Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Great Pumpkin

Tomorrow night -- and on every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from now through Halloween -- Historic Hudson Valley (HHV) is presenting the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. If you're in New York any time over the next four weekends -- or are planning to be -- then trust me, this needs to be on your agenda. Add it now. It's one of the coolest things you'll do this year.

The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze -- which actually started last weekend -- is a spooky walk-through attraction at one of HHV's neatest properties, Van Cortlandt Manor, an old stone Dutch manor house on the banks of the Croton River. The Blaze features more than 4,000 hand-carved, illuminated Jack O'Lanterns, gaping, grinning, leering, and laughing at guests as they wander through the woods on the Van Cortlandt property, with the spookily-lighted house looming up in the darkness. Round one bend, and you'll see dozens of flickering fish; round another, it's skeletons and witches. Round another, you'll see dinosaurs battling. And in one of the neatest -- and simplest -- effects, you'll see a lighted path of pumpkins disappearing off into the woods toward infinity as hidden speakers play the sound of an approaching horse. Creepy.

If that weren't enough, HHV is also presenting its Legend Weekend at Philipsburg Manor, on October 18, 19, 25 and 26. Stroll the grounds of this colonial-era farm at your own risk -- witches, pirates, and ghosts await you. And if you're lucky, you just might see the Headless Horseman -- straight out of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" -- come tearing by. Brrrr.

More information on the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze and Legend Weekend can be found here. Tickets are required for each -- but become a member of HHV, and you'll not only be entitled to free tickets, but you'll be helping preserve a unique part of America's heritage. I've been a member for nearly ten years, and I'm proud to support them.