Washington Irving, best-known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (published in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. in 1820), lived at Sunnyside in Tarrytown around 1835. His gorgeous home, with its castle-like dignity and peaceful grounds, is open to visitors between May and November.
The Sleepy Hollow short story continues to be read in many middle schools and high schools. Some libraries have the graphic novel version, which is a fun and easy way to follow the classic story.
The Hudson Historic Valley website says his home is like a “three-dimensional autobiography,” which will make sense to you when you see it and meet its guides dressed in period costumes. Ask to borrow a “Traveling Tote.”
Washington Irving often traveled and kept company with top government officials. He was a guest at Montpelier, the home of Dolley and James Madison. According to whitehousehistory.org: “Washington Irving, after happily attending one of Dolley Madison’s Wednesday night squeezes, described going from the ‘dirt & darkness’ of Washington City streets ‘into the blazing splendour of Mrs. Madison’s Drawing Room. Here I was most graciously received—found a crowded collection of great and little men, of ugly old women, and beautiful young ones—and in ten minutes was hand and glove with half the people in the assemblage. Mrs. Madison is a fine, portly, buxom dame—who has a smile & pleasant word for every body.’” (This is a quote from Letters of Washington Irving to Henry Brevoort, ed. George S. Hellman, New York, GP Putnam’s Sons, 1915, p. 24- .)
This is the ninth stop on our New York Trail!