Lost My Head in Sleepy Hollow

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Eric here with the latest travels of Still Waters II.


Summary of week:


Sunday, the crew continued their retreat from Hurricane Jose.  They left New London and headed west and made the length of the Long Island Sound.  On Monday, they left Port Washington and headed north up the Hudson River where they got out of the Tropical Storm Warnings.  On Tuesday, they continued north to Poughkeepsie to gain some safety margin from the storm.

This week’s journey of discovery did answer the following questions:

  1. How far north up the Hudson River do you have to go to get out of the way of Hurricane Jose?
  2. What in the world is ‘Bridge Music’?
  3. Who was the most hated man in America during the Gilded Age?

Click on the link to read the day-to-day travel log.  This includes weather report of the day, sea conditions, log of the days travel, and a summary of the experience.

At the Box Office

This week’s video shows Still Waters II traveling in the fog as she retreats from Hurricane Jose.   Enjoy!

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library now contains 37 videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Special Feature

An aerial tour of Poughkeepsie and surrounding area that the crew has been enjoying the past week.  Including walking the bridge loop (4.5 miles) which passes over both bridges in the video.

Special Special Feature

Joseph Bertolozzi is using the Mid Hudson Bridge near Poughkeepsie, NY, as an instrument and composed 12 songs that are on an album called Bridge Music.  Click on the bridge pic below to launch a video about the project.

Mid Hudson Bridge

Sunday, Sept 17, 2017

The winds from Jose were predicted to be Gale Force in the Long Island Sound on Tuesday.  To try and ensure that the crew does not ever endure that kind of wind again, they opted to travel the 100 miles to the west end of Long Island Sound on a calm Sunday.


However, the crew had to travel in fog with visibility around a ¼ mile or less for most of the day.  This turned out to be very stressful for the crew.


As the crew crossed a ferry path leaving New London, they could here a fog horn from a boat, could see the boat on radar, but could not see the vessel.  When the ferry was less than a ¼ mile in front of Still Waters II the skipper could finally make out the outline of the ferry.

Around 0930, the fog began to lift and visibility improved to ¾ of a mile.  This turned out to be good timing because the crew met a tow just off the port side.

24 Connecticut Fog

While crossing the Long Island Sound, Still Waters II did pick-up a couple of hitchhikers.  The two little birds would fly around the boat and then land and rest.  Then take off and fly around a while, and then come back and land again on the boat.  They eventually found their way into the sundeck and rode back there sitting on fishing poles until arrival at Port Washington.


After securing the boat to the mooring ball, it was time for the crew to relax.

The skipper used the remaining daylight to review the progress of Jose and check the tide tables to determine when to leave in the morning.

 Monday, Sept 18, 2017

The crew dropped the mooring ball line early and headed to New York City at 0648.  The fog was still around but the visibility had improved out to 2-miles.  The crew left Port Washington and headed to the East River.

When the crew reached Hells Gate, they turned towards starboard and headed north up the Harlem River.  At the end of the Harlem River, the crew requested the Spuyten Duvall Swing Bridge to open and the bridge tender immediately began to open the bridge.  The crew passed thru the bridge and into the Hudson River.  They turned to starboard and headed north up the Hudson River to get out of the reach of Hurricane Jose.

Once on the Hudson River, the Coast Guard was heard making an announcement over the radio that the Tapenzee Bridge was closed to all water traffic for the day.  After travelling ten miles the crew passed several tows anchored in the River waiting for the Bridge to open at 1600.

When the skipper was near the work zone he radioed the work crew on the crane in the middle of the channel and was given permission to pass under the bridge.

27 Hudson River

After passing under the bridge, the skipper checked his weather sites and determined that the crew was finally outside the Tropical Storm Warnings for Hurricane Jose.  The crew continued north bound to create a little more safety margin.


At the end of the day, the crew dropped anchor in the Haverstraw Cove to spend the night.
28 Haverstraw Cove

Tuesday, Sept 19, 2017 

The crew weighed anchor and continued north bound on the Hudson.  This is one of the more picturesque runs on the River, passing Bear Mountain, West Point, and Batterman’s Castle.

The skipper noticed this stag deer on the side of the cliffs at Bear Mountain.

29 Stag at Bear Mountain

When the crew passed West Point, I am sure I heard the skipper yell “Go Navy, Beat Army!”  But notice that the Army even has a few boats in the pic below.

33 West Point

Since last passing by Batterman’s Castle, there was a murder that has been solved.  A couple was kayaking around the island and the fiancé disappeared.  Two years later (Spring 2017) the women finally confessed to manslaughter.  There is probably more to this story than meets the eye.

The crew made it to Poughkeepsie where they will wait for Jose to dissipate and look to see what Maria intends to do next.

Wednesday – Thursday, Sept 20-21, 2017      

The crew has hiked the Walkway Over the Hudson each day.  This is a 4.5-mile loop trail that passes over the Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge.  The Rail Bridge was added to the Rails to Trails Hall of Fame in 2015.

Friday, Sept 22, 2017

The crew rented a car and headed South to Tarrytown.   They visited the Lyndhurst Castle.  William Paulding, who was a two time Mayor of New York City, had the home built in 1838 as his retirement cottage.


In !864 George Merritt bought the house and had the original architect double the size of the cottage.  Merritt enjoyed the home for about 10 years but then died an early death in 1873.


After seven years (1880), the most hated man in the Gilded Age, Jay Gould, bought the estate to be used as his summer home.  It is rumored that his contemporaries did not want him in Newport during the summer socialite season so he summered on the Hudson.  Gould was probably ok with that since he had long lasting feuds with most of  his NY business competitors.

Tiffany Stained Glass in Upstairs Library

For example, he detested the Vanderbilts so much that he would not ride their train that ran right beside his property.  Instead, he built a bridge over the railroad tracks to a dock on the Hudson River and would take his personal yacht back and forth to New York City.


Upon his death in 1892, Jay Gould’s daughter, Helen, took over the management of the estate.  Her contribution was adding the bowling ally overlooking the Hudson River.


Helen died in 1938 and passed the estate on to her sister, Anna.  The new owner returned from living in France to escape the beginning of WWII and to maintain Lyndhurst.  However, her tastes were more NYC rather than country cottage, so she only visited the estate about three weeks per year.  Interesting enough though, she kept about 150 people employed maintaining the property until her death in 1961.  At that point the estate was passed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Because the Gould daughters took such care of the place: the home, furnishings, and grounds were in excellent condition when turned over to the trust.  In side the home is one of America’s largest private art collections.  Since the home was a summer cottage, each time it sold and changed hands the contents remained.  The crew was unable to take pictures inside because it was being set up for some kind of Halloween Festival with no pics allowed.


Saturday, Sept 23, 2017

The crew set off to explore Bear Mountain and Sleepy Hollow today.

Bear Mountain was a neat surprise.  The crew crossed the Bear Mountain Bridge to get over to the west side of the river.  When this bridge was completed in 1924, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.  The title lasted for 19 months, when it was bumped to second place by the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia.

Bear Mountain Bridge

A few views from the Bridge:

East Bank


West Bank

And of course the Admiral was ready to buy this cabin for the north looking view.


The view from the top of Bear Mountain:

Looking North


Looking South at NYC 40 miles away

This area is also where the Appalachian Trail got its start.  The New Jersey and New York trail folks started the trail here and used the Bear Mountain Bridge to cross the Hudson River.


The crew saw a thru-hiker reading his route book on the west shore of the Bridge.  He left Georgia back in March.  When he got to Harpers Ferry in Virginia, he pulled what is called a flip-flop on the trail.  He went to Maine and started south, back towards Harpers Ferry.  His trail name is Re-Pete.


After exploring Bear Mountain, the crew set their sites on Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow to see if they could follow the path of Washington Irving’s tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

To set the stage, you may recall that the story is set in 1790 in the village of Tarry Town in the glen of Sleepy Hollow.

…….. there lies a small market town which is generally known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given by the good housewives of the adjacent country from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days……

Our characters are Ichabod Crane and Abraham ‘Brom Bones’ Van Brunt.  Both of which are competing for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel.  And last but not least is the most famous ghost in the Dutch Settlement, the Headless Horseman.

From the listless repose of the place, this sequestered glen has long been known by the name of Sleepy Hollow. Some say that the place was bewitched during the early days of the Dutch settlement; others, that an old Indian chief, the wizard of his tribe, held his powwows there before the country was discovered by Master Hendrick Hudson. Certain it is, the place still continues under the sway of some witching power that holds a spell over the minds of the descendants of the original settlers. They are given to all kinds of marvelous beliefs, are subject to trances and visions, and frequently hear music and voices in the air. The whole neighborhood abounds with local tales, haunted spots, and twilight superstitions.
     The dominant spirit that haunts this enchanted region is the apparition of a figure on horseback without a head. It is said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannonball in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever seen by the countryfolk, hurrying along in the gloom of the night as if on the wings of the wind. Historians of those parts allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the yard of a church at no great distance, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head; and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow is owing to his being in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak. The specter is known, at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.

The first order of business was to find the home of Baltus Van Tassel, rich father of Katrina, where the night begins with ghost stories and dancing.

He came clattering up to the school door with an invitation to Ichabod to attend a merrymaking to be held that evening at Mynheer Van Tassel’s.

The home was torn down in the late 1880’s to make room for the new High School, which has now been turned into Condo’s.


Photo from Louis Glacer’s Process (1882), reprinted in Jonathan Kruk’sLegends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley
The Condo’s at the corner of Route 9 and Hamilton Place would be our stating location.


The revel now gradually broke up……………… It was the very witching time of night that Ichabod, heavyhearted and crestfallen, pursued his travel homeward. Far below, the Tappan Zee spread its dusky waters. In the dead hush of midnight he could hear the faint barking of a watchdog from the opposite shore. The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and driving clouds occasionally hid them from his sight. He had never felt so lonely and dismal.


Ichabod would have travelled north along what is now Route 9 down the hill towards Sleepy Hollow.


All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard earlier now came crowding upon his recollection. He would, moreover, soon be approaching the very place where many of the scenes of the ghost stories had been laid.

Ichabod would have continued down Route 9.


Just ahead, where a small brook crossed the road, a few rough logs lying side by side served for a bridge. A group of oaks and chestnuts, matted thick with wild grapevines, threw a cavernous gloom over it.

The locals believe that the small brook is now named Andre’s Brook after the British Officer who was captured here trying to assist Benedict Arnold with the British takeover of the Fort at West Point.  John Andre was also tried and hung nearby.




The capture of Major John Andre.


It is at this very spot that Ichabod first encounters the Headless Horseman.

Just at this moment, in the dark shadow on the margin of the brook, Ichabod beheld something huge, misshapen, black, and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveler.

On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow traveler in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horrorstruck on perceiving that he was headless! But his horror was still more increased on observing that the stranger’s head was carried before him on the pommel of the saddle.

The rising ground northbound on Route 9.


They had now reached that stretch of the road which descends to Sleepy Hollow, shaded by trees for about a quarter of a mile, where it crosses the famous church bridge just before the green knoll on which stands the church.


An opening in the trees now cheered him with the hopes that the church bridge was at hand. He saw the whitewashed walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones’s ghostly competitor had disappeared. “If I can but reach that bridge,” thought Ichabod, “I am safe.”

You can see the rails of the bridge to the right and below the stop lights with the old church in the background.


Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash – he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider passed by like a whirlwind.


An inquiry was set on foot, and after diligent investigation they came upon the saddle trampled in the dirt. The tracks of horses’ hoofs deeply dented in the road were traced to the bridge, beyond which, on the bank of a broad part of the brook, was found the hat of the unfortunate Ichabod, and close beside it a shattered pumpkin. The brook was searched, but the body of the schoolmaster was not to be discovered.


Our adventure ends looking over the old church bridge where Ichabod’s hat was found in the water wondering; was it his rival Brom Bones or was it really the headless horseman.

Brom Bones too, who shortly after his rival’s disappearance conducted the blooming Katrina to the altar, was observed to look exceedingly knowing whenever the story of Ichabod was related, and always burst into a hearty laugh at the mention of the pumpkin, which led some to suspect that he knew more about the matter than he chose to tell.
     The old country wives, however, who are the best judges of these matters, maintain to this day that Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural means. The bridge became more than ever an object of superstitious awe, and that may be the reason why the road has been altered of late years, so as to approach the church by the border of the millpond.

The changed route of the road between the mill pond and the church.


If you take the road to the right of the church and park, it is only a short walk up the hill to Washington Irving’s grave in the Old Church Cemetery.


Boat Name of the Week

      Travelling in the fog did not lend itself to seeing any boat names this week.

Next Week –

At this time Jose is no longer a threat to the crew.  However, Maria is lurking off the east coast now and threatening a landfall between the Carolina outer banks and New England.  The crew will continue to sit here until it is safe to proceed south.

Loop On – The water goes on forever and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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