SLEEPY HOLLOW, NY – Sleepy Hollow became a popular place to visit after Washington Irving published the first printing of the story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” on March 20, 1820. The spooky tale carried over for generations and has been retold in several variations of movies and television specials. Does anyone remember watching the Scooby-Doo episode that featured the Headless Horseman? I do. It was time I finally saw the town, starting with the cemetery.
Walking tours are available at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, but I opted to explore on my own. Opened in 1849, the 90-acre grounds were full of interesting tombstones, mausoleums, statues, and architecture. Various bird species flew and chirped around, adding to the peaceful ambiance of the place. Colorful flowers decorated the trees as spring was hitting its peak. I was thankful my allergies were under control.
Oh, did I mention that I visited Sleepy Hollow on Easter? Yeah, I chose to walk through a haunted cemetery during resurrection day. My sense of humor is weird. Anyway, Washington Irving and his relatives are buried here. They are not too far from the Old Dutch Church. There were no signs of the Headless Horseman, but it was still daylight hours. Andrew Carnegie, William Rockefeller, Samuel Gompers, and other well-known figures decided their final resting place would be in Sleepy the same place.
The Old Dutch Church is adjacent to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It is mentioned within Irving’s short story and was founded around 1685. The church has its own little graveyard that ends up combining with the Sleepy Hollow grounds. Be on the lookout for a sign that mentions where the Headless Horseman tends to tie up his horse.
October is the best time to experience the spooky festivities in Sleepy Hollow. There is the Jack-O’-Lantern Blaze, haunted hayrides, and the cemetery offers night tours. Rockwood Hall is a few miles away and provides beautiful scenic views of the Hudson River the further into the hike you go. I picked the spring season to avoid the large crowds and enjoy the walking paths mostly to myself. Be sure to add this place to your list of adventures.
Photos: Rosa Elena
Last Updated: July 20, 2023