New York: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Fall’s become an increasingly frenzied time of the year for me and entropyenator, both on a general level (I swear, Christmas stuff up before Halloween) and on a personal level.  So on my latest visit, we opted for a nice, low-key, low-impact jaunt up to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, setting of the TV show she likes, and burial place of an author of whose work I have very fond memories.  It’s a very densely-packed patch of ground, but the hilly landscaping and gorgeously flaming fall foliage do a lot to break up the tombstone clusters into manageable chunks.  And on a bright autumn day, with a crisp breeze, it’s a beautifully peaceful stroll.  There’s a walking tour, and a stand with free maps at the entrance, but otherwise it’s just another resting place for the dead.  I was pleased to see that they’ve resisted the urge to plaster the place with Sleepy Hollow/Washington Irving branding.

No comments on what it looks like at night.  Halloween’s been and gone, so not the season for a scare, as far as we were concerned.

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Roadtrip: Missouri

Day three of the roadtrip, I ran into crappy weather.  A hurricane down in the gulf was spilling out storms over the whole south, and pretty much ruined the driving view.  Also, I hadn’t packed an umbrella.  So my sightseeing largely consisted of lightning-quick sprints from cover to cover, with the occasional miserable drenching.  I should probably redo this part because it felt way more like an extended errand run than a real vacation.

Hannibal, MO is Mark Twain’s hometown, and it’s basically been converted over to a tourist shrine to him, with emphasis on Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.  It’s cute in a cheesy, slightly desperate Americana way, but it does have (in better weather) some of the nicer river views I’ve seen, and hey, endless refills of homemade, deliciously herby root beer at the Mark Twain Diner.  That, I will say, was one of my more inspired pull-overs.

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St. Louis.  It was pouring down by the time I got there, and too late for most of the indoor stuff to be open.  I dashed over to the outdoor sculpture garden downtown, leaned out my illegally parked car for a second to snap the Arch, and then crawled into my b&b to dry off.  The Brewer’s House is in the Soulard neighborhood, one of the oldest in the city, with a predominance of genteel, crumbly but still dignified brick architecture.  Again, somewhere I’d like to go again in nice weather.  (obligatory cat-related photos here)

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Roadtrip: Iowa

Iowa consists of a lot of farmland and very few rest stations.  Very few gas stations, either, so I’m glad that I always fill up rentals once I hit the half-tank mark.  That said, the few gas stations that are out there have some interesting offerings:

Fried chicken gizzards and peanut butter crisps, some Iowa gas station

Fried chicken gizzards and peanut butter crisps, some Iowa gas station

Yes, those are fried chicken gizzards.  And they were quite tasty going down, not nearly as greasy as you’d think (although I admit to some indigestion later that night).  The peanut butter crisps appeared to be handmade and were cousin to the chocolate-covered Rice Krispie treats I used to love as a kid.

Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, was having a pretty typical Midwestern fall Saturday when I showed up–college football.  Everyone was in team colors and drunk.  I bobbed and weaved around them and strolled up and down the Iowa Literary Walk, which is a series of bronze plaques that interpret quotes from famous authors/books in interesting to creepy ways–I do wonder what the “eyes” plaque looks like to people late at night.  Also, about a ten-minute drive away is the Devonian Fossil Gorge, which is a spillway off a dam that has tons of fossil-studded rocks.  It’s not quite as good as a fossil site where I grew up, which not only had rocks but had so many loose fossils around that you were allowed to take a small quantity away with you, but it made for a peaceful afternoon climbing around and peering at history (but again with the creepy animals, Iowa).

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The hotel space in Iowa City had been scarce when I’d been doing all my booking (due to the football game, I expect), so I ended up getting a room in Davenport, about an hour away.  Davenport is on the Mississippi river proper, with some lovely riverfront space.  Even the hydroelectric power plant looked kind of steampunkish.

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