History, Ghosts and Great Food Abound at Long Island Eateries—Part One of a Four-Part Series

Country House  sepia

Country House’s Annette Williamson

Ghosts are good for business. There is no doubt about it, and writing about ghosts and food is definitely my forte. Through my Ghosts of Long Island books, I have written about and investigated more than 60 haunted locales on Long Island, many of them restaurants. I also co-authored an Italian cookbook, so when I was asked to write this story, I jumped at the opportunity. My focus was on four fabulous eateries, known just as much for their ghosts as for their food.

The most consistently “active” restaurant on Long Island is Country House, circa 1710, in historic Stony Brook. Known for its superb dining, it’s haunted by the ghost of Annette Williamson. Country House has a plethora of tales, and an amazing history to boot. The British took occupancy of the house during the war, while Annette Williamson lived there with her younger siblings. When the British finally left, the townspeople brutally murdered Annette believing she was a loyalist. Her ghost has haunted the old building ever since.

Countless people have claimed to see the image of a young woman sitting in the Old Field Room peering out the window at night. Restaurant owner Bob Willemstyn has had countless encounters with her. One of the first happened after a Christmas party. All the guests had left and the staff was busy cleaning up. Bob saw a pretty blond-haired girl come out from behind one of the doorways. When he went to find out who it was, the woman jumped back and disappeared. Several employees have also seen her. Candles have relit themselves, items have moved or gone missing, lights consistently flash at the bar, orbs (thought to be spirits) appear in photographs, and during my own investigation there, we recorded EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) or spirit voices. The activity is just a part of what makes the Country House restaurant so unique.

Their menu is creative American cuisine, homestyle cooking with a flair and menus changes every three to four weeks. Everything is homemade featuring fresh ingredients. Portions are generous, and they are known for their crab cakes, duck and succulent prime steaks. The restaurant is elegantly decorated with fresh flowers, and a popular piano bar features music on Friday nights.

Country House Restaurant
1175 North Country Road,, Stony Brook, NY 11790