We continue or 48 hour exploration of the Hudson River Valley, centering on the Sleepy Hollow area. Somehow rain invited itself along with us, but we didn’t let it deter us. If you would like to see the first half of our travels along the Hudson, check it out here.
Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate:
Kykuit, a Dutch word for lookout, has been home to four generations of the Rockefeller family and is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Situated on top of the highest point of Pocantico Hills, it overlooks Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown and the Hudson River; as a bonus on a clear day you can see the New York City skyline just 25 miles to the south. Five different tours are available, a couple of all around tours and then a few specialized tours; we choose the classic tour. The classic tour takes every bit of the 2 hours and 15 min it states, and gives you an overview of the main floor of the house, the inner garden, the west terrace and the Coach Barn. No matter which tour you choose they all leave via shuttle from the visitor center at Philipsburg Manor, located on Route 9 in the village of Sleepy Hollow. The guide had a wealth of knowledge on the family, then and now, and was also well versed on the property and art on it. Having visited some of the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island recently I can say that the Rockefeller Estate is a whole different animal, not as lavish, the Rockefeller’s choose to put their money into art and philanthropy. If you are a sculpture lover you will really enjoy the grounds, as they have more money invested into them then the house. Looking for more information regarding tours and hours, check here.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery:
Both Glinda and I grew up watching “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at Halloween time, and the second I found out Sleepy Hollow was a real place I have wanted to go. What is so great about Sleepy Hollow is they embrace “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” story and the headless horseman, examples of which can be seen throughout town. The cemetery is in a heavily wooded area with varying hills and even has a river running through it. The original cemetery was for The Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow and was later expanded to be the Tarrytown Cemetery. Washington Irving, the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, requested that the cemetery’s name be changed and after his death they granted his wish changing it to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. There is a bevy of notable burials including Washington Irving himself, Elizabeth Arden and several philanthropist including members of the Astor, Carnegie and Rockefeller families. There are several different tours available for the cemetery, all of which are put on by the cemetery and the different listings can be found here. The cemetery even went so far as a recreation of the bridge from the story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“, which was an excellent touch.
Strawberry Place Restaurant: Nyack, NY
This is a local institution loved not only by locals but travelers and passersby. Strawberry Place is Cash only and open daily 7am-4pm except Mondays when it is closed. The great thing about this place is you can order anything on the menu anytime; you want french toast at 3pm, sold! This is a seat yourself joint that is pretty much busy open to close; particularly for weekend breakfast. The wait staff is more than capable and they all had a good sense of humor with a side of spunk. In addition to their standard menu they also have a list of seasonal specials, which is how I found the delectable pumpkin pancakes with blueberries and apple.
Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse: (Aka Kingsland Point Lighthouse)
The lighthouse is made of cast iron and was installed in 1883, and at that time it was a half-mile from shore. Now, thanks to a now defunct General Motors plant constantly plowing land the shore is within 80 feet of the lighthouse. The lighthouse transitioned into automation in the mid 1950’s and later became obsolete in 1961 when the navigation lights were added to the Tappan Zee Bridge. To get the best view of the lighthouse or to be able to walk up to it, you will need to go to Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow and walk south or downriver as far as you can go. There are a handful of Sundays in the summer were you can actually tour the lighthouse, check this website for times and prices.
RECOMMENDABLE: I can’t wait to go back! There are just that many things to see, you could easily spend a week driving up and down the river bank having each day filled with activities and food. I would say that most of the popular activities involve the outdoors in some way, so keep that in mind.