A Walking Tour of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Washington Irving grave - Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, NY

Whether or not one believes that Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman roams Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the grounds as well as the adjacent Old Dutch Church & Burying Ground are a fascinating and photogenic window into American history. Daytime and evening guided tours are available, for a fee, by prior registration. Walk ins are welcome (Monday-Friday, 8:30-4:30) and free maps point out the most famous (or infamous) of residents, among them: Washington Irving, Andrew Carnegie, William Rockefeller, Elizabeth Arden, and Harry and Leona Helmsley.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Chapel

Pick up free maps from the chapel building just inside the main gate, and then choose your direction. It’s possible to circumnavigate both cemeteries in one big walking loop, or if pressed for time, drive to one end or the other to explore those areas.

If you go straight in you can walk or drive across the Headless Horseman Bridge.

Headless Horseman Bridge - Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Alternatively, a right turn takes you toward the South Gate and the oldest parts of the cemetery. Along the way, you pass the Civil War Monument on the exterior perimeter.

Civil War Monument - Sleepy Hollow Cemetery - Sleepy Hollow, NY

Just a little further on, detour into the interior of the cemetery to see the gated area holding America’s first best-selling writer, Washington Irving.

Washington Irving cemetery

Peer over the gate to see Washington Irving’s headstone.

Washington Irving's headstone in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

If you turn around and squint a little you can almost imagine how this fairytale land might have had a “witching effect” on the Rip Van Winkle author.

Revolutionary War Monument - Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Revolutionary War Monument in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery faces out on Pocantico River, a 9-mile-long tributary of the Hudson River in New York’s Westchester County.

Down a small hill, between the Revolutionary War Monument and the South Gate, lies New York’s oldest standing church, the Old Dutch Church and Burying Ground. Old Dutch Church is a National Historic Landmark, and also a functioning house of worship.

Old Dutch Church - Sleepy Hollow, NY

Surrounding the church are some of the oldest gravestones, and some of the earliest examples of American folk art.

Early American folk art and gravestone - Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery covers 85 acres, not including the Old Dutch Church & Burying Ground section. Interesting possibilities for meandering walking tours more than abound.

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The Witch Trials Memorial in Salem, MA

Salem Witch Trials Memorial - Salem MA

A yellow flower sat on each of twenty simple granite stones at the Witch Trial Memorial in Salem, Massachusetts. Each was a reminder of the fourteen women and six men who were accused of being witches in 1692 and later tried, convicted, and executed. Designed by Maggie Smith and James Cutler, the monument was inspired by the Vietnam Memorial.

You can find the tribute next to Old Burying Point Cemetery near all the Salem attractions. With or without flowers.

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON D7000
Focal Length 18 mm
ISO 400
Aperture f/8
Exposure Time 1/60

Southbound on Taconic State Parkway

 Taconic Parkway

New York’s answer to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Taconic State Parkway is the longest parkway in the state and arguably the most scenic. Running 104 miles from Chatham, NY to Kensico Dam, the parkway is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in developing American roadways.

The entire drive can be covered one way in 2-3 hours, but do leave plenty of time for scenic detours. There’s a great view of the Catskill Mountains at the pull offs on both sides of the highway in Columbia County and several beautiful recreational areas, including Lake Taghkanic and Franklin D. Roosevelt State Parks. Not to mention a number of delightful little New York towns and attractions not far off the highway.

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON D810
Focal Length 24 mm
ISO 200
Aperture f/7.1
Exposure Time 1/640

Lake Taghkanic Gold

Lake Taghkanic - New York State ParkIn early autumn, New York State Park Lake Taghkanic is awash in gold. Located in the Hudson Valley Region, the park can be accessed right off scenic Taconic State Parkway at one mile south of the Hudson exit. Over 1500 acres, the park provides seasonal boat rentals and year round hiking, biking, cross-country ski and snowmobile trails.

In addition to tent and trailer campsites, there are cabin camping facilities, as well as a few vacation rental cottages.

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON D810
Focal Length 24 mm
ISO 64
Aperture f/5
Exposure Time 1/640

Peak Fall Foliage in the Adirondacks

 Peak Fall Foliage - Adirondacks

Creek at Point Park in Keene, NY.

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON D800
Focal Length 40 mm
ISO 125
Aperture f/5
Exposure Time 1/100

Lobster Divers of Rhode Island

The men of Rhode Island are a hardy bunch, as I can attest after meeting Nick Caron. I met the young man on a Newport, Rhode Island shore in early October after he had put in a hard day’s labor with the East Bay Dive Center. He and his buddy were suiting up to kayak out to where they would spend the next 3-4 hours spear fishing for lobsters. This was a sunny day in early autumn, but still, it was pushing it to say that water temperatures reached the low 60s. As much as I love lobsters and spear fishing, even toe dipping was torturous for this warm waters kind of gal.

If you’re up for the challenge and don’t mind the chill, do check out the Massachusetts Freedivers Spearfishing Club. They host meetups and tournaments, including events in the North Atlantic Spearfishing Championship.

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON 7000D
Focal Length 24mm
ISO 400
Aperture f/11
Exposure Time 1/500

First Tinge of Fall Color at Kaaterskill Falls in the Catskills

 Kaaterskill Falls

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON 7000D
Focal Length 24mm
ISO 200
Aperture f/22
Exposure Time 1/10

Fall Foliage Frames Bennington Battle Monument

 

Bennington Battle MonumentBuilt to commemorate a turning point in the American Revolutionary War, the Bennington Battle Monument stands 306 ft. 4 ½ “ tall in Bennington, Vermont. Take the elevator to the top of the obelisk for a picture-postcard view of the surrounding Green Mountains, turned all shades of gold and russet during peak fall foliage (typically in early to mid October.) Open Mid April through October, 9-5, $5 adults, $1 kids.

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON 7000D
Focal Length 20mm
ISO 400
Aperture f/11
Exposure Time 1/400

Apple Picking in Upstate New York

Ladders poised for apple picking at Goold Orchards in Castleton, NY. Find a u-pick farm near you on www.pickyourown.org.

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Image Details:

Camera NIKON 7000D
Focal Length 24mm
ISO 400
Aperture f/10
Exposure Time 1/320

 

 

100,000 Tulips Blossom In Washington Park – Albany, NY

Washington Park #Albany #NY - Albany, NY’s tulip fest is a colorful celebration of Dutch heritage and imaginative communal space. @GetawayMavens

The City of Albany goes all out for Mother’s Day. On May 7 & 8, 2016, 100,000 blossoms will brighten Washington Park at the 68th Annual Tulip Festival. Beginning with the ceremonial scrubbing of State Street, and continuing with the Tulip Queen Coronation, Royal Tulip Ball, the 17th Annual Mother of the Year Award, Albany, NY’s tulip fest is a colorful celebration of Dutch heritage and imaginative communal space.

Tulip bed surround statue of Moses Smiting Rock (J. Massey Rhind, sculptor, 1893.) Corning Tower building peeks out in the background. #Albany #NewYork @GetawayMavens

Tulip bed surround statue of Moses Smiting Rock (J. Massey Rhind, sculptor, 1893.) Corning Tower building peeks out in the background.

Washington Park was first conceived in 1869 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux when Albany was at the height of prosperity. Located at the north end of the Hudson River and the original eastern terminus of the Erie Canal, the capital city was a center of transportation and home to some of the earliest railroad systems in the world. In the 1860s, Albany, NY was one of the top 10 most densely populated cities in America, but still retained the open space–previously used for burial sites, military parade grounds, and even a drain tile factory–that was used to develop Washington Park.

Washington Park was first conceived in 1869 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux when Albany was at the height of prosperity. #Albany #NY #garden @GetawayMavens

Olmsted envisioned a series of parks and boulevards in Albany, with Washington Park as the crowning jewel. That dream was never realized, even as his idea to dam Beaver Kill to form a lake resulted in the picturesque 5.2 acre Washington Park Lake that now anchors one end of the park. John Bogart, an Albany native, and John Cuyler ended up drawing up plans for the 81-acre park in 1870, and much of the landscape took shape shortly thereafter under the guidance of Superintendent William S. Egerton during his 38-year tenure.

Robert Burns Statue

One of Washington Park’s earliest monuments, the Robert Burns Statue. (1888, Charles Calverley, Sculptor.) The bronze of the Scottish bard was funded by Mary McPherson, a Scottish resident of Albany.

Although park statues fared well in the following century, time was not so kind to other structures.

Washington Park ruins - Remains of Victorian-era ornate water fountain shelter laid out next to open space once used for croquet. #Albany #NY #history @GetawayMavens

Remains of Victorian-era water fountain shelter laid out next to open space once used for croquet.

By the 1920s, several showed wear and tear and were slated for renovations. The Old Lake House was torn down, and replaced by J. Russell Wright’s elaborate Spanish Revival building in 1929–opening just days before the stock market crash.

Washington Park Lake House, #Albany #NY The Old Lake House was torn down, and replaced by J. Russell Wright's elaborate Spanish Revival building in 1929--opening just days before the stock market crash. #history @GetawayMavens

Lakeside view of Washington Park’s Lake House.

Washington Park Lake House #Albany #NY #architecture @GetawayMavens

View of Washington Park Lake House from stadium seating.

It was decades before Washington Park saw a revival. In the spring of 1940, the City of Albany planted 90,000 bulbs and was rewarded by increased attendance prompted by curiousity about the spectacle. In 1948, Mayor Corning named the tulip as Albany’s official flower and put in a request for Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to designate a particular variety, resulting in the Orange Wonder being the Tulip of Albany. And so the Tulip Festival was born in 1949.

Albany Tulip Festival #NewYork #garden @GetawayMavens

Is this the Orange Wonder that is the Tulip of Albany? Center tulip display, Albany Tulip Festival, Albany, NY, 2013.

Every year since, spectators and garden enthusiasts have came to see how the tulips will look this year. Every year the garden beds are unique as different varieties are selected, and bulb combinations are rearranged in new and unusual combinations.

Fritillaria Imperialis with assorted tulips and Grape Hyacinths. Albany Tulip Festival, 2013. #garden #Northeast @GetawayMavens

Fritillaria Imperialis with assorted tulips and Grape Hyacinths. Albany Tulip Festival, 2013.

What you see changes from year to year, and even day to day. This year, I dropped by a full week before the festival, when many buds remain closed.

Tulip buds. Silverstream, Darwin Hybrid Family #garden #NewYork @GetawayMavens

Silverstream, an early variety, was just beginning to open.

Silverstream, Darwin Hybrid Family #tulip #garden @GetawayMavens

Silverstream, Darwin Hybrid Family

Barely open, but the blushing pink tulips drew amateur and professional photographers like moths to a flame.

Richard Mitchell, of Ethereal Shooter Photography, casts a warm glow on tulips with a golden diffuser. Michael Boettcher, of Desdelan Photography, looks on. #photography #garden @GetawayMavens

Richard Mitchell, of Ethereal Shooter Photography, casts a warm glow on tulips with a golden diffuser. Michael Boettcher, of Desdelan Photography, looks on.

I shot my fair share of the Silverstream tulips, but my favorite photo of the day was that of a young girl, whose beauty put the flowers to shame.

Portrait of a beautiful girl against a backdrop of tulips. #photography @GetawayMavens

Washington Park is a Northeast garden gem; no wonder it was named one of 100 Great Parks by the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2000.

To learn more about Washington Park, visit Washington Park Conservancy.

For the Albany Tulip Festival schedule and other events in Albany, NY, visit Albany.org.

Source: “Washington Park: Rooms with a View,” Cornelia Brooke Gilder. Albany Architecture. Edited by Diana S. Waite, Mount Ida Press, 2009.

Tulip Fest #Albany #NY annual festival is a colorful celebration of Dutch heritage and imaginative communal space. #garden @GetawayMavens

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