Halloween only comes around once a year for most of us, but for some parts of the country, spookiness is in their DNA. If you want to feel like you’re in a haunted house year round, there are many great cities and towns to retire to that will quench your thirst for horror. Many of them get their tradition and culture from the earliest settlements and events in our country’s history. These are great places for a retirement that will keep you up at night.
Salem is synonymous with spooky, being the site of one of the most infamous events in the country's past. In the late 17th century the Salem witch trials took place across Salem and nearby towns. Twenty people were convicted and executed after being accused of witchcraft, making it one of America’s best-known cases of mass hysteria and an early example of the importance of due process.
Now, centuries later, the town of Salem embraces its ghoulish and puritan past in a number of ways; police cars have witch logos, the local high school’s mascot is the Witches while an elementary school is called Witchcraft. They also have several annual fall and Halloween celebrations that commemorate the city’s dark past. There are so many that the city had to create an entire website for its Halloween festivities. Every day of October is a call back to Salem’s haunted past, including a séance, a parade, or a simple visit to the famous Witch House.
English Commons at Topsfield in nearby Topsfield is the closest 55-Plus community, while Reading Woods is another option. However, there are twenty-three other Boston-area communities to check out for a little New England history.
This southern city is famous – or infamous – for its reported ghost infestations, especially at some of the city's many historic cemeteries. Savannah experienced some of America’s earliest and most historic events. After becoming the British colonial capital centuries ago, it was a major tactical point in the Revolutionary War as well as the Civil War. Its historic events and old buildings mean it is one of the country’s most notorious haunted cities.
Savannah Ghost Tour is the headline of spooky activities in the city, taking you to some of Savannah’s most historic and most beautiful cemeteries with a guide who explains the town’s haunted past. The Pirate’s House is one of the oldest buildings in Georgia (now a restaurant) and features underground tunnels once used by pirates. They’ve since been closed off, but it’s said you can still hear groaning from walls while you eat. Savannah is also home to the sprawling, luxurious The Landings on Skidaway Island.
New Orleans has a reputation for being the most haunted city in the country, if not the world. Steeped in Voodoo tradition, the city makes no bones about flaunting its ghoulish history and culture. The Historic Voodoo Museum is the best place to go to learn about why New Orleans is known for ancient witchcraft.
In terms of supposed haunted structures, the Hotel Monteleone’s 14th floor is supposedly haunted by a young boy, making spending a night in the hotel a right of passage for thrill seekers. To get the best review of the city’s most famous haunts, take a haunted history tour - there are over 20 to choose from - whether you want a daytime stroll to see the history of the city or take an after-dark walk that will give anyone goosebumps. The nearby Baton Rouge-area has two spectacular active adult communities: The Greens at Pelican Point and Village Charmant.
The Civil War, at the time, was the bloodiest war in history and remains the worst on United States soil. The deadliest battle in that war was in Gettysburg.
Today, most of Gettysburg’s economy is based off tourism, with people flocking from across the country to see the historic battlefield. There are many urban legends tied to Gettysburg, mostly of ghosts patrolling the area. The battlefields are generally considered the most haunted parts of the town, especially Devil’s Den.
If you’re not one who believes in ghosts, it’s still an eerie feeling to walk through the tall grass and find bullet shells used 150 years ago. Besides that, General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters has been transformed into a hotel, considered one of the most haunted in the country. Gettysburg has one active adult community, The Preserves at Cumberland Village, plus over twenty other options in the surrounding area.
Made famous by Washington Irving and his celebrated story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as well as the many films and stories to beat the city’s name, Sleepy Hollow celebrates its fictionalized haunts perfectly.
As expected, the home Washington Irving lived in while writing the story is known as one of the most haunted in the town, some have said they can still see Irving’s nieces tending to the garden.
Sleepy Hollow is also home to three large cemeteries that date back to before American independence. One of these is the Old Dutch Church and Burial Ground, located next to one of the oldest churches in the country. This is where the Headless Horseman reportedly appears at nighttime, galloping through the cemetery. Wolfe Landing and Eden Park are two 55-Plus communities located right across the Hudson River from Sleepy Hollow.