Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Of horsemen and schoolmasters

There is a little valley or rather lap of land among high hills,
which is one of the quietest places in the whole world.

The place continues under the sway of some witching power

that holds a spell over the minds of the good people,

causing them to walk in a continual reverie.

They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs,
subject to trances and visions, and frequently see strange sights,
and hear music and voices in the air.

~Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Imagine being able to visit a place from one of your very favorite childhood stories. Like finding that little cottage made entirely out of candy while walking through the woods, or happening upon a beanstalk that seems to reach clear up to the sky. Last Saturday, I stepped inside my all-time favorite story, or at least, I came as close as just about anybody can.

If you find yourself in Sleepy Hollow, you really must visit Washington Irving's Sunnyside - it was truly breathtaking. This time of year the whole place is almost totally consumed with vines and foliage -- the same ones planted by Irving when he lived there 175 years ago. I loved all the little nooks and narrow staircases and tiny windows in the house that looked out onto the Hudson River.

Yes please, I want to live in there.

To say that I grew up with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow would be a gigantic understatement - it practically defines whole "areas" of my childhood. It's sure to have fueled my love of the macabre and for good, old-fashioned ghost stories, and who knows how much influence the story had on my deciding to become a school teacher. (Unfortunately, one-room schoolhouses have ceased to exist). The little hamlet that Irving loved so much has also largely disappeared, or has at least been transformed. You can visit a few places for echos of what the place once was, but for the most part, it's just like countless other small towns. Except, of course, at night.


Char said...

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, i would love to visit there. thanks for letting me "see" it through your eyes

jasmine said...

these photos are GORGEOUS! those pumpkins! amazing. and those steps in the woods. ahhh, i love them. so beautiful. you're a wonderful photographer.

kater said...

SBDJGND! This is so awesome! It's like the perfect place for autumn!

amy said...

maybe someday you will be asked to come and teach in sleepy hollow...

B said...

I'm glad that you're posting more of your own photos here.



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