Travel: Get in the Spirit in Cassadaga, FL
For more than a century, Cassadaga has been known for its connection to the other side.
Cassadaga is just a short distance from I-4, but follow Volusia County’s rural Route 4101 into town, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. This small, unassuming community was established in 1894 as the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp and is still home to the Spiritualists as well as other residents, many of whom are certified mediums and healers.
Some people say Cassadaga is a spiritual energy vortex, similar to Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids. Whether or not you’re a believer, there are certain spots, like Seneca Park, where you may experience a feeling of deep calm or tranquility. And if you don’t, it’s still a lovely place for a picnic or peaceful meditation.
The best place to start your exploration is the camp’s bookstore, located at the corner of Stevens Street (the main avenue) and Cassadaga Road. Pick up the Spiritualist Camp directory for a $1 donation to learn about the history of the town and get a brief explanation of Spiritualism. The shelves here are well-stocked with crystals, gemstone jewelry, tarot card decks, candles and other metaphysical paraphernalia. Outside, you can pick up one of the many flyers listing information on historical tours of the town’s vintage architecture, a night tour that highlights spirit activity, a Saturday evening séance and other scheduled activities and events. Linger awhile on the front porch and Gretel, one of the resident felines, will lazily wander over for some head rubs.
You can’t leave Cassadaga without getting a reading. The official camp website has a list of certified mediums and healers with their bios (cassadaga.org). Although it’s best to book a session in advance, it is sometimes possible to get a walk-in appointment. Keep in mind, Camp mediums seek to connect with spirit during the reading, so don’t expect them to use implements such as tarot cards, crystals or pendulums.
On Sunday mornings, the community invites visitors and seekers to join in church services at Colby Memorial Temple, named for the Camp’s founder, George P. Colby. There’s also a Wednesday evening service that includes a healing meditation.
Path of the Pixies
The Cassadaga Fairy Trail is a winding sandy walkway through the woods of Horseshoe Park. Along the way, you’ll find fanciful fairy houses, mischievous-looking gnomes and colorful beads hanging from tree limbs. There is even an installation from the Wings of the West series by DeLand mural artist Erica Group.
It’s no surprise that the Cassadaga Hotel claims to be haunted—but only by friendly spirits. The historic structure, built in 1928, offers psychic readings as well as workshops on astrology, palmistry, tarot and more. There’s also a gift shop and a restaurant featuring Italian cuisine. hotelcassadaga.com
Across from the hotel is The Purple Rose, which offers readings and metaphysical items, and C. Green’s Haunted History House & Museum. The 119-year-old structure houses a quirky mix of historical photos and kitschy oddities. C. Green’s turns into a haunted house nightly from mid-October to mid-November. 386-228-9865.