We’d like to give a big thank you to the readers of the Times Herald-Record in New York State’s Hudson Valley. Shannon, who hails from the area, tied for Best Local Author of 2008, and Novel Destinations was voted Best Book along with tomes by David Sedaris and Chelsea Handler. Click here to peruse the full list of winners.

sunnysideOne of our favorite literary sites in the Hudson Valley is Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s estate in Tarrytown, New York, which we visited together during one of Joni’s stateside visits. (The author photo on the Novel Destinations book jacket was taken on the veranda at Sunnyside.)

The centerpiece of Irving’s estate, which overlooks the Hudson River, is a wisteria-covered cottage. Tours of the house are given by guides dressed in 19th century style clothing. An interesting architectural aspect is a tower based on Spanish designs that Irving had added to the residence — a nod to the time he spent in Spain as a diplomat.

In the nearby town of Sleepy Hollow is the cemetery at the Old Dutch Church, where Ichabod Crane crossed paths with the Headless Horsemen in Irving’s ghostly tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”