The Island Hotel is a historic inn located on beautiful Cedar Key. What was once just a natural island became a place of developmental interest during the mid 1850s. Major Parsons and Francis Hale saw a financial opportunity and purchased property there in 1859.
The First General Store of Cedar Key
Within a year, the two had established a respectable building and opened up their own general store. Business seemed fine, until the Civil War began, and Cedar Key was viewed as an easy entrance point by the Union. Parsons and Hale were often unable to access their store for months at a time during this period.
When the war was over, the two business partners reopened their store with a desire to prosper. Nobody is quite sure when they decided to make an expansion, but by 1884, the general store included a restaurant and rooms for rent. Thus, the Island Hotel was born.
Today, the Island Hotel is alive and well. Some might even say the establishment is too alive…According to a handful of guests, the hotel is haunted by something that definitely goes bump in the night.
Along with the ghosts of two former owners, a young black boy, a Civil War soldier and two Native Americans, many guests claim to have seen the apparition of a woman in Rooms 27 and 28. During the Great Depression, the Island Hotel survived as a speak-easy and brothel. According to local legend, a shy, inexperienced prostitute was killed one night and now haunts the hotel.
Ian and his wife believe they were visited by this mysterious dead girl while staying in Room 28 of the hotel. It was their fifth wedding anniversary and the couple decided to celebrate by staying at Cedar Key for a long weekend. They had caught wind that the hotel was haunted, but did not know Room 28 was a favored location by a spirit.
The Late Night Visitor
“After a romantic dinner, my wife and I spent time lounging in our room and eventually fell asleep,” recalled Thomas. “I had had a couple of scotches with dinner, and was admittedly inebriated when we finally went to bed,” he added with a soft laugh. “Anyway, I woke up in the middle of the night still slightly intoxicated.
“I felt my wife wrap her arms around me. She started kissing my cheek and my neck very affectionately. I murmured in approval and wrapped my arms around her when I suddenly hear my wife yell out my name and turn on a light.
“My arms were still up, and yet she was all the way across the room, with her hand on the lamp. ‘How did you get over there so fast when I was just touching you?’ I asked. ‘You weren’t touching me,’ my wife whispered, looking frightened.
“I shook my head incoherently. ‘Of course I was, you started kissing my face.’ But my wife just looked at me and slowly shook her head.
“She had fallen asleep in a chair and had remained there until she heard me murmur in the middle of the night. That is when she called my name and turned on the light. I told her what I thought had happened, and she looked incredibly creeped out the rest of the night,” Thomas said.
“The next morning she insisted on finding a different hotel to stay at. While she spoke with the concierge I stood looking out at the water. That’s when I saw the apparition of a woman standing on the beach not twenty feet away.
“I don’t know how I could tell it was my late night visitor but it was. She disappeared within a few minutes. That vacation to Cedar Key is one I will never be able to forget.”