Imagine that you are successful author/editor/diplomat Washington Irving (1783-1859). In 1835, you’ve purchased a peaceful, quiet 10-acre country property on the shores of the Hudson River. When you’re about halfway through with numerous repairs, additions, and renovations, the Hudson River Railroad forms in 1847 and creates land between yours and the river with landfill, lays down tracks, and starts running trains from New York City to Albany circa 1851. But, despite the distracting train noise and all black smoke, you manage to write “Wolfert's Roost” (1855) and the five-volume biography “The Life of George Washington” (1855-1859).
As an English Literature major, my visit to Sunnyside was like a pilgrimage.
This attraction is family-friendly. Children and teens will enjoy traveling to Tarrytown to see the home of the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” The Village of Sleepy Hollow is in nearby Mount Pleasant.
Sunnyside is open Wednesday to Sunday from early May to early November. It is also open for the three major Monday holidays during that period.
Admission prices are:
$12.00 - Adult
$10.00 - Seniors - age 65+
$6.00 - Children ages 3 - 17
Timed tours are led by costumed docents. Ours was very knowledgeable.
The setting for the home is very picturesque. The grounds are beautiful. The house is well maintained. These factors all contribute to my five-star rating.
The most striking thing about the house is the different architectural styles that somehow blend together. I found the Spanish / Moorish elements interesting and attractive.
My favorite part of the house was his office / work area in a room just off the entryway. The large bookcases held hundreds of his books. The desk was almost in middle of the room. Behind the desk was a long, wide bench with thick cushions that ran the length of the wall. There were two velvet curtains that could be closed. This was an area for him to take a break from writing and to take a nap. If someone came calling, he could go out the door in the enclosed area and come down the hallway. The visitor would have no idea that Mr. Irving had been caught napping in his office.
The four-poster in the bedroom was very nice.
My friend and I enjoyed our tour of the house and grounds.
One can easily spend a couple of days in this area.
Other nearby attractions include Van Cortland Manor, Philipsburg Manor, Union Church of Pocantico Hills, the Rockefeller estate named Kykuit, the Old Dutch Church, and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, resting of many famous people including Washington Irving, cosmetics entrepreneur Elizabeth Arden, business mogul / philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Harry and Leona Helmsley, and Walter Chrysler, founder of Chrysler Corporation.
We plan to return to this area sometime in the future.
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