Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power, that holds a spell over the minds of the good people… -The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
As summer slowly comes to a close, signs of autumn begin to appear. Fall in the northeastern United States means crisp morning air, the changing colors of leaves, and the yearly harvest. Beyond the smell of fresh apple pie, the sounds of football, and the sights of crimson, orange, and yellow leaves, thoughts also turn to traditions more ominous. Sitting around a camp fire, telling ghost stories while drinking apple cider… creeping through haunted houses… and taking a road trip to visit the setting of a gothic horror tale that has immortalized a small village along the Hudson River: Sleepy Hollow.
In 1820, author Washington Irving published a collection of short stories, including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Set in the village of Tarrytown, New York, the story tells of schoolmaster Ichabod Crane, who moves to the area and attempts to win the heart of Katrina, the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Competing for Katrina’s heart is Adam Van Brunt, a local. Ichabod, hardly the bravest of men, is spooked by the town’s reputation for paranormal activity… culminating in his encounter with a horse rider whose head is beside him on the saddle.
On a beautiful Saturday in mid-September, my wife and I headed north to visit the setting of this classic American tale. Along the way, we strolled the grounds of a historic mansion and explored a 19th century lighthouse.
A Sleepy Hollow Adventure
While our trip to Sleepy Hollow met all of my expectations for exploring the history behind one of my favorite stories, the area near Tarrytown is filled with so much more to see and do. From historic mansions, to beautiful parks, to rugged lighthouses, to a beautiful river, this section of New York is well worth the visit. Lyndhurst is currently open for tours of its grounds, although buildings remain closed due to the current pandemic. For $10 per person, visitors can stroll the grounds of this historic site, and for an additional fee, guests can be given guided tours of the landscape. Lyndhurst is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm every day. The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow is free to visit, although the burying ground is closed at 4:30 pm every day. Tarrytown Light is closed for tours, although the grounds and base of the lighthouse are free to visit.
Hopefully, this post put you in the mood for the coming fall season. Thanks for coming along on this tour of Sleepy Hollow… hopefully, you kept your head as you read it!