Haunts & Jaunts: Food, wine & spirits?

Food, wine & spirits?

*Read the first half of Rick Hinton’s Vino Villa column, at this link.

The second floor hallway, once housing bedrooms,now as individual dining areas.
*Photos by Rick Hinton

  Many look upon on an older home, immediately assuming it is haunted. Wrong! You’ve been watching too much TV. While there can be remnants of the past lingering behind, it’s not true in all cases. An older house is just that—an older house. Is Vino Villa, the former Polk home, haunted?

“Without question, I have spent more time in this building over the course of the last seven years, since purchasing in 2010, than any staff member or patron,” owner Paul Jacquin declares.“Yes, some of my employees have expressed being a bit uneasy to close up shop late, and be on the third floor by themselves. I have done both on numerous occasions, including, at times, into the early hours of the a.m. Not once have I felt any type of presence nor witnessed anything questionable. Maybe ghosts just don’t like me.”

   Or possibly not sensitive to it? It happens.

Paul Jacquin, co-owner of Vino Villa.

   Paul Jacquin had a vision for his business, initially just a cheese and wine shop. That transitioned into a larger operation, including a restaurant. There was a lot of work that needed to be done prior to  that happening. As far as Paul’s aware,the house had been used only as businesses and offices. There was, however, an efficiency apartment on the third floor. He didn’t utilize this space until a year after opening in 2011. In renovation, the plaster and wallpaper were covered with ornate wood paneling. (Paul discovered writings underneath the wallpaper from former days, currently preserved in picture frames ) Tin ceilings were installed. Two claw foot bathtubs were removed. On the second floor, green shag carpeting was ripped up to reveal painted wood flooring. Paul did a lot of this work himself, along with his wife Laura, family members and friends. Wine racks were installed. The kitchen was updated. Vino Villa was open for business!

    Haunted? In addition to uneasiness on the third floor, and insistence

from employees of a ghostly presence, three employees (General Manager Sam included) experienced cuts on their left calves, all in the same general area. Had they all scraped against the same thing? They

Samplings of writings found under the wallpaper during renovation. They are framed and hanging in the 2nd floor hallway.

are of different heights? One employee has claimed a “red-haired’ woman in the basement.

   J.T. Polk died in 1919. Had he ever been in the house? I’m sure he had. His son Ralph chose not to take over the business, dying in 1952. His wife Grace remained in the home until her passing in the mid 1960s. They’re buried in the Greenwood Cemetery.

   I asked Paul if I could come into the home after hours to investigate? He gave “it’s a possibility” smile and we ended the evening. Vino Villa, our new favorite hangout!