Travels To Sleepy Hollow’s Origins: The Horseman’s Hollows Halloween Attraction

So you might ask, how did I end up in a reenactment of a small haunted upstate New York town in the 18th century, whose most famous resident is a guy who has figured out a way to operate without having a freaking head?

Well, last October I took the trip of my lifetime, to New York City. Now, I’d never been to NYC and I really had a great time (I’d call it the “Big Apple” but I just don’t know what that really means). It was also a very moving time visiting the 9/11 Museum and complex. I’ve written on numerous 9/11 heroes over the last six years in my profession journalism life. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the profile subject if they’re alive, or getting to know their families if that person gave their life to help others. So it was especially personal for me.

I live in Los Angeles and the day we left, I got to wondering, where in the heck was Sleepy Hollow? We did a wonderful 2014 post on the legend of Sleepy Hollow, so I knew it was in upstate New York, I just didn’t know how far upstate.

I quickly looked up Sleepy Hollow on my phone and saw it really wasn’t that far for New York City. I got a hold of Robin Bolson of Historic Hudson Valley,  who helped me gain  access to their Halloween Attraction, called the Horseman’s Hollow. Two press passes were graciously waiting for me, as was this guy, so to speak:

burton

(Jerk! But I digress)

The day of the evening I was planning to go, my girlfriend Marni and I visited the 9/11 Museum. After we left it was her idea that I could leave from Grand Central Terminal (not “Station” as it’s often incorrectly called, by me and others). My journey would take me to Tarrytown, where the train’s stop is along the Hudson River. Sleepy Hollow is village that borders Tarrytown.

Grand_Central_Station_Main_Concourse_Jan_2006

So, another bonus and landmark to see on my trip. Grand Central is really impressive, and I had a terrific Tri Tip sandwich to fortify me on my journey. Marni couldn’t go with me as she wanted to watch the Presidential debate with her actress friend Porter, whose place she graciously welcomed us to stay at. So I went by myself and was meeting a friend there who was coming back from Connecticut on his way to New Jersey by way Tarrytown (Confusing and convoluted, I know).

Now again, this was my first time in NYC and after a couple of days of riding the subways, I was pleasantly surprised how great the Grand Central trains are, clean and so spacious.

It had rained in NYC that morning and as the train made it’s way up to Tarrytown that late afternoon, the sun bursted through the clouds and the scenery was amazing. I didn’t know this of course, but the train ran alongside the Hudson River. I’d never seen the Hudson before, but wow, it was breathtakingly beautiful.   Hudson_River_Valley_in_autumn

In our 2014 post referenced above, we made mention of the terrific 1999 Tim Burton movie called “Sleepy Hollow.” I had occasion to see the movie after I got back from my trip, before last Halloween, and noticed the opening credits run as a horse driven coach makes its way up to Sleepy Hollow along the Hudson.

Welcome to Sleepy Hallow

I arrived in Tarrytown toward nightfall. My friend coordinated with me and we were off to the Horseman’s Hollow.

It was dark when we arrived in Sleepy Hollow, and the ambiance was perfect. The Horseman’s Hollow is in a sort of rural, residential area. The best thing I found, was the attraction wasn’t too slick. A great independent Halloween Attraction in my view, shouldn’t be too slick. There was nothing to break the illusion.

Here’s a description of the Horseman’s Hollow from Historic Hudson Valley   , second listing down, that I feel sums it up perfectly:

Proud of its reputation as the number one haunted attraction in the real Sleepy Hollow, Horseman’s Hollow is an outdoor/indoor “period correct” haunt. Taking the tale of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to its darkest extremes, Horseman’s Hollow turns historic Philipsburg Manor into a village ruled by the undead, the evil, and the insane, all under the control of the Headless Horseman himself. This is a truly terrifying experience, with all the implements of mayhem you’d expect in the late 1700s. (In other words, no chainsaws.) Get your tickets early as this sells out fast, especially on Saturdays.

There is a house and a farmhouse on the grounds of the attraction. I thought that was cute, probably just an exterior prop built it in September I thought. Well, what I found  out is while it may or may not have been built in September, the year would be 1693! Here’s some more info about the history of  Philipsburg Manor.

sleepy-hollow-philipsburg-manor

The attraction just had a great rural feel to it as you meander in and out of structures. I especially remember walking into the town’s church. Made me feel like I really was back in time.

Soon through, my time was up at the Horseman’s Hollow, and it was time for me to get out of there while I still had my head.

sleepy hollow cemetery - headless horseman w pumpkin

Do keep  yours if you go. I believe you’ll find, the village of Sleepy Hollow, and the Horseman’s Hollow, has “spirit.”

Thanks for reading and until next time,

Michael Mink

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