The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, New York
Popularized by recent television and film productions the past few years, the name Sleepy Hollow is becoming more and more of a household name, and the popularity has certainly drawn attention to the small New York town. But for those only familar with the new school television show and not so much the real history of the town, there's plenty to learn about the historic landmark that's just a stones throw from New York City.
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a short story written by American author Washington Irving, which he published amidst 33 other essays in his collection called "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent." The book dates all the way back to 1819 and 1820, when Sleepy Hollow was known by its original name of North Tarrytown. The legend tells the story of a school teacher named Ichabod Crane who tries to win the hand of the wealthy Katrina Van Tassel, who's heart is already trying to be won by local Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt. After attending a party at the Van Tassel residence where ghost stories are shared by Brom and other locals, Ichabod tries to get Katrina alone after the party to propose. After failing to do so, Ichabod rides home through the woods and the Sleepy Hollow settlement. While his imagination begins to brew anxious thoughts in the lean and lanky man, he encounters a cloaked man at a crossroads before noticing that the fellow travelers head is not on his shoulders... but on his saddle! Ichabod and his steed race towards the bridge by the Old Dutch Burying Ground, where the horseman is supposed to vanish upon crossing. But to Ichabod's dismay, the horseman makes it across the bridge, rears his horse and throws his severed head directly at Ichabod's face! By the morning, Ichabod Crane is missing from Sleepy Hollow, and all that remains of the prior night are his wandering horse, saddle, discarded hat, and a mysterious shattered pumpkin.
Located just 30 miles north of New York City, Sleepy Hollow is a quiet area that sits on the east bank of the Hudson River. While the Legend of Sleepy Hollow has added its own fun history to the town, there are a few local landmarks that make it attractive in its own right. Sleepy Hollow is the home to the Philipsburg Manor House and Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, whose churchyard lays right next to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetary. The Cemetary is absolutely stunning and fascinating - it is the final resting places for Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Thomas J. Watson (I.B.M.), and of coarse author of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving.
The cemetery its self is a beautiful display of various headstone displays. We were fortunate enough to be able to do two of the tours that the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery offers: one of the daytime tours which spanned the length of the cemetery and shared various notable resting places, headstone architecture and even holding vaults where the dead were kept during the winter, when it was too cold for the ground to be dug (we even got to go inside! yeah, it was awesome) and one of the evening, after hour tours entitled "Murder and Mayhem" which is a tour done by lantern light and features some of the more colorful figures buried at the Sleepy Hollow cemetery. The tour guide tells the stories of the killers, the thieves, and the liars and the story behind their gravestones! Spooky! (If any of this interests you, click here and check out their tour schedules if you can visit Sleepy Hollow, it is seriously worth every penny!).
Also as a fun side note, last year we went to Sleepy Hollow just two weeks before Halloween and were lucky enough to partake in their "Horseman's Hollow" haunted premises and "The Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze," which displays over 7,000 hand carved pumpkins illuminated pumpkins along the Van Cortlandt Manor - both events which were a perfect start to the month long celebration of all things horror! If you can - at any chance - get to Sleepy Hollow during that time of the year, I honestly cannot recommend it enough!
Check out some of the photos I collected this past October 2016 from our annual trip to Sleepy Hollow in the gallery below and see the beauty of the legendary town for yourself!