Tag: Halloween in the Hudson River Valley

Philipsburg Manor House                                                        381 North Broadway                                                            Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Philipsburg Manor House 381 North Broadway Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Philipsburg Manor House

381 North Broadway

Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

(914) 336-6900

Open: Please check the website for COVID updates

Fee: Please check the website for the COVID updates

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48622-d299069-Reviews-Philipsburg_Manor-Sleepy_Hollow_New_York.html

The Philipsburg Manor House

I have visited the Philipsburg Manor House and Estate many times over the years. During the “Headless Horseman” Halloween activities, the house is open for tours. You are able to tour the rooms and see the home in a spooky environment. The house was lit by candles and the tour guides lead you through the house.

The Manor House from the bridge over the creek

During a special event at the holidays, the house had seasonal decorations, lit by a combination candles and open hearth fires in the fireplace and tour guides explained a Colonial holiday season.

The estate during the day

The Manor House as it was explained to me was a place where the Philipse family stayed when they were away from the main family mansion and was doing business on the estate. So the home was comfortable and workable and functional but not luxurious as the main manor house where the family lived.

The back gardens are used during the Spring and Summer to grow fruits and vegetables

The kitchen, common room and bedrooms were nicely furnished at the time for the owners visits but was not elegant in the form of the main manor house. This was full working estate at all times. The Mill is located near the manor house and their are walking paths around the house.

The kitchen at the manor house was functional but not elaborate

During the Halloween season, both Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow are busy with activities with readings, cemetery tours, ‘haunted events’ and other activities. Please check out the Historic Hudson Valley website for the roster of events. Things have changed since the era of COVID.

a recreation of the bedroom at the Philipsburg Manor

During the Christmas holidays, the house in the past was decorated for Christmas but in the post-COVID time, the house was just open for tours. In December 2022, I got to visit the house the week before Christmas before it closed for the season. Like most older historical homes and sites will be closed until the Spring so this was the last opportunity to see the house and grounds. Unlike the past, the house was kept in regular touring state. We got to tour the kitchens and bedrooms of the home and heard a talk on how the how was run when Mr. Philispe was not in residence. This was strictly a working farm and mill for the family with the main residence being closer to the City.

The estate at the close of winter

Most of the action was outdoors with tours of the mill, the outside ovens used for the family’s bakery business and outdoor gardens that were cleared out for the winter months.

The Mill is where the process of converting wheat grown on the estate was made into flour for the New York market

The Milling wheel to process wheat to flour

The History of the Philipsburg Manor House:

(WIKI/Historic Hudson River Valley Society)

The Philipsburg Manor House is an historic house in the Upper Mills Section of the former sprawling Colonial-era estate known as Philipsburg Manor. Together with the water mill and the trading site the house is operated bas a non-profit museum by the Historical Hudson River Valley. It is located on US 9 in the Village of Sleepy Hollow, NY. (Wiki)

The Philipsburg Manor House and Mill area of the estate

The Manor House dates from 1693 when wealthy Province of New York merchant Frederick Philipse was granted a charter for 52,00 acres along the Hudson River by the British Crown. He built this facility at the meeting of the Pocantico and Hudson Rivers as a provisioning depot for the family Atlantic sea trade and as headquarters for a worldwide shipping operation. For more than thirty years, Frederick and his wife, Margaret and later his son Adolph shipped hundreds of African men, women and children as slaves across the Atlantic. The manor was tenanted by farmers of various European backgrounds and operated by enslaved Africans (Wiki).

Recreation of the baking operations on the estate

The baking oven

Baking hardtack at the ovens. This would have been used for shipping voyages.

At the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, the Philipses supported the British Crown and their landholdings were seized and auctioned off. The manor house was used during the war, most notably by British General Sir Henry Clinton during the militaries in 1779. It was there that he wrote what is known as the Philipsburg Proclamation, which declared all Patriot-owned slaves to be freed and that blacks taken prisoner while serving in Patriot forces would be sold in slavery (Wiki/Hudson River Valley History).

Touring the Dutch barns for wheat seed processing

The processing of wheat and straw

A National Historic Landmark in 1961, the farm features a stone manor house filled with a collection of 17th and 18th Century period furnishings, a working water-powered grist mill and millpond, an 18 century barn, a slave garden and reconstructed tenant farm house (Wiki/Hudson River Valley History).

During the season when the estate is open for visitors, there are costumed interpreters who reenact life in pre-Revolutionary War times doing various chores around the estate. During the Halloween season, the home is open for haunted tours of the manor during the “Headless Horseman” event. During the Christmas holiday season, the home is open for seasonal activities. Please check the website during COVID for activities (Historic Hudson River Valley).

Van Cortlandt Manor                                                                  5 Riverside Avenue                                                           Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10502

Van Cortlandt Manor 5 Riverside Avenue Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10502

Van Cortandt Manor

5 Riverside Avenue

Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY  10502

(914) 366-6900

Open: See website for seasonal hours

My review on TripAdvisor (Manor and Pumpkin Blaze):

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47560-d116391-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_Manor-Croton_on_Hudson_New_York.html?m=19905

A trip to the Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-the-Hudson is an interesting step back into the Colonial history of this country. During the summer, there is an interesting walking tour of the home offered usually from the end of July to Labor Day. Then the house is closed to prepare for the huge ‘Pumpkin Blaze’ during the months of October and November and then the house is shut down until the spring.

The house tour is interesting because it shows the home as a working farm and place of commerce for the family. This was not a weekend home for the family working in the City but crops being grown for shipping, vibrant gardens that supplied the house and a small tavern for travelers along the Albany Post Road as well as a place for shipping goods down the rivers.

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Van Cortlandt Manor

The home is furnished in the most modern furnishings of the time and you can see how the house reflected the needs of the family at that time. It was more of a home than a luxurious place to entertain. The furnishes are practical, very in fashion of the time and nicely decorated.

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The Dining Room

The tour of the kitchens and storage areas show that even in what was the modern era was not such easy living without servants. The estate was somewhat self-contained with animals and provisions being raised on the land and there is even an area where fabric such as flax and cotton where spun and made into clothing.

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The kitchen dining area

The upstairs bedrooms show that the linens were under lock and key even with the servants and that the rooms were well-appointed and comfortable. A lot of the family heirlooms still reside in the house and it gives you a perfect look at what life must have been like when the family lived here.

Don’t miss the gardens as well. Some have been over-grown because of the lack of volunteers but still you can see the beauty of the flowers and trees around the house. The house sits right on the cross between the Croton and Hudson rivers and even though it is now grown in, you can see that the house stood at one of the busiest sections of Upstate commerce.

The Pumpkin Blaze-Hudson Valley Historical Association:

During the months of Halloween, there are thousands of pumpkins that line the walks and beautiful displays to see along the paths of the estate and the river. This event is sponsored by the Hudson Valley Historical Association and is one of their biggest fundraisers. Don’t miss this annual event every fall.

The Blaze is amazing!

The Pumpkin Blaze in 2019:

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Some pictures from the MoMA Pumpkin Museum:

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Their version of “The Scream”:

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The Van Cortlandt Manor ablaze with lights and sounds

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Justin Watrel at the Pumpkin Blaze

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My Aunt and I at the Pumpkin Blaze in 2019

The Pumpkin Blaze in 2022:

Entering the Pumpkin Blaze in 2022

Pumpkins greeting you in all shapes and sizes

The Pumpkin Planetarium at the Pumpkin Blaze

Pumpkin Bee Hive

The “Terror Zee Bridge” at the Pumpkin Blaze

The Pumpkin Carousel

The Pumpkin Fire Services

The Headless Horseman is the theme of many October festivals in the Hudson River Valley

The History of the Van Cortlandt Manor:

By Royal Charter, Van Cortlandt Manor was originally a 86,000 acre tract granted as a patent to Stephanus Van Cortlandt in 1697 by King William III, stretching from the Hudson River on the west to the first boundary line between the Province of New York and the Colony of Connecticut, on the east, twenty English miles in length by ten miles in width in shape nearly a rectangular parallelogram forming, “The Manor of Cortlandt”.

The massive holding was acquired by direct purchase from the Indians, in part by Stephanus van Cortlandt, a native born Dutch gentleman of New York and in part by others whose titles he subsequently bought, this tract together with a small tract on the west side of the Hudson River opposite the promontory of Anthony’s Nose, which he also purchased from the Indians.

The Manor House was built sometime before 1732 but was not any owner’s principal residence until a grandson, Pierre Van Cortlandt, moved there in 1749. At the time the manor house was on a 1000 acre portion of the original tract.

Pierre brought his family to the estate in 1749 and established the manor into it most vibrant days, according to some. During this period, the manor was operating an apple orchard, dairy farm, a bee house, a kiln, a tavern and a carpenter and blacksmith shops. Van Cortlandt Manor was a self-sustaining community while Pierre and his family resided in the estate. At this time, tensions leading to the Revolutionary War were building and the manor would become a place of wartime retreat.

Pierre sided with the colonies and the manor was used to assist the Continental Army, using its resources to make food and supplies. Pierre was involved with military legislature and his son Philip was a soldier for the Continental Army. Eventually Pierre and his family vacated the manor in the thick of war. The manor was ransacked by the British Army and left in poor standing. Philip, becoming a brigadier general by the war’s end, returned and along with his sister, Catherine, brought the manor back to working order.

Van Cortlandt Manor became an essential stop on the route from New York to Albany in the years that followed the war. The mills were once again thriving and provided the community and travelers with food, supplies and lodging. Pierre and his wife did not return until 1803 once the manor was in full working order again. The manor was passed down in the family until it was sold to a non-relative, Otis Taylor in 1945. By this time, the property had lost its luster and was not the flourishing estate it had once been.

In 1953, John D. Rockefeller Jr. purchased the property and began restoring the manor to previous prominence. In 1961, Van Cortlandt Manor became registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Disclaimer: This information on the history of the house was provided by Wiki and I give them full credit on the information.

Places to Eat:

Located in the ShopRite Mall next to the Blaze:

The food at New Happy Garden in the Shoprite Mall is excellent and you can sit down in the restaurant. It is the perfect place for lunch or dinner before or after the Blaze. Their Lo Mein and General Tso’s Chicken are excellent. Please read my reviews on TripAdvisor.

New Happy Garden

440 South River Side Avenue

Croton on the Hudson, NY  10520

(914) 271-7888/8268

https://www.menupix.com/westchester/restaurants/3212099/Dong-Happy-Garden-Menu-Croton-On-Hudson-NY

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47560-d4616434-Reviews-Dong_Happy_Garden-Croton_on_Hudson_New_York.html?m=19905