Just the name of Sleepy Hollow brings up images of ghosts, ghouls and headless horsemen. But the famed cemetery will actually take your breath away at its beauty when you visit it. Located in Sleepy Hollow, right next to Tarrytown – the nods to the Washington Irving novel are everywhere in the landscape and even throughout the area.
Forever linked in popular culture to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the cemetery actually is the final resting place to Washington Irving, past presidents, actors and several others popular names. Due to the popularity of several of the graves, certain roads and paths are blocked off in the cemetery so get ready to do some walking to find the graves you want to.
“Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper, having been buried in the church-yard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head; and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the church-yard before daybreak.”The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
The rolling hills and beautifully landscaped area is home to the Old Dutch Church and cemetery as well. The church, graveyard and surrounding area are what are mentioned in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, instead of the larger cemetery that is connected to it. The 17th century church yard is supposedly the location where the headless horseman haunts, and also the resting place of local citizens who likely inspired Irving’s characters of Katrina Van Tassel, Brom Bones, and others from the story.
With limited hours, it’s advised to head into Sleepy Hollow Cemetery early in the day so you can take your time finding the graves you hope to fine. There is supposed to be a statue for the Headless Horseman in the cemetery according to the map provided at the main office, but even that seemed to have disappeared like a ghost.
While you can take your time to find the inspiration for the story, or just bask in the beauty of the cemetery – Sleep Hollow will find it’s way into your heart even if you’re not a huge fan of the story. Filled with historical figures, literary inspiration and natural beauty, it is definitely a must visit stop if you’re in the area.