Podcast 348 – Ghosts and Gas at a Haunted Cumbies?

In 2023 a gas station and convenience store opened over the site of the former Country Tavern — one of New Hampshire’s most haunted locations.

The haunted Country Tavern turned Cumberland Farms in Nashua, New Hampshire.

In Episode 348 Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger visit a potentially haunted gas station and convenience store in Nashua, New Hampshire. Though the Cumbies is new, the building that used sit on this property dated back to the 1700s. For decades it was known as the Country Tavern until it closed in 2020. Back then, it was widely considered one of New Hampshire’s most haunted locations. Are the ghosts still lingering?

Read the episode transcript.


Produced and hosted by: Jeff Belanger and Ray Auger
Edited by: Ray Auger
Theme Music by: John Judd

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The haunted Country Tavern Restaurant in Nashua, New Hampshire, before it was torn down.

The haunted Country Tavern Restaurant in Nashua, New Hampshire, before it was torn down.

The Cumberland Farms at the corner of Route 101A and Townsend West in Nashua, New Hampshire today.

The Cumberland Farms at the corner of Route 101A and Townsend West in Nashua, New Hampshire today.

*A note on the text: Please forgive punctuation, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Like us, the transcripts ain’t perfect.

JEFF: Okay, we’ll make a right up here onto Route 101A.
RAY: Okay got it. You know, we should probably stop for gas… we’re getting low.
JEFF: No problem. Our destination today can help us take care of that too.
RAY: Okaayyyy.
JEFF: There it is. Coming up on our right.
RAY: The Cumberland Farms gas station?
JEFF: That’s it!
RAY: We drove to Nashua, New Hampshire to visit a Cumbies?
JEFF: We did!
RAY: Aren’t there maybe 30 or 40 of them closer to home than this one?
JEFF: Probably.
RAY: Why this one then? It looks brand new with its convenience store and gas pumps.
JEFF: It is pretty new. It opened in 2022. But still, we’re here to look for ghosts. Because the building that was here before the Cumbies was widely considered one of New Hampshire’s most haunted…
JEFF: I’m Jeff Belanger. Welcome to episode 348 of the New England Legends podcast.
RAY: And hi! I’m Ray Auger. Thanks for riding along with us as we chronicle every legend in New England one story at a time. Do us a favor and hit that subscribe button right now so we can bring you weirdness in bite-sized packages twice each week. On Mondays we have a From the Vault episode where we revisit an older legend we’ve covered before with some new commentary, and Thursdays are new episodes… like this one. Please subscribe and help spread the word because most of our story leads come from you. Reach out to us anytime through our Web site.
JEFF: We’ll look for gas and ghosts at this potentially haunted Cumbies right after this word from our sponsor.
RAY: So we’re at the Cumberland Farms at the corner of Route 101A and Townsend West to get gas, maybe grab some New Hampshire scratchies, a few snacks, hit up their milkshake machine, AND look for ghosts?
JEFF: That’s the plan.
RAY: That IS convenient.
JEFF: Right?!
RAY: Here’s a little backstory on the city of Nashua. The first European colonists settled here in the 1640s back when this was part of the Township of Dunstable, which was part of Massachusetts Bay Colony. From 1675 to 1725, this region was a difficult place to live. It was referred to as quote “the front of danger,” because the King Philip’s War, Queen Anne’s War, and Prince William’s War all brought violence and bloodshed to everyone as the Native Americans in the region fought for their homeland, and British forces fought to push them out. In 1746, the new state line was drawn between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and a bridge was built here in 1748 over the Nashua River. After that, the town slowly grew into a city. Today it’s the second-largest city in New Hampshire by population. Manchester is the first.
JEFF: So lots of history here. And many historic buildings too! However, some of those historic buildings have been lost to make way for things like…
RAY: Like Cumberland Farms gas stations and convenience stores.
JEFF: Yes, like that. Before there was a Cumbies here, there was a restaurant called the Country Tavern that was so haunted their menu devoted an entire page to explaining why. And before it was the Country Tavern, it was a farmhouse that may date back to the earliest days of Nashua in the 1740s, another record claims it was built in 1774, though the city property records claim it was built circa 1789.
RAY: Either way, that’s pretty old.
JEFF: True. Various families lived here over the centuries before it was turned into a restaurant in 1983, but we’re going to focus on when it was a farm owned by the Ford Family. So let’s head back to 1797 and meet them.
RAY: It’s June of 1797 here in Nashua, New Hampshire. It’s an exciting time because America is still a new nation and a new idea. Towns and cities are growing fast as an influx of immigrants come to this country for the promise of a better life. Towns like Nashua are getting more populated as factories pop up along the river and farms grow.
JEFF: Here at the Ford farm, life is still pretty simple and quiet. Elizabeth Ford lives here with her husband. He’s a sea Captain so when he’s not on the farm, sometimes he’s gone for long stretches at a time.
RAY: When Captain Ford is away, life here can get pretty lonely for Elizabeth, but she makes due. She tends to the few animals they have.
RAY: She sees to the other chores. And she longs for a more exciting life that she’ll never get.
JEFF: One day, Captain Ford tells his wife he’s been hired to Captain a year-long voyage. She’ll need to get by on her own until he returns. Not having any other choice, Elizabeth agrees…
JEFF: And Captain Ford makes for the coast and his awaiting ship.
RAY: Two months pass. When her husband is away, things aren’t all bad for Elizabeth. She finds ways to amuse herself.
RAY: She visits friends. She reads… she… uh ohhh
JEFF: What’s wrong?
RAY: I’m sure it’s nothing… but Elizabeth is holding her stomach. She’s not feeling…
RAY: Uhhhm…. I don’t think Elizabeth is going to be alone here at the farm all that much longer.
JEFF: Ohhhhh…. I think you’re right.
RAY: Months pass, and Elizabeth’s stomach grows a little bigger each day. Her neighbors assume Captain Ford left her with this little uhhm gift before he left for this voyage, but Elizabeth knows the math does not work in her husband’s favor. Pretty soon…
RAY: Elizabeth’s child is born.
JEFF: With her husband due home next month, Elizabeth is concerned, but she’s also got her hands full with a newborn. Quicker than she would like…
JEFF: Captain Ford returns home.
JEFF: And finds his wife holding an infant that’s just a few weeks old.
RAY: Captain Ford does some quick math in his head and realizes this child can’t possibly be his.
RAY: He locks his wife in a closet…
RAY: Then buries the child somewhere on their property.
JEFF: Ford returns to the closet to tell his wife what he’d done with some other man’s child. Elizabeth snaps. She goes mad with grief and attacks her husband.
JEFF: But being much smaller than her husband, she doesn’t stand a chance. Ford murders his wife…
JEFF: And dumps her body in the well on the property before he walks away from his old life and away from Nashua.
RAY: Elizabeth’s body is discovered and buried somewhere in town, and time marches on. Eventually a new family moves into the farm house and soon find they’re not quite alone. A ghostly female presence haunts the home decade after decade. And that brings us back to today.
JEFF: As we said earlier, this home was converted into the Country Tavern Restaurant in 1983, but the haunting continued. Pitchers of water would reportedly fly across the room and land on the other side, the ghostly apparition of a woman had been seen, and voices had been heard. The activity was occurring so often it caught the attention of televisions shows like Hard Copy and Inside Edition. Then the haunt appeared in books – including my old book The Encyclopedia of Haunted Places, and the legend grew.
RAY: At one point the back of the restaurant’s menu featured a reprinted news article about the haunting. An entire page of the menu! The headline read: Skeptics Become Believers Sampling Tavern’s Spirit.
JEFF: Anything that went wrong in the restaurant was blamed on the ghost of Elizabeth. If someone in the wait staff dropped a plate, it was Elizabeth. If anything fell off a table… Elizabeth.
RAY: We should point out that we found no historical record of the murder of Elizabeth or her child. The story of the murder seems to come from a psychic who passed it along. It was printed in a book, then another, then the story made it to television, and was repeated so many times people took it as fact.
JEFF: We’re not saying the restaurant wasn’t haunted. We assume it was because a lot of people over a long period of time had many unexplained reports. We’re just saying it’s possible, maybe even likely that the haunting backstory is wrong. That happens with a haunt. We try to make sense of the unexplained so we latch on to a plausible backstory. Of course a murdered mother with a murdered child would stick around crying out for justice. But that may not be what happened here.
RAY: The Country Tavern restaurant shut its doors for good in May of 2020. It was one of many restaurants that didn’t survive the Covid-19 shutdown. The building was torn down in the summer of 2021 to make way for this Cumberland Farms gas station and convenience store that we see here today.
JEFF: And that begs the question if the Cumbies is now haunted. Sure the old building is gone, but it’s the same land… however, I get the context requires a lot more imagination. When you’re moving through a building that looks pretty similar to the way it did centuries ago, it doesn’t take much imagination to think about the former owners standing right over there in what used to be the living room. When you’re walking down an aisle filled with beef jerky, chips, ring dings, and ho-hos, it’s a little tougher to connect with former occupants from centuries ago. Still, for over 40 years, people talked about the building on this property being profoundly haunted. I don’t think that goes away just because you tear down the walls and put up a Cumbies.
RAY: And we still need to get gas with ghosts. And that brings us to After the Legend where we drive a little further into this week’s story and sometimes veer off course.
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To see some pictures of the old Country Tavern, click on the link in our episode description or go to our web site and click on Episode 348

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Until next time remember… the bizarre is closer than you think.

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