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“Step Back in Time”

Washington Irving's Sunnyside House
Ranked #1 of 6 things to do in Irvington
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A visit to Sunnyside is an enchanted adventure in a romantic landscape and a much-loved riverside home that has been charming visitors for generations.Hear about Washington Irving's storied past and how he came to be America's first internationally famous author, best remembered now for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other short stories. His characters, from Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane to the mysterious Headless Horseman and the comic Rip Van Winkle, are icons in American culture. Even Johnny Depp has added to their global renown.A gently curved path leads to gorgeous views of the Hudson River and reveals the allure of Sunnyside's unique design, its intimate setting, its bucolic grounds, and its association with a beloved man of letters.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Level Contributor
79 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Step Back in Time”
Reviewed 1 November 2013

Washington Irving's home is on the banks of the Hudson River. There is a video (and I mean actual video tape) you can watch before the tour. Even though the tape is very old, it is very interesting and gives relevant facts to enhance your tour. You will be greeted by knowledgeable tour guides in period dress. The tour takes about an hour. The guide leads you from the gift shop, where you buy your tickets, to the grounds and then to the buildings on the grounds. Our guide was very knowledgeable of Washington Irving and the times. She allowed time at each stop on the tour for all to take in the sites. She told us the history of Irving building his home on the banks of the Hudson and how the railroad went in right after. She explained the different styles of architecture and why Irving had chosen each style to incorporate into his home. After the tour, you are allowed to tour the grounds on your own. There is an interesting garden on site. This tour does not get as much press as some of the other tours in this area, but it is well worth the time. The gift shop is fun and a good place to buy Headless Horseman and Halloween souvenirs. If you are a fan of Washington Irving or Sleepy Hollow, I recommend this tour. The volunteers were also knowledgeable of other home tours in the area also.

Visited October 2013
Thank Kathy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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124 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
1,526 reviews
715 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 937 helpful votes
“Just in time for Halloween”
Reviewed 26 October 2013

Numerous sightings of headless horse rider, a fine old house with Gothic elements and ancient ivy, Rip Van Winkle sleeping on the lawn and even a skeleton chained in the outhouse, after all, it’s October! Take the Hudson Line from Grand Central: the first stop on the express train will be Tarrytown. From the railroad station, it’s a five minutes cab drive to Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s House and lovely grounds overlooking Hudson. Once on the premises, you’ll find plenty of docents, in appropriate period attire, who will take you on an interpretive tour of the rooms and tell you stories of the old times…

Irving was the first American writer to make money from writing, but he was much more than that: historian, politician, even amateur architect. I’m not so sure about his architectural gifts, the house which he designed together with a friend (landscape painter) is a Hodge-podge of styles. It looks like he wanted to implement every possible element of Italian, Spanish and French design he encountered in his travels. Nevertheless, the grounds are lovely, even if the Railroad is booming close by at least twice an hour, it must have been much better when he was able to enjoy it, sitting on the back porch admiring the river and the Palissades on the other side.

Most of you would remember Washington Irving as the author of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, but how many would know that he wrote a fictional History of New York City by an imagined writer, Knickebocker, a satire of life in his times and before. Ironically enough, this is where the Knickebocker name came from and was later associated with wealth and old roots…history has a funny way to take revenge on those who don’t care about it.
The admission is reasonable and it makes for a pleasant journey, especially on a warm October day, even if we don’t really have good foliage this year.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Oliver S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
27 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Excellent tour guide”
Reviewed 24 October 2013

The tour of the house was informative and fun. But the best part was the wonderfully nice tour guide (in costume)! She was a wealth of information and very considerate of my mobility issues. She was patient and considerate of everyone on the tour.

Visited September 2013
Thank Miriam R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manalapan, NJ
Level Contributor
79 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A Nice Piece of History”
Reviewed 18 October 2013

The house itself was special only because Washington Irving lived and wrote there. You see his actual desk and many of his books. We learned much about him from our tour guide. In his time, he was considerably more noteworthy than just as the author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".

He lived in Europe a long time, knew the President, etc.

The view is spectacular, and the visit well worth a generous hour of your time.

Visited October 2013
Thank Bob D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
31 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Fascinating for English Lit buffs”
Reviewed 8 September 2013

The house was not grand but very interesting as there were several pieces of furniture that actually belonged to the famous author, Washington Irving. His books were in his study. What was most interesting was that the tour guide knew a lot about Mr. Irving and his life AND times. The scenery around the place was absolutely breathtaking. I found it far more interesting than the Vanderbilt Mansion.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Michel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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