Haunted NRI Part III: Glocester roadhouse readies for another All Hallow’s Eve

Owner Robin Tyo stands by artifacts and photos documenting a long history at Cady's Tavern.

Editor’s note: The below content is the third installment of a series on local ghost stories, offered as part of our Fall Guide. Read Part I here and Part II here. A printable pdf of the complete guide is available here, and can be accessed through the “Fall” tab, where it will remain through October 31.

GLOCESTER – Robin Tyo says that when she and her husband Steve purchased Cady’s Tavern in 2008, she didn’t know that the building was haunted. 

But she says she wasn’t the least bit surprised to later learn that it was.

This is Glocester, after all. 

“Being in this area, it’s kind of common,” Tyo said.

Tyo can list – quite matter-of-factly – things that she, her staff and her patrons have experienced in her years owning the bar/restaurant, from items falling off of shelves without explanation, to faucets that randomly seem to turn on. 

Tenants who live in an apartment above the bar sometimes complain of a jukebox that turns on in the middle of the night and plays the same song on repeat for hours. Photos fly off the walls, Tyo says, even when screwed in, items shake or slide along shelves, and apparitions frequent the bar area. 

One time, she told NRI NOW, a bartender was bit by a mysterious child while fetching stock from a room upstairs.

“She felt something, and when she came down, there was a small bite mark on her arm,” Tyo said.    

The tavern is a regular stop for paranormal investigators. And each time they come by, the seemingly down-to-earth owner gives another haunted tour.

“They’ve all been here,” she said.

That tour takes the curious into the two-century-old building’s objectively creepy attic – still insulated with the original hay – and through a former lounge and ballroom filled with items left behind, from old photographs to a grand piano. In the basement, dark, dank spaces surround a giant rock that forms part of the building’s foundation. 

Several videos on YouTube aim to document activity at the roadhouse and according to Tyo, some succeed.

In addition to its less inviting, unused spaces, the tavern boasts a massive outdoor area with tables and a bar overlooking Lake Washington. The menu includes plenty of options for the living, with traditional pub fare, 30 different wing sauces and 21 draft lines, and live music plays here every week.  

Tyo said the usual large Halloween events will be somewhat scaled back this year amid Covid precautions, but at Cady’s, it seems every day is like the Day of the Dead. The owner points out that the legendary Dark Swamp is just down the road.  

“It’s not that far, and Foster is known for its creepiness,” she said. 

Just recently, she and her husband took some time off, locked up the bar and went out of town, and returned to find a radio on the floor. Unshaken, the owners put things back into place and open for business. 

For Tyo, it seems, when you own a two century old bar in Glocester, it’s all just a part of the job.

The history:  Although writers in the past have confused the record, the structure that holds Cady’s Tavern has remained standing – and serving libations to passing travelers – for more than 200 years. Original owner Hezekiah Cady first opened “Cady’s Stand,” to serve as a tavern, hotel and tollgate house for traffic on what was then Chepachet Turnpike some 20 years earlier in the 1790s. A prominent Glocester resident, business owner Hezekiah is listed as a justice of the peace, a representative in the General Assembly and a captain in the Burrillville and Glocester Washington United Calvary in A Brief History of the town of Glocester, published in 1886. 

Hezekiah purchased 350 acres of land – including the space where the tavern now sits – from his father Joseph Cady for $1,000. The property included all of Lake Washington and extended to the Connecticut state line. Tyo has the original deed from the sale framed on a tavern wall.

All operations from Cady’s Stand moved to the tavern once it was built just across the road in 1810, and have remained there since. According to records from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission, the Cady family ran the tavern until 1921. Horror fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft visited the tavern during a trip to Glocester in 1923 in search of the Dark Swamp, but later called it, “Cody’s,” in a letter to a friend, writing of it, “we were receiv’d with proper civility and given excellent food.”     

The stand – not the tavern – was destroyed by a fire in 1926, contrary to many accounts. 

“The Old Cady Tavern is still standing, with some alterations and without its old out buildings and still serves as a tavern,” notes a survey published in 1980. 

According to Tyo, the building has been home to some unpleasant inhabitants over the last 200 years, and there have been deaths both in the apartment above and in front of the building.  

Where: 2168 Putnam Pike, Chepachet

Get there: With a full bar, pub menu, spacious outdoor dining area and live entertainment, Cady’s offers plenty of opportunities to share a drink with spirits of the past. Dubbed “Rhode Island’s Original Roadhouse,” Cady’s almost never has a cover charge. Open Tuesday through Fridays from noon to 11 p.m.; Saturdays noon to 12 a.m.; Sundays noon to 8 p.m. and Mondays 2 to 8 p.m.

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