Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Visiting Sleepy Hollow, New York

Earlier this month, we took a little day trip to Sleepy Hollow, NY for the annual Jack-o-Lantern Blaze. It is something I have been wanting to do for a few years now, and I finally decided that this year was going to be the year! The Blaze happens in the evening, but there are a few things you can do during the day in Sleepy Hollow. So before we get to the Blaze, I thought I'd share a few pictures from the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Andrew Carnegie's grave

Outside of the cemetery's main office, you can pick up a black-and-white map that lists just a few of the famous people who are buried on the grounds. Then you can either drive around or walk around (we walked) to the various points of interest on your own self-guided tour.

near the Revolutionary War monument

Some of the points of interest in the cemetery include both Revolutionary and Civil War Monuments and the graves and/or mausoleums of Samuel Gompers, Andrew Carnegie, William Rockefeller, Walter Chrysler, Elizabeth Arden, and Harry and Leona Helmsley.

Washington Irving's grave

And, of course, being that it's Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving is buried there! If you don't know, Washington Irving wrote the short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle".

The Old Dutch Church
The cemetery also gives you access to The Old Dutch Church, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The church and its five-acre churchyard feature prominently in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".

The Headless Horseman Bridge site

Just outside of the southern entrance to the cemetery is the sign for The Headless Horseman Bridge. There is no bridge there, but it is believed that a bridge was once there in Washington Irving's time and that the bridge that was there was the one mentioned in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". If you really want to see a bridge, however, there is a Headless Horseman Bridge within the cemetery that goes over the Pocantico River. But it is not the original bridge.

                        The Headless Horseman Bridge (not original)
While you're walking through the cemetery, especially in the fall, expect to see some really beautiful scenery. The cemetery backs up to the Pocantico River, and there are tons of beautiful trees in the area. 

inside cemetery

I would highly recommend that if you visit on a nice day, you should walk around the cemetery instead of drive. (Wear comfy shoes!) The cemetery really isn't that big, and if you walk, then you don't miss out on the pretty scenery. It's sort of like taking a nice stroll through the woods.

Pocantico River

If you have some extra time, you can also visit the Philipsburg Manor. This is located just across the street, pretty much, to the southern entrance of the cemetery. It does cost money (which is why we only took a picture of it from afar) and admission is by timed tour only. So you'll definitely want to look up that information ahead of time. The guided tour takes you through this 300-year-old manor home and gives you an idea of what life was like in the 18th century.

Philipsburg Manor

But for something else that is free, there is always the Headless Horseman Statue! This is located near the Headless Horseman Bridge sign and across the street from the parking lot of the Philipsburg Manor. I don't think a visit to Sleepy Hollow is complete without visiting this fun site!

The Headless Horseman Statue

There are several other historic places that you can visit in the Sleepy Hollow area, including Washington Irving's Sunnyside, the Rockefeller Estate, and the Van Cortlandt Manor (more on that later). Most of them cost money, which is one of the reasons we didn't visit them. We also only spent an afternoon in the area before heading over to the Blaze, and you'd definitely need more time to visit each site. But if you live in the New York tri-state area and want to do a local weekend trip, Sleepy Hollow would be ideal!

Not many choices in the way of gluten-free dining, so if that is a concern for you (as it was for us), just plan ahead. There is also a really AMAZING mall called Palisades Center that has a lot of dining options (Red Robin, Outback) that are gluten-free-friendly. So, if you don't mind paying the tolls to get across the river to the mall, that is always an option.

On Friday I'll post about The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze. You won't want to miss that! It was truly a magical event!

For more information on this site and other sites in Westchester County, NY, visit the Westchester County Tourism website.

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