A Hat, an App and The Fab Four…

watercolours slimpaley.com

Newport RI. slimpaley.com

It’s Friday and

I’m in love…

with a new App that I must share, in case you haven’t discovered it yet.

 It takes your photos, like the one above

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and does this.

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and this. In like 10 seconds.

It’s called

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 Here’s the link;  WATERLOGUE

Amanwella, Sri Lanka slimpaley.com

The Amanwella hotel, Sri Lanka

Waterlogue slimpaley.com

The watercolour I did not paint when I was there.

The Ivy slimpaley.com

A very blurry and rushed iPhone photo

Painted in Waterlogue slimpaley.com

just became a little more interesting.

Here’s Waterlogue’s story;

waterlogue

vintage ice machine slimpaley.com

Original iPhone photo

ice machine slimpaley.com Instagram

makes its way onto ‘Instagram’

Painted in Waterlogue Slimpaley.com

and then ‘Waterlogued’

I’ll admit it’s a bit of a cheat, and certainly doesn’t come close to a real hand-done watercolour (except, ya it does!) but it’s so much fun!

Perhaps it might even inspire one to really paint.

marble kitchen  counter slimpaley.com

Our kitchen counter

Painted in Waterlogue

becomes a sweet little vignette

slim palsy beach house

A bedroom at the beach house (photo via House Beautiful)
Painted in Waterlogue

Ta-fricking-da!

There are plenty of options to play with; depth of colours, brush strokes etc.

 for example,

Waterlogue info

but don’t let this scare you in any way- click 3 times Dorothy and bam, you’re an artist.

It’s THAT easy.

beach house slimpaley.com house beautiful

Another pic from the beach house (photo via House Beautiful)

Painted in Waterlogue

You can get as abstract as your little artistic heart desires

Waterlogues may be instantly emailed, tweeted, Tumblr-d, Instagramed, even sent as snail mail postcards directly from your account (for an additional $1.99)

The Front Porch, Sun Valley, slimpaley.com

  “The Front Porch” store in Sun Valley, Idaho

Painted in Waterlogue slimpaley.com

I really like this one, even if I do say so myself, but that’s part of the fun.  You never know how the pics will turn out. Some photos I think will be great don’t translate well and vice-versa. I’ve only just begun to play.

‘Waterlogue’ may very well have created their ultimate monster in me.

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Lastly, as my post title promised, a flashback…

Not sure how many of you caught the Grammy Awards last Sunday, but much ado was made of Pharrell’s choice of “chapeau”

Now I’m not one to toot my own horn ( except every possible chance I get :-) ) but the moment I spied that HAT I was transported right back to 1980′s London faster than you can say “Kajagoogoo”!

I couldn’t resist chiming in to the Twitter Universe immediately ( I believe I was the first to call it-cue horn) to inform all the haters that, in fact, Pharrell was sporting an uber cool vintage Vivienne Westwood/Malcom McLaren “Buffalo Girls” hat.

Yes, I’m that old and also apparently proud of it on occasion!

Pharrell's Vivienne Westwood hat

Pharrell's hat

These were early, East Coast feed tweets, People!!

BTW, Ronan never tweeted me back. Whatever…see if I watch his new show now.

Although I realise Malcolm McLaren & Vivs Westwood weren’t as well known Stateside, if you’re young and even vaguely interested or, um, perhaps just wish to ignite old memories too, you can click to view the original video HERE

As I hash-tagged in my tweet…nothing’s ever really new, just re-intrepeted.

Pharrell  Beatles special slimpaley.com

PS. Pharrell wore THE hat again the next night at the taping of ‘The Night That Changed America; A Grammy Salute to the The Beatles’  which I was most awesomely lucky enough to attend.

The Beatles 50th anniversary show , slimpaley.com

And what an brilliant show it was. I don’t want to spoil the surprises-just watch if you possibly can. It airs February 9th on CBS-50 years to the day The Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

50 years.

George Harrison slimpaley.com

Have a FAB weekend and we’ll chat again…

in February!

xoxSP

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PS. I have no affiliation nor receive any free stuff from Waterlogue

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Countdown Abbey (II)

Downton-Abbey-series-4-premieres-on-PBS

God bless us all, it’s finally that time again!

I can’t believe I arrived home from our “Grand Tour” of Patagonia JUST in time.

It’s all too exciting!

I’m literally dashing off this post as I’m unpacking (wet clothes from our suitcases-nice) and drinking way too much coffee waaay too late in the day.

But stay up I must!

I hope you’ll all be watching with me and for those across the Pond and Down Under please feel free to chime in, with judiciousness of course (omg-I spelled that correctly the first time. Note to self; perhaps more coffee less wine…)

And…

May I just include a complete non-humble brag and mention I attended a party during the Christmas Season where I met a lovely relative of Lady Mary’s who told me that L.M. reads Slim Paley!!

Swear! Fetch the smelling salts

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management slimpaley.com

A great friend of mine who lives in Britain says this season is an absolute cracker.  She’s been awfully good at not letting anything slip while whetting my curiosity just enough.

She also sent me this absolutely divine and massive antique book;

 “Mrs BEETON’S BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT”

published in 1912 and weighing in at no less than 2,040 pages.

I’m quite sure Mrs. Patmore kept it handy.

‘Isabella Beeton (1831-1865) the eldest child of an extended family of 21, was required from an early age to see to domestic arrangements. After her marriage to a small publisher, she began to contribute to his Domestic magazine. In 1861 her writings were published in book form for the first time. An immediate success, selling over 60,000 copies in its first year and nearly two million by 1868! One of the most famous of all cookery books it also contains advice on household management, childcare, etiquette, entertaining and employment of servants.’

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“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her”

Can we get an AMEN?! :-)

Mrs Beeton's slimpaley.com

Sadly, Isabella Beeton’s life story was not a happy one. She lost her first child at only 3 months of age, her second to Scarlet Fever at 2 and poor Isabella died just days after giving birth to her 4th child when she was only 28.

Downton Abbey-esque or what?

A BBC drama based on Isabella Beeton’s life aired in 2006 and a documentary by Sophie Dahl in 2011.  I would love to find both.

OK, must wrap up before the show begins!

One Final Downton Abbey Recap before Tonight’s American Premiere HERE

And, if you’re so inclined;

Exactly One Year Ago

& last but certainly not least,

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

xox SP

photo

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The Calm Before the Storm

slimpaley.com

Finally.

There’s a decidedly nippy quality to the air in Santa Barbara. I won’t go so far as to say it’s cold, but it has that bell clear, cinnamony, tartan scarf, pumpkin latte feel to it.

These beautiful leaves were gathered from my garden just 2 weeks ago when the temperatures were still flirting around 80 degrees.

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The colours were stunning. The Instagram photos don’t even do them justice, but alas, I can’t lift my big camera just yet.

Patience, patience (limp noodle)…everyone warned me.

BTW, you know one thing I’ll add to the “Post-Shoulder-Surgery Tip List” from last week??

#11. A glass of red wine helps before physical therapy. It helps a lot.

I just learned that yesterday. My genius is a slow, steady affair. It doesn’t like to rush in all at once and cause a big spectacle.

and just in case there are any doctors reading this-I’m not condoning drinking wine while still taking pain-killers.

(anyway, those are like sooo gone)

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m saving my very last one for the check up with my surgeon on Monday. He’ll be putting me through my paces to see how much progress I’ve made with my arm extensions :-( (hold me)

I’m down to only 2 Alleve a day, but let me just say-the physical therapy is no day at Butterfly Beach.

IMG_8055On the sweet side, meet ‘Leon’

He jumped up and gave me some tender, loving company yesterday afternoon while I was getting iced at the physio clinic.

Look at that face! He feels my pain.

May we also note it was the first day I wore trousers with no elastic at the waist. Hallelujah

So, basically, wine had to be served.

But, where were we?? Oh yes, we’re drawing very close to the holidays now.

Grab your helmets.

In just a few short days, the time between Thanksgiving, Hanukah & Christmas is going to pass so fast it’ll peel our faces off.

So, how about taking just a little time for yourself and curling up with a good read?

The calm before the storm as it were.

I finally finished “Empty Mansions” and would definitely recommend it.

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‘ “We are all a little peculiar” as she would say…’ a friend of Huguette Clark

Although it would be more than a stretch to write reclusive American heiress Huguette Clark’s eccentricities off as mere peculiarities, after reading this new biography by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr. I don’t know that anyone would come to the conclusion that she was crazy either.  Sadly, many of her extended and long estranged family (all descendants of her father’s children with his first wife) tried to prove just that-or at least, that Huguette was not of sound mind towards the end of her (105 yr.!) life. After nearly two years of litigation concerning the $300million+ remaining fortune, the lawyers, family and various participants reached a settlement just two months ago.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the story of Huguette, her immediate family and some of the people she chose to have in her life is indeed a head-shaker.

 Of particular interest to me, and no doubt many other locals, was Huguette’s stunning Santa Barbara mansion below.

Clark-Estate-3_t479“Bellosguardo” presides over the last ocean cliff separating Montecito from Santa Barbara, capturing panoramic views of both the mountains and the sea, to no doubt breathtaking effect. The estate was built by the preposterously rich, copper mining Clark family in the 1930′s as a summer residence and is “The House on the Hill” of our little hamlet.

Clark-Estate-1_t479It’s actually so close I can walk to it from my house. My doctor’s office is just to the left of the bird refuge/lagoon you see on the lower edge of the property. Huguette built the refuge as a tribute to her deceased sister.

The entire estate, as well as a large ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, passed to Huguette when her mother died in 1963.

Neither of them used the house in over 60 years.

Not once. Zero. I used it as much as they did.

Some years back, Ty Warner, owner of the Beanie Babies, Four Seasons Hotel NY, The Biltmore & San Ysidro Ranch and whose private residence is extremely close to Bellosguardo purportedly offered Ms. Clark $100 million for the property. She politely declined.

130909-hugette-clark-dolls-vmed-1p.photoblog600Huguette was a child-like woman who owned several vast homes yet chose to live in a small, spare hospital room (in very good health) for the last 20 years of her life.  Until the day she died she seemed to prefer the company of dolls to humans, but was unfailingly polite, charitable and kind to everyone she came in contact with.  She loved music, cartoons and everything Japanese, yet never visited Japan. She was an accomplished artist, loyal correspondent and friend, devoted daughter, loving sister, and generous patron of the arts.

huguette29n-1-webThis last known public photo was taken on her honeymoon in 1928 at the age of 22. I believe she was probably much prettier than the photo would suggest, but she was extremely uncomfortable being photographed. No Selfies for ‘Hugo’ .  Privacy was everything to her.

Everything. Howard Hughes was Kanye compared to Huguette.

She and her husband would be separated only 9 months later and divorced within two years., yet they remained friends until he died.

STOP  me before I tell you any more of the story! gawd.

Those who knew her best said she was shy but not at all unhappy.

Personally, I think she just wanted to live in the world completely and utterly on her own terms and had the limitless resources to do so.

Apparently a recipe for a very, very long life indeed.

Is that so crazy??

~

PS. I imagine this would make a great Book Club read. (even though I’ve never been in a book club)

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So, speaking of having an appreciation for the Older, Finer things in life…

Style Mavens Dawn Moore and Holly Palance have recently combined their considerable aesthetic forces to create a fun online shop for strictly vintage and antique home decor; MixxCentury.com

Mixxcentury Both long time lovers of antiques, Holly and Dawn define their Mixx concept;

“By having Museum Bound (beautiful high-end pieces) and Recently Found (funky flea market finds on up…) and ONLY focusing on decorative arts and furnishings, we are for passionate home aficionados and trade professionals who don’t want to rifle thru jewelry, wine and real estate.”

Mixxcentury.com

“We are literally a one-stop for all vintage and antique home decor. AND we have our own point of view, both in theory and actual product-The Point of View Collection”

Visit & shop (all industry pricing 25-60% all year round) here:  MixxCentury.com

I was thrilled and flattered to be featured as one of MixxCentury’s first “MiXXMasters” this week, along side such design luminaries as Timothy Corrigan and Jamie Bush!

For my short musings on Design and Mixxing it up click;  HERE 

I know, right?? Shuhhup-Just act cool, like…oh me & Tim & Jamie, yeah. We cruised over to Vincente Wolfe’s place, there was a small party. Bunny W. and Newel Turner were there, natch…Peter Marino was in full Village People, but I was kinda tired so I left early…

~

leaves.slimpaleyEnjoy the rest of your weekend and remember…

Don’t stress!! It’ll get done, it will all get done.

It will all get done, won’t it?!!

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Flash from the past; One year ago today; The Day After

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Amongst the Shadows

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silhouette [ˌsɪluːˈɛt]

n
1. the outline of a solid figure as cast by its shadow
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) an outline drawing filled in with black, often a profile portrait cut out of black paper and mounted on a light ground
 
 

890A5591

So, I was going through my blog’s draft files on WordPress the other day and came upon this 1/2 finished post.

(one of 99 no less, speaking of Short Attention Span Theatre :-()

 I’d been inspired by a shot I’d taken of my older son’s girlfriend cooking in our Sun Valley kitchen last winter.

With the light behind her and the sharp angle of her pretty hair, I was reminded of those old fashioned silhouettes.

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A hundred years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a home that didn’t have a silhouette or two hanging on the wall.

jenny fowlerjenny lee fowler

They were insanely popular the world over, from the grand salons of France to ‘Little House on the Prairie’ cabins across America.

gramophone silhouette

107453141081341090_syL7gzLS_cI remember making silhouettes in art class back in elementary school and having my own silhouette done at a fair…

Don’t you?!

remodelista---chapel-lane-irish-linen-winter-feast-here-tea-cloth-b3-jpegLinen napkin image via Remodelista

of course once I started writing the post I began to see images of silhouettes everywhere.

.

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 Was it just that my radar was up, or were they enjoying a revival?

armfield_rchmnd-17Leta Austin Foster

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Someone once showed me how to take a photographic silhouette with the settings on my camera. Unfortunately I neither practiced nor wrote the settings down, so that info’s gone….poooof!

I googled it, but most internet directions involve using ‘Photoshop’ after the fact.

and there’s another thing I’ll never learn.

983c596395acf25d73997e164d8f68f1How do you do get the light at the front and dark right behind it??

wedding-photo-by-minneapolis-wedding-photographer-geneoh-photography-19via here

or this effect?

custom chalk

Custom Chalk

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Marie Antoinette silhouette via Janelle McCullogh’s “Paris” book

IMG_2127slim paley photo

framed art restoration hardwareRestoration Hardware

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perhaps they are having a bit of a renaissance.

Graham MossThis image via Graham Moss is a nice example of how silhouettes can be used to  ‘modern’ effect.

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Jenny Lee Fowler

Indeed, they have changed with the times.

630.x600.art.openerContemporary artist Kara Walker turns the traditional concept of ‘Silhouettes’ on its head with her cut-paper images that critically address gender, sexuality, race and power within an antebellum tableau.

9910_12-kara_walker_6442_GoneKara Walker

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Passers-by in the Raval, Barcelona by geoffbcn on Flickr

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More recently, I caught our young sweethearts in another fun moment at the Chicago Museum of Modern Art.

*Note; a few days later my son cut off a full foot of his hair to donate, so I’m happy to have this ‘vintage’ silhouette.

The moustache…I’m still working on. :-)

890A3551Slim Paley photo

an almost comical silhouette warns of pickpocketing on the streets of Portugal

Banksy

Last month, the NYC Police vandal squad were busy searching for the elusive British artist Banksy, who’d promised to unveil an installation a day during his month long ‘residency’ in NYC.

Mayor Bloomberg was not amused.

with perfect irony, Banksy’s work of art was tagged right after it was finished…what’s good for the goose…

supporters of Banksy supposedly removed the graffiti.

streetartnews_banksy2013The question (which arose once before on my “Graffiti” post) as to whether these clandestine installations, both on public and private property, constitute ‘Art’ or not is an interesting one.

Though I appreciate arguments on both sides of the aisle, I found myself chuckling at this comment left on one site;

Mike: “…If you want to make art you need to buy materials. brushes, paint, whatever. If you want to make art then buy a canvas, If you want to paint a wall then buy a wall. My wall is not your canvas. If you can’t afford to buy a wall then cry me a river. I want to make landscaping sculptures and so I’m going to come over to your house and dig up your yard to make my sculptures…”
 
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You see how this argument could get heated-
Is there anything more subjective than “Art”?!

BanksyUnfortunately (actually, he probably doesn’t give a toss as it only brought him more publicity) Banksy lost many supporters after he harshly criticized the design of the new World Trade Center.

and usually the British have such good manners!

a15483e27346956f38d9de56a0c40fbdphoto by Ara Guler

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Slim Paley photo

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m still rather chuffed with the Instagram ‘silhouette’  I took in Utah a few months back.

It’s always all about the light, isn’t it?!

peter pan

Jenny Lee Fowler

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Leaf  silhouettes via Jenny Lee Fowler

Blast from the Past: PHySicAl GrafFiTi 

all other uncredited photos via Flickr or Pinterest

The Headless Horseman & The Billionaire

Kykuit, slimpaley.com

KYKUIT

Our timing was perfect.

In search of turning leaves (the spectacle is late this year in NYC) my older son and I decided to drive out and visit the Hudson Valley last weekend. (I’ve been in NY, just in case you were worried about me!)

But wait-not so fast…everything  sold out. :-(

Who’s giving up? pas moi.

With my boy having only one week day available, we managed to purchase tickets to tour famous Kykuit in Sleepy Hollow on Thursday morning.

Rain was forecast but said progeny was optimistically pessimistic about the weatherman’s ability to predict that far ahead.

Kykuit slimpaley.comThis was my Instagram photo of the moment we arrived, but in the space of a few minutes the mist lifted, the clouds dispersed and it turned out to be a stellar day.

So basically, my son is a genius.

Kykuit  slimpaley.comKykuit (Dutch for “Lookout”) is a stately stone home sitting high upon a picturesque knoll above the town of Sleepy Hollow.  After getting off to a very rough start, the house was finally completed in 1913.

Teaser; imagine taking almost 6 years and how much money(?) to build your dream home, finally moving in and having to move right back out due to so many design flaws. As I say, it’s always something…but that’s another story.

Kykuit was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family until Nelson R. bequeathed  his 1/3 share to The National Trust  for Historic Preservation upon his death in 1979.  The guide didn’t elaborate on who held the other shares.

Kykuit slimpaley.comIt was 1893, when John D. Rockefeller, encouraged by his brother William’s glowing reports of the Pocantico Hills, first bought the property. The family gradually acquired the surrounding land until they’d amassed almost 4,000 acres.

That’s on the Hudson people.

Did I mention money wasn’t an issue??

 Luckily for the public, the main house, gardens and carriage barn all opened for tours when the house transferred to the historic trust. The family still retains the rest of the property, keeping the huge “Children’s Playhouse” and other buildings dotted about the grounds for personal use. Happy Rockefeller, Nelson’s widow now in her 80′s, lives nearby.

Kykuit slimpaley.comImpressive, if not too surprising, the original landscaping plan was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (of Central Park fame) More surprising was that John D. was less than thrilled with Olmsted’s efforts and in addition to taking much of the garden design upon himself, commissioned William Welles Bosworth to finish the grounds more to his taste.

The truth is that I could go on endlessly about the history behind all these great estates; Kykuit, Oak Alley, Vizcaya, The Breakers et al.  Fascinating reading if you’ve the time and inclination, but what I truly love about taking historic tours are the behind-the-parlour-door rhythms, quirky little tid-bits and not so occasional scandals you take away from the homes and their ghostly inhabitants. Hence the popularity of “Downton Abbey”.

window detail, Kykuit, slimpaley.comHaving a really great tour guide is like getting your hair done by the best gossipy celebrity hair stylist. Buckle up and get ready to dish the dirt!

What was it really like to have been America’s very first billionaire?

Uh…helloo…is that linoleum??

Why was John D. Rockefeller so infamously ‘tight with a dime’?

( Legend has it John D. literally gave out rolls of nickels and dimes (an estimated 30-40,000  over his lifetime) plus a brief lecture on the rewards of working hard and saving money to poor people in the street in an attempt to dispel his less than ‘Generous’ reputation)

That being said, he and his heirs were exceptionally philanthropic, particularly when it came to the Arts, and Conservation. The amount of money, land, buildings and art bestowed upon the State of NY by the Rockefeller family could well be unmatched.

Kykuit slimpaley.comA side view of the house reveals that Kykuit is much larger than it appears from the front.

The Rockefellers were a much less ostentatious bunch than their neighbours the Vanderbilts.

Let’s just say I doubt the Kardashians would have made the guest list.

KykuitI found one small image of the interior of Kykuit, but unfortunately no photos are allowed to be taken in the house-and I bonded too much with the guide to sneak any iphone pics ( hate when that happens)

Vintage surrey, slimpaley.com“Surrey with the Fringe On Top”

The  2 1/2 hour tour does include the massive old carriage house and stables where you are allowed to use your camera.

vintage CadillacWhat was it like to drive around in 40 ft long  Cadillacs? Check the separate windscreen for the back seat!

Kykuit Gardens, slimpaley.comA tour of the lower levels of the house features a pretty major art collection including works by Picasso, Lautrec, Calder, Giacometti, and Chagall. I must admit this was my least favourite part of the tour. I was underwhelmed, not by the art but the space, which isn’t very appealing. I couldn’t wait to get out and back up into the natural light, the gardens and the views, which are spectacular.

Kykuit, Sleepy Hollow, Slimpaley.comThe 9 hole golf course within the the 250 acres of walled and gated property surrounding Kykuit is gradually being forsaken. It costs $100,000 per  year to maintain…per hole.

That’s what the guide said. Pinky swear.

KykuitThe view from the front entrance.

The ‘flames’ flanking the urns are electrified. All the mod cons for Johnny D.

Fall Leaves slimpaley.comand the leaves were starting to turn in Sleepy Hollow. Does this look like a great Halloween street, or what?!

Kykuit slimpaley.com

Sleepy Hollow Church, slimpaley.comThe Old Dutch Church

Old Dutch Church, Sleepy Hollow, slimpaley.comA three minute jaunt uphill from the Kykuit Tour meeting area and you’ll arrive at the Old Dutch Church. One of the oldest cemeteries in the country, it’s chock full of famous residents, including  Brooke Astor, Elizabeth Arden, Walter Chrysler, Andrew Carnegie, Washington Irving, and William Rockefeller. That’s some after-party.

The Dutch cemetery, Sleepy HollowThe legendary characters of  Washington Irving’s “Sleepy Hollow” are also buried here (including the ghost of the headless horseman who is said to ride nightly) We saw the tombstones of the Van Tassel family (Katrina from the story) amongst many other intriguing  headstones, ranging from Teeny-tiny to Wow-Now That’s Impressive. I imagine the guided walking tour here is quite lively. No pun intended.

cemetery angel , slimpaley.comNothing like a stroll through a cemetery on a beautiful day to remind you to seize The Moment.

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Sleepy Hollow is aprox. a 4o minute drive from upper Manhattan.

Guided tours of the cemetery are held on Sunday afternoons from the last week of May through October.

The Kykuit tour is run by ‘Historic Hudson Valley’. Tickets are in high demand, especially at this time of year and should be bought in advance.  Trust me.

Kykuit.jpgFor more information click HERE

Don’t forget to roll your dimes, keep your head & sleep tight!

xx

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