The Future of Tourism in Sleepy Hollow

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Sleepy Hollow: a town of legends, a site of supposed haunting and hot-spots of tourism during autumn. All the locals know to expect tourists when October comes rolling around. It is essentially the town that embodies the spirit of Halloween, with chilling tales such as Washington Irving’s famous “The Legend of the Headless Horseman,” local myths such as the Lady in White, forests painted in autumn colors and scarily-decorated houses, and tempting attractions such as the Horseman’s Hollow.

Each year, it seems that the number of tourists visiting Sleepy Hollow increases. Great volumes of people will go sightseeing through the town and take part in traditions like the reading of Irving’s tale at the Old Dutch Church or a tour through the famous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Tourists and locals alike are impressed by the numerous block parties, hayrides, and scary costumes every year.

Major attractions are not the only commercial entity benefiting from the increased tourism. Local businesses get flooded with visitors looking to try the foods and buy the wares of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. Once the tourists head home, they have plenty of stories and pictures to share with their loved ones. 

Tourism, however, has its drawbacks. Many people have complained about the horrendous traffic that clogs up the streets in September to late November. Parking spots are taken by visitors from out-of-town, the sidewalks are cluttered with crowds of people—for locals, the congestion is the true horror during Halloween. New tourists can also be unfamiliar with the roads, which leads to them making wrong turns or going ways they’re not supposed to. This is dangerous to pedestrians, especially children trick-or-treating at night.

While October has come and gone, it is important to note how the tourists have impacted (and will continue to impact) life in Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. Soon there may be an increase in visitors year-round as opposed to only one month. New businesses are being developed in busy areas such as Main Street, which could attract travelers going through the area. There is also construction happening where the former North Tarrytown Assembly plant stood. Contractors hope to turn the empty land into an area called the Edge-on-Hudson, which will have shops, restaurants, and hotels. This would be a huge addition to the quiet, calm village of Sleepy Hollow.

We know about the state of tourism in Sleepy Hollow now, but what awaits us in the future? Most likely, the construction of new buildings and areas to the urban environment will probably attract more tourists to our town. Traffic and crowding will most likely increase, even after October has ended. There will be more places for the visitors to explore and help out businesses. Our urban environment is changing—but our traditions still stand. No matter how much traffic clogs the roads and sidewalks; no matter how long you have to wait to get into the Horseman’s Hollow; no matter how annoyed you get at the hordes of people taking photos of everything they spot, Sleepy Hollow still retains the charm of its haunting legends and relaxing atmosphere. Its legacy will remain timeless even if new places are developed and new people arrive. It has an ambiance built around mysterious happenings and chilling stories. Even our school mascot is the renowned ghoul of local legend. Sleepy Hollow has a wonderful culture that is still progressing. And once you notice the beauty of that, you can see why our town attracts so many tourists.