The opening paragraph reveals a romantic, though not uncritical, fascination with nature: the Catskill mountains are described as "noble" and "magical." These are called "fairy mountains." We remember that the Romantics were fascinated both by the beauty and redemptive power of nature and by the magical as an antidote to overly rationalistic Enlightenment thinking.
Irving's romantic fascination with the past is revealed as well in the opening paragraphs as he describes the quaint houses of the early Dutch settlers in idealized terms. They were
built of small yellow bricks brought from Holland, having latticed windows and gable fronts, surmounted with weathercocks.
Among the most vivid descriptive passages in the entire story occur when Rip ventures to the "highest point" of the Catskills and meets the magical Dutch people. First, the narrator describes nature as sublime or awe-inspiring:
He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far below him, moving on its silent but majestic course,...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 600 words.)