Read this page to learn more about the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and get some ideas for fun activities and events when you come and visit Sleepy Hollow NY.
But, before we saddle up and head out...
Let's pay our respects to Washington Irving, the man responsible for all this...
Brief Background Information
The burial grounds near the Old Dutch Church, located off Route 9 in Sleepy Hollow, New York, is one of the oldest in New York State.
you can find the graves of not only some of most famous men and women
in American history, but also many of those belonging to the 'unknown
soldiers' who died in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
The humble stone church was built in the late 1600s by the slaves of Frederick Philipse for his estate Philipsburg Manor.
Irving made it the setting for his famous story, "The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow," using the bridge crossing at the Pocantico River (the Headless
Horseman Bridge) as the scene for the story's climax.
In 1849, some 30 years after the story's publication, Washington Irving suggested in a letter to Knickerbocker Magazine to rename the Tarrytown Cemetery to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
He argued this name would be much more attractive and good for business, given the popular appeal of his story.
He also jibes in the letter that its current name was a "blunder."
Though he never lived long enough to see it, the powers that be eventually did change the name.
And, apparently he was right about the 'being good for business' part.
Today Old Dutch Church and surrounding cemeteries are a road side attraction of sorts. (In October, the Headless Horseman is known to hang out at the gates posing for photos.)
Loads of people from all over America flock to the cemetery to get a piece of the legend - much to the delight of the Sleepy Hollow NY tourist board!
But don't pass it off as a bunch of empty 'tourism hype.' There is an undeniable presence in these hills.
Just walk on the sun dappled paths winding through the tombstones of Revolutionary War soldiers... Listen to the song of the meandering Pocantico river and the birds in the distance.
Then you get it. This is what Irving describes in his opening passage of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow:
Go Headstone Hunting
A long list of "who's who" from American history decided to lay their bones here, and it's a fun (and free) activity. Pick up a map at the visitor center and go head-stone hunting.
Don't worry if you get lost on your journey to find Andrew Carnegie, Washington Irving, Brooke Astor, William Rockefeller or Walter Chrysler... (to name a few)
You won't get bored gazing at the beautifully crafted statues, tombs and mausoleums honoring the lesser known residents. (Some of which are the most impressive.)
Take a Walking Tour
The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery offers a variety of walking tours that are fun and educational.
There are afternoon guided tours, evening lantern tours (cool!) and others, such as "Girls Night Out (In the Cemetery): Famous Female Residents."
Afternoon Guided Tours are conducted on Sundays from the last week in May through October.
You can purchase tickets by calling 1-888-71-TICKETS. They're open Monday-Friday, 9AM to 9PM. Tours range from $20-$25 dollars and last two hours.
Find the Headless Horseman Bridge
The site of the original Headless Horseman bridge, which is featured in the tale, is now part of Rt.9, and made of steel and concrete!
But they did build a replica of it at a new location within the cemetery!
From the bridge you can find wooded trails that will take you into the Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
The park is a popular destination for hiking, horse-riding, bird watching and cross-country skiing.
Explore Sleepy Hollow Country
The cemetery is surrounded by thousands of acres of preserved land.
Exploration of the area will yield great views of the Hudson River, immaculate suburban dream houses, and quiet wooded trails along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail and Rockefeller State Park.
Plan your trip with this trail map! It's a loop that will bring you to the nearest train station (Philipse Manor - Hudson Line), but you can pick it up from anywhere, including at the cemetery.
*Remember, you don't have to do the whole thing!
Pocantico River at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Not Just a Tourist Attraction
With themed walking tours, photography workshops and daily visitors pointing their cameras, don't be surprised to find that the place is very much alive!
Come and enjoy it! - Just keep in mind that it is still an active burial ground regularly visited by family and friends paying their respects.
The cemetery offers traditional lots, low-impact natural burials, and spaces in their beautiful mausoleum.
At 540 North Broadway in Sleepy Hollow NY, the cemetery is easy to spot as you drive under an immense row of old sycamore trees.
You can see the headstones from Rt.9/North Broadway, and there is a large stone building at the main gate.
If you've found this page helpful or have any suggestions, please drop us a line.
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