As addictive as eating Halloween candy, ghost stories are devoured by those eager to be intrigued or creeped out. It wouldn’t be October in America without ghost stories on the tips on tongues leading up to Halloween. This is especially so in historic cities like Fernandina Beach.
In this Victorian-era seaport, with its rich history and more than 450 structures on the National Register of Historic Places, stories of ghosts and hauntings in some of the old homes and buildings here have passed from generation to generation. Ghost Tours are offered here year round in the historic district, a popular activity with visiting tourists. If you’re a ghost junkie, there’s plenty of tales to be heard in historic Fernandina Beach.
AMELIA ISLAND MUSEUM WALKING GHOST TOUR
Like to lurk around dark streets? Listen to Amelia Island ghost stories walking through the historic district in Fernandina Beach. Ghost tour departs at 6 pm every Friday and lasts about an hour (and late fall and winter tours means darkness will fall around 6 pm). Meet a museum guide in the cemetery behind St. Peters Episcopal church located at 801 Atlantic Avenue. Tickets can be purchased at the museum, $10 adults and $5 for students. Call Amelia Island Museum for more information at 904-261-7378. Or visit the Amelia Island Museum website to purchase ghost tour tickets online. (The site of the Amelia Island Museum itself may have ghosts. The museum is located in an old jail house where gallows once stood to hang criminals. Moaning has reportedly been heard at times.)
Haunts like the Palace Saloon have spirits to drink and other spirits, too, they say. One of the most notorious is “Uncle Charlie,” the ghost of a bartender who started serving pub patrons in 1906. Uncle Charlie, in life, had a presence at the pub for 54 years. He actually lived in a room at the Palace Saloon in the old days and passed away there in his room in 1960. But in after-life, he’s said to make appearances at this historic saloon on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach. This is just one of the many ghost stories of the downtown historic district.
Another ghost tale is of a reappearance of a dead construction worker at the “Old School House” located at 914 Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach. Built in 1886 by R. S. Schuyler, during construction, a man fell to his death there. Before he died, it’s said he crawled to a window and put his bloody hands there. The story goes that years later the ghost appeared, crawling across the school house floor, much to the horror of school children. The ghost then reached up to the window. Reportedly, bloody fingerprints can still be found on the walls.
Enjoy a spirited time by hopping aboard Amelia Island Trolleys for a Ghost Tour that leaves from the Fernandina Beach city Marina parking lot at 7:00 pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings (please call 904 753-4486 for reservations and to confirm schedule). This is a 1-hour Ghost Tour of Fernandina’s downtown historic district as well as the Spanish Old Town Fernandina historic district, plus Bosque Bello Cemetery. “The Ghost Lady” on Amelia Island is tour guide who will introduce paranormal ‘hot spots’ and share local ghost stories. Ghost Tour ticket price is $16.00 adults and $11.00 for children under 12. Also see Amelia Island Trolleys website. There is also a special trolley ghost tour October 22 that ends at the haunted jail house (Amelia Island Museum) for tricks and treats.
CHOCOLATE JUNKIE? CHECK OUT FERNANDINA FANTASTIC FUDGE
Get a fudge fix at Fernandina Fantastic Fudge, on Centre Street. Those who like to be spooked and devour chocolate can indulge in both guilty pleasures in Fernandina’s historic district, year round. Enjoy a sweet escape at this homemade chocolates shop on Centre Street at the corner of South 3rd. Specialties are gourmet confections, hand-dipped chocolates, and fudge. Made the old-fashioned way utilizing a copper kettle and marble slab table, the fudge recipe dates back to 1887. You can often watch the chocolatier making the fudge at the front of the shop.