If you didn't hear by now I'm obsessed with all things Halloween. So of course I've always wanted to visit Sleepy Hollow, NY for all the seasonal fun in October.
(Also...do you remember reading Judy Blume's Otherwise Known As Sheila The Great? When she spends the summer in Tarrytown? Yeah. Me too. Literally this has been on my mind since the third grade. And I FINALLY checked it off the bucket list).
Anyway, Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown/Irvington makes a perfect fall weekend getaway, or even a day trip from our neck of the woods. Depending on how many attractions you want to check out, it's all road trip worthy.
We began our weekend at the historic home of the man who started it all -- Washington Irving, author of "Rip Van Winkle" and "Sleepy Hollow." We owe the headless horseman to this guy. And touring Washington Irving's Sunnyside was worth the price of admission. It was fascinating to learn about the life of this prolific American writer and explore the beautiful grounds of his estate. While history nerds like us will eat up the guided house tour, younger kids may be bored. However, when we visited there were a few hands-on activities scattered about for the younger set. Also, there is plenty of lawn space for littles to run around if you don't want to take them inside the house.
The guided house tour takes about one hour to complete and tickets run $12/adult and $6/kids. Even without a tour, the grounds are worth exploring and photo opps abound. It was raining when we visited so it was a bit of duck and cover; however, I would love to go back on a sunny autumn day to really take it all in. The property is located at 3 W Sunnyside Lane, Irvington, NY. There is plenty of free parking on site and the grounds are stroller accessible.
Restaurants abound in this bustling area; however, we had a jam-packed schedule and wanted something quick. But, oh my word, did we choose right. If you only eat at one stop, make it Revenge BBQ at 48 Main Street in Irvington.
This is a tiny take out spot with a counter and a few tables. You'll probably have to eat standing up or in your car (which you'll park on street) -- but it will be worth it. They're open Thursday - Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. (or until sold out). This place literally has THE BEST pulled pork and slaw I've ever had. (Seriously. I think about this sandwich all the time). Sandwich, side and a drink runs you about $18.
If you're looking to add a hike in to your visit, drive over the Rockerfeller State Park Preserve at 125 Phelps Way in Pleasantville. The park contains 45 miles of scenic carriage roads that are wide, clear, beautiful and easy to walk. There are also wooded trails, a beautiful lake, stables, and a museum-quality visitors center. I mean, it is the former country estates of the John D. Rockefeller family and William Rockefeller. I could have spent all day here. You need to purchase metered parking on site from the automated machines in the parking lot. Dogs are welcome on leash. The carriage paths are very stroller friendly.
And now we arrive at the real reason anyone wants to visit Sleepy Hollow in the October -- for the haunts. My favorite is Historic Hudson Valley's walk-through haunted attraction, Horseman's Hollow. Basically a giant haunted house, the Hollow includes a 45-minute walk through different scenes of horror -- everything from historic settings, fairy tale sets, gory murder sites and clowns (why are there always clowns?!).
Is it family friendly? Only you know your kids' tolerance and if they'll be sleeping on your bedroom floor until Christmas. We didn't bring our girls -- they do NOT share our love of haunted houses. There was no inappropriate language or overt sexiness. But there were a lot of good scares. The attraction is recommended for ages 10 and up. You take the tour with a large group of attendees, but it is not overwhelming. Being in a large group adds to the fun IMHO.
I've done a lot of haunted houses. Like, A LOT of them. The Horseman's Hollow is #1. Hands Down. The scenery is a-ma-zing. This attraction alone makes the drive worth it. If you like haunted houses that keep you guessing, you'll love this.
This attraction takes place at Philipsburg Manor, 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY. Parking here is a bit of a nightmare (or at least it was for the 2018 season). We parked in a mud filled parking lot on a construction site and had to walk a lonnnnggg way to the gate. Just be prepared. Wear comfortable walking shoes if you visit. Tickets run $22/person ($28/person on Saturday).
While in the region you can also take in the Sleepy Hollow Experience, which although I did not see at Sunnyside, I have seen at Old Sturbridge Village. It is a terrific show. Tickets seem pricey at $45/adult and $25/children but this is a top quality show -- the cast, music and setting is unforgettable.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for what you can enjoy in Historic Hudson Valley in October. Check out their website for all the offering. Pretty much any museum or show requires advance ticket purchase -- and they mostly all sell out early. You can't just drive in and expect to get tickets. Tickets go on sale in early September so plan ahead and have your credit card ready. If you're Halloween freaks like we are, I can't recommend visiting the region enough. Happy Haunting!