Monday, November 25, 2013

Inspiration: When fact inspires fiction in Sleepy Hollow

My family and I accompanied my husband to The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery this past summer. Yes, that Sleepy Hollow. My husband has been tracing his family history and discovered he has relatives interred there. An afternoon trip held much for all of us: he sought a connection, our kids saw an important part of the Hudson Valley's history, and I sought fulfillment to visit this famous place and, as usual, inspiration.

There's something about cemeteries which intrigues me. Besides the history, different types of headstones and adornments, there is this overwhelming sense of what once was. The family plots, the mausoleums, the various statues, monuments, even the trees and stones seemed to hold some semblance of what they've witnessed over time. One tree close to the Old Dutch Church caught my interest. The tree grew around a headstone, incorporating the stone close to its base in a strange but curious way (pictured right). The living embraced the memories of a deceased one perhaps?

Walking around The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery was an incredible treat. There are many famous people laid to rest there from politicians to newspaper owners, real estate moguls, actors, architects, and more, but how can I not mention one of the most important ones interred there? Washington Irving has a grand resting place and while I was there, his place saw the most foot traffic. As a Whovian, I did find myself feeling cautious around tall statues, especially anything angelic since I'll never forget the Weeping Angels. Luckily, I found nothing disturbed our stay that day and I didn't have to call out for a doctor.

Afterwards, we toured the town and I was in awe. I loved so much of the architecture I saw, the village-like shops, the school up on the hill, and the various buildings and views of the Hudson from the area's riverfront. Metro-North train cars pulled into the station as we passed by--something I always view as a good omen being a train buff.

There is something incredibly old-fashioned and culturally rich about The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the town. Along with all of the obvious signs of growth from the various new buildings, I knew from this trip that if I ever grew tired of living farther up in the Hudson Valley and wanted to move back down somewhere, Sleepy Hollow is a town which spoke to me.

Since our trip there, I knew I had to tune in and check out the television show bearing the same name as the town. I was at first wondering where the show's direction was headed from watching the first few episodes. I can honestly say after seeing every episode of Sleepy Hollow so far, I find the mythology of the show's creators mixed with the legend and visuals of the actual town an entertaining combination. I'm a fan. Visually speaking, the show looks great and the acting, especially the two leads, is fantastic. A real place, a fictional legend, and television can really inspire a writer.

They certainly inspire me.

The area across from the Old Dutch Church
A gated section I had to capture, especially the ornate gate itself.
History has ravaged this headstone
This was a family plot with various resting places

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