BLOWING ROCK — Ghost hunters of the High Country won’t have to travel far for their next paranormal investigation.
Blowing Rock’s Green Park Inn is now in the national spotlight, as The Washington Post named the destination one of 13 haunted hotels across the United States.
As the story goes, Laura Green, daughter of the Green Park Inn’s founder, died in room 318 after her husband-to-be left her at the altar. The hotel, built in 1891, continues to hear reports from guests of ghostly activity, and the hotel lobby even has a “ghost log” for visitors to look through or report encounters.
“The motto (our employees) live by is, ‘We respect the privacy of all of our guests, whether or not they’ve ever checked out,’” said Green Park Inn Manager Lorry Mulhern.
Mulhern said the Green Park Inn does get visitors for the haunted element alone, but it’s not something the hotel promotes. In fact, it’s something that is somewhat discouraged. However, Mulhern said the article in The Washington Post was a pleasant surprise.
“All national recognition is good recognition,” she said. “We’re always happy to shine a spotlight on the history of the hotel and the town of Blowing Rock. I think it’s great to have the lore, but there is a fine line between what people believe and what people want to believe. We have guests that say they sense things, and that’s fine, but we’re not big on the Geiger counter type of paranormal activity.”
Even so, the tales of the Green Park Inn, as well as its history and cultural value, have boosted the local economy, especially through tourism.
“Certainly folks are interested in a property that has a historic past, and it’s a natural attractor for curiosity seekers,” said Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President David Jackson. “To see places that harken back to yesteryear that are not staged in the modern way of hotels and other businesses, surely generates a lot of traffic.”
Jackson said he would place the Green Park Inn in the same category as the Dan’l Boone Inn and Cone Manor — places where families can connect to the culture and honor the unique history of the area.
“One sector of tourism traffic comes to this area to take that step back in time,” he said. “While these locations celebrate their past, they have gone through substantial renovations to preserve what they offer, and are great examples of celebrating and treasuring our history.”
Whether the Green Park Inn is haunted or not, that’s up to the public, or maybe the imagination, to decide. But one thing is for certain — the historic landmark continues to serve the local economy as it has for the past 126 years.