I grew up in a small town in Westchester county New York, only about 20 minutes north of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, so I was familiar with the story of the headless horseman very early on in my childhood. I recall an animated version of the story being aired on television somewhere around October 31st which stuck firmly in my memory and became inextricably linked to Halloween in my mind.
The story, whose proper title is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, was written by the American author Washington Irving. Irving, for those of you who don’t know him, was born in Manhattan. His earliest writings, naturally, were satirical pieces about the political, social and financial issues of that city at the time. When he was 14, there was an outbreak of yellow fever in the city so his family sent him up river to live with a family friend in Tarrytown, sister town to Sleepy Hollow. His young imagination fell in love with the place and his experience there lead to the creation of the story.
Though he spent the bulk of his young adult life in Europe, Irving was famous for his works set in that area of New York and he ultimately returned there to live, write and die at the age of 76. His home, Sunnyside, is now a museum and historical site where visitors go to learn about the man, his writings and the cultural legends that informed his writings.
Now, I can only image how much his story informed the town of Sleepy Hollow and placed a certain expectation on how they mark the spookier holiday of the year. So it’s no surprise that the town tends to go all out with festivities. Being a huge fan of the holiday and thinking of how wonderful it would be to plan a vacation around such festivities, I started to plot such a trip early last year.
I had everything planned out, the tickets were bought, the itinerary was set, the hotel booked and the visit to my parents who still live only 20 minutes away all set up. To say that I was excited would be a massive understatement. And wouldn’t you know that that very weekend there was a freak snowstorm that blanketed the northeast in several inches of thick, slushy snow and shut down the whole town? I was crushed. And angry. Who ever heard of a giant snowstorm in October?!?
But the event did nothing but steel my resolve to make this trip happen. So this year, I bought my tickets early. I put in for my time off from work months in advance. I printed out several pages of pictures and information about the events and made up a little booklet. I’ve been daydreaming about it daily since at least August. And come hell, high water or any kind of freak snowstorm, this is happening!
So tomorrow, after posting my new #fridayflash, I will be leaving for the super awesome fun-tastic mega magnificent Halloween weekend in Sleepy Hollow. And it will be everything I’ve been hoping for all these months. And I will write all about it all when I get back on Monday. Stay tuned.