At the end of September we decided to kick off our haunted Fall a little early and take the Ghosts and Legends Village Green Tour of Historic Smithville offered by Paranormal Books & Curiosities. Neither of us had been to Smithville at all and were excited for some cute kitchiness. Smithville definitely delivered.
The section of Smithville we visited was the historic section, which seems to mainly consist of shops and restaurants in a tourist-trap type of village square. Many of the buildings supposedly date back to the 1600s and 1700s, but they have been renovated and fixed up so much that it is really difficult to tell.
We arrived early so we could walk around, shop, and take in the sights. The area with the stores is called the Village Greene; it’s pretty cute, has over 40 stores and restaurants, and a train that runs around the perimeter of one section. We actually ran out of time and missed half of the shopping, but still managed to find some gems. Out of Ireland is (as you would expect) a store filled with items about Ireland, its people, and American Irish. The women working there were exceptionally friendly and helped me discover that my most treasured ring (it was my great-aunt’s) is made of Irish connemaca marble. They even went above and beyond and found the county that houses the mines for the stones on a map. Apparently, Galloway is the only county in the world with this type of marble.
Eventually we could hold back our hunger no more and stopped into Fred & Ethel’s Lantern Light Tavern for a bite to eat and drink. The menu is huge, but the food was really just average. My panini was pretty greasy. The beer selection was fabulous, however, and includes the common staples plus a nice variety of craft beers. Those beers led us to our next stop: the Tomasello Winery for a tasting. Most of the wine I tried was too sweet for my tastes, but I did learn that the fruit wines would make lovely spritzers if you add some seltzer.
Our paranormal tour started at 8:00, right when it was just past dusk and the sun was basically down. Sadly, this is also prime mosquito time and our feets and legs looked liked we had some type of pox the next morning.
Our group gathered in front of Smithville’s covered bridge, which was cute but fairly new so it took away from some of the magic and creepiness of all the other old buildings. Nicole, our tour guide, rolled up with a lantern that cast an eerie shadow when it the area was dark enough, which added some spookiness to the atmosphere. Nicole is a paranormal investigator who was actually involved in cases at many of the landmarks we passed, which added a nice authenticity to the tour. Who doesn’t love a first-hand account of a haunting? Before we got to the cases in the Greene, Nicole started us off with a retelling of the Jersey Devil legend, which is set in the Pine Barrens (Smithville is in the Pine Barrens).
The 50 minute tour proceeded to bring us past a cemetery (it’s across the street), a gazebo, and a variety of stores that have reported sightings or have contracted Nicole’s paranormal team to investigate their property. Some of the locations we discussed include the Herban Legend store, its massage palour around the corner, and Costello’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant. At the last location, Nicole whipped out some evidence of paranormal activity: a recording from one of their investigations in which a spirit spoke to the investigator.
All-in-all it was a great tour (though a little short) and a very fun day. Paranormal Books & Curiosities offers quite a few other tours, including helping out on an investigation.