The oldest hotel in Erie county was saved by an Amish style restaurant, preserving the history, spirits, and delicious desserts for all.
The History: The Eagle Hotel was built in Waterford, PA in 1826 by Thomas King, one of the area’s first settlers. The Eagle Hotel acted as a rest stop for travelers on the American frontier and was also a distribution point for New York’s booming salt industry. The inside of the hotel was destroyed by a fire in 1845 but was up and running a year later. US president, Zachary Taylor, supposedly stayed in the hotel in 1848 and over the last 190 years, it has acted as a tavern, dance hall, social hall, resort, stagecoach stop, and today, it is home to Sugar ‘n Spice, an Amish style restaurant and bakery as well as the Fort Le Boeuf Historical Society museum.
The Haunting: The Eagle Hotel (and much of Waterford itself) is built on what was once the French Fort Le Boeuf, and the bodies of the soldiers were never moved. Guests visiting Sugar ‘n Spice and the history museum have claimed to hear mysterious noises in the building, voices calling out their names, and a baby crying on the stairs leading to the second floor. Tracy, a member of the wait staff, has had a slew of experiences including seeing (and photographing) and woman standing by the checkout counter as well as a man dressed in 1800s garb leaning against a pillar in the kitchen watching her. One night, she heard music playing and followed it to the third floor which used to be the ballroom. The minute she touched the doorknob, the music stopped. If that isn’t creepy (and awesome at the same time), I don’t know what is!
The Fort Le Boeuf Historical Society has done an incredible job of restoring the Eagle Hotel to its glory days over the last 40 years. The second and third floors have been transformed into a museum filled with donated furniture and artifacts found in the building. The restaurant is warm and bright when you walk in, and so it’s difficult to believe that Sugar ‘n Spice and the rest of the building can be so haunted. But ask the wait staff and other employees and the stories just start flowing. I, myself, didn’t feel anything (aside from the staircase), but dozens of stories from other patrons prove Tracy’s claims of the building being haunted. The most common experiences felt by patrons have been silverware flying from tables by unseen hands, and a baby crying on the stairs. It’s an unsuspecting haunted restaurant, but a place where the spirits are definitely not afraid to get your attention.
Sugar ‘n Spice was one of the most welcoming places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. The food is “Amish style cooking” which means it is hearty, not necessarily healthy, but absolutely delicious, and made in-house from scratch. Each day, they have three or four specials as well as their house staples that are always found in Amish style restaurants (and for a good reason). Unlike so many haunted restaurants, the prices are not at all expensive–the priciest thing on the menu being the prime rib and steak for $17.99. As if that isn’t wonderful enough, the portions are absolutely ridiculous. Almost everyone leaves Sugar ‘n Spice with a to-go bag, and there are enough leftovers for at least one meal at home if not two. I highly recommend the meatloaf. I usually don’t like meatloaf (just ask my mother), but this is the best meatloaf I have ever had. It’s spicy and flavorful, and I wish I had ordered another one! Also, a visit to an Amish style restaurant is incomplete without dessert! I got the chocolate peanut butter pie, and it was so decadent and delicious. If you have a hard time choosing what you want to try, they do offer an Amish platter where you can build your own meal and sample as much as you can. As Jim, our guide from the historical society, said, “No one leaves here hungry!”
Type of Experience: Restaurant
Dining Style: Casual
Price Range: $2.99-17.99
Address: 32 High St., Waterford, PA 16441
Phone Number: (814) 796-0060
Hours of Operation:
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