". . . a magazine writer sought to describe it (Sunnybank), after a visit here."
pages 19-21 in The
Book of Sunnybank
"There is an atmosphere of peace and
tranquility, an air of indescribable loveliness, a nameless spell."
"There were woods running down from the roadjust woods. Not a
dinky park. And a drive wound down through them, a furlong or so, to a gray old stucco
house with dark woodwork and with wisteria all over it and a comfy green barn set back in
"There was a glorious big collie asleep on the steps, and there
were glowing flowers in tubs and boxes on the gray veranda, and flowers and vines
everywhere and stretches of shade-dappled grass.
"Then from the house a great lawn sloped down to the
lakeabout another hundred and fifty yards. There were huge old oaks on the lawn,
too, and evergreen trees, and there was a rustic boathouse in the cove to one side.
"The lawn was on a kind of point that ran out into the lake; and
all around the lake were soft green hills with
bluish mountains beyond. They circled The Place as if they loved it and
as if they were guarding it from harm.
"The sun was setting. It was setting over the
other side of the lake. There were wonderful long shadows stretching up
across the lawns. The dear old house was bathed in amber glow. That was the
House of Peace, if ever there was one.
"And down to the left, close by the lake, there
was a line of weeping willow trees. They were trailing their leaves into the
blue water. Over the whole Place a strange light seemed to hover just then.
Perhaps it was only the sunset. Or perhaps it was the blessing of
Terhune adds, "I make no apologies for quoting
this rhapsodic word picture. To me, it is Sunnybank, to the life."
In Wolf, Chapter 1, pages 11-12, Terhune
"There is a fire-blue little lake in the North Jersey
hinterland; with soft green hills that encircle it as though they
loved it. On its eastern shore, facing the sunset across the water, a
point of sloping land runs out; a point that is a hillside lawn, girdled
by gnarled and mighty oak trees, more than two hundred years old.
"On a plateau framed in giant oaks, above the
Point, is an old rambling vine-clad gray stucco house, red-roofed and
trimmed with black-brown timbers. Behind the house and behind the barns
which lie in a hollow a hundred yards from it, the oak-grove hillside rises
gently again, for a furlong, with the driveway winding through it; until it
ends in the stone wall that borders the highroad. Beyond the wall and the
road stretch anew the meadows and the woodlands of The Place, with the
mountain forests behind them.
"Here, with the Mistress and the Master whose
chum he was, dwelt Sunnybank Lad; glorious mahogany-and-snow collie, whose
eyes had a Soul back of them.
"Here Lad lived out his sixteen years of
staunch hero-life and of d'Artagnan-like adventure. Here he died, in the
fullness of serene old age. Here he sleeps, near the house he loved and
"To The Best Of My Memory," from The Albert
Payson Terhune Omnibus, Harper & Brothers 1937,
"Every year we come back to Sunnybank from our
short winter exile in time to witness each separate detail of the spring
miracle. Here we stay until January.
It is good, on winter evenings to lounge
in front of the big hearth fire with the housedogs asleep around us;
and to listen to the roar of the storm or to the scratch of snow against the
windows; to hear, on bitter nights, the rifle-crack of mile-wide splitting
ice on the lake, or the groan of battingly imprisoned air under the
twenty-inch-thick ice sheet.
good to tramp over the frosty hills at sunrise in the tingling cold, a swirl
of collies dancing about us, the sun in our faces, the dawn-wind in our eyes.
It is good to feel the tug of the rod and the hear the hum of the reel, in
shadowy pools on hot summer days. It is good to row lazily homeward across a
It is good to loaf on our deep veranda, the drowsing
collies at our feet, on moon-drenched spring nights; the
soft air heavy with the scent of wisteria and honeysuckle.
It is good to talk and to
laugh here with the many friends whom the years have left us, and who seem to
like us and to like this dear home of ours.
It is all good, incredibly good, a
happiness that never has palled. It is our golden Indian Summer."
From Bruce, E.P. Dutton,
life was always wondrous pleasant there at The Place ─
for humans and for animals alike. A fire-blue lake bordered the grounds on
two sides. Behind stretched the forest. And on every side arose the soft
green mountains, hemming in and brooding over The Place as though they loved
it. In the winter evenings there was the huge library hearth with its blaze
and warmth; and a disreputable fur rug in front of it that might have been
ordained expressly for tired dogs to drowse on. And there were the Mistress
and the Master. Especially the Mistress: The Mistress somehow had a way of
making all the world seem worthwhile."
Is Still The Place"
by Kristina Thomas Marshall
The lake is no longer fire-blue. The cities have crept
too close for anyone to call the area a hinterland. The rambling house was
razed thirty years ago, and the barns with it. The meadows and woodlands
across the highroad are now a housing development.
But the mountains
are eternal. The sun still sets across the lake from the Point, and the stone
seat where the Master and Mistress of The Place used to sit to watch the light
fade remains on its knoll above the water. Descendents of the wisteria vines
that once climbed the gray stucco house grow on the arbors of the rose walk.
The oak trees have become only more mighty in the seven decades since Terhune
wrote about them, and the driveway still winds up the wooded hill side, so
that your car takes the same curves Terhunes did. The stone wall is there
even today to separate the hillside from the highroad.
This is still The
Place. If youve ever read one of Albert Payson Terhunes books,
youll recognize it when you come. You'll know the lake and the mountains,
the sweep of lawn down to the water, the surrounding arms of the woods. And
you'll know the simple graves that star the grounds.
You can stand at the
top of the plateau and picture the swirling rush of Collies on their way down
to the lake. You can walk around the rim of the Lily Pool, now a jungle-lush
bed of plants, and remember Jack the bullfrog, one of The Places beloved
Little People. You can lean over the fence of the restored puppy run,
and imagine the cold little Collie noses nuzzling up toward your hand. You can
stand at the grave of Lad and thank him for the good memories, say a prayer
over Wolf the hero, and give a smile to Gray Dawn. You can still feel that
this place is Sunnybank.
Sunnybank is a place
where we can be sentimental and not be ashamed of it. . . where we can believe in
heroes; where we can recapture our childhood. . . where we can remember why we
love Collies. Sunnybank is still The Place.
Excerpts from the Stories
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