By Jerry Tranovich
Looking for a hauntingly delicious burger? With Halloween closing in, we'd like to serve up our 2nd annual invitation, (or dare), to try a spooky burger! There's a restaurant located in Hotel Conneaut, (Crawford County, PA), that offers such a burger, and the guyz scouted it out for you.
The burger, itself, is not so frightening. In fact, it's quite good. They call it, "The Lake Burger." (Not a scary name). It is a mouth-watering, savory 6 ounces of 100% beef topped with the regular burger staples; fresh lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. But as a twist, they add their Almost Famous Texas Toothpicks and it's served on a bruschette bun, ($8.95). If you're not familiar with Texas toothpicks, they are deep fried, breaded jalapeno spears. Nothing really scary in there, unless you're afraid of just a little heat!
But, a word of caution; Stay alert and don't wander off because the fright actually lies within this old hotel's tragic and ghostly past.
Built in 1903 on the Western shore, it was known as, "the crown jewel of Conneaut Lake." Indeed, Hotel Conneaut was quite the attraction back in it's heyday. Conneaut Lake Park, built a decade earlier, was already a popular amusement destination and with the addition of the 300 room hotel, it became a renown resort that rivaled many competing for the market. Many out of staters made the trip to the small Northwest Pennsylvania borough of Conneaut Lake to enjoy the amusement park and stay at the grand hotel. The romantic ambiance projected by the Victorian architecture hasn't faded much over the last 114 years. To this day, visitors still enjoy the hospitality of the well kept, historic hostelry.
However, the main reason for many to visit isn't to marvel at the early 20th century architecture; it's the curiosity of the unknown, the unexplained, the paranormal. You see, dating back over a half century, many tales of ghostly encounters began to circulate. From apparitions of a little girl riding a tricycle and ball room dancers, to a soldier sitting in a tree and a deranged chef that supposedly dismembered a butcher in the hotel kitchen. Now, that's some creepy stuff!
The most famous spirit to haunt the hotel and it's grounds, is that of a young bride named, Elizabeth. The story goes, on April 28, 1943, lightning struck the hotel and tragically, Elizabeth perished during the subsequent fire. The tremendous, thick smoke and flames overcame her while she desperately searched for her husband, who already exited the building believing that Elizabeth had escaped. In the years since, she has been spotted wandering, still in her wedding gown, the hallway near the couple's third floor room, (#321 if you want to make reservations)! The lore goes, when she passes you, the scent of jasmine is in the air and you can hear her softly sobbing. The couple's room itself has had much paranormal activity reported. Voices, orbs, messed up linens, water that turns itself on, and windows that open by themselves.
The hotel honors and embraces the young bride in the name of their restaurant, Elizabeth's Dining Room & Spirit Lounge.