Before modern forensics, people solved mysteries by gathering with friends in a creepy old house and waiting for the murderer to strike again. Point the finger with today’s Groupon: for $49, you get entrance for two to a murder-mystery dinner party at Henderson House Inn and Retreat Center in Stafford (up to a $104 value). The party includes:
- Host or hostess to run the game
- Four-course family-style dinner
- Nonalcoholic beverages
Henderson House Inn and Retreat Center tests the mettle of amateur detectives as they Mulder out mysteries over a delicious meal. Don a favorite period costume and gather with two to three other couples at the circa-1905 Spickard House for a 2- to 2.5-hour mystery game. Guests scrutinize their companions—or whistle nonchalantly to cover up their crime—while enjoying hors d'oeuvres, salad, a main course, sparkling nonalcoholic beverages, and dessert. Bring wine from home to complement the meal or to add bonus bloodstains to crime scenes. During the meal, the host or hostess deftly reveals key clues, culminating in the unveiling of the guilty party. Spickard House’s late Victorian décor sets a mysterious mood with steep staircases, dark woodwork, antique furniture, and built-in fireplaces that resist attempts to be taken home by smitten guests.
Though Henderson House Inn and Retreat Center features a discounted price for hotel guests, this Groupon is a standalone offer and still the best deal available.
A wraparound porch winds along the perimeter of the Henderson House, its flowerpots framed by white columns and spindles that have stood for more than a century. Inside, guests lounge in double parlors and sleep in guestrooms adorned with stained- and beveled-glass windows, brass lighting fixtures, and antique bed frames. Part of a collection of homes built between 1903 and 1905—which includes the Spickard House, Littlefield House, and Weide House—the Henderson House maintains standing on the National Register of Historic Places through its turn-of-the-century architecture and decor. In addition to opening rooms for bed-and-breakfast-style lodging, the staff entertains guests with murder mysteries, such as the 1950s-themed Murder on the Grill where guests must figure out who killed Tom Dooley and what temperature steak is best cooked at. They also package stays with area attractions, such as guided birding with a nature photographer. Other nearby activities range from visits to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge to making plum jelly.