Would You Live In A Haunted House?

The New York State Ghostbuster Law

We drove to Nyack to see the house on the right at the dead end street overlooking the Hudson River. It’s haunted. In 1991, a couple in contract to buy it, suddenly wanted their down payment returned when they learned the house had ghosts. They had to take the case to the New York Appellate Court which ruled in their favor. The case is known as Stambovsky v. Ackley And New York State laws now says that an owner has to disclose if a house is haunted. Not too many people know about the law or the house, except for real estate agents and law students.

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Our Visit to Laveta Place

A Mini Cooper convertible was parked in front of the house when we arrived, but it didn’t look like anyone was home so we took our picture in front and then walked across the street to a similar house that had a for rent sign. I walked up to knock on the front door but I could see through the window that the house was completely empty, except for a rocking chair. The wraparound porch has spectacular views of the Hudson River. We took our photo.

This empty house felt more haunted than the famous one. A former owner of the 1 Laveta Place home described the ghosts as two girls in 18th century hoop skirts and a small man in a red coat, which indicates a British soldier from that era.

No one was home in either of the houses at the end of this street when we visited, but it didn’t feel like we were alone. A case of nerves, maybe…? Or maybe not…

You might thing that buying a known haunted house would mean a discount. The house the law was written for is valued by Zillow.com at $2.2 million. The other house, the one in our Instagram post, is valued at $5.3 million. It’s much larger, modern and has a stone staircase leading to a tile and stone deck at the riverside!

Do you believe in ghosts?

A HuffPost/You.gov poll found that 43% of people in the United States believe in them. A Chapman University poll found 53% of their survey believe. The comments on my Instagram post were a mix. I imagine the four people who have bought the house in these past 28 years didn’t believe in ghosts, but they didn’t keep the house for very long. This is a house by the water and water is a portal for spirits. That’s why bridges are often rumored to be haunted.

This entire Hudson Valley is filled with rumors and stories of ghosts. From the porch in my photo, you can see the town of Sleepy Hollow, the setting in the famous Legend of Sleepy Hollow! written by Washington Irving in 1820. The famous haunted scene of the story is of the headless horseman on a bridge!.

Last Halloween, we visited Washington Irving’s home for a Halloween tour (Instagram post just above). If you had strong binoculars, you would be able to see the Nyack homes acrosss the river.

Spooky Photo

Are ghosts real? That’s for you to decide…

My grandmother always told me, “Don’t be afraid of the dead, be afraid of the living.”

I’ll leave you with this last photo taken during a visit to someone’s house. The window is too high for this to be a person in the window.

It sure looks like Coco is trying to alert us to something…. In this case, there was no one in the window! It’s just a shadow of a wooden post!


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Would You Stay In This Unusual Lighthouse Hotel:

Saugerties Lighthouse: This Hotel Is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Imagined!

Saugerties Lighthouse: This Hotel Is Like Nothing You’ve Ever Imagined!

Saugerties Lighthouse (built in 1869) to signal ships on the river that the town’s harbor was here. It’s now a hotel.

Before going sightseeing in town, check if the high tide will prevent you from returning to your hotel. On my Instagram post (further below), one person couldn’t believe the hotel would let you be stranded away from your room. He thought there must be a boat. Well, there isn’t. That’s why they suggest you pack your belongings in a small backpack. My Insta-friend shouldn’t feel bad for expecting a boat. I did too, and so did some other people we found along the trail.

Even in low tide, make sure you’re back before sunset when the trail closes. It’s the only way back unless you have your own boat to dock. You wouldn’t want to walk the half mile after dark anyway. It’s not the distance, it’s the terrain. You’ll walk through sand and over little wooden bridges and you’d have nothing but moonlight and your cell phone flashlight to guide you.

The tall grass in July along the trail to Saugerties Lighthouse hotel.

This is a trail that can flood at times so you really don’t know what you’ll find on the path. The soggy terrain has caused several big trees along the path to fall over and you see the bottom of the trees like a wall as you pass by. This is a sandbar with sediments from an 1888-89 channelization project. There are 100 species of flora here.

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I’m looking at the roots of a fallen tree!

Facts About The Hudson River

I told you this is a river. It’s the Hudson River, but it has tides. That’s because it’s not exactly a river. It’s a 153-mile estuary with currents in two directions and contains both salt and fresh water. The river has two high tides and two low tides in every 24 hour period.

Things To Do

So you already know you will be at the hotel between sunset and sunrise, and maybe during the day, depending on the tides. That’s why the lighthouse recommends you bring fishing tackle, swim wear, books, knitting… anything to stay occupied. They tell you to bring your favorite snacks and beverages, too.

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There’s a separate tiny island where you can eat or just relax. Btw, my husband almost never wants to appear in a photo


 

So You Still Want To Spend A Night At Saugerties?

You will have to book far in advance. The hotel has just two rooms and one shared bathroom, and it’s difficult to book. They recommend you get on an availability email list. When I checked at the end of July, the earliest reservation was for January 3rd. Here you go: www.saugertieslighthouse.com

The Appeal Of Saugerties:

The views are beautiful and the lighthouse is romantic. You are completely alone at night. Even the hotel staff may not always be present. There’s a little island deck alongside the lighthouse which is a wonderful place to eat or just sit and relax.

So, would you stay in a place like this?

Make you need a quiet place to relax under the moonlight and forget the world for a day or two. Or maybe you would feel trapped.

Day Trip To Saugerties

You can also visit Saugerties for the day. Bring your lunch and eat on the deck where my husband is sitting in the photo. You can call ahead for a tour on the weekend. It’s free, but with a suggested $5 contribution ($3 for children).

You won’t be able to see the lighthouse at night, unless you can rent a boat. Then you can get some awesome photos!

Let me know in the comments.


Sunday Stills is a fun weekly photo challenge, open to all bloggers!


If you feel like reading a little more, try this recent post:

The House By The Railroad, Or, Feelings Of Loneliness & Isolation

A Visit To Atlantic City With No Casinos or Glitz

You won’t create any #FOMO visiting Atlantic City. There are better places to visit on the Jersey Shore, but last minute reservations and a bed & breakfast right by the ocean left us few choices. I love the beach in the morning and the late afternoon when the sun isn’t so strong. These are also the hours that you get the full benefits of the sun’s rays, so a bed & breakfast a minute from the shore was essential!

Having grown up by the Caribbean, I know that at night is when all of the creatures come out. This photo above was just after a crab bit my foot. I ran out of the ocean as fast as I could and made it with just a small bite mark on my foot.

The first evening, we discovered some brilliant sand sculptures.

The next day, late in the afternoon, we saw the artists at work: a man and his two teenage sons. He told us they enjoy passing the time on the beach creating these….. but we found out it’s more than just that!

The father was one of the finalists in the The 9th Annual Ashore Realty Amateur Sand Castle Building Contest that had just taken place the week before on a nearby beach. The father appears in the first photo in this Press of Atlantic City article.

Every June, you can also see the International Sand Sculpture Tournament! These sand sculptures are true works of art.

Why Are There So Many Sand Sculpture Tournaments In Atlantic City?

Sand is very different everywhere you go. Very white sand means there are a lot of traces of quartz. Hawaii has a beach with green sand and California has a beach with purple sand.

Here in Atlantic City, there’s clay in the sand, making this an ideal place for sand sculptures!

The ocean here is rich in marine life.

These sanderlings were so much fun to watch as they ran toward the receding waves to eat the crustaceans and then quickly ran away from the incoming waves. I moved some wet sand with my foot and found hundreds of these tiny crustaceans!


Recommended Bed & Breakfast: The Chelsea Pub and Inn

The Chelsea Inn & Pub are two Victorian-style houses built in 1880, now connected on the first and second floors.

My blogger-friend Julie loves bed & breakfast hotels. TripAdvisor rates The Chelsea Inn & Pub the best bed and breakfast in the area. The weekday rates were good too. It’s just one block from the boardwalk and beach, which meant we could walk along the shore early in the morning and again, later in the evening.

The lobby is three connected rooms with comfortable chairs, travel books from all over the world, posters of Atlantic City in its best days and artful photos of Paris!

The dining room is open for breakfast from 9am until 10:30. The woman who manages the hotel prepares breakfast and restocks all the food. She and the staff keep the hotel very clean. The bedsheets smell wonderful and you can run your finger anywhere in the hotel and you won’t find any dust!

One nice touch: the pitchers of juice and milk are covered work plastic wrap, with just enough of an opening to pour yourself a glass.

All of the rooms are listed online, complete with photos, so you can choose the room you want! Ours was the French-style with a picture of Monet’s Water Lillies, where we were standing just a month ago!


What Is Atlantic City Like?

One of the interesting things about travel is learning all about the place you’re visiting.

Atlantic City is not a nice city to visit, though. Casino gambling was legalized in 1977 but this didn’t do much to improve the standard of living in Atlantic City. Since 2006, when New York State and Pennsylvania allowed a few casinos to open, 50% of Atlantic City’s casinos have gone out of business and 10,000 people have lost their jobs. The boardwalk is a sad place to walk too.

We don’t like gambling or the glitz of casinos so there wasn’t much to do except the beach.

The Miss America beauty pageant is held in Atlantic City every year. This year’s winner is…..

There are some positive signs. The Hard Rock Cafe is re-opening Trump’s bankrupt Taj Mahal, but the city needs to expand beyond gambling. Stockton University is looking into buying a closed casino to use as a dormitory for its students. It’s interesting to learn about how a city struggles to re-define itself.

We visited the neighboring towns of Ventnor, a wealthy neighboring city where residents looked at us with suspicion and didn’t return our greetings because they didn’t know us, and Pleasantville, lower class but Hispanic where we were made to feel at home.

This was an unusual trip for us. We wanted a beach vacation close to home. We loved the beach and the bed & breakfast, but the city is a very sad place and wouldn’t be our type of destination even if things were going well for Atlantic City.

We had a wonderful, relaxing time exploring the beach life here (lazy days but hours walking on the sand each day is the best exercise you can get). You don’t have to go to some place far away or exotic to discover new things and enjoy yourself. You can enjoy yourself on the simplest vacation, even if it doesn’t make for the most exciting blog entry.

The drive home was very scenic along a two lane road where we stopped at various farm stores for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Have your read this #trendingpost

The House By The Railroad, Or, Feelings Of Loneliness & Isolation

The House By The Railroad, Or, Feelings Of Loneliness & Isolation

Edward Hopper is a painter I discovered when I moved to the United States. His paintings are full of lonely scenes, even when there are people together, and somehow your imagination always fills in the story.

You probably have seen this one above. A late-night restaurant filled with lonely people. (Image is available to publish non-commercially)

Ursula, a friend of Edward Hopper’s sister, told us roughly how to find the “house by the railroad” in Haverstraw, NY, but it wasn’t easy (below I’ll tell you how we met Ursula).

Edward Hopper’s “House by the railroad” (Wikipedia image with permission to post non-commercially)

Is Artistic License The Same As Lying?

Edward Hopper didn’t paint the house as he saw it, we found out.

  1. Above, it looks like the house is on the level of the tracks.
  2. He cut off two bedrooms and removed part of the porch and a few windows.
  3. The NYC Museum of Modern Art says Hopper added deep afternoon shadows, but on the late afternoon we were there, the sun was on the other side of the house so he added a lot of his own to the painting.
  4. The NYC MoMA says he isolated this 1860 house and made it look difficult to access because of the train tracks, his way of showing how modernization was isolating us.

I took some liberties with my Instagram post, too. Below you can see how it really looks from the spot that Hopper painted it.

  1. The house in my Instagram post was taken from the corner of the property with a wide angle lens for my phone. I wanted the same exact angle as this photo just above. This eliminated the houses next door so I could isolate the house like Edward Hopper did.
  2. I added the house to this photo just above using the Enlight phone app. The photo already had a slight red shade so I made that a little deeper.
  3. I deepened the shadows just like Hopper did and also isolated the house even more by darkening the house behind it.
  4. The sun in my Instagram post is real.

I love how Hopper interpreted the house instead of just painting what he saw. He had a vision of what he wanted to convey. That’s what makes the painting special so I wanted my photo to look as much as possible like the house Hopper imagined.

Film director Alfred Hitchcock was also impressed by Hooper’s “House by the railroad” and modeled the Bates Motel in Psycho after this house. Hitchcock made his own interpretations on the house, adding the long stairs and changing the train tracks for a highway, which isolated Norman Bates in the movie.

Stepping Into History

We parked the car behind the house and I immediately walked up to the porch. As we were taking a few photos, out of nowhere a man’s voice asked, “So you’re Hopper fans?”

This house is large and has several apartments. One of the renters was just coming home. He invited us in and told us about his experiences living in this house.

Then he said he would introduce us to the owners and knocked on their door! Edwin and Lori Castillo have lived here for 40 years. Lori invited us into her beautifully renovated apartment on the second floor with a spiral staircase to the third floor.

Lori told us that the daughter of the original owner actually saw Edward Hopper from the window, sitting by the railroad station, painting away! Lori is very proud of her house’s fame and has a collection of articles written about it. She loves when people come to visit because she gets to share their passion about the house.

How Did We Meet Ursula?

The day began with no plans, just a drive to escape the city on a hot day. As we were approaching Nyack, NY, we saw a sign for the Edward Hopper museum just five minutes away. The museum has very little. All of the artist’s paintings are in museums or in private collections, but here you get a glimpse into his life.

Edward Hopper’s bedroom until he moved to NYC when he was 28.

His bedroom had a view of the Hudson River and the morning sun came right through the windows. When Hopper painted “House by the railroad” the population was only 4,400. Today it’s still a small town of just 7,000.

Ursula was friends with Edward Hopper’s sister.

On the porch we met Ursula, who grew up around the corner and knew Hopper’s sister well, but she never felt comfortable talking to the artist. He was very, very tall and stood with a slight hunch and was always grumpy.

Ursula remembered how the wisteria tree behind us in the photo used to reach all the way across the street. The current gardener, she said, doesn’t know how to cut this tree properly. She enjoys volunteering at the house and meeting people and sharing her stories with them.


Loneliness & Isolation In “Modern” Times

It’s interesting that Edward Hopper saw modern life in 1925 as so isolating when we see those as such simpler times, but loneliness is a human condition. I guess that’s why it’s more interesting to see the house by itself with the neighbors removed.

Did you catch this post?

How easily can I influence you?

Sunday Stills: Embrace (Plus, A Brief history of NYC That You Never Knew)

The NYC skyline

Welcome to Terri’s Photo Challenge: Sunday Stills! This weeks them is Embrace.

I embraced New York City, my home for the past 20 years! In this post I will tell you briefly an important story of NYC that you never knew!

 

At one time, New York City consisted only of Manhattan island. Brooklyn was its own city too, but it was much smaller than it is today. Queens was made of many separate towns.

The old railway tracks by the river

Ferries brought merchandise to the water fronts where the merchandise was transferred to trains.

So How And Why Did All Of The Towns And Cities Unite?

Brooklyn was incorporating many of the surrounding towns and growing fast. However, Chicago was growing very fast and was in a position of becoming the largest city in the United States. This meant that the largest corporations might move to Chicago, causing a collapse in New York City real estate prices.

The NYC skyline

The decision to incorporate into New York City was left to a vote by all of the surrounding towns and cities. The results were so close, but after millions of Brooklyn votes were counted, the yes vote won… by just 277! If Brooklyn hadn’t recently incorporated the neighboring towns of Bushwick and Williamsburg, the results would have been very different, since people in these two towns voted overwhelmingly in favor of becoming part of NYC. Some people stilll call this The Great Mistake of 1898! Only the town of Yonkers voted no, and it remains its own town, just north of the Bronx.

We went to the Long Island City waterfront on Friday night to take photos for this post 😉 Of course, Long Island City was its own city, although it’s now part of Queens.

The Bowery Boys do a fun podcast about New York City, full of interesting facts and highly entertaining stories!


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The Thrill of Invention At The Thomas Edison Center in Menlo Park, NJ

This monster incandescent lightbulb stands symbolically here on Christie Street

On December 31st, 1879, Thomas Edison flipped a switch and Christie Street made history as the first street to be illuminated by street lights.


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