Each Thanksgiving break while America shops I’ve tried to turn that time into an ‘able bodied’ father / daughter experience, exploring or learning something new. Two of our mini trips had to do with the legends and lore of the Halloween season, Sleepy Hollow and Salem.
While "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is fiction, Washington Irving was “inspired” by locations in North Tarrytown, NY. With modern transportation it's just a hop, skip, and a jump North of NYC. North Tarrytown officially changed its name to Sleepy Hollow in 1996. Can you hear those tourism dollars and real estate values jumping? <grin>
As fans of the “legend” it was a bit disappointing to find a modern suburban town. You have to do some leg work and a whole lot of "imagining".
In the “legend” Ichabod first encounters the Headless Horseman near a brook in Wiley’s Swamp. With progress the town eventually drained the swamp and it became Patriot’s Park.
The “legend” tells us that two hundred yards away …
“ … .In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, [Ichabod] beheld something huge, misshapen and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler….”
In reality, just about two hundred yards away stands an ancient “misshapen and towering” tree. This tree also allegedly inspired the scenes in the film adaptation of the headless horsemen charging forth from an enchanted tree.
Pictured is the modern bridge in Patriot’s Park over "the brook" and the tree that inspired an author and film maker.
As a bonus we found Washington Irving’s own grave in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery surrounding the Old Dutch Burying Ground, which generations know as the legendary resting place of the Headless Horseman.
Some may notice our picture was taken at night. Well, the horseman ONLY rides at night and who visits a legendary graveyard by day light. What fun would that be?
Closing my eyes and letting the sights and sounds of the modern world fade away, the hairs on my neck jumped at the chilling sounds of the approaching clip clop of hooves. Which way do you run when your eyes are closed? <grin>
“One of the greatest and simplest tools for learning more and growing is doing more.” Washington Irving