Sleepy Hollow: ‘Tis the season for Magic and Warm Bevvies

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I was happily watching some Jeopardy (American quiz show institution for all the non-Yanks) last night, when one of the rare commercials I allow onto my screen came blasting out. It was for Snicker’s Halloween candy, with a Horseless Headsman. Then, there was the Headless Horseman. I started to yell at the screen, “I’ve seen where you live!” That’s me, the legendary ghost stalker.

Yes, Sirs, Young Sirs, Madams, and Misses, I have been to Sleepy Hollow. Where the wind rustles, the leaves blow, and there is just that little bit of dangerous mystery floatin’ about. Honestly, who knew it was in upstate New York, barely an hour’s train ride from Manhattan? I had a venerable horror legend out my back doorstep, and until recently, didn’t even realize it. Sleepy Hollow is a small little bit of Americana, right next door to another little village of lovliness, Tarrytown. These are the small, out of the way places that materialize as both a delight to explore and might just have some local lore that peaks your interest and quakes your boots.

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Now, Sleepy Hollow exists year round, but as you can imagine, the fall, and especially Halloween, are this town’s big swig of spiced cider. They have lantern walks in the cemetery, spooky, haunted strolls, big manor houses, theatre productions, even hayrides. There is even their version of a Halloween parade merrily stomping down the street, complete with townspeople all dressed up, and you guessed it, the Headless Horseman himself. I have indeed met him and am alive to tell the tale. Barely.

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What I realized meandering through the fresh air is that places like this are just absolutely wonderful. They make up the fabric of life, history and carry a delectable charm. There are tasty restaurants - specifically Mediterranean inspired Mint Premium Foods that did the impossible to work us in on a busy night - a café culture, pubs, interesting shops, nice people. They take their literary heritage seriously, attempting the spooky, but overall, it is just really, really pretty.

Feeling rejuvenated, and a little bit sad the cemetery tours were booked out, we headed away from the mist and music. Go explore your local legends – visit ghost towns, haunted places, literary and cultural myths. Let yourself shiver in the fall air. Treat yourself to a glass of mulled or spiced warmth. ‘Tis the season for snuggling, and a tinge of magic is the air.

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