Todays villages of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown are descendants of Philipsburg Manor, a colonial-era farming, milling, and trading center. In 1653 Frederick Philipse came to the Dutch colony of New Netherland as a carpenter for the Dutch West India company. Through canny business skill, an astute sense of politics, and two very advantageous marriages, Philipse came to control 52,000 acres of what is now Westchester County.
When the British evicted the Dutch and renamed the colony New York, Philipse switched his allegiance to the British crown and business continued as usual. His heirs were less fortunate in reading the winds of change. They sided with the British during the American Revolution and lost everything in the aftermath.
Philipse's trading center has been restored to its appearance in 1750 when it was home to several hundred tenant farmers and two dozen African slaves. Programs and events show how Dutch, African, and Native American cultures became entwined at this colonial outpost.
The church Philipse built for the occupants of this part of his estate also survives. Both the Old Dutch Church, still owned and used by the congregation, and Philipsburg Manor make appearances in Washington Irving's short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
Irving wrote of Ichabod Crane "Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles of all the country damsels. How he would figure among them in the church-yard . . . or sauntering, with a whole bevy of them, along the banks of the adjacent mill-pond; while the more bashful country bumpkins hung sheepishly back, envying his superior elegance and address."
How to Visit Philipsburg Manor
Location: 381 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591, 914-631-8200. https://hudsonvalley.org/
Parking: Main lot at 381 North Broadway, overflow lot on Continental Street. The scenic path from the overflow lot to the visitor's center offers good views of the mill.
2023 Season: May 12-December 17.