If you have ever ventured through Rockbridge County you’ve probably stumbled upon the Natural Bridge and the Natural Bridge Hotel. The hotel is quite a sight. It sits on a hill high above the bridge and with tall arches and columns. It is difficult to decide whether the hotel is beautiful or creepy. In 1890 the original hotel, the Appledore, opened nearby. Eventually the name was changed to the Natural Bridge Hotel. The hotel became a center for relaxation and vacations in the area. In 1963 a mysterious fire broke out and the entire building burned. The origin of the fire was never determined but many believe it began in the kitchen.
The hotel was rebuilt in 1964 and thrived for many years. In recent years the hotel has seen a down turn in business but the property was recently purchased and new renovations seem to be giving the property a new chance.
Several ghost stories circulate around the Natural Bridge Hotel. The first owner of the property was shot in nearby Clifton Forge only a few years after moving the hotel to the current location. Under Colonel Henry Parson’s management the hotel and bridge flourished, with guests coming from all over to see the resort. Parson loved the hotel and put everything he had into making the resort a mecca for tourists. Could Parson’s be lingering on his beloved property?
Another story revolves around another early owner of the hotel. After Parson’s death the hotel changed hands several times. It is rumored that one of the early owners killed his wife, child, and himself in the hotel. This story might come from the fact that the hotel’s grandeur reminds many of the hotel in The Shining. Little is known about the many owners of the hotel, could one of the owners of the hotel gone mad and killed is family? Guests have claimed to see the figures of a family on the grounds at night. Is the family still wandering the halls of the large hotel? We’ll let you draw your own conclusions on this one.
One guest reported seeing a ghost in her hotel room in the middle of the night. She awoke to see a glowing figure on the floor of her room. This was not the figure of an 1890’s gentlemen, but instead the figure of a Native American man. She claims the man sat on the floor for several minutes without moving.
Others have reported hearing children running and yelling in the halls throughout the night. When they open the door to quiet the children, no one is there. The halls are always completely empty.
If you’re interested in seeking out your own ghost story, or just having a relaxing vacation in Virginia, the hotel is always taking reservations.