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The Yankee Express

The Equinox

By Thomas D’Agostino
The story of the Equinox Resort in Manchester, Vermont, dates back to 1769. It originally was a tavern run by William Marsh. It was there that Ira Allen, Ethan’s younger brother held a special meeting proposing the confiscation of properties owned by British sympathizers, better known as Tories, to help fund the Green Mountain Boys. Ironically, Marsh, a British sympathizer, was the first to have his property taken.  
  The 200-room resort opened as the Equinox in 1853 under the ownership of Franklin Orvis. He named the inn after the tallest mountain of the Taconic Mountain Range that towers behind the structure at 3800 feet above sea level. Since then, a long list of prominent people have stayed at the Equinox. Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Benjamin Harrison were but a few. In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln and their children stayed at the inn. They enjoyed the hospitality and quaint Vermont lifestyle so much, they made reservations to spend the next summer there with the president as well. 
   A special suite was constructed for the accommodation of the first family. All precautions were made so that the president and his family would have a grand time during their stay in the Green Mountain state. The visit was not to be, for on April 14, 1865 the president was assassinated. The Lincoln family never forgot the wonders and tranquility of the area. Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham and Mary, built his summer estate, Hildene just down the road from the Equinox.
   Time took its toll on the inn, and at one point the building became rundown and completely abandoned. By 1972, the Equinox was boarded up. Francesco Galesi purchased the inn and performed extensive renovations. In 1985, the Equinox reopened as a year round resort. In 1991, the Equinox opened the Charles Orvis home to guests and in 2007, the 134-guest room 1811 House became another part of the inn’s accommodations. This was the home of Abraham Lincoln’s granddaughter; Mary Lincoln Isham and her husband Charles from 1905 until her death in 1939.
   Such a prominent and luxurious resort would not be complete without a few notable figures still roaming its corridors. The ghosts of Mary Todd Lincoln and her son Tad still frequent the hotel. Guests and staff have heard the sound of a child crying and a mother comforting it. Some have actually witnessed the ghostly pair in one of the guestrooms. Witnesses recognized Mary and her son based on a portrait. She seems to favor rooms 241 and 242, which were once combined into one suite to accommodate the Lincoln family.
   The Lincolns are not the only spirits thought to still tenant the resort. Some believe that William Marsh has come back to his old inn. Perhaps he is attempting to reclaim the land that was taken from him when he sided with the British during the war. Maybe it was his angry entity that rips the pillows and blankets from the bed and tossing them all over the room shortly after the chambermaids finish cleaning. This would seem plausible, as the name of the room is called none other than the Green Mountain Suite.
   Others believe that the spirit of George Orvis, son of Equinox founder Franklin Orvis also haunts the inn. George was successor to the hotel after his father passed. In 1918, he strolled out to the pond to either go fishing or have a swim, no one knows for sure. Either way, he never returned. People have heard footsteps come up from behind and will move aside to let the person pass. The footsteps pass them followed by a cold wind but no physical entity is seen. 
   One night the front desk received a distressing call from Room 329. Security and staff went up to check out the situation. When they entered the suite, they witnessed the lampshades slowly turning on their spindles and the rocking chairs swaying to and fro with no physical being to manipulate them. The guests were hastily and happily removed to an “unoccupied” room for the rest of the evening.
   There are so many stories circulating in regard to the Equinox that it seems hard not to have a paranormal experience. Stay a weekend or enjoy dinner at one of their several restaurants. You never know who you might meet from the Equinox’s past.
Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting