On the Trail of Hudson Valley History
Story by Erin Wyble Newcomb
Illustrated by Annie Dwyer-Internicola
Although I didn’t grow up in the Hudson Valley, my parents valued family day trips focused on literary and historical tourism. We visited the region many times before any of us lived here (and we’re all transplanted here now!). As a teenager, I went to Washington Irving’s Sunnyside with my parents; one of my all-time favorite pictures of my parents is from the garden there, my folks smiling, arms around each other, under the arbor. The picture still makes me smile, and it recalls the fond memories I have of that trip in particular and the interest in cultural travel that my parents nurtured in me.
This week, I took my own children to Washington Irving’s home for the first time. Though they are both elementary-school aged, they also, in keeping with our family tradition, have an appreciation for Irving’s work. They, too, know the story of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” from the same Disney cartoon that I watched when I was a kid—the 1949 adaptation narrated by Bing Crosby that captures the quaint Dutch environment and spooky atmosphere of Irving’s original. These stories are part of my family’s history, but they’re a central part of the history of the Hudson Valley and the United States as well.