and horse farm before renovations to the home in 1995 brought about the current 11-room all-suite Inn. Complete with a King or two-Queen beds, fireplace, and jacuzzi tub in each suite, I envisioned our girls weekend full of bubble-baths, painting our nails, and long talks into the wee hours in front of the fireplace!
Arriving shortly after dark, the Inn had a welcoming glow with decorative candles in the windows. Walking through the front door we were greeted by a grand winding staircase, dining area to the left, and solarium to the right, and just past the staircase stood an antique, chest-high case that served as the front desk and reception area. The gracious innkeeper handed us the brass key to our room – yes, an actual key with engraved room number, the likes of which my daughter had never seen before.
Our room was comfortably decorated with two high off the ground wrought-iron canopy queen beds and a sitting area with fireplace and basket loaded with current magazines. A small balcony offered a view of the garden. Much to my daughter’s delight there was complimentary wi-fi available not only within the rooms, but extending out to the garden’s gazebo. The spacious bathroom offered a shower as well as jacuzzi tub with relaxation pillows, tea light candles, herbal bath salts, and thick terry robes.
It was upon attempting to turn on our television that things took a undeniable turn. As the innkeeper attempted to explain the remotes and satellite system the television abruptly turned off and on a few times. Under her breath the innkeeper made an off-handed comment about ghosts, which I laughed off but the look in my daughter’s eyes was stunned fear. With the promise that we would keep a light on all night, we settled in for the night.
Over an early morning cup of coffee, and well out of earshot of my daughter, I discovered that the Inn is indeed haunted. Included in a book, Haunted Hoosier Trails: A Guide to Indiana’s Famous Folklore Spooky Sites (Haunted Heartland Series), ghost hunters have reportedly discovered the ghosts of a young girl and that of a male. It was explained that while the male likes to be left alone in the basement of the building, the young girl is more mischievous and often turns things on and off and enjoys playing on the front staircase. While it is not known who the male might be, one of the original owners of the farmhouse, Sarah Ritter and two of her young daughters, are said to have died in the home. Although this could have revealed the identity of the young girl, rest-assured this is information I did not share with my ghost-nervous daughter.
Exploring the Inn a little further I discovered the library, full of books to share and an assortment of games to play. The library is said to be the living room and original entrance of the home. For a little outdoor activity guests can enjoy a walk through the adjacent neighborhood or a round of golf at the nearby Course at Aberdeen. Or perhaps a little pampering visit to a nearby spa.
The Inn at Aberdeen is located only a few miles away from the University campus and downtown Valparaiso which offers an eclectic array of dining and shopping options. Be sure to check with the innkeeper for a list of area restaurants that deliver to the Inn as well.
A full 3-course breakfast is served daily beginning at 8:30 a.m. The solarium is stocked with snacks, cold beverages, coffee, hot chocolate, and tea service all day long, and evening feature an impressive nightly dessert. I particularly enjoyed returning to the Inn after dinner to enjoy a cup of coffee and dessert – a creamy chocolate chip cheesecake.
The rooms would be a perfect setting for romantic weekend; I would suggest tucking a bottle of wine in your suitcase to enjoy in front of the fire. Still, the rooms were comfortable and spacious enough for a girls get-away as well — with or without ghosts!
Location: 3158 South State Road 2, Valparaiso, Indiana
Rates: Suite rates start at $136 per night including nightly dessert, beverages and full breakfast
NOTE: While the author was provided complimentary accommodations for the purpose of a review, the opinions expressed are strictly her own.
Photos Courtesy of Indiana Dunes Tourism – Christine Liv, photographer
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Having been transplanted numerous times, I have learned to explore the sites around our new found hometown, uncovering hidden gems and attractions. When vacation time rolls around, I enjoy traveling with my family and the occasional weekend escape with my husband, coming home to share our travel experiences with others. You can follow me on Twitter @JAIngersoll. My top three destinations are Walt Disney World Resort, the Midwest and any beach I can walk along.