Something Wicked this Way Comes…

Photos Courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson

More Than a Few Types of Spirits Await. General Lafayette Inn, Lafayette Hill, PA

More Than a Few Types of Spirits Await
General Lafayette Inn, Lafayette Hill, PA

AML discovers The General Lafayette Inn has many interesting spirits at the
historic haunted restaurant and local brewery.

It’s no secret the General Lafayette Inn in Lafayette Hills, PA is known for a few determined spirits over the years, and we are certainly not talking about a strong J&D at the bar. As my six-year-old niece likes to say, “That’s kinda freaky!” Although, it’s never in relation to anything truly as freaky as some of the strange occurrences at the 276-year-old inn. As the official scaredy-cat of AML, I decided to meet with inn manager Nick DiPrizito to hear some of the more ghostly tales and legends. Besides an interesting evening chat, I had a great meal and a delicious Octoberfest draft courtesy of the on-site brewery. The inn offers a neat, cozy atmosphere and delicious food (I advise ordering the wings and cheesesteak spring rolls) and has been a popular venue over the years for the Main Line area. I would definitely recommend dining at the General Lafayette Inn—the staff is friendly, the food is reasonably priced and the ghostly tales make for great dinner conversation! If you do decide to stop by for a bite and a brew, you may want to stay on the lookout for some fellow customers who seem to have overstayed their welcome.

Happy Halloween!
AML Publisher

The General Lafayette Inn’s colorful history spans over two centuries as it was originally a way stop on “The Pike” during the Revolutionary War. In 1778, while George Washington and his troops were headquartered at Valley Forge, Washington ordered the young twenty-one-year old French General, The Marquis De Lafayette, along with 2200 men, 50 Oneida Indians and 8 field pieces to confuse, reconnoiter and spy on the British Armies in Philadelphia.Encamped on this site of the inn, at the time known as Barren Hill, on May 20, 1778, the Brits encircled Lafayette and his troops. However, the bright General outmaneuvered his enemies and brilliantly escaped across the Schuylkill River with a loss of about ten men. It’s known as one of the most magnificent retreats of an American war and the story is just part of a rich tradition in the current building.

Legend of the Fall<br>A Woman Interrupted a Poker Game in this Upstairs Area Over A Hundred Years Ago

Legend of the Fall
A Woman Interrupted a Poker Game in this Upstairs Area Over A Hundred Years Ago

Opened since 1732, the Inn, originally called ‘The Three Tuns’ is rumored to be haunted by three different ghosts. Most of the unexplained incidences have involved moving of furniture, lights going on and off for no obvious reason and some curious switching around of table settings. DiPrizito has been the manager for the last year and has not had any personal experiences with the ghosts but has plenty of stories to tell in regards to the frightening experiences of the staff.

AroundMainLine.com: I guess the best way to start is with the ‘facts’ so to speak, the ghost hunters who have been here. We are up here on the second floor where there has been the most activity over the years. Tell me what happened in 2001 when you had a group of paranormal investigators come into the Inn and do the readings.

Nick DiPrizito: The story is that the investigators came in twice in 2001. They did readings up in the attic and in this room next to us, the club room. They said the club room’s ghost was a woman who was murdered during an illegal poker game and she is still in that room—not so happy about the circumstances of her death.

AML: Interesting, that seems kinda hasty. I can see why she would be a little mad to this day!

NP: Yep, some people have seen her through the years, just quick little glances but she has shown herself to a few select, lucky employees–thankfully not me. When I am up here in my office doing the money, I tend to shut my door.This is not the best place to hang out by myself, especially at night. I don’t hang around after the work is complete, I am out the back door!

The other curious reading was downstairs where the hostess stand is—between the stand and the bathrooms. The investigators picked up a spirit that was moving back and forth in-between certain levels. They said it was stuck in a parallel state and thought that it was a grieving mother who had suddenly lost a child.

AML: Weird, that is so odd. Do you believe that they really did see those ghosts/spirits or do you think they were trying to ‘get paid’—you know what I mean.

NP: I don’t think so. Yes, some of the stories around here and the things that happen, you do try to chalk it up to the fact this is an old house. It’s over 270-years-old and things may not be the same as if this was a new building. But, there are too many unexplainable things that happen just about weekly here that you cannot figure out in any reasonable way.

Our assistant brewmaster Russ Czajka comes in basically at dawn everyday and he is down working underneath the bar because that’s where the brewery is. And he says without fail, every week he hears footsteps above him at the bar. And there’s nobody here—the building is locked and Russ is all alone but over his head he hears walking back and forth. The first few times he heard it he came upstairs thinking someone was up there. And there never was—so he just accepts it as the ghosts hanging out at the bar above him.

AML: That’s not all that shocking since you guys have great beer. This Octoberfest is so delicious I really can’t blame them. Let’s not knock a ghost with a discriminating beer palette, right?!

NP: Right, of course! But I don’t think Russ thought of it that way the first few times, it is a bit unsettling when you know it keeps occurring and there is no rational explanation.

AML: Thus the premise/fact that this place is most definitely haunted. Tell me another story—what about the father and son pair that are your other legendary ghosts?

NP: From what we know, the father and son seem to be from the Revolutionary War. That’s based on sightings and how people have described their clothes and what they looked like over the years. Just like the female ghost, they are not so much seen as heard but they do come ‘out’ every once in awhile.

AML: You mentioned the building and the age of it, what is the original part that dates back over 275 years?

NP: The front bar and where the brewery is—that is part of the original structure. And, there have been additions over time. The building was only one floor originally.

AML: I know you said one of your current employees has had some strange experiences with the inn. What’s happened that seems out of the ordinary?

NP: Allyson Mitchell is a cocktail waitress here and she has had a bunch of curious incidences. Allyson is always the last one to go because she shuts down the bar and restaurant. One night she cleaned up, removed all the salt and pepper shakers from the table and put them in the bin next to the computer station on the first floor. When she came back the next morning to open, the bin was empty and the salt and pepper shakers were gone.

AML: Let me guess, they were in the trash can outside?

NP: Nope, she found them upstairs here—in the room next to us. Every single one of the salt and pepper shakers had made their way up to the kitchen and there was no way anyway else had been in the building between the time she left and came back the next morning.

AML: So this second floor seems to be the height of activity for the spirits. I am dying to see the club room next to us where the murder allegedly took place.

NP: Sure, we keep this door locked but we can open it. There’s nothing really in here except a table and some old prints.

AML: (Walking into the club room) I am a big baby, can we please turn a light on!! Interesting, wow its cold in here. There’s a strange feeling in here, I can tell right away. I’m definitely not about hanging out for an extended period of time. I think I have seen just about enough plus I am starving.

The Inn boasts an on-site brewery that seems to appeal to the ghosts as well.

The Inn Boasts an On-Site Brewery That Seems to Appeal to the Ghosts as well.

NP: That’s cool, do you want to go up into the attic?

AML: Nope, this suffices for my investigation. Very, very interesting—I will not forget this for some time. Plus, I am so hungry and your menu looks amazing. Thanks for taking me on a mini tour and sharing the ghost stories of the Lafayette Inn.

NP: You bet, hope you come back sometime soon.

AML: I most definitely will, but I think I’ll stick to the first floor bar and dining room in the future f you don’t mind!

The General Lafayette Inn & Brewery is located at 646 Germantown Pike Lafayette Hills, PA. Call: 610-941-0600 or visit: www.generallafayetteinn.com

General Lafayette Inn Sample Beer Menu

Week of October 26, 2008

Christopher W. Leonard – Brewmaster

Russ Czajka – Brewer

Signature brews – (almost) always available.

Germantown Blonde

A light, easy drinking German Blonde Ale, straw yellow in color. Similar in style to a Kolsh, this popular favorite has more malt flavor and less hop bite. Imported German malt as well as a special Alt yeaststrain from Dusseldorf contribute to its incredible smoothness!

4.8% ABV, 16 IBU

Raspberry Mead-Ale

Brewed to emulate the Honey Meads of the ancient Celts. 80 pounds of whole raspberries are used in each batch of this newly reformulated brew. Triple fermentation adds to the complexity and subtleties of this tasty, but unusual beverage.

9.6% ABV, 9 IBU

$6.00, served by the wine glass only

Sunset Red Ale

As our brewmaster dreams of the sun going down over the Pacific, this medium bodied, malty Red Ale was his first brew at the General. Caramel and toffee flavors blend with imported English hops in this extra smooth ale. Consistently one of our top sellers, the brewer spends a lot less time dreaming of sunsets and more time trying to keep this beer flowing!

5.9% ABV, 22 IBU

Pacific Pale Ale

A Western, American-style pale ale. Drier, hoppier, turbocharged version of this house favorite. Hops from the Pacific Northwest provide the distinctive citrus flavor. A malty finish balances this incredible, quaffable ale. Trying to catch the Sunset Red, this has become one of our fastest selling beers (slow down people, I can’t keep up!).

5.7% ABV, 37 IBU

BREWMASTER SPECIALS

Specialty beers change frequently, so check in often to find out what’s new!

Oktoberfest

Ease into autumn with this smooth, mild, tasty lager. Imported Vienna, Munich, Pilsen, Biscuit, and Cara-munich malt from Bamberg along with hops from Bavaria give this brew authentic German flavor. Copper to orange in color, it’ll be gone before the leaves change!

5.4% ABV, 18IBU

The Mirage

Too good to be true. Will disappear before your eyes. You won’t believe your tongue. We’ve produce a crisp, fresh, hoppy Belgian pale ale using our own house-grown hops. The shocker is that this flavorful, medium-bodied, drinkable ale is less than 3% alcohol by volume!

2.7% ABV, 24 IBU

East Coast IPA

Some of the hops are from the west coast, but the beer rolls in true East Coast style. A stiff English malt backbone anchors our newest crack at the attempt to reach balanced beer perfection. The hop flavor is firm but not overpowering in what might very well become the new IPA standard.

6.9% ABV, 65 IBU

Lafayette’s Bière de Framboises

Sour, tart, dry, wine-like Belgian-style Ale made with 440 pounds of whole raspberries and a lactic fermentation. Six months in the making, this bright red brew has a quenching finish. $6.00, served in an 8-ounce wine glass only.

7.0% ABV, 12 IBU

Abbey Brune

The brewer’s continued struggle for brewing integrity is the inspiration for this dark Belgian-style Dubbel. Imported Belgian malts and dark candi sugar, along with a special strain of Belgian yeast, provide the authentic Belgian fruit and spice flavors. Look for plum, date, cherry, licorice, chicory, and cocoa flavors. 14-ounce servings only!

8.1% ABV, 25 IBU

Chocolate Thunder Porter

Dark, sweet, full-bodied and chewy, this is one robust Porter. Imported English malt, as well as plenty of black, chocolate, and crystal malts make for a great dessert beer. Chocolate and coffee flavors dominate this tasty brew.

6.7% ABV 22 IBU

Red Velvet

10 beers not enough for you?

Try this sublime blend of our Sunset Red Ale and Chocolate Thunder Porter.

This combination has rapidly become a house favorite.

“Secret” Beers

Anywhere from 2-6 blends and/or aged specialty beers pouring surreptitiously. Ask your server…

Cask Conditioned Ale

Try beer the way the Brits drink it! Served at cellar temperature (approximately 55 degrees), the beer is unfiltered and undergoes natural carbonation and conditioning in the cask. Due to the brewer’s diligent struggle for beer nirvana, we now have a brand new, DOUBLE beer engine. This should allow us to serve two distinct cask conditioned ales at all times – brewer’s body willing. Ask your server which styles of beer we are currently serving. $4.00

Sampler Round

Four, 5-ounce samples of your choice – $6.00. Additional samples just $1.50.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Samantha Says:

    Nick DiPrizito is my brother. He doesn’t work at the General anymore, he is still an awesome chef though and is currently working at the ABC in Harrisburg.

  2. Samantha Says:

    Have you heard of Home231? It’s the newest restaurant from the owner of Cafe Fresco. Located in Harrisburg they specialized in fresh and local ingredients (daily-made, handmade pasta anyone?). You’ll find lots of yummy food for sure and you’ll also find Nick at work in the kitchen. I personally recommend the tomato soup and the chips!

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