The inn is where, prior to Rip Van Winkle’s long sleep, he and other townspeople spend their days. The inn functions as a locus for unproductive activity, and represents the peace and rest of the past, before America violently revolted against the King of England and began to vigorously build itself as an independent nation. The old innkeeper Nicholas Vedder spends the whole day sitting under the shade of the big tree, moving when the shade moves. His pursuit is of tranquility and nature, rather than productivity and profit. Schoolmaster Derrick Van Bummel wastes his considerable mental faculties debating events in outdated newspapers with others at the inn, and the inn is where Rip avoids his wife and his domestic duties. The inn is a figure for passive resistance and idle amusement. A sign bearing the face of King George III overlooks the activity of the inn. It becomes symbolic and significant especially in its oppositional relationship to the establishment that replaces it, The Union Hotel.