Around three years ago, I struck up a little tradition to force my family to go to Sleepy Hollow every year. It's finally Autumn and Sleepy Hollow is Autumn's grand, wide-armed gesture in itself. Every other time we’d visit classic Sleepy Hollow, chase Headless down for a photo at the Old Dutch Church, or have a stroll in the most beautiful graveyard period. It feels more like a gallery. It’s grand and sprawling with rocky lakes and bridges and eerie mausoleums. But this time, we finally got to see Sunnyside, the home of the man who composed the legend himself, Washington Irving. Sunnyside transports you to the18th Century. Hosts dressed in period costumes guide you across his vast grounds that make for the most beautiful autumn strolls. He didn’t seem to believe as much in majestic architecture as much as allowing the language of the trees to speak for themselves. They didn’t allow any photography in Washington Irving’s home, but it was so surreal to walk the narrow halls of a house that would have been alive with callers over a hundred years ago. Not to mention the darling furnishings I wish I could take home myself! It felt like a smaller scale Downton Abbey. To know that Charles Dickens engaged in hearty discussions with Washington Irving in the same rooms that my Parent’s and I wandered…priceless. It’s amazing to meander the mind of a writer, to breathe in the same air as prompted such feats of the imagination. And really just to escape from the city for even a little while and play with geese under apple trees. That’s enough for me.
After our history lesson, we always go into town. I can never leave without a quick stop into Silver Tips for a pouch of Creme Maurice Tea. And then we hit the Tarry Tavern, which we’ve frequented so much, the owner often stops by for a chat.
Usually after these visits, my parents look at me and say, Only you think up these kinds of trips. At that, I’ll usually laugh and make some backhanded joke about myself. But each trip I watch them sip apple cider eying everything around with the curiosity of a child. Sometimes tradition grows stale. And sometimes tradition carries comforting promise of magic every year.