Sleepy Hollow Ghosts (Part 2)

We’re off to Sleep Hollow! Filled with mansions and ghosts this is the perfect place to visit during the month of October. In this blog we’ll walk under a star-lite sky and view over 5000 hand carved lighted pumpkins placed on the grounds of a historic, 18th-century riverside mansion. Next, we’ll stroll along the carriage pathways on a lantern lite tour at the Sleepy Hollow cemetery…Visit a church with a candle lite path and look through the glass that is century’s old, out onto the old burial grounds with tomb stones dating back to the 1500 and 1600s. We’ll walk along a wooded trail, back in time, to the 1750s and tour an old manor and gristmill. Finally, we’ll travel to the top of a hilltop and tour one of the most incredible estates which was home to four generations of Rockefellers, exploring the rooms in a six story stone mansion along with a tour of the incredible grounds. If you’re ready…then let’s go!

At the end of Part 1 of this trip, we were just leaving the beautiful town of Pierpont. When you’re ready to go, head north and cross over the Tappanzee Bridge (87 east). As soon as you have crossed over the bridge, you’ll see the exit for the 9. The attractions I’ve listed below are all located on the 9 (north and south) so everything is very easy to find. There is so much to see in this area. It depends on how many days you’re going to stay so I’ll point out the attractions and you can use the list to customize your visit. If you are traveling in the fall you’ll want to also check on a few Halloween attractions which are also listed below. Quick note when planning your trip – there are a number of these attractions that are closed on Tuesday. I’ve listed the hours to help you out. In addition, I’ve included the GPS location so you can dial it into your phone, iPad, etc and get directions quickly. Finally, get your tickets on-line if you can. Things sell out fast and you don’t want to miss anything.

Part 2: Town of Croton on Hudson and Sleepy Hollow.

Croton on Hudson: Van Cortlandt Manor

Sleepy Hollow: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Old Dutch Church, Philipsburg Manor, Kykuit (Rockefeller Estate)

Part 3:Town of Tarrytown

Tarrytown: Lyndhurst Castle, Sunnyside (Home of Washington Irving, author of The Legend of Sleep Hollow & Rip Van Winkle)


Croton on Hudson: Van Cortlandt Manor

GPS:525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY (It is actually about 15 minute north of the Sleepy Hollow cemetery)


Hours:Open for groups by reservation.

Halloween events: The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

This manor is known state-wide for being the place that puts on The Jack O’Lantern Blaze which takes place at the historic, 18th-century riverside grounds at the Van Cortlandt Manor on the Croton River. My reservation was for 8pm. I am an “arrive-early” kind of girl and thought I might be able to sneak in before 8pm so I got there around 7:30pm, which turned out to be a good thing. When I arrived I could not believe it. There were 100s of people parking and walking in. It was super organized and I easily got a spot. I walked up to a huge tent that was full of vendors selling hot chocolate, cider and glowing spinning things that every kid seemed to be carrying around. You then follow a path over to the mansion where you start the tour. Decorating the grounds you’ll find over 5,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack o’ lanterns. In addition, there is ghostly music playing, a lighted graveyard. It’s pretty spectacular.


Sleepy Hollow: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

GPS: 540 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591


Hours: The cemetery gates are open daily: Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Saturday – Sunday: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Halloween events: Lantern lite tours, 2 day night photography workshop

Ok, this is just a cool cemetery. First, you can’t believe how large it is. It’s probably best known as the cemetery where the Legend of Sleepy Hollow took place. I was a bit disheartened to learn that the bridge where Ichabod was destroyed by the pumpkin actually doesn’t exist, at least not in its original form and / or location. But don’t let that get you down. It is still an incredible place to visit. You’ll want to drive in and park and then either take a guided or self-guided historic walking tour. If you decide to do the self-guided walking tour, ask for a map of this 90 acre cemetery that will guide you to 8 major figures including Washington Irving, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler and Elizabeth Arden. (Interesting fact – you can still be buried here.)

On my trip I went on the evening lantern lite tour. In my mind I imagined an elderly gentleman, hunched over, leading a tour by the ghostly glow of a single candle. Imagine how impressed I was when I arrived to find that they have many antique lanterns and almost everyone was able to carry one. The night I did the tour there was a light mist and I had to say it was a bit spooky as we walked along the dark carriage trails.

Truth be told, I made darn sure I was never the last person on the path, maintaining a precisely located position either close to the front, or in the middle of the pack I mean, you never know what spirits could be haunting the graveyard that night. We walked along the trails for two hours. The guide pointed out mausoleums, beautiful architecture and buildings which were used in the early 1900s to store bodies in the winter. I had never thought about it but the ground would be frozen for many months so you could not bury the bodies during that time. We (or I should say the people on the tour) walked into one. I poked my head, did a 180 scan and left. The guide did point out the area where the ghostly bridge would have been located. But over the years it has crumbled. I will say that in the lantern-lit night you can almost make out the shimmery glow of an eerie wooden bridge and it’s not hard to imagine that ghostly night… when Ichabod raced along the carriage paths that carve their way through the mossy grave stones….never to be seen again.


Sleepy Hollow: Old Dutch Church

GPS: 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591


Hours: Weekend tours are available June-October, 12-4pm

Halloween Event: Irving’s ‘Legend’

Located right by the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is the Old Dutch Church. It is a beautiful old building surrounded by a cemetery that is next to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. As I walked into the church I could feel the heat from an old wood burning stove off to my left, by one of the windows in the chapel. It was cold and misty outside and I found myself huddling in next to it. As I rubbed my freezing hands together, I imagined that this much have been what it was like 200 years ago when you attended church. If you were smart you’d get to church early to get a place close to this stove. I tried to absorb the heat; I turned and glanced out the window, looking at the cemetery through the wavy, original glass. As I was doing so, I couldn’t help but think about the settlers who stood right where I was standing, looking through the same glass. What were they wearing? Thinking? What did they worry about? I think that’s why I love visiting historical sites so much.

There was no one in the church when I was there and it was turning to dusk. The quiet didn’t seem eerie, but more comforting in a way. The church had lit candles at the entrance and around the interior of the chapel which I could smell. As I walked out of the church and walked down the path to my car I noticed that lanterns had been lit along the walk way and they glowed in the dusk. I was truly charmed by this little church.


Sleepy Hollow: Kykuit (Rockefeller Estate)

GPS: Use 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591


Hours: Daily (Closed Tues): Visitor center opens at 9am

Kykuit (the Rockefeller estate) is a “hilltop paradise” and was home to four generations of Rockefellers. I did the 3 hour grand tour and loved it. At first I thought, what could you possibly see in 3 hours? I mean, people have disappeared on a “3 hour tour…a 3 hour tour” Anyway, you take a bus from the visitors center and it’s about a 10 minute ride up the hill to the estate. The architecture is breathtaking. You’ll see private rooms, period furniture and tour through many galleries including Governor Rockefeller’s underground art galleries with a collection of Picasso tapestries. The main house is a six-story stone home. The terraced gardens are expansive. You’ll also see the Coach Barn where an impressive collection of classic automobiles and horse-drawn carriages. My guide (Donna) was fantastic. They have a lot of contemporary art, the crazy statue I’m standing next to is called “Mouse on a Table”


Sleepy Hollow: Philipsburg Manor

GPS: Use 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591


Hours: Daily (Closed Tuesday): 10am – 5pm, Last tour at 4pm

Halloween events: Horseman’s Hollow

Philipsburg Manor will take you back in time to 1750. When you arrive to buy your tickets you’ll also see that you can purchase your tickets for Kykuit at the same welcome center. Philipsburg is right next to the visitor’s center and you can take a wooded trail lined with flowers over to the house. You’ll stroll through the farm and see sheep grazing, chickens and cows out in the pasture. You can tour the house and a gristmill which is by a very old and elegant bridge. You’ll hear the rushing of the water which powered the gristmill over 150 years ago. I really loved visiting this manor, especially the charming Halloween decorations.


That’s it for Part 2 – next, we’ll travel to Tarrytown where you’ll visit and have breakfast at the Castle on the Hudson, we’ll tour the Halloween decorated Lyndhurst Castle, one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. And we’ll also walk down a forested path to Sunnyside, which was the home of Home of Washington Irving who wrote the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle… Click “to follow” the blog and you’ll be one of the first to go on this trip!

A note on the amazing places I have written about and Hurrican Sandy. If you’d like to help, please contact the Red Cross

If you’d like to purchase a print to remind you of this beautiful area, please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2012 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s