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Exploring the Haunted History of Jolly Pumpkin’s Traverse City Location

Exploring the Haunted History of Jolly Pumpkin’s Traverse City Location
Taylor Laabs

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales is most known for its well-crafted array of sour ales, but it’s Traverse City brewpub location is known for something else. The brewpub is attached to Bowers Harbor Inn, home to upscale restaurant, Mission Table, and gorgeous views of the waterfront. It might also include a haunted spirit. Just in time for Halloween, here’s what you need to know about this Jolly Pumpkin location’s haunted history, which may be one of spookiest brewpub spots in the U.S. 

First built in the 1880s, the Bowers Harbor Inn was the summer home of Chicago lumber baron J.W. Stickney and his wife Genevive. As the legend goes, Genenive had a myriad of health issues which frayed the relationship between the husband and wife. J.W. eventually hired a nurse to care for Genevive during her ongoing ailments. Then, suddenly, J.W. died. His will surprisingly gave his substantial fortune to the nurse, who Genevive long-suspected he was having an affair with. Stricken with jealousy and grief, Genevive hung herself in the elevator shaft of the inn. Some say the spirit of Genevive is still very-much present at the Inn. 

Bowers Harbor Inn. Photo Credit: Midwest Wanderer.

According to the Midwest Wanderer, Genevive’s spirit very much lives on and makes itself visible to brewpub patrons and dining visitors.

“Over the years there have been accounts of a woman in an evening gown appearing in the background of the mirror as a guest looked into it. Pans have dropped, and faucets have turned on without explanation other than that Genevive is making it known that even though businesses have occupied the building for years, including the current Jolly Pumpkin and Mission Table restaurants, it is still her home, too.”

So, did Jolly Pumpkin know of this suspected haunting presence before they moved in back in 2009? Current General Manager Jim says that the owners were aware of the suspected hauntings before they signed the lease. While their brewpub location is actually attached to the inn, that hasn’t stopped some odd occurrences. Jim reports that while there are no personal sightings of Genevive the ghost to-date, the Jolly Pumpkin brewers have had “plenty of odd feels and electrical anomalies.” Patrons of the brewpub seemed to be equally intrigued at the potential of seeing a ghost. “Most are intrigued, and carefully search around the building,” says Jim. 

Choose your path. Photo Credit: Jolly Pumpkin

As part of my Michigan brewery trip last year, I actually had the chance to visit both Jolly Pumpkin and Mission Table.  Both operations were very upfront about the possibility of the place being haunted. Mission Table even has the tragic story of Genevive on the back of their dining menu. And while I didn’t get to experience any paranormal activities during my visit, I did come away impressed at the outward opulence of Bowers Harbor Inn. The location is stunning and presents unrivaled views of West Arm Grand Traverse Bay. 

If you’re interested in visiting Jolly Pumpkin’s Traverse City location in search of Genevive, don’t expect any ghost-inspired beers on the menu. The closest you’ll get *seasonally*  is their Track 3- sour saison brewed with pumpkin spice, cinnamon and spiced pear cider. Cheers! 

Feature image courtesy of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales


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