With many historic buildings dotting the region, it’s no surprise that the North Shore has its share of ghost stories. But when the Food Network recently sought out the most haunted restaurant in every state, it settled on Brick & Ash in Newburyport to represent Massachusetts.
Why? Beverage Director Shaun O’Connor, a non-believer until he took the post at the pub, says he has witnessed firsthand the appearance of “Lucinda” and “The Sea Captain”—two people rumored to have died in the building.
“I have heard a woman’s footsteps on the hardwood floor when no one else is in the building,” O’Connor says. “I have seen the Sea Captain in the leather chair in the pool room, mid-afternoon.”
Legend has it that at some point in Newburyport’s rollicking history as a seaport, the building that currently houses Brick & Ash, located at 10 Center Street, was a brothel. And at that time poor “Lucinda” was pushed down the stairs to her death.
Reports of unusual activities have abounded since at least the 1970s, with doors opening and closing, footsteps at all hours of the day, as well as lights randomly dimming, brightening and actually shutting on and off. Employees of Ten Center—a restaurant in the space prior to Brick & Ash, also experienced glasses that shattered with no one nearby, as well as the temperature drastically dropping in certain spots of the building.
O’Connor says that unexplained phenomena are most likely to occur mid-afternoon and late in the evening—and that guests sometimes experience an eerie feeling at the restaurant, especially late at night in the downstairs bar. After seeing the Sea Captain—a white-bearded man wearing a gray suit and hat—sitting in Brick & Ash’s upstairs office one night, he no longer stays in the building alone at night. Spooky.
While we can’t promise you’ll meet up with Lucinda this Halloween, you can enjoy the drink Brick & Ash has created in her honor—an amped-up gin and tonic flavored with basil and lime.
Want to hit up some other haunts? In northern New England Food Network pegged Bernerhof Inn in Glen, New England, reputedly haunted by the spirit of Claire Zumstein, who once owned the inn with her husband Charlie and passed away in the dining room (now the inn’s room 2). Food Network says she’s been spotted straightening curtains and folding laundry. In Vermont, guests and diners at Norwich Inn have reported seeing Ma Walker, who owned the Inn in the 1920s, coming down the main staircase.
And in Maine, Food Network says that visitors to Freeport’s Jameson Tavern have at various times seen a tall gentleman in a top hat, the trail of a little girl’s dress disappearing around the dining room corners and objects falling off the counter.