Chill Clinton is an experienced table games player who has played live blackjack at venues across the United States.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Blowing Rock is a small scenic town that is home to The Green Park Inn, one of the nations oldest commercial hotels still in operation.
First opened in 1891, The Green Park Inn boasted impressive accommodations for the time and location, including over sixty rooms, three stories, indoor plumbing, electricity, and a fully functional restaurant that is still in operation to this day.
Since its opening, the hotel has hosted a number of memorable historical figures including J.D. Rockefeller, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Eleanor Roosevelt. It is even said that novelist Margaret Mitchell penned a portion of Gone With the Wind during her stay at the hotel!
But the inn's history does not end there.
Should you ever visit this hotel, you will find no mention of its haunted history, and if you ask the employees, many may be similarly tight-lipped. However, The Green Park Inn allegedly hosts a few guests who will likely never check out, even being featured in a list of thirteen haunted hotels in America compiled by The Washington Post in 2017, with the most notable story being that of the original owner's daughter.
The Story of Laura Green
As the story goes, Laura Green was the daughter of one the hotel's owners, and was engaged to marry a man who would eventually leave her at the altar.
Devastated, Laura proceeded to hang herself in Room 318, and since then, guests have reported seeing her wandering about the third floor, being especially drawn to both Room 318, and the Victorian Suite, popular with newlyweds.
But fortunately, it appears as though the story has a happy ending, with guests claiming to see the ghost of Laura Green with a man, presumably her fiance, with whom it appears she has made amends in the afterlife.
Ironically enough, The Green Park Inn is a popular wedding and reception venue, and some couples who have visited the hotel to host their events have reported seeing a woman peering out to them from the window of the Victorian suite.
There may be other spirits drawn to the hotel as well, with other guests claiming to see ghostly children running about the halls.
My Visit to The Green Park Inn
You may be wondering, "Who on Earth would want to stay in a hotel where you might run into a ghost on the way to the lobby?" but the Green Park Inn is actually a very quaint hotel that attracts not only lovers of the paranormal, but nature-lovers and history buffs as well.
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Upon my arrival, I checked-in at the lobby where an elderly gentleman was playing the piano, received an actual brass key, and made my way to my room. Despite being in what is considered the "historic section" of the hotel which has received the fewest renovations over the years, my room had all the modern amenities of a typical hotel, including a television, phone, and a private bathroom.
And in case you are wondering, no I did not stay in Room 318. Though the hotel did not advertise this fact, at the time when I stayed, they refused to rent out Room 318 in an apparent attempt to dissuade paranormal enthusiasts from drawing any attention to the hotel that may make other guests feel uncomfortable.
I had visited the hotel to attend a wedding, so I didn't have much time to explore when I first arrived. But after the ceremony, I took to the hotel bar, called The Divide Tavern, to drink and get a chance to ask some burning questions of the bartender.
The bartender was a young woman, probably in her early to mid twenties, and unlike many of the other employees who I had approached to ask about their experiences working there, she seemed eager to tell me about the creepy stories she had collected while pouring drinks behind the hotel bar.
Most of her experiences were relatively unremarkable. The one that stood out most to me was a story of running to the kitchen to grab something, and hearing the distant sound of a raucous party starting up at the bar, only to return from the kitchen and see only a patron or two seated.
She also claimed that a coworker of hers from the restaurant, also located in the hotel, was working alone one morning, setting the tables for breakfast service. But when he realized he was a few table settings short, he returned back to the kitchen. However, when he returned to finish the job, each table setting was inexplicably accounted for.
She finished by telling me that she had never heard of a coworker actually witnessing an apparition or hearing distinct voices, but that she believed her workplace was haunted, adding that she felt the ghosts who hung around had no malicious intent, and that she never felt afraid while at work.
Did I Have a Paranormal Experience at The Green Park Inn?
After the bar closed, the party I was with was granted permission to tour the hotel to hunt ghosts. Armed with EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) recorders, EMF (electromagnetic field) meters, and even a Ouija board, we explored the basement, third floor, Victorian Suite (where the bride and groom were staying), and even an unfinished crawl space area.
Though some in my party claimed to record EVP in response to a question they asked while in the basement, after listening to the recording, I didn't hear anything but white noise. Despite trying as hard as I could, I did not experience anything supernatural, and eventually turned in for a restful and ghost-free night of sleep.
So do I believe that The Green Park Inn is haunted? Probably not.
Although stories of things that go bump in the night are entertaining, I'm not a genuine believer in the paranormal. That being said, staying at The Green Park Inn is like stepping back in history.
Some may find it spooky. Others will find it quaint and rustic. What's safe to say is that there are few hotels like The Green Park Inn still open for business, and those who get to stay there can enjoy an experience unlike any other.
If you're interested in visiting The Green Park Inn, you can find out more information and book a room here.