Vrbo.com recognizes historic inns with Underground Railroad ties. Learn about member inns and B&Bs that were once part of the road to freedom.
Amelia Island Williams House Bed & Breakfast Inn, Amelia Island, FL
According to family stories, Marcellus A. Williams bought this home in 1859, allowing escaped slaves following the Underground Railroad to use his home as a haven during their journey to freedom. Built in 1856, this mansion included a trap door in the dining room closet, offering access to a secret room where slaves could hide.
The Steamboat House, Galena, IL
Built by a steamboat captain and his physician wife, the couple raised 10 children in the house. She participated in the Underground Railroad before and during the Civil War. A tunnel still remains under the house, which offered an escape route for slaves.
Inn at Aberdeen, Valparaiso, IN
The renovation of this 18th-century home revealed a hidden ladder beneath the old entry closet floor, leading the owners to believe that the house served as a way station for the Underground Railroad. The inn linked a known “safe site” in nearby Hebron with other locations to the north.
1852 Hall Place Bed & Breakfast, Glasgow, KY
Here is one place where the Underground Railroad was literally underground. A cave under this B&B linked to a network of other caves that eventually surfaced at a nearby spring. Access to the caves through this B&B and a number of other nearby homes gave this area the nickname “Cave City.” Judge Christopher Tompkins, once a teacher for Abraham Lincoln and an Underground Railroad supporter, built Hall Place for his daughter. When he died, his will provided lifetime care for each of his former slaves.
The Bradford House B&B, Patten, ME
Built in 1840, this property was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It resides in the wilderness of Northern Maine and also has a resident ghost.
Cambridge House B&B, Cambridge, MD
Here’s a great lodging choice for those seeking to learn about Frederick Douglass and locally born Harriet Tubman. Visit the Harriet Tubman Museum, the Bethel Methodist Church where her family worshiped, the Stanley Institute--a 19th-century African-American schoolhouse--and follow the Underground Railroad trails through Dorchester and Caroline Counties.
Ashley Manor On Cape Cod, Barnstable, MA
Dating back to 1699, this historic B&B has a secret passage that connects the upstairs and downstairs, thought to be a hiding place for Tories during the Revolutionary War, and later, a temporary hideout for slaves. Allegedly, slaves climbed down a ladder, still found behind the bookcase of the King George Suite, into the basement. From the basement, they were able to flee into the woods.
Tern Inn, West Harwich, MA
Under the living room rug, a small round door leads to a unique little round cellar that has survived 150 years of restoration. The trap door is still easily found, as the floor sags and creaks when one walks over the spot. The cellar was used to hide runaway slaves awaiting ships going to Canada.
Munro House B&B And Spa, Jonesville, MI
Believed to be a station on the Underground Railroad, this house’s proximity to the Canadian border and the abolitionist stance of the original owner, George Clinton Munro, makes this plausible. The innkeeper, Mike Venturini, shows a ceiling entrance that conceals a pair of second floor rooms large enough for 12 adults. Over 400 runaways allegedly spent at least a day hiding here on their way to freedom in Canada.
Whispering Pines Bed And Breakfast, Nebraska City, NE
A short stroll away from the inn is the Mayhew Cabin (aka John Brown’s Cave), one of the oldest buildings in Nebraska and currently Nebraska’s only recognized National Park Service Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site. In 1855, Allen B. Mayhew, with the aid of his father-in-law Abraham Kagi, built the cabin out of cottonwood logs. The Mayhew Cabin became a stop on the Underground Railroad in the late 1850s, used by slaves escaping to Canada.
Halcyon Farm Bed & Breakfast, Amsterdam, NY
The 7,000 square-foot Federal brick home, once a tavern, was built starting in 1790. Years ago, a spacious but unfinished “hidden” room in this bed and breakfast was mysteriously walled off from the upstairs hall. Accessible only through a circuitous back staircase, it was purportedly a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Saratoga Farmstead B&B, Saratoga Springs, NY
Former owners and abolitionists Clarissa and Benjamin Dyer used the farmstead to connect to the Underground Railroad. Mr. Dyer also traveled throughout New England lecturing on the abolitian of slavery. When he passed away, Mrs. Dyer kept running the inn and the farm. She funded the building of the first church in Saratoga for people of African decent, many who had been in Saratoga Springs with their Southern masters prior to the Civil War and then gravitated to the city after escaping or being freed.
1830 Hallauer House B&B, Oberlin, OH
Many clues demonstrate how residents in this house aided slaves as they traveled on the Underground Railroad from Wellington through Oberlin and north to Lake Erie. A dry cistern with an adjacent thick-walled secret room and a concealed opening offered shelter on moonless nights. Just above the hidden room, a rectangular opening concealed by a wooden plug offered the family access to communicate and provide food to those hidden below.
Six Acres Bed And Breakfast, Cincinnati, OH
The Underground Railroad was very active in Southeast Ohio. Many Quaker families and others in the community courageously hid and conducted freedom seekers toward Canada. This home was built in the 1850s by Zebulon Strong, noted abolitionist and participant in the Underground Railroad, and is close to Cincinnati’s National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Documents in the Ohio Historical Library say Strong had a “false bottom” in his farming wagon where he would pick up his “passengers” along the Mill Creek, which runs alongside the property. He hid the runaways in the bottom of his wagon and put his crops on the top. He took them to his home for a safe respite before moving them further up Hamilton Pike to the next safe house along the route to Canada.
The Great Valley House Of Valley Forge, Malvern, PA
Owner and innkeeper Pattye Benson avidly shares many interesting stories of hidden rooms at this circa 1690 inn where she has lived for decades. A tunnel from the main house, originally built to store vegetables, was later prepared as an escape in the event of a British attack during the Revolutionary War. Although not needed then, in the 19th century it was used to house slaves moving north along the Underground Railroad. Two green doors remain as an important tribute to this escape route.
Speedwell Forge B&B, Lititz, PA
During Black History Month, stay here and explore the plight of escaping slaves with the nearby Bethel AME "Living the Experience" tour. This eye-opening and spiritually moving experience begins and ends at the Lancaster Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a station on the Underground Railroad in a spiritually interactive Underground Railroad reenactment.
The Fairfield Inn, Fairfield, PA
Dating back to 1757, The Fairfield Inn is one of America's oldest, continuously operated inns. It was used as a battlefield hospital in the Civil War and was also a safe station along the Underground Railroad. Runaway slaves were taken to the third floor and after crawling through a small trap door, the door was boarded back up with wainscoting. The runaway slaves literally hid inside the wall of the inn until it was safe and someone let them out. While you are staying at the inn, you can visit their Underground Railroad exhibit on the third landing. A window has been cut into the wall so you can view the area the escaping slaves hid.
Golden Stage Inn B&B, Proctorsville, VT
Under the ownership of Universalist preacher Reverend Warren Skinner, the inn was a stop on the Underground Railroad for fleeing slaves making their way to Canada. Skinner was known locally for his sympathetic views on slavery.
Hamilton House B&B, Whitewater, WI
Rumor has it that a number of secret tunnels led from this historic inn to nearby homes and the train depot. These tunnels are believed to be a part of the Underground Railroad.