A Perfect Travel Itinerary for Tarrytown, New York - Travelerette
Travelerette

A Perfect Travel Itinerary for Tarrytown, New York

Tarrytown, New York is a adorable little village about 25 miles north of New York City. It is most appropriately named because it is an excellent place to tarry for the day if you are looking for a weekend getaway out of the city. Tarrytown is mostly famous for three things: Rockefeller, Headless Horsemen, and a bridge that is likely to collapse and kill us all in our sleep. But you don’t need to worry about that! Just take the train to Tarrytown, avoid the Tappan Zee, and I guarantee you a delightful day filled with dead, white, rich men, dead, white, inordinately rich men, local produce, and the scarecrow invasion.

Morning: Sunnyside

Address: 3 W Sunnyside Ln

Hours: Open May 1-November 13th. Check website for tour times. On weekends, tours leave every half hour between 10 AM and 3:30 PM

Price: 12 Dollars for an online ticket, 14 for an in-person ticket

sunnyside

Sunnyside is the erstwhile abode of favorite Hudson Valley son, Washington Irving. Some of you poor unfortunate souls in my audience may be wondering who Mr. Irving could be. Most literary scholars might tell you that old “Boom Boom” Washington here was probably the first major American writer. But to any native New Yorker, he is so much more than that. He is the spiritual founder of our city. Without Washington Irving, much of our local mythology would not exist.

Who was the first person to call New York City Gotham? Washington Irving. That’s right kids, without Washington Irving, there is no Batman.

Who coined the term “Knickerbocker” to describe a Manhattanite, thus giving New Yorkers the name of our much beleaguered basketball team…your New York Knicks? Washington Irving.

Who created such indelible characters as Rip Van Winkle, Ichabod Crane, and this cranially-challenged fellow? Sing it with me…Washington Irrrrrrrrving!

If you’d like to learn more about the Father of our City, don’t delay and sign up for a tour of Sunnyside today. Once you arrive, you will be treated to a tour of his home and learn all about the man and his peculiar architectural tastes. To whet your appetite, here are:

Three fun facts about washington irving
  1. He never married or had children. He was engaged when young, but his fiancee died of a tragic olde tyme disease and Irving never loved again. Actually, I think this fact was maybe not so fun for Washington Irving.
  2. Irving loved to travel and his home was inspired by many different European architectural elements, from English ivy-covered walls, to Spanish/Moorish towers, to Italian tiles. This mishmash of styles has the effect of making the house look like an adorable insane asylum.
  3. Irving chose the location because he loved the surrounding views of the countryside, but he was cheezed to find out that the up-and-coming train line was going to be passing through his country manor. Irving agreed to let them build the train, but only if they would have the train stop in front of his house when he wanted to receive or dismiss houseguests. So I guess Irving also started the great New York tradition of hating on the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Travelerette Tip! If you are not bringing a car to Tarrytown you need to cab it to here from the train station. Don’t worry because there are always cabs waiting outside the station. You could call a cab to take you back, but I always prefer to hoof it from Sunnyside into town. If you walk, be advised that there is no sidewalk for part of the way, so you’ll just have to stroll gingerly down the road, avoiding vehicles as you go. But never fear, Internet Stranger! I have taken this walk two times and I have been hit by a car zero times, so I’m pretty sure it’s safe.

Travelerette Treasure: Go at Halloween so that you can be sure to see the homage to Irving’s most famous creation, old Headless Lamarr. Knock yourself out reading the amusing headlines on these cardboard tombstones.

Lunch: Coffee Labs

Address: 7 Main St.

savory-sconeWhether you walk or cab it to Main St, you’ll want to get some lunch before embarking on the afternoon’s activities. I suggest picking up a snack at the java joint Coffee Labs, located conveniently in the center of town. Their food selection is tasty, if somewhat limited, but they do a fantastic cuppa Joe. Get whatever fancy coffee your heart desires as well as a savory scone.

Travelerette Tip: Be advised, Coffee Labs is Cash Only, so don’t go bringing any Willie Nelson into the place, unless you want someone to shoot you, just to watch you die.

I kid, no one is going to shoot you. This is Tarrytown, not Reno.

Afternoon: Kykuit

Address: 381 North Broadway. This is the address to GET THE BUS for Kykuit. The address for Kykuit itself is, presumably, 1 Rockefeller St. But you have to take the bus there because you are a peon.

Hours: Open May 1-November 13. Please check the website for more specific hours.

Price: 40 Dollars for the Grand Tour. Classic Tour is 25 on weekdays and 28 on weekends.

kykuit-fountain

If you are anything like me, Internet Stranger, you sometimes dream of being a beautiful princess. Like any other princess, you would live in a glorious castle with gorgeous gardens in which you could sing to mice. But being a classy and cultured princess, you would also want your home festooned with fine art, from Ming pottery to Picassos. Also, you would want your castle to be not too far from New York City, as NYC is the center of the universe and everything.

At this point, you may be thinking to yourself that this castle is too good to be true. Well, let me reassure you that not only does this castle exist, but it is easily reachable from Tarrytown and it has the almost unpronounceable name of Kykuit. (Say it: KYE-cut) All you have to do is buy the ticket for the tour you want online in advance. The visitor center for Kykuit is just a short walk from Main St. Then you pick up your ticket at the visitor center and the bus will take you straight to the Rockefeller manse where you will receive an expert and thorough guided tour. Allow me to share some of the fabulous knowledge that my guide shared with me.

THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT KYKUIT

  1. Nelson Rockefeller was such an admirer of Picasso’s that he paid the notorious Spaniard to commission tapestries of some of his most famous works, such as Guernica. Picasso designed the tapestries and used Rockefeller’s major ducats to pay some French women to sew them. Pablo cleverly realized that Rockefeller had given him too much money and so he had the French ladies make some extra tapestries for himself. Rockefeller was cranky when he found out, but what could he do? You don’t argue with Picasso! The tapestries are amazing and you can see them if you take the tour, but sadly we were not allowed to photograph them.
  2. Nelson wasn’t the only Rockefeller mad for the modern. His mother, Abby Rockefeller, was one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Nelson and Abby’s love for modern sculpture can be found all over the home, especially in the gorgeous gardens. I particularly like this happy little fellow.He is called “Mouse on a Table”. All the mice in my apartment are gray. I guess the Rockefellers can afford to have more interesting mice than the rest of us.
  3. Hard as it may be to believe, our guide kept insisting that Kykuit is modest for an estate. Apparently, Nelson’s pappy, John D. Rockefeller, was a strict Baptist and didn’t want to give himself an ostentatious abode like that of those heathen Vanderbilts.

If this looks like a simple Baptist home to you, te salut.

As we took the tour, the guide would ask us questions and give us Tic Tacs if we got the answer right. I’d love to do something similar with this website, but I don’t know how to send Tic Tacs through the internet.

Travelerette Tip: I recommend taking the 1:45 Grand Tour of the estate. You get to see more of the stunning house this way and the Classic Tour doesn’t take you to the top floor. Also, don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance because the tours often sell out.

Travelerette Treasure: The gardens alone are worth the price of admission. They didn’t let us take pictures inside, so wear yourself out taking snaps of the sculpture garden, especially if it’s a nice day. I really dig the way the gold in this sculpture picks up the gold in the trees.

I think fall is the best time to visit the gardens for the colors, but I’m sure it would also be lovely to come in warmer weather and see the rose garden in bloom.

Late Afternoon: Explore Tarrytown

pumpkin-display

Tarrytown is a fun town to explore, especially in October. The village really goes all out, probably in honor of the Headless Horseman, who many people do not realize was the first mayor of Tarrytown. That is why they keep his image on the street signs.

I recommend just strolling around Main St. and seeing the decorations in the shop windows.

I’d simply die for some good olive oil.

You can also admire the way people have decorated their lawns, which range from cute…

to terrifying.

Also, if you encounter the Scarecrow Invasion, RUN! Those scarecrows don’t mess around and all they want is your BRAIN.

If you get snacky, stop at Main Street Sweets on 35 Main St. They have terrific housemade ice cream and it’s a good place to sit if it starts to rain.

Be aware that things close kind of early in Tarrytown, so there’s only so much fun you’re going to be able to have shopping on Main St. I recommend making an early dinner reservation.

Dinner: Sweet Grass Grill

Address: 24 Main St.

pear-dark-and-stormy

Sweet Grass Grill is a terrific farm to table restaurant, and I eat here every time I am in Tarrytown. They get their produce from many local farms, including the famous Stone Barns where Dan Barber is working to create the one perfect squash to rule us all.

I kicked off my meal with a pear Dark and Stormy because the one thing you can count on in autumn in the Hudson Valley, aside from the Scarecrow Invasion, is the presence of pear cocktails. I had four different pear cocktails in four different cities along the Hudson in one weekend last October. I regret nothing.

Sweet Grass has many vegetarian and vegan options, and the tempeh buffalo wings with vegan blue cheese dressing are almost always on the menu. I am not even slightly a vegan, but I think this appetizer does a good job simulating the flavors of a classic Buffalo wing. It loses points for authenticity because I can’t feel my arteries clogging as I eat it.

For a main course, I had the decided unvegan pork cheeks with root vegetable medley and Concord grape sauce. This dish exemplifies seasonality to me–is there anything better than a robustly roasted root in autumn? Also, do pork cheeks come from the pig’s face or its butt? It’s tasty to me either way, but I just want to know.

For dessert, I was treated to another seasonal delight: Gala apple confit with Concord grape on the side. I can never get enough Concord grapes. Tasting it makes me feel like I am a six year old feasting on the PB and J sandwich my mom tucked into my backpack. This was an especially tasty dessert because the Gala apple confit was tucked all snug as a pig’s cheeks into a little pastry envelope.

And That’s a Perfect Day in Tarrytown, New York!

What would you do on your perfect day in Tarrytown? Are you more of a tempeh buffalo wings or a pork cheek kind of person? Have you done anything to prepare for the Scarecrow Invasion, and, if so, can you share your tips? Please leave your thoughts below!

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Travelerette

Who is the Travelerette? I am a native New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or ride a bicycle. I speak French very well and Japanese very badly. In five years I have traveled in six continents, 26 countries, and 86 cities. My next travel goal is to visit all 50 states (and DC) in five years.

I am here to provide perfect travel itineraries with 24 hours, 3 fun facts, and 1,000,000 laughs! I hope that I can motivate you to get out there, see the world, learn something, and have a sense of humor about it all.
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28 thoughts on “A Perfect Travel Itinerary for Tarrytown, New York

  1. Shane

    I’ve actually never heard of this town but it looks so quaint and adorable. Will have to make a pitstop next time I’m visiting New york fam!

  2. Lydia@LifeUntraveled

    Tarrytown almost looks like it’s been staged and ready for a movie set. So interesting to learn all the facts about Washington Irving – he sounds like a true bad-ass! Good thing those Rockefellers were so modest with their little mansion. 😉

  3. Claire

    What a great town to explore! I had never heard of Washington Irving but I have heard of the headless horseman (I’m British though so that’s my excuse :D) His house looks super cute, it does remind me of England so I’d have to go there and check it out!

  4. Shem

    I cannot believe I’ve never heard of Tarrytown — it reminds me of a Disney movie I watched as a kid. It looks super cute and quaint. I love little towns with lots of culture!

  5. Davide uTravelShare.com

    It looks like a beautiful place to spend a day in New York, nice pictures! I love the facts about Washington Irving but also the terrifying decoration in the back yard of the houses!
    Food looks delicious too, thanks for sharing your brilliant experience there! .-D

  6. blair villanueva

    Why is it I find this town kind of eerie? But I agree that this could be a perfect place for halloween / zombie apocalypes type of parties 🙂

  7. Indrani

    Very well thought out and presented, this guide will surely be of immense help to some one visiting there. I love the feel in such quiet towns , not so much rush and very enjoyable.

  8. Veronica

    I was surprised to see that many places in the States didn’t have the sidewalks. I really love walking.
    I also love small towns and villages across your country. Life is so different there. I’d love to visit Terrytown next time I am in the USA.

  9. SindhuMurthy

    That sounds like an amazing experience for a days getaway. With all the details and tips you have provided here on the post, one need not look elsewhere for information about Tarrytown. I m bookmarking this post for later reference.

  10. Milijana

    I have just found your blog and I’m thrilled with your writing style!
    You won me over immediately after the line: ” I guarantee you a delightful day filled with dead, white, rich men, dead, white, inordinately rich men, local produce, and the scarecrow invasion” ! 🙂
    Just to say, I have never heard before of Tarrytown, but now after reading your humorous introduction of the town, it is on my bucketlist!

  11. Alina Popescu

    I’ve heard of Tarrytown, but didn’t know much about it, other than the name sounded familiar. The decorations are amazing! And I totally see why a skeleton would be great at selling olive oil 😀 I also had no idea there was a Gotham before Batman. Bad nerd girl!

  12. Tae

    Can you please do an entire post on Washington Irving? I was so upset when that section was over — not ready for it </3. I had no idea Tarrytown was so fun and had such bizarre things to see. I'm thinking the scarecrow invasion is over, so I'll have a year or so to plan for the beasts.

  13. Nicola

    Thank you for the tip on coffee lab! It is always so difficult to find a good place to eat in a village. I am bookmarking this place as I want to see new villages and towns around NYC.

  14. ROBERT LEE | Amazing Life Daily

    Tarrytown is in the city of New York? Until I read your post, my impression of New York has always been about the high rise buildings. In fact, I have written about destinations in New York in the past, but I guess most references I found were the typical ones featuring tourist spots, the popular ones. Which is why I appreciate this post, because you are showing something that I find fascinating. I like the house of Washington Irving. It looks like … the movies! LOL.

  15. Swayam Tiwari

    What does ‘tarry’ mean? I would love to know this.
    For your information, I have just shared this post with my Facebook friends and let me tell you the content is riveting.
    I never knew that Washington was founded by Washington Irving and not George Washington. Keep up your amazing work, iit is seriously kickass stuff.

  16. Kcalpesh Ajugia

    Seems like a beautiful day. Loved your article. Especially for the fun facts that you have stated about each place. Tarrytown Pure Mountain Olive Oils and Vinegars display window is really witty. Your afternoon ice cream pic reminded me that I’d kept a cup of ice cream in my freezer a good two days back and had forgotten about it… 🙂 Also its awesome, the way you described the dessert.

  17. Ree love30

    What a great detailed post! Tarrytown, New York sounds very interesting. You can certainly cram a lot of cultured things in. I would most certainly go to see Headless Lamarr on Halloween. Im a massive fan of Halloween and all things horror so this sounds right up my street! Ree love30

  18. Berlin

    As always, you gave us a clear picture of places you’ve visited. And.in this case, Tarrytown. I havent been there nor in New York. And your post makes me doubly excited to explore the city.

  19. Jerny

    Love the photos! Fun facts are awesome! I had no idea Tarrytown was so fun and had such things to see. That place looks okay for a weekend getaway.

  20. Alaine

    You have very nice photos. My husband’s siblings are based in California and I have always wanted to visit them. But I may just add New York on my list of places to visit when I get to the USA because of your post. I love how you write. I didn’t get bored reading your article and didn’t realize that it was quite long.

  21. elle mystique

    Wow! This is quite interesting! Never thought that NY has it’s own taste of country. That Headless Horseman, he’s the character in the movie Sleepy Hollow, right? That movie almost took my breath away! Never knew he was the first mayor of the city though. And i love the first photo. Feels like i’m looking on a postcard photo. 🙂

  22. Kathy Ngo

    I love how colorful the place is and how there is always something interesting about the area. It’s definitely something new to me coz I’ve never heard of the place.

  23. Liana

    I’ve been to New York several times and I cannot believe I’ve never heard of Tarrytown before! It sounds just as an amazing place, and I was so thrilled whilst reading your guide! I’ve always been a fan of your work and it’s just really interesting to save this one and pinned since I’m coming back to the US soon enough!

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