New business brings escape room phenomenon to Washington

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, October 17, 2018

You and five friends find yourselves trapped in a strange room, laden with mysterious objects and cryptic information. Your goal is simple. You have 60 minutes to escape from the room, using information gleaned from your surroundings.

This is the basic premise of a new business in downtown Washington — Diversion Escape Rooms. Opened in late September, the business offers a unique experience with two immersive escape rooms that transport participants to another place, challenging them to use their brains to escape.

“It’s basically a real-life Clue/Sherlock Holmes game,” Business co-owner Linsey Prewitt said. “You buy the ticket, you come in and we take you to a space. Before you go in, you get a story that tells you what to do. So in the story, you get three valuable pieces of information — where you are, why you are here and why you need to get out.”

Prewitt and co-owner Payne Snow had the idea to open up an escape room after trying one out last year. With space available in the suite at 147 W. Main St., opening the business was a matter of finding room designs and setting up the spaces.

Each escape room offers a unique feel and theme, supported by atmospheric lighting and decorations. On one side of the hallway, patrons can explore the Gold Rush Cabin, in which they are tasked with finding a crazy prospector’s gold in a booby-trapped room decorated to look like an old-timey cabin.

The second room, themed “Date Night Disaster” finds patrons kidnapped, handcuffed together and locked in a room by a bunch of sharp-dressed goons, with only an hour to escape. Set in a more modern environment, the date night room has its own unique ambiance.

PROPRIETORS: Diversion Escape Room co-owners Linsey Prewitt and Payne Snow opened their new business last month, creating two immersive experiences at their location at 147 W. Main St., Washington. (Matt Debnam/Daily News)

While the current rooms are geared more toward visitors 16 and older, Prewitt and Snow hope to have a third room up and running by November — a Christmas-themed room that includes elements that can appeal to kids as well. While Prewitt and Snow purchased the plans for the other rooms, this one will be entirely of their own design.

“The intellectual ability really needs to be 16 and up,” Prewitt said. “The third room that we’re installing for Christmas, we’ve created to be a little more family friendly so that people with children five to 15 would be more apt to be comfortable in there.”

Overseeing each game, a game operator watches and listens on a monitor as visitors work their way through each room’s puzzles. Offering helpful hints, this so-called “game master” is an ally to the players when they seem to have hit a wall.

Rooms are available by reservation at For more information, call 252-947-2548 or email Arrangements are available for friends, corporate groups and church groups, with the rooms serving as a teambuilding experience. Cost to participate is $25 per person and gift certificates are available.