My wife is from Westchester County, New York and we regularly visit the Hudson Valley, especially in the Autumn. Listening to storyteller Jonathan Kruk recount the tale of the Headless Horseman of Sleeeeeepy Hoooollow, inside the very church-gallery where Ichabod Crane’s voice would have been heard “above all the rest of the congregation”, next to the very bridge whose expanse the headless horseman was said to be unable to cross, is an experience not to be missed.
Not surprisingly , the village of Sleepy Hollow has taken good advantage of its celebrity and preeminence in things creepy and spooky to invite thousands upon thousands of people to enjoy walks through graveyards and haunted houses and hollows. Needless to say this stretches the small town’s capacities to the very limit as far as people and, in car-dependent Westchester County, automobiles are concerned. Coming as we were from a fair distance and arriving only in the nick of time, we were pleased to be directed by as many as six flashlight waving be-vested individuals in order to arrive at the vast, oceanic parking lot where we were to leave our vehicle. I see no problem in all that, as the lot is arrived at only by making quite a few unexpected turns down otherwise quiet streets.
Lot, lower left. Old Dutch Church (see pin) upper right:
No. What I found interesting was that, having parked the car in the lot, there was not a single person to direct us, now devoid of our metallic shells, back to the Dutch Church where we were to experience Mr. Kruk’s storytelling magic. Not one. The orange vested flashlight wavers ignored us completely, their jobs having been accomplished, apparently, now that our car was accommodated. We followed orange cones, wandering through a vehicular gate and ramp, perambulated across another parking lot and then found the beautiful lantern lit pathway toward the famous bridge, cemetery, and chapel.
200 years ago the legend of a faceless, nameless, vaguely human figure traveling the highways and byways of the Hudson River Valley caused trepidation. Today, only the headless traveller is guided, directed, and respected. Once our heads emerge to traverse Sleepy Hollow on foot, we are left to our own devices.