Visit to 30Boltwood at the Lord Jeffrey Inn & Wiggins Tavern at The Hotel Northampton – March 12, 2015
Late winter evenings are the perfect time to eat, drink and tell ghost stories. In that spirit, I set out with some friends for a snack at 30Boltwood and then over to dinner at Wiggins Tavern. We’d heard rumor that these historic landmarks are haunted and it was time to eat…I mean investigate.
Our first stop, 30Boltwood, has an airy, country-chic sort of atmosphere. We ordered drinks and a tasty cheese and charcuterie board which included a nice selection of cow and goat cheeses, prosciutto, dried sausage, crusty bread and pickled vegetables. While we nibbled and sipped, I inquired after rumors of ghostly mischief. Sadly, our bartender had nothing to share. Checking at the front desk, we were again denied. Undaunted, we were eventually rewarded with an amiable young man with a paranormal tale to tell. On two separate occasions, as he cleaned a downstairs powder room, the stall doors closed unexpectedly – big heavy doors that have no business doing this of their own accord. Not sure what it is with ghosts and restrooms, but it seems we may have another one. There’s probably more to the mystery that is the Lord Jeff, but we were late for dinner.
Wiggins Tavern, located in the cellar of The Hotel Northampton, is rustic and cozy – pretty much the opposite of 30Boltwood. With huge stone hearths and wide-board floors, the tavern is like a time machine and the year is 1786…which brings us to our ghostly host, Benjamin Wiggins. Benjamin originally built Wiggins Tavern in Hopkinton, New Hampshire where he enjoyed a reputation for serving superior food and drink. Some 141 years later, Lewis Wiggins brought the tavern – piece by piece – to Northampton, apparently bringing old Ben along with it. Reportedly, the most haunted part of the restaurant is the “TK” (former tavern kitchen), which is now the back dining room, but ghostly encounters are by no means confined to this area. Invisible hands are said to move chairs and light candles in the main dining room and computer screens activate when no one is about; seems like Ben is reluctant to retire.
The food at Wiggins Tavern is very good and ranges from Roasted Eggplant and Feta Flatbread to Basil Garlic Shrimp to Chicken Pot Pie. We ordered Baked Lobster Mac and Cheese, Grilled Salmon and Chicken & Kale Ravioli, with a slice of chocolate torte, of course (all delicious). Wiggins also serves Sunday brunch in the TK – I’m so there.
For this trip, Wiggins Tavern is clearly the ethereal winner. If you go for dinner, ask for Table 8 and be sure to drink a toast to the ghost – he’s earned it. You can find 30Boltwood and Wiggins Tavern at:
30Boltwood at The Lord Jeffrey Inn
30 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone: (413) 835-2011
Wiggins Tavern at The Hotel Northampton
36 King Street (downstairs)
Northampton, MA 01060
Phone: (413) 584-3100
To find more haunted eateries in this area, visit our Massachusetts page.