If there is one
person in our history that more than anyone
else shaped our memories and created our legends,
its Washington Irving. America's first successful
fiction author, Irving through his writing created
the myths and legends that today form the base
of our literary history. "Rip Van Winkle"
and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
are universally known to children as they grow
up in our culture helping to forge the commonality
we all enjoy. And in his Knickerbocker history
Irving chronicled the birth of our nation, a
fictitious chronicle indeed but a chronicle
whose artificial facts and details to this day
help shape our beliefs and our ideas of our
Irving arose from
the late 18th and early 19th century Romantic
Movements whose ideals and philosophies were
forged in the Hudson Valley. Irving transformed
our literary landscape and in the process created
an intimate personal landscape at his home in
Tarrytown, Sunnyside. Located on the banks of
the Hudson River at the Tappan Zee, Sunnyside
is a personal expression of this romantic vision.
Incorporating the most picturesque elements
of Dutch architecture with the carefully crafted
landscape, Irving created what he called his
"little nookery," his escape from
urban New York. In his lifetime this very intimate
home became one of the icons of American domestic
architecture, images of it being reproduced
in the mass media of the time.
Your visit to Sunnyside
isn't so much going to be a "wow"
experience as it's going to be a "knowing
smile" sort of experience. With the possible
exception of the view, there is nothing about
Sunnyside that overpowers. Instead, it's familiar,
it's cozy and above all it's intimately beautiful.
The home is on a human scale, small and intimate
with porches and doorways where you knew they
would be, furniture that you can sink into and
gardens that are like the gardens you want at
home. It's all a pleasure, as you walk the grounds
and tour the home you'll find yourself smiling,
happy to be there experiencing this particular
man's vision of domestic life.
As an author, Irving
created our legends. As a person, Irving created
the most influential "cottage" and
domestic architecture in our history. He infused
our cultural lives on many levels and his writings
and home continue to infuse us with his romantic