Travel: Historic Shelburne Hotel

“It is required of every man,” the ghost returned, “that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and, if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.”
—Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”

After spending two nights in Astoria, Oregon we traveled to the beautiful and sleepy town of Seaview, Washington. We were lucky to get an attic room in the Shelburne Hotel which was built in 1896 and is the longest continuously operating hotel in Washington State. The big draw for me was the feeling of stepping back in time, but it was the rumors of ghosts that excited my daughter. Who doesn’t want a little adventure?

From the moment we parked our car and walked in the front door we felt welcome. The hotel is very LGBTQ-friendly and has a tremendously calm feeling. We arrived early and the staff encouraged us to explore the hotel while they finished cleaning our room. One employee showed us the secret library (swoon) and told us a bit about the local spirits—Georgina in the garden beside the large tree, the original caretaker Charles Beaver in the second-floor hallways, and a girl named Nina in the attic.

Now, before I go into the details of our possible ghost encounter, I want to share these photos taken with my iPhone 13 to give you a sense of the place. Almost all my photos are slightly crooked or off, which fits the mood perfectly.

All the stained glass was rumored to be repurposed from a church in Morecambe, England, that was being torn down and dates back to the 1800s.

The very creaky stairs up the attic.

Our bedroom. The little nook off to the left is where my daughter slept.

The hotel restaurant was divine. I particularly loved the wine and crème brûlée.

Now, here’s the part I’m a bit hesitant to share. You see, almost all of what happened can be explained away with logic. However, if you choose to believe in spirits…

After eating in the restaurant we retired to our attic room. We got into our pajamas and watched a few episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race before deciding it was time to rest. My daughter climbed into the little nook area and I sprawled across the bed. Before I went to sleep I said a prayer of protection and asked to be left alone. My daughter said she wanted to see a spirit and was open to an encounter. The bed was comfy and although we both heard some creaking on the stairs and a few bumps on the outside walls, I drifted to sleep fairly quickly.

I woke several times with an incredibly warm feeling against my back as if a dog or small person was curled up beside me. The room was cold but I was sweaty and uncomfortable. Each time it happened, I sat up and checked on my daughter and found her sleeping peacefully in the little nook. In retrospect, I should have been scared as I’m usually a complete baby about such things, but I wasn’t.

About the fourth time this happened, I whispered into the room.

“I need my rest.”

A few minutes later I felt a hand tap my left leg three times. It was comforting, which if you know me, is highly strange. I’m the type of person who jumps if someone comes into the room unannounced. I’ve been known to freak myself out and think someone was in the backseat of my van while driving home late at night and pull over at a gas station to check every inch of the back in the bright lights. I don’t even like scary movies, yet this touch on my leg felt natural and not at all scary.

At 3 a.m. I woke to my daughter softly calling my name. I sat up groggily and saw she was still in her nook but she looked strange.

“Are you okay?”

“I don’t know…”

She was terribly cold and shaking violently.

“My stomach hurts…”

She has a very sensitive stomach, particularly while traveling, and I figured maybe the rich dessert didn’t sit well with her. I didn’t want to tell her, but I started to get scared for the first time. The room felt different and I quickly turned on all the lights. Her skin was ice cold, her face pale, and she couldn’t stop shaking. At that moment I wanted to pack everything up and leave, but before I could say anything else she ran to the bathroom and threw up in the sink. Within a few minutes, she started to feel better and crawled into bed with me. The heat I’d been feeling on my back was gone, but so was the scary feeling that had arrived when she felt sick.

Unable to go back to sleep right away, we watched another episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race and then turned out the lights. I said another prayer of protection, including my daughter this time, and fell asleep fairly quickly. The warm feeling on my back didn’t return and I didn’t wake until I heard the call of a common starling outside the window in the morning.

My daughter woke up a few hours after me and told me what she saw right before falling asleep. A young girl was standing near the foot of the bed looking at her. She was wearing a white dress and had short black hair curled around her face. She didn’t say anything and her face didn’t show any emotion, but after seeing the girl she was able to sleep soundly.

The staff told us that sometimes things get moved around in the rooms, but we didn’t notice anything different in the morning. I showered and we had delicious coffee and tea in the lobby. We wrote down our story in a journal kept behind the front counter and left. We talked about our experience and could explain all of it away. It wasn’t until arriving at our next hotel we thought perhaps we did experience something supernatural. Digging through my bag to get my swimming suit for the hot tub I found this:

One of the first things my daughter said when we walked into the attic bathroom was, “Look at this cute makeup towel!” My bag was never in the bathroom and we didn’t take the towel off its hook. Maybe, just maybe, Nina gave it to us as a souvenir or perhaps an apology for my daughter getting sick. Regardless of how it came to be at the bottom of my bag, I’ll be mailing it back. We won’t soon forget our night at the Shelburne Hotel.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you’ve had any experiences like this. I’d love to hear it!

Note: To my regular readers, I’m back home now and will return to writing poetry and short stories soon. I’m also terribly behind in reading all your beautiful blog posts and hope to get caught up this week. Be ready for a batch of comments on your blogs soon!

56 thoughts on “Travel: Historic Shelburne Hotel

    • We are too! She was perfectly fine after throwing up. I want to think it was just her stomach not being happy with the dessert, but it could have been something else. Nina was a kind spirit, but maybe she got too close and overwhelmed my daughter as she’s super sensitive to energy. Or maybe she was protecting her from something she was already carrying and perhaps she is going to start feeling a lot better. I’m usually a HUGE chicken and I only got scared that one time. It’s not something I’ll soon forget.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Similar to your idea of an apology for your daughter, (and I’m not sure if the following is already obvious, but if it isn’t here it goes) maybe the towel’s word “Makeup” might be Nina’s way of trying to make up (or compensate, be friendly and reconcile) with you two. Fascinating.

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  2. Intriguing post indeed. I’m terribly jealous of people who experience these incidents of high strangeness – I seem immune. It seems quite logical to me that places with a long history might retain the troubled spirits of some who have gone before us. Those at the Shelburne seem benign, otherwise the hotel may have struggled to survive. I give guided tours at Mont Orgueil Castle here in Jersey (Channel Islands) and introduce our visitors to a small selection of our resident ghosts such as Sid the Soldier who bemoans his lot as one of the 16th century garrison there. Sadly I’ve never managed to meet him myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a crazy cool place to work! I’ve always been scared of supernatural things, but luckily those at the Shelburne seemed pretty chill. They have special Victorian seance sessions in October that would be fun to attend. Maybe you need to have my daughter with you as I think she’s a beacon for these kind of experiences.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Bridgette for including us. We huuman’s be status quo critters, don’t cotton much to change of any kind. Adventures yes, but maybe at some inconvenience, huh. I did look up that inn. Lots of wood is nice. Made me remember old places where I’ve stayed. One now gone, the other made modern, lost its’ charm. Change, you know. & welcome home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Neil. I love places like this. My daughter asked me at the hotel, “why don’t people live like this anymore?” Great question, don’t you think? I love the look of antiques far more than anything I can buy new—I guess that’s why my house is a blend of old things I find pretty or appealing. I’m still unpacking and catching up on all the chores, but hopefully I’ll be back to the swing of things by Monday.


  4. I love all of the pictures. You really have a good eye for catching the essence of a place. The lineup of books really caught my attention in these ones.
    What a fun and slightly spooky adventure! So glad you are home safe and sound ❤️

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  5. I shall put that hotel on our list. I do in fact have some stories to tell of ghostly encounters. It seems too much to put in a blog comment. I did write a poem about one of my encounters when I was younger. There are more. We stayed at the famous Glen Tavern Inn in Santa Paula. Room 208. We couldn’t bring ourselves to go one the third floor at all, but the ghosts had plenty of fun with us in our room. They messed with the radio, which was turned off, they messed with the lights, and when we were in the jacquzzi tub they turned the door lock that can only be turned from the inside. It was pretty wild. We are open to experiences as long as they don’t follow us. Being touched is particularly cool as long as it is not in a menacing way. My beloved cat Xena passed away just about a year and a half ago. She used to lay on my arm while I slept. I did not like her to do this because I would wake up with a sore elbow joint that would last through the day, but she would wait until my breathing changed, when she knew I was asleep and would not shew her off and she would do it anyway. About 6 months after her passing I believe she came to say goodbye, or just let me know we’re still connected. I was laying in bed trying to get comfortable and I felt her lay on my arm like she used to. I brushed it off the first time but she did it 3 times. I knew it was her and I called out to her and told I loved her so much. It has never happened again. I wasn’t scared, it was comforting to the point of bringing tears. 🙂 I mostly write poetry on my blog, but sometimes I also share happenings. 🙂 So glad we have come across each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing all this with me. I’ll check out your poem and the Glen Tavern Inn. Sounds like a cool place to visit.

      Your story of your cat visiting you is so sweet. I’ve an old dog who passed when I was 18, Chubby Checkers, who I’ve felt climb onto my bed from time to time. He was a schnauzer and his little beard always smelled no matter how much I washed him. Each time he visits the smell comes with him and makes me smile.

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  6. I hope you enjoyed your trip.
    I tend to rationalise things as natural rather than supernatural, but I do believe that some things can’t be explained. In trerms of understanding how the world works, we’re just scraping the surface.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It drives me crazy just thinking about all those numbers. If everybody who has died had a spirit, that is an awful lot of spirits on the planet! And if not all of them get to have spirits, why noy? See? It screws with your head. That’s good source material for a story, right there!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right?! Why are those three spirits stuck at that spot and not others? Why are they kind and others not? Is it all just something we create ourselves to make sense or reality? It can send you down a rabbit hole for sure, and yes, I got a lot of story ideas from this trip.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You have to enjoyed your trip. The great photography. All photos are very nice.
    Very nice you sharing your hotel stay. Beautiful bedroom design & facilities. You experience there with your daughter was the perfect added dimension. I’am so glad your daughter is ok. Now you returned back to home,. Thanks, Bridgette!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Totally captivated by your story. This stuff scares the Dickens out of me but I still have to read. Thanks for the fab story and great pix!
    PS – There are two stories I wrote which might interest you: one is called The Register about a hotel in Ireland; the other is a sad, haunting tale called Rainbow Bridge. Sometime when you have nothing to do you might want to check them out.
    Happy Easter, Bridgette!

    Liked by 1 person

    • OK, as promised… First of all, I love the hotel and that you stayed there. The attic bedroom was extraordinary! I need to know why it was a secret library! The shot you took of the bell was my absolute favorite. I also loved the stove picture. 5 to a bed doesn’t even seem like it needs to be a rule!!

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      • Thanks for coming back. It was a secret library because the entrance is hidden in the wall! You kind of have to know where it is to find it. Isn’t that so cool? Yes, that bell was one of my favorite things. They let me ring it even though the staff was standing right there. Amazingly good people and such a fun adventure.

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  9. I’m really scared of ghosts and so I found your story frightening. If someone tapped me thrice on the leg or stood in front of me, I’d scream lol. And if a towel I didn’t take ended up in my belongings, I wouldn’t be able to sleep for days. Both the pictures and your story are very creepy, but they kept me glued to the screen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of my favorite podcasts is Spooked with Glynn Washington. I listen to those stories and think “Why aren’t they freaking out!?” But it’s different when it happens to you. There are two parts of you competing; one part of me wanted to rationalize it all away, and the other part seemed comforted by the spirit. I know! It’s weird! I’m scared all the time, but this experience only scared me when my girl was sick. Other than that, it was almost…peaceful.

      I talked to the hotel staff and they said we could keep the towel. We have it hung up in our bathroom as a souvenir of our big adventure.


    • She didn’t take it—that’s the first thing I asked. The hotel staff said we could keep it, so we have it hanging on a hook in our bathroom. It’s a reminder I can be brave and do scary/fun things.


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