Boston to Sleepy Hollow
Sometimes it's just about people. In fact, it's about people all the time. Treasure stored on earth is subject to rust, rot, and robbers, but relationships can never be taken from us.
I was reminded of that fact today as I passed through Rhode Island and stopped in to visit my friends Doug and Bernadette Bernon, who I haven't seen in 14 years.
Doug and BB are two of the most interesting people in my life. And two of the sweetest.
Doug is sort of a Renaissance man. He holds two PhDs, and recently retired from teaching Psychology at prestigious Brown University in Rhode Island. But what is cooler is that he has sailed across the Pacific Ocean with William F. Buckley, hiked Machu Picchu in Peru, and recently biked across Mongolia.
His wife and partner, the lovely and talented Bernadette, who has not aged a day since I saw her 14 years ago, was the editor of Cruising World magazine, which is one of the world's leading magazines on sailing. She also edited a wonderful book called Maiden Voyage, which was the story of Tania Aebi who was the youngest person to sail around the world solo at the time. She edits Boat US magazine now.
They are an amazing couple. Some years back Doug and Bernadette sailed around in the Caribbean together aboard their boat Ithaca for about six years and chronicaled their adventures in Cruising World in a series called "The Log of Ithaca" which I personally found to be addictive.
How we came to know each other is a bit of a tale, which I'll abbreviate here. While on their sail they had a blog through which folks following their journey could communicate. They had reached Honduras and needed some parts (sailors are always in need of parts). I had friends there and linked them up with each other. Later they needed parts in Venezuela (see? Told ya). My friends from Honduras had recently moved to Venezuela so I linked them up again! As Doug and BB were completing their cruise and came through Savannah headed north toward their home in Rhode Island, we finally met on the Wymberly Dock on Isle of Hope...friends who had never met. I remember our first handshake..."Doctor Bernon, I presume."
Although years and miles are between us, I was reminded today how much I love these sweet folks.
Then it was on down I-95...while many were in Zoom meetings, Yamacraw and I quite literally zoomed south. No mask. Just fresh air at about 75 mph...through Rhode Island, through Connecticut, and back into New York.
My stop for tonight was the little village of Sleepy Hollow, the inspiration for Washington Irving's quintessential American ghost story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
It scared the crap out of me as a kid.
If you've never seen the movie with Johnny Depp, it's a very good adaptation...with only minor departures from the original work.
Unlike Salem, Massachusetts, which seems to be bent on cashing in on it's history, Sleepy Hollow has little for the tourist.
There is a very nondescript artwork just inside the village depicting a scene from the book.
Just across the way, there a bridge over a brook which was erected by the Rockefeller family. It was the site of the covered bridge in the story.
There is the old Dutch church.
And the adjacent burial ground, which includes the Irving family plot and the grave of Irving himself.
Nearby there are many Dutch names upon tombstones, such as the Van Tassels, who were prominent characters in the legend.
The Van Tassels are apparently still here. As there is a Van Tassel laundry here in town!
Others worthy of note are buried here. Andrew Carnegie, Leona Helmsley (perported to being the meanest woman in the world and who left her millions to her dog), Walter Chrysler (founder of Chrysler Automobiles), Elizabeth Arden (founder of the Elizabeth Arden cosmetics empire).
It's a beautiful little village. Tomorrow I will go from Sleepy Hollow to the city that doesn't sleep...New York City.