Rocky Pastures: Is Kenneth Roberts’ Home Finally Sold?

If you have followed this site for a while, you may recall a series of posts I did in 2012 on the Designer Show House held at Kenneth Roberts’ estate in July of 2012. The house had been on the market for a while, and the show was to highlight area designers as well as the famous Maine author’s home.

Despite the home’s beauty and stature, Roberts’ pride and joy had been on the market for quite some time. Yesterday I stumbled across the LandVest blog, where a post dated 7/31/2015 highlights Kenneth Roberts’ and his estate, informing readers that they can “own a piece of history.”

LandVest’s blog post got me to thinking about the status of the sale; in the busyness of my teaching and other research, I’ve honestly forgotten to check up on whether the home has sold or not. After a simple Google search, it appears that after long while, Roberts’ Rocky Pastures may have a new owner.

Dated July 28, 2017, the Portland Press Herald published an article titled “Patrick Dempsey is getting boxing lessons from a Portland firefighter (by Ray Routhier). The article primarily focuses on the fact that Patrick Dempsey has been seen around southern Maine. He’d been working out with a Portland firefighter, who is training him how to box. Routhier suggests that Dempsey’s training is in preparation for an upcoming movie role (if you recall, Dempsey is most well-known for his role in Grey’s Anatomy).

What’s of interest to this site is Routhier’s discussion of speculation that Dempsey had recently bought a home in Kennebunkport. Per Routhier,

Dempsey has been seen in southern Maine a lot more than usual this year, especially around Kennebunkport. Locals have posted pictures of him in town on Facebook announcing him as a new neighbor. Richard West, a real estate agent, posted a picture in June saying that Dempsey had bought a summer home a half-mile from his house and that “he is a welcomed addition to Kennbunkport.”

Though no one would confirm where Dempsey bought his home, but after some digging, Routhier suggests that Dempsey is the new owner of Kenneth Roberts’ Rocky Pastures.

An estate in Kennebunkport known as Rocky Pastures, once owned by noted Maine writer Kenneth Roberts, was sold last December for $3.15 million and many speculate Dempsey is the new owner.

The owner is listed in Kennebunkport records as RPF, LLC, with an address of 9100 Wilshire Boulevard, 1000 West, Beverly Hills, California. Two publicists who have worked with Dempsey are listed at that address, as is Grant, Tani, Barash and Altman, a financial management firm that has been linked to him in published reports.

Though I’ve not been able to see any more recent publications affirming Routhier’s claim, it appears that all signs point to Dempsey being the new tenant of Rocky Pastures. If this is true, I wish Dempsey the best, and hope that he helps to carry on the memory of one of America’s greatest authors.

 

Rocky Patures: Estate Sale Video

Here is a great video on youtube showing Kenneth Roberts’ estate Rocky Pastures. The video was created for Prudential Prime Properties.

Rocky Pastures in Seacoastonline.com

The Design Show at Rocky Pastures made the Year in Review for Seacoastonline.com.  Here’s a short blurb from the article:

The event helped to share the historical culture of Kennebunkport — including Rocky Pastures, the 6,000-square-foot estate formerly belonging to Kenneth Roberts — while highlighting local designers who uniquely designed the estate’s 12 rooms, some with whimsy, others with decadence, and many paying homage to the author.

The Designer Show House was not just a beneficial opportunity for the Historical Society, but a special chance for enthusiasts of Roberts, history or architecture. It was the first time the public had access to the 1930s estate where the author penned his popular novels of historical fiction. Roberts received a 1957 Pulitzer Prize in the Special Awards and Citations category “for his historical novels which have long contributed to the creation of greater interest in our early American history.”

If you’re in Kennebunkport in the surrounding areas, be sure to visit the designers who played a part in making the show a success!

Rocky Pastures: Designer Show House in the News – Wrap Up

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve last posted due to a busier summer than expected.  During the course of my absence on the web was the Design Show House at Rocky Pastures.  Based upon the feedback I received, the show was phenomenal and well-done.  So, kudos to Paula Robinson Rossouw and other designers on a tribute to a great author in Kenneth Roberts!

If you follow the Design Show House on Facebook, take time to view their posts in which the Design Show House is the focus of various media outlets.  If you are not connected to this Facebook page, go to this link.  It’s exciting to see how well received the show was!

On another note, as my Ph. D. seminar winds down, I will begin posting with more regularity again.  In the meantime, feel free to share any stories you have about Kenneth Roberts, whether it be his works, his home, or whatever related to our favorite author!

Rocky Pastures: First News From a Visitor

Well, by now the Design Show House is well under way at Rocky Pastures.  I am sure the designers are glad the show has begun to show off their creative efforts and skill.  I had a comment on one of my recent posts from a visitor (Tracey) to the show, so I thought I’d share it in a post.  Paula and other designers, read on…Tracey puts in a good word for you!

I visited Kenneth Roberts’ former home in Kennebunkport on Saturday (6/23) and was one of the first people to don protective booties and wander through the rooms of the estate. What an incredible home! And what a wonderful job all of the designers did in inspiring “ooohs” and “wows” to everyone who visited. Every room was tastefully decorated and each designer or person representing the designer was very enthusiastic about explaining what was done and why. If I could I’d have made an offer on the house that day!

Great job!  If anyone has pictures and wouldn’t mind me posting them, let me know and I’ll be glad to show everyone who can’ t make it this great event!

Rocky Pastures: One of Bloomberg Businessweek’s “Best Homes in Maine”

I found another shot of Rocky Pasture’s walled garden/study entrance on Bloomberg Businessweek’s feature “Best Homes in Maine“; this shot shows the balcony overlooking the walled garden.  I don’t know why, but I really like this shot; it seems to highlight Roberts’ enjoyment of his garden.

Balcony overlooking walled garden. Picture sourse: Eileen Roberts, Anne Erwin Sotheby’s International Realty. Located on: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/07/12/1220_best_homes_maine/source/5.htm

Rocky Patures: The Necessity of Dogs for a “Well-Conducted Home”

Kenneth Roberts posing with his dogs by the fountain in the walled garden of Rocky Pastures. Courtesy “Vintage Maine Images” and the Maine Historical Society
http://www.vintagemaineimages.com/bin/Detail?ln=1381

Kenneth Roberts on dogs (such a great quote!): 

Dogs have always seemed to me an essential part of every well-conducted home….I had visions of leading  an ideal life in a rambling farmhouse  of great simplicity but extreme comfort…Those visions were rosy and indefinite, except for the dogs.  I had clear ideas on the dogs that would surround and inhabit the farm.  I would have several utilitarian dogs: a few setters to assist me in gunning for partridges; two springer spaniels to precede me through swamps and alder thickets during the woodcock season; a dachshund to make things uncomfortable for foxes and woodchucks that have retired to their holes; and above all I wished a lot of wire-haired terriers, for no particular reason except that they pleased me, even in their obtuse and imbecilic moments.  In all, I figured, I would need about forty dogs (“Dogs In a Big Way” in For Authors Only).

Be sure to visit Rocky Pastures, the fulfillment of Kenneth Roberts’ “ideal life in a rambling farmhouse of great simplicity but extreme comfort,” from June 23 – July 14 during the Kennebunkport Historical Society Designer Show House.

Here are Paula Robinson Rossouw’s dogs in the spot where Kenneth Roberts posed with his dogs 73 years ago. (Photo courtesy of Paula Robinson-Rossouw)

Rocky Pastures: Designer Show House in the News

As we get closer to the Rocky Pastures Designer Show House, the show is making the rounds in the news.  Seacoastonline.com posted an article titled “Show House to be Summer Highlight” in which they highlight the event and point out that this is the first time the estate has been open to the public.  IN addition they highlight some of the designers for the Designer Show House, particularly  Bree Clark, of Wright Interiors in Kennebunkport and Cathy Rowe of Kennebunk’s Well Dressed Interiors, who will be designing the family room.

Again, the dates are June 23 – July 14, and visit the Kennebunkport Historical Society website regarding tickets.  If you live in the area, don’t regret missing this event!

Rocky Pastures: Design Show House Events

The Design Show House, sponsored by the Kennebunkport Historical Society, is only a month and a half away!  The Show House runs from June 23 – July 14 and is open to the public at $20 per ticket.  This is a great opportunity to see the estate of a great historian and author, so if you’re in the area, be sure to visit!

In addition to taking in the beauty of Roberts’ estate and viewing the various design rooms of New England-area designers, KHS is putting on several events related to Kenneth Roberts (note that the locations for these events are not at Rocky Pastures).  Below are the events as listed on the Design Show House website:

  • Monday, June 25 – The Colony Hotel – Lunch and Learn – Featured speaker is Joyce Butler, historian, archivist/curator, and writer. The topic is “Kenneth Roberts: The Man.” Guests will look at the talents and colorful personality of one of America’s most loved writers of historical fiction. Butler will chronicle his life at rocky Pastures and tell anecdotes of his family and friends. This intimate portrait is sure to delight all.  Tickets to the show house are included. $45 per person.
  • Monday, July 2 – The Colony Hotel – Lunch and Learn – Featured speaker is Sandy Oliver, renowned food historian and writer. The topic is “Kenneth Roberts’ chapter on food in his book, Trending into Maine. This chapter unleashed a torrent of reader response that intiated the cookbook, Good Maine Food, authored by his neice and secretary, Marjorie Mosser.  Tickets to the show house are included. $45 per person.
  • Monday, July 9 – The Nonantum Resort – Lunch and Learn – Featured speaker is etiquette specialist Andrea Pastore. The topic is “Navigating a Place Setting.” Andrea will present ettiquette situations and thoughtful, fun and useful solutions. For more information about Andrea, visit http://etiquettesolutionsbyandrea.com/.  Tickets to the show house are included. $45 per person.

I find Joyce Butler’s Lunch and Learn rather intriguing!  If you have a chance to visit any of these events, feel free to let me know how they went and what you took away from these events.

Keep your eyes open for forthcoming posts on Rocky Pastures as we lead up to KHS’s Design Show House.

Rocky Pastures: Before There Was the Walled Garden, Part II – Rocky Pasture’s Predecessor

Perhaps I may be regarded as allergic to noise.  Possibly I am – and then, again, I may merely be one of a multitude who realize that noise is a form of torture created and tolerated by idiots.

-Kenneth Roberts in I Wanted to Write (pg. 189)

***The following is part of a series to promote Rocky Pastures and the Design Show House the Kennebunkport Historical Society is sponsoring at the estate on June 23 – July 14. You can visit the KHS site here. One of the designers, a friend of this blog, can be visited here.*** 

1 Linden Avenue, Kennebunk Beach, ME – Roberts’ predecessor to Rocky Pastures, and the subject of his essay “The Little Home in the Country.” Courtesy Portland Monthly

Kenneth Roberts’ search for solitude culminated with his building of Rocky Pastures in 1938, but as stated in my previous post, his search first led him to what he eventually called Stall Hall.

Stall Hall is the subject of his humorous essay “The Little Home in the Country” in For Authors Only.  In this essay, he comically relays his toils and trials of making his home a fortress against the outside world and the noise it brings.  I contrasts his toils of renovating Stall Hall with the supposed ease of renovating as presented by the “experts” of his day. 

These experts paint a picture of idyllic serenity, where foliage and flowers bloom with ease, and one “by digging occasionally in the damp and fragrant earth, one easily induces unbroken slumber and raises gargantuan vegetables.”   Just as easy is the remodeling of a farmhouse, where:

In most of these whimsical pieces, a young wife leads her husband into the country, shows him a semicollapsed  cottage, and talks him into buying it.  Then the two of them, with an old hammer, a borrowed saw, and a few secondhand nails, proceed to hammer it into perfect condition.

Little did he know, he would be renovating or remodeling some aspect of Stall Hall practically every year he lived there.  He says:

I do…desire to cry a bitter cry against the manner in which occupants of little homes in the country, and prospective occupants of such homes, are led to embark on ventures without being warned of the grief that may await them if they permit themselves, as I once did, to believe implicitly in catalogs and incomplete directions.

In honor, I’m sure, of his toils with Stall Hall, Roberts’ developed a motto for his home, “Nobody Ever Told Me About That.”  As stated in my previous post, the solitude of the area in which Stall Hall resided would soon be disturbed by the “first green, first and second fairways, and second tee” of Webhannet Golf Course (see an article dated in Oct. 2010 on the then-sale of Stall Hall from which this quote came) and his neighbor’s garages.  Upon making the decision of devoting his energies to writing historical fiction, Roberts, along with his friend Booth Tarkington, purchased another stable nearby and converted it into a “New England-Spanish workshop with a courtyard capable (I fondly imagined) of frustrating people determined to drop in for a cozy chat when I was most eager to work” (I Wanted to Write, 169).  He would name this Blue Roof.

I’ve yet to find in any of the resources I have what Roberts’ thought of Rocky Pastures after its construction, but I can only imagine that he had found what he was looking for.  Surrounded by natural beauty, his study walled in by the walled garden-far away from any neighbor or golf course-and separated from the highway by a half mile driveway, Roberts could now write without the distraction of the world.

***Note: Stall Hall was for sale at the publishing of the Oct. 2010 article “Kenneth Roberts and His Beloved Money Pit” in the online version of Portland Monthly. According to verani.com, Stall Hall sold in March of 2011 for $755,000.

View of the outside of the walled garden from potting shed. Courtesy of Paula Robinson Rossouw

The french doors of the study lead out to the walled garden. Immediately to the left upon exiting is the water feature. Photo courtesy of Paula Robinson Rossouw.

The last photo here is of Roberts’ study today.  This room, among others in the house, will be transformed by various designers, including Paula Robinson Rossouw, from June 23 – July 14.  Be sure to visit!

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