When Hilary Osborne of Blanchester first came to work at Snow Hill Country Club ten years ago, she never intended to become a believer in ghost stories.
“Within six months, I started to notice strange things,” says Osborne, Banquet Manager for Snow Hill’s many weddings and social occasions. “Then one night, two other employees and I saw a floating light that royally scared us. We couldn’t explain it, and since then I’ve accepted that ghosts live at Snow Hill.”
Thousands of visitors echo her sentiments about the 1820 hotel, which is nestled in the country equidistant from Washington Courthouse, Hillsboro and Wilmington.
Each weekend through the fall, Snow Hill offers dinner tours of the original homestead, a white-washed Federal brick home with elegant bedrooms, parlors and historic fireplaces. Room by room, guests learn about a simpler life in the 1800’s…and then they hear the voices of the dead.
EVP’s (electronic voice phenomena) are captured during independent investigations by long-time ghost hunters Shelly Suitor and Kathy Powell from Dayton. The astonishing, and unexplainable results, are played during the tours.
“The EVP’s are just one exciting aspect of the tour,” explains Suitor. “Many times, guests arrive skeptical. They think we’re going to make stuff up, but they hear the tapes and their hearts start racing. Suddenly, they’re more open to the phenomena we see at Snow Hill.”
“We also show video from our investigations,” Suitor says, “but many times, it’s the guests who capture the most amazing shots.” Guests are encouraged to bring cameras, video recorders or tape recorders.
Snow Hill’s long history as the center of social life for Clinton, Fayette and Highland Counties offers plenty of research opportunities for Club Historian Kathleen Madison of Wilmington.
“The Snow Hill tour is a great place to gain perspective on Ohio history,” says Madison. “The Harris family built Snow Hill in 1820, but they arrived in Ohio in 1806. The property was in the family for nearly 150 years. Plus, it’s fun listening to stories of Snow Hill’s early golf days. We were quite the talk of the golfing world in the 1920’s.”
Dinner tour guests are treated to a fine-dining experience with buffet-style service. Head Chef Andrew Fernsler and Sous Chef Gary Adams take great care with the seasonal menu, which usually features Fernsler’s secret recipe stewed tomatoes.
For those who want the Snow Hill experience to last beyond the 2½ hour dinner tour, two options are available.
A late-night add-on tour takes guests into the basement and locker rooms for a true ghost-hunt. Guests huddle in the dark and can ask questions of either the guides…or the dead. The hour-plus hunt gives people a chance to collect their own evidence in a quieter environment.
Secondly, Snow Hill’s six luxury bedrooms offer the ultimate bed-and-breakfast venue…if you can sleep. Room guests enjoy specialty soaps, robes and made-to-order breakfasts. Golf can even be wrapped into the package upon request.
Reservations are required for “Dinner and A Ghost: A Spirited Occasion.” Dinner tours are appropriate for children aged 10 and older. The add-on tour is restricted to 18 and older. Tour dates begin October 5 and run through November 3. Call 937-987-2491.
Snow Hill is located at 11093 State Route 73, between Hillsboro and Wilmington. “Spirits Bistro” is open to the public for lunch and dinner. For more information, visit www.snowhillcountryclub.com.
Stephanie Haines, Club Manager
Snow Hill Country Club
New Vienna, Ohio