Welcome one and all to the Last Door on the Left – a travel agency for the adventurous soul. Have you always wanted to see the world beyond the wardrobe? Longed to wait for the train at 9 ¾? Pined for tickets to hear Plava Laguna sing at Phloston Paradise? Look no further.
Hello, my fellow jet-setters and globe-trotters! I know you’ll agree when I say that, sometimes the hustle and bustle of modern urban living can start to wear, and the lure of a quaint, rural getaway simply cannot be denied. So, perhaps you will allow us – here, at the Last Door on the Left, your trusty time-and-space travel agency – to set the pace a little slower this week and recommend a small sabbatical in Sleepy Hollow, New York (circa 1799).
Certainly, the tempo of life in Sleepy Hollow is a little less than hectic, with horse-drawn carriages, fresh air, and a distinct lack of urban sprawl. The dearth of city noise and frenzy, however, is more than made up for with moody atmosphere and a bone-chillingly eerie ambiance that make it the envy of every ghost story ever told.
Savvy Traveler Side Note #1: Avoid the western woods. The townsfolk say The Hessian was slain there, and the trees have long memories. Even the bravest of the brave don’t venture into that section of the forest.
Daylight reveals Sleepy Hollow to be a town like any other… a main street with homes and businesses, little shops to tickle your fancy, and a guard tower or two, bristling with outwardly pointing stakes, ideal for keeping monsters at bay. Definitely make a point to visit the Great House at the top of the hill. With the untimely death of the VanGarretts, the VanTassels are now the richest family, and likely the only game in town for Airbnb. Plus, safety in numbers, right?
Packing Pro-Tip #1: Forensics kit. Nothing says “relaxing weekend upstate” like an impromptu autopsy! Best to be prepared.
Nightfall in Sleepy Hollow brings with it a pervasive sense of dread and foreboding, as tales of the Headless Horseman and his latest victims become more visceral when the wailing starts. Some stalwart souls still ride out in the dark, logic and science a shield against the mystical might of long dead berserkers. Others venture forth in stunning combination of innocence and ignorance, playing at being the legend. The night in Sleepy Hollow holds more secrets than just the Horseman.
“It is truth, but truth is not always appearance.”
Savvy Traveller Side Note #2: Listen closely. Pay attention to what you don’t hear, as much as to what you do. Household gossip and forest silence will both be key to your survival! Getting to the bottom of anything in Sleepy Hollow will require the use of all of your senses.
Savvy Traveler Side Note #3: Try to keep an open mind: “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy”, said the Bard. In Sleepy Hollow, the scientific method and the metaphysical meet, and only through the acceptance of the supernatural can the natural order hope to be restored.
Everyone in the village has a role to play in this intrigue, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find friendly faces. Sleepy Hollow may not be known for its small town hospitality, but that doesn’t mean that the rune you find under your bed is automatically evil. Do some research before jumping to conclusions. Someone might just have your back and you don’t even know it!
Packing Pro-Tip #2: Runic Field Guide. You may need to go to Sunnydale to get this, but it could just save that budding romance from an awkward misunderstanding. You wouldn’t want to wrongfully accuse that cute local you’ve been flirting with of giving you the Evil Eye, would you?
At the end of the day, hallowed ground may offer you some measure of protection, but don’t count on it to stop the Horseman for long. He’s pretty crafty for a guy with no head; you’ll have to work harder than that to outsmart him.
Savvy Traveler Side Note #4: Respect local customs. When in Rome, and all that. If a local gives you a gift, accept it graciously. If she tells you to keep it close to your heart because it will keep you from harm, put it in your breast pocket. Take the opportunity to learn something new.
Once you’ve connected all the dots – and reconnected the Hessian’s head – Sleepy Hollow can return to its – perhaps not amiable, but at least less eerie – state for ringing in the new century, ghost stories and all.