About two years, my boyfriend and I were watching Sleepy Hollow on TV and decided we both really wanted to go there. Over time, we’d both mention it to each other, but the timing never seemed to work out with our vacations. About two weeks ago, we finally succeeded. We only had a short time to spend there, two days, but that actually seems like the right amount of time for Sleepy Hollow.
To begin with, October is absolutely the right time to check out Sleepy Hollow. Not surprisingly, the area is really into the holiday and there are about a bajillion “haunted houses” to visit. Unfortunately, as Tim and I learned, these are all on the weekend.
Tip #1: Visit Sleepy Hollow on a weekend. Which we did not do, as Tim’s weekends are usually Monday/Tuesday or Tuesday/Wednesday.
Tip #2: Absolutely do NOT visit on Tuesdays. Like we did. Turns out everything is closed on Tuesday. So we crammed our sightseeing into Wednesday morning before we headed out of the area.
Tip #3: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is a pretty cool place. For $20 they have guided tours, but you can also check it out entirely on your own. The cemetery website has a map you can download for free, or you can pick up a hard copy at Washington Irving’s grave. It’ll guide you to Washington Irving’s tomb, Andrew Carnegie and several Rockefellers. There is also a spot marked as the Headless Horseman bridge, but it’s not authentic. The real bridge that was probably there in Irving’s time is the paved one you drive over right before you enter the cemetery. It’s a very pretty place to stroll around and the tombstones are pretty neat too. If you’re a big fan of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, one of the van Tassel’s, the one who was the inspiration for Christina Ricci’s character in the movie, is buried right next to the church, but you’ll have to find her under her married name.
Tip #4: I hope you like old houses, because that’s the major tourist attraction in the area. Tim and I visited Philipsburg Manor, a 17th Century mill and home. It was pretty cool, and I’m a total dork and really enjoy people dressed up, doing living history tours, possibly from my brief time volunteering for my local historical society back in high school. Tickets are $12 for adults. And go visit the poor guy sifting grain out in the barn… he seems really bored and lonely out there. In the evenings on weekends in October, it turns into Horseman’s Hollow, which is supposed to be pretty frightening. You can also visit Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate, and Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s homestead. And if that’s not enough old houses for you, you can also check out nearby Van Cortland Manor and Lyndhurst, a Gothic-revival mansion.
Tip #5: Pay a little more and stay somewhere nice. Tim and I found Ardsley Acres to be the cheapest digs near Sleepy Hollow (it was about 10-15 minutes from Sleepy Hollow, in Westchester), and there was a definite reason they were so inexpensive. The bed was super uncomfortable and the room had a really strange smell. It wasn’t quite as bad as our hotel in Amsterdam, but it was up there.
Tip #6: Definitely check out the little shops in downtown Tarrytown. You’ll drive right through them to get into Sleepy Hollow. We found some nice places to eat there and a couple of cute little stores, especially Whimsies Incognito, a fun little trinket store.
Overall, not really the exciting weekend away we’d hoped for, but we were both glad we went. Curiosity satiated.