Halloween Happenings

Okay, so the title may be a bit misleading, but you’ll understand here in a minute. Before we get to that though, let me lead you through the next couple days. From Delaware I headed up the coast and inland a bit to Hershey, PA. On the way out of Delaware though, this southern girl found a Chick Fil A! Now, I know by this time I hadn’t spent too much time in northern climes, but I have no shame in admitting that I needed a little bit of the south. I proudly ordered my sweet tea and sat in bliss for about 20 minutes before hitting the road.

So, with breakfast over I continued on and went through Pennsylvania Amish country (Lancaster specifically) and into Hershey. Lancaster was very neat – I hope it isn’t completely inappropriate to say that I was totally fascinated to have seen the Amish working. After dealing with the stresses of a corporate world, their world seems rather simple and wonderful. Outsider’s perspective of course; and I’m sure that they have their own stresses. There were still a few pretty fall trees through here, and I really enjoyed driving through Pennsylvania.

I know I may lose a couple people here, but this is just my opinion. As I reached Hershey…I seemed to almost expect a bit…I don’t know…more? I know it was off-season. *WARNING-inflammatory comment ahead* It just felt like a poor man’s Disney. I know! That’s why it came with a warning. I went to the Hershey Chocolate World and poked around for a bit. Like maybe a half hour. The entire town has a bit of a sweet smell (for obvious reasons), which could really put one off chocolate. Which would be completely tragic. I mean I could honestly live in a paper manufacturing town better. Because, you know, that wouldn’t like put you off…paper. *scratches head*

I camped at the HersheyPark Campgrounds that night. No real problems here…unless you like to sleep. The train goes by seriously like every 20 minutes. I didn’t realize the track was basically in their back 40. I headed out fairly early the next morning. And I’m not a morning person. Glad it was only for one night! Everyone was really nice at the campground though…thought I’d at least throw them a bone.

From there I headed to Sleepy Hollow, NY. Yes, that Sleepy Hollow. I was super excited to be in the area around Halloween. Seemed so appropriate, even though it was a happy accident. I completely nerded out. I have always loved the story, so to be able to visit was super exciting. I explored the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, which has the Old Dutch Church but also a few famous graves. The bridge that Washington Irving referenced in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow spanned the creek just down from the entrance to the cemetery. The original is long gone now, but replaced with a rather helpful tourist sign letting us nerds know where it was. Another neat fact: he never said it was a covered bridge, like you always see in dramatizations of the tale. I guess a covered bridge is more dramatic.

 

 

And please allow me to nerd out a little bit more here. The Katrina that Irving references is actually buried here. Well, his inspiration for the character. Her actual name was Catriena Ecker Van Tessel. Isn’t that pretty? Irving himself is also here, and I took the obligatory picture…but Catriena still had the corner market on excitement. Probably something I should be concerned about. Oh well.

 

 

That evening before checking into the hotel I ate a local pub, JP Doyle’s. I had a wonderful reuben there. They were all decked out in Halloween decorations. Heck, I would be too. Props to you. That night I stayed over at the Tarrytown House Estate in Tarrytown, NY. It was right on the Hudson, and had a lovely view and grounds. I am pretty sure I could see NYC from my room…but I’m a bit bad with directional sense…so if I’m wrong, there’s my caveat.

 

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NYC?

 

 

Continuing on my accidental Halloween tour, I then headed for Salem, Massachusetts. I actually didn’t put all these Halloween meccas together in my head until searching through Salem for a place to stay. Everything was booked solid. I finally found an awesome bed and breakfast that luckily had a room. I think the reason they had room was that they weren’t popping up in a Google search very well. Bad for them, great for me! It was the Stephen Daniels house, which was built in 1667(!). I had the entire top floor to myself. It was also in a great location and I could walk to everything that I wanted to see. If you want an authentic Salem experience, definitely stay here. It’s quirky and delightful. I personally did not have any otherworldly experiences, but did read a couple TripAdvisor reviews where some did.

Of course since I was there I had to go through all the witch history. If you are familiar at all with the truth of what really did happen, it’s a sad commentary on greed, corruption, and hysteria. I walked to the “witch house” first. No, this is not a party shack where the “witches” got together and chanted over their bubbling cauldron. This was where they were tried by the local magistrate.

 

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“Witch House”

 

It was worth the walk through. If you look closely, you’ll see there is a sign on the front door. Who can guess what it said? “Please enter through the gift shop”. Yes, everything is always through the gift shop. The ultimate evil, ironically.

You may also be familiar with the House of the Seven Gables. This was on the other end of town. Again, me being a complete nerd I raced over there before closing to get a tour in. Nathaniel Hawthorne based his book on a relative’s house at the time. The house itself has gone through a couple remodels, with one owner in particular that tried to make it as close to the book as possible. It now has those true seven gables.

 

 

That evening I went on another Ghost Tour…and about froze to death and became a victim of Salem. It was really chilly and windy, and our guide was very good, but on this side of ADD. The tour turned out to be more of a fact tour about past and present happenings in the town, and I was really interested even though it was supposed to be a ghost tour. It was worth it. After two hours I gave up and headed back to the B&B because I was so cold. I would say we lost two-thirds of the group before that though, so I felt like a champ. On the way back, I passed the Town Hall, and had to take a picture of it in the dark. If any of you are familiar with the film Hocus Pocus, this building makes an appearance. Another nerdy moment.

 

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Town Hall

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed these stops around this time of year. So I guess in this case, leaving late was a boon!

-C

Song of the Day: Shakey Graves “Dearly Departed”

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