Welcome back to #TravelTuesday, a summer series on Spooky Little Halloween where we put a spooky twist on this popular hashtag and travel to haunted destinations across the globe.
This week I am very excited to welcome artist Matthew Woods to the blog with his breath-taking trip to Sleepy Hollow, NY. If you’re a Halloween lover on Instagram, you likely know Matt’s spooky pal Pumpkinhead who is always having amazing adventures and counting down to the best day of the year. You’ll see a Pumpkinhead original in this blog post (eek!).
Sleepy Hollow, New York
By Matthew Woods, artist
“However wide-awake they may have been before they entered that sleepy region, they are sure, in a little time, to inhale the witching influence of the air and begin to grow imaginative, to dream dreams, and see apparitions.” – Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Whenever I come to a place full of legend and lore, I swear you can feel it. The air is different. My skin vibrates ever so slightly like when a stranger pays you a compliment or your first sip of coffee in the morning. That is the feeling you get when you enter Sleepy Hollow. A charming, historic little town that revels in its notoriety and invites a little darkness.
There is plenty to explore and see year round, but for the true experience the time to go is October. In the autumn, Sleepy Hollow springs to life and bridges today with the past.
Home to and current resting place of Washington Irving, he is the one we have to thank for inviting the ghosts. The long gone author sparked imagination and fear with his short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
“The specter is known, at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.” – Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
If you’re not familiar with the tale, I would highly recommend picking up a copy. If you’re more of a visual learner, my favorite interpretation is by Walt Disney and you can watch it here: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1949. Though the ending is a little happier than the original story, it is certainly a charming version. Whether hunting the Headless Horseman or following in Ichabod Crane’s footsteps, there are a few things that you absolutely must do while visiting.
One of the most breathtaking things I have seen. Take a slow stroll and a good camera because you’ll never again experience such unadulterated joy for the season. Alright, as an avid pumpkin lover I may be a little biased…
The Van Cortland Manor and grounds are covered with over 7,000 hand carved jack o’lanterns. The ambient lighting, creepy soundtrack and stunning visuals will overload your Instagram with Halloween joy! Your creepling buddies will never have been more jealous.
Who doesn’t love a period haunted house? Phillipsburg Manor is transformed into everything colonials feared about Sleepy Hollow. Goblins, witches, satanic cultists, OH MY! Not to ruin the big finish, but you just might learn a thing or two in a deranged Ichabod’s classroom before facing the headless legend himself!
Lit only by kerosene lanterns, this is the tamer nighttime event. Hear the history and sordid tales of New York’s most notorious residents. Murder, scandal and wickedry saturate these hallowed grounds. Make sure you leave a coin or stone on Washington Irving’s grave as a remembrance.
If you need a little liquid courage before braving haunted attractions, this local watering hole has everything you need. Overlooking the Hudson River, they have a full bar, a good tap line, plenty of comfort food and a beer garden.
For one of the best cups of coffee I can remember, visit Coffee Labs. They take their joe very seriously and you can taste it. Death before decaf!
Next stop: we wrap up our summer of haunted travel with a spooky location from me…right here in Texas!
Matthew Woods is the artist behind the daily adventures of Pumpkinhead. Thinly veiled, Pumpkinhead tells stories from Matthew’s life as they both wait for the most sacred of all days, a day where they are normal for once…Halloween! Born and raised in Massachusetts. Transplanted to New York City. Matthew is a self-proclaimed Renaissance Man practicing many different art forms in various mediums. Never without a sketchbook in hand, he draws most of his inspiration from nature, horror, rock ‘n’ roll and friends on a daily basis. Photo by Johannes Oberman.
P.S. If you happen to be lucky enough to live in or near New York City, I highly encourage you to check out Matt’s solo art show, Familiars, opening Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 at Pisticci in NYC. Get complete details over on his website, and be sure to follow him on Instagram for sneak peeks!
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