Look through the doorway of the 1838 Peter Augustus Jay House out onto a 10,000 year old viewshed of Long Island Sound. This landscape is where Paleo Indians first settled to fish and hunt in the open meadow. They were followed by colonial families in the 1700's including Founding Father John Jay who grew up here in Rye as a boy. This meadow is thought to be the oldest man managed meadow in all of New York State.
It is a contemplative spot where one can imagine all possibilities. Morning visitors sit in our rockers to read, or practice tai chi on the veranda or simply watch the turkeys and their poults move through the tall grass.
James Fenimore Cooper used this serene Rye setting for his novel, "The Spy." In this tale, inspired by a story John Jay himself told Cooper, "The Wharton family" lived at "The Locusts" and their house was situated so "...the fall of the land to the level of the tide water afforded a view of the Sound* over the tops of the distant woods on its margin." Cooper further explained the Sound to readers unfamiliar with its location: " *An island more than forty leagues in length lies opposite the coasts of New York and Connecticut. The arm of the sea which separates it from the main is technically called a sound, and in that part of the country, par excellence, 'The' Sound. This sheet of water varies in breadth from five to thirty miles."
[O]ne of America's intrinsic sacred sites --'specially special,' if you like -- because a great family's great house and its great and sweeping surrounding landscape have, almost miraculously, both survived intact and are now a permanent part of the America the next centuries of Americans will build." Tony Hiss, Author, Experience of Place.
Come visit us and make your own morning ritual at:
The Jay Heritage Center
210 Boston Post Road, Rye, New York 10580
Phone: (914) 698-9275
Fax: (914) 835-8547
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/jayheritage