The story takes place in the Catskill Mountains in New York, west of the Hudson river. The author describes the mountains as follows:
They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height, and lording it over the surrounding county.
While the author doesn't give the story an exact date; at the end of the story he mentions General Washington. So the reader can presume, even given the time Van Winkle spends away from the village, that the story takes place around the early- to mid- eighteenth century.
Rip Van Winkle, the main character, lives on a farm with his family in a Dutch "village of great antiquity" at the foot of the mountains. He is so unfit for physical labour that the author states his farm was "the most pestilant little piece of ground in the whole country."
Midway through the story, Rip Van Winkle meets (who the author calls) the Old Man of the Glen on a grassy knoll at one of the highest points...
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