October 27 2008 by Karla Henriquez
Every October, I plan an excursion that will allow me to enjoy the glory of the changing of the leaves. It's also the one time of year when, in honor of Halloween, I actually watch scary movies. This week, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow arrived in my mailbox, inspiring the perfect idea for a last-minute October excursion: a weekend getaway to the Hudson River Valley.
I was excited about this destination for three reasons:
a. It's within driving distance of my home
b. There are interesting historical sites and amazing views
c. In the fall, much of what there is to do and see is outdoors, which will keep my 8 month old happy
The area just around Sleepy Hollow boasts six estates of historic interest. We chose to stop in at these: Kyukuit, one of the Rockefeller residences; Sunnyside, home to Washington Irving, author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; and Van Cortlandt Manor, which is now hosting The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, a spectacular night-time display of sculptures made from glowing pumpkins. The Blaze was the highlight of day one, mostly because I'm still in awe of what can be done with a few thousand pumpkins and a scalpel.
The second day began with a visit to Springwood, Franklin D. Roosevelt's home and the Vanderbilt Mansion, both National Historic Sites. We decided to forego dinner at one of the Culinary Institute of America's restaurants because our 8 month old has the table manners of a hamster, and opted instead for a picnic on the grounds of the Roosevelt home.
After spending two days in the area, it's easy to understand why FDR always longed to be back at Springwood, and why New York's robber barons had weekend homes on the Hudson.
If you can't make it to the Hudson Valley this fall, you might want to try to catch the area's December events. Winter Wonderlights is new this year at Washington Irving's home, and promises to be as impressive as The Blaze. You can also enjoy A Gilded Age Christmas at the Vanderbilt Mansion.
What weekend getaway would you like to take this fall?