There’s no place like gnome

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Nestled in the perfect hollow along Route 121 in North Salem, just north of the Route 116 intersection, a kindly-looking gnome observes the traffic passing by. To those who catch a glimpse of this white-bearded fellow, thoughts circle around his origin. How did he get there? Where did he come from? Multiple sightings have reported other gnomes along Wheeler Road, Vails Lane, and an honorable chap protecting a painted rock garden along Peach Lake. It is hard not to wonder what these magical creatures are up to. Did the abundance of protected and forested land lure them to North Salem? Are they guarding some sort of treasure buried in our rich history? Are they the ones who glitter the sky with sparkles during the golden hour? Perhaps these small-but-mighty creatures are the ones responsible for the elusive Balanced Rock.

A gnome takes up residence along Wheeler Road.

Or could it be that are they mischievous? Local cell service mysteriously drops near their homes. Maybe they are the ones who occasionally steal eggs from the local chickens or chase the otherwise docile alpacas into a spontaneous run? The gnome living out his days in the Route 121 tree hollow occasionally looks a little tipsy as he crooks to one side. Has he been breaking into Hardscrabble Cider to sample the “Black dirt” Beet cider after hours?

Harry Keebler stands outside his wreath-adorned door just over the border from North Salem on Spring Valley Road in Ridgefield.

Rumors are assuaged as relative Harry Keebler from neighboring Ridgefield, Connecticut comes forward to debunk the myths surrounding his family. The more sociable Harry has his own Instagram page (@Harry_the_gnome) and isn’t shy about sharing his adventures and travels. This friendly gnome brings the community together by being a postman for neighborhood letters and musings. So often these letters are of magic and support and joy. Harry often writes back through his Instagram account, leaves gifts for younger friends in the mailboxes, and offers treats for all during the holidays. He is known for spreading kindness. During a vacation to Florida, the committed Harry had his letters forwarded during his trip.

Harry the Gnome’s mailbox receives letters written from neighbors and friends.

Harry Keebler moved into the area, followed by his brothers in 2018, to “escape from the hustle and bustle of the cookie 'fac-tree'”, reported Sara Hecht of Ridgefield’s HamletHub. They built their two-story home along Spring Valley Road and lived there peacefully until they learned that their tree faced eviction by the Ridgefield Highway Department. Word spread quickly about the peril Harry’s home faced, and neighbors spoke on his behalf to thwart the pending eviction. Through the returned kindness of others, Harry’s home was saved. As word of this supportive community spread, Harry’s family members, along with several fairies believed to be famed "Cottingley Fairies from England” notes Hecht, began moving into neighboring areas shortly before the pandemic began.

Two brothers, cousins of Harry, moved into the hollow along Route 121 during this time. They lived there during the start of the pandemic but mysteriously went missing sometime last year after the New York State Highway Department was seen working nearby. According to sources, “foul play has not been ruled out.” Upon learning about his brothers’ disappearance, Leo, the current resident of the Route 121 hollow, left his city home and came to North Salem to investigate. He keeps a watchful eye over the busy road for signs of his brothers and guards over the safety of those passing. Leo, the faithful and family-oriented gnome, chooses to stay in town instead of returning to the city with the hope that his brothers will return. It is his wish to locate a quieter, more secure tree hollow nearby, and he asks for any suggestions for vacancies in the area as well as any leads on his brothers’ whereabouts. North Salem Post welcomes any reports of additional gnome and fairy sightings around town, as well as recommendations for a new suitable tree hollow for our neighbor, Leo.

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