A graveyard is not something many people expect to encounter while visiting the pharmacy at a busy urban intersection in one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, but that is exactly what you will find at the intersection of Tamiami Trail North (U.S. 41) and Pine Ridge Road in Naples, Florida.
For years, passersby have wondered about the origin of this small cemetery and the identity of the people interred there. Adding to the mystery are reports of paranormal activity and rumors that neighboring businesses inevitably close their doors after only a short period of time.
While only home to a little over 19,000 people, Naples, Florida is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with the sixth highest per capita income and the second highest number of millionaires per capita in America. Every year, tourists flock to the area, and Naples Beach was voted the best beach in America by the Travel Channel in 2005.
It wasn’t always this popular, or this populated. In the 1870s, reporters described the area’s agreeable climate, abundant fishing, and shoreline as like that of Italy. So when a U.S. Senator from Kentucky named John Stuart Williams and his partner, businessman Walter N. Haldeman, founded a city there, they called it Naples, after the city in Italy.
Located on State Route 290 (James Street) near a cemetery and railroad tracks in northeastern Syracuse, New York, Mother’s Cupboard is a greasy spoon serving up giant frittatas and pancakes in the morning and fried fish in the early afternoon.
Think sizzling bacon, fried fish, fried frittatas, french toast and pancakes covered in bacon grease, a chef sweating over a hot grill in front of you while you eat, and you have Mother’s Cupboard in a nutshell. The diner/red shack is famous for appearing on an episode of Travel Channel’s Man vs Food in 2010. If you can finish a full-plate frittata (6-lbs. of eggs, sausage, pepperoni and hash browns), you win a t-shirt and get your photo on the wall.
This diner has a simple and affordable menu, with some interesting surprises. Have you ever wanted to eat outside the box and try peppers and eggs, pepperoni and eggs, or even broccoli and eggs? Now you can, for less than $5. Or just chow down on a full pound of home fries with or without onions for $2.25. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen. They offer 12-inch pancakes as well.
On Friday, I found myself in the company of the Travel Channel’s most famous ghost hunters. Zak, Nick, and Aaron had come to Coles County in order to film an upcoming episode of their hit show Ghost Adventures at Ashmore Estates, a former almshouse and care facility in Coles County. Knowing I had written extensively on the history and folklore of the building, Scott Kelley, its current owner, suggested that they interview me for the episode.
For a week I spoke back and forth with Jeff Bellinger, Writer/Researcher for the show, but I was kept in the dark about their final decision until Tuesday. That Friday afternoon, eager to see my old friends at Ashmore Estates and meet the crew of Ghost Adventures, I drove 182 miles – a three hour trip – from western Illinois to the outskirts of Ashmore on the other side of the state.
From what Scott tells me, the Ghost Adventures crew wanted to do an episode on Ashmore Estates several years ago, but scheduling conflicts prevented them from working out a deal. Finally, the stars aligned and it couldn’t have been a better time. For my part, I was eager to contribute to the episode. Not only will this show attract more attention to the area, but hopefully it will encourage tourism and bring a much needed economic windfall to my beloved Coles County. Here are a couple of pictures from the filming: