Visit Tarrytown and Take a Trip Back in Time
Enjoy a bit of history, dine outdoors, or tour a four-season working farm and agriculture center.
Nestled in the shadow of the Tappan Zee Bridge, along the Hudson River in Tarrytown, N.Y., lies Sunnyside, the home of renowned author Washington Irving.
The property, a registered national historic landmark, was purchased by Irving in 1835. Originally a two-room stone cottage, the writer, best known for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," served as his own architect in expanding and remodeling the house to include many of the styles he admired during the 17 years he spent in Europe.
A Spanish tile roof and tower, Tudor-style clustered chimneys, Dutch stepped gables, and gothic windows give the home a one-of-a kind look. Flanking the entrance are the original wisteria and English ivy given to Irving by his friend John Jacob Astor and fellow author Sir Walter Scott, respectively.
Home and garden tours 45-minutes in length are led by guides dressed in mid-19th century garb and depart from the Sunnyside's gift shop, a veritable treasure trove for Halloween lovers. Thanks to the tale of the Headless Horseman, employees agree October is the busiest season for the riverside attraction.
Upon entering the home, guests can see the partner desk Irving used in his study as well as his beloved book collection. A parlor with French doors overlooks the Hudson and the railroad, which was in use during the time Irving lived at Sunnyside.
A bachelor who died at the age of 76, Irving opened his home to his brother and his daughters. Original needlework crafted by Irving's nieces adorns the wall of an upstairs bedroom.
Another second floor bedroom was fashioned to mimic a Paris apartment that caught Irving's eye.
Visitors are invited to tour the grounds, which were designed by Irving with the help of his friend and neighbor, artist George Harvey, and include walking trails, rolling hills and a pond. A gentleman farmer, Irving was proud that he was able to cultivate a working farm on the 20-acre bucolic estate.
Eileen Forbes-Watkins, a retired teacher who is enjoying her 10th season as a volunteer tour guide, said Sunnyside is a popular destination for school groups.
"There's so much to see here," Forbes-Watkins said. "The property is a visual autobiography."
Sunnyside is just one of many historic Hudson Valley landmarks located in Tarrytown that offer a glimpse into the past. With summer on the wane, consider a drive north to enjoy the autumn leaves and a bit of history. For information about upcoming Halloween events, including the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, visit Historic Hudson Valley's website.
Day Tripper Digest:
Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Why it's Worth the Trip: Tarrytown offers a look at life in the mid-19th century at its historic Hudson Valley properties, while the downtown features unique shops and a wide array of restaurants.
How to Get There from Here: Detailed Driving Directions
You'll Probably Get Hungry: Historic Tarrytown boasts eateries to please nearly every palate. Choices abound in the downtown area and include Taste of China, Lefteris Gyro, Santa Fe, Swagat Indian Cuisine, Sol Mar, and Mr. Nick's Brick Oven Pizza. Traditional pub fare is offered atHorsefeathers. Many establishments are BYOB and offer outdoor dining. The Historic Hudson Valley recommends restaurants in the area on its website as well.
While You're in the Neighborhood: Extend your day trip into the evening and consider catching a show at Tarrytown Music Hall. The 843-seat theatre dates back to 1885 and has played host to many famous musicians and comedians. Also nearby is Union Church, a quaint country chapel that is home to luminous stained glass windows created by Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall.
While in town, check out Kykuit, home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. A guided tour of the six-story stone manse includes a trip to the underground art gallery as well as the Coach Barn, which features classic cars and horse-drawn carriages.
Enjoy an upscale, authentic farm-to-table dining experience at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The property, featured on season five of Top Chef, is a center for food and agriculture and showcases the bounty of the Hudson Valley. Diners seeking a more casual experience can visit Blue Hill Cafeafter hiking the trails that surround the farm.