Friday, June 22, 2012

First Glimpse Inside Famous Maine Author’s House

By Larry Favinger
(photo by Jeffrey Stevensen)
Staff Columnist

KENNEBUNKPORT – The home of celebrated Maine author Kenneth Roberts will be open for public view starting Saturday, June 23, at this year’s Designer Show House sponsored by the Kennebunkport Historical Society.
Roberts, who was born in December 1885 in Kennebunk and died in Kennebunkport in July 1951, built Rocky Pastures in 1938. It has never before been open to the public.
The house will be open for tours through July 12. It is a major fund-raiser for the historical society.
This is the first show house sponsored by the society and is “a big undertaking” for the group, according to Susan Edwards, the society’s executive director.
The estate will be open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed July 4.
Tickets are available at the Kennebunkport Historical Society or online at The cost is $20 per person.
Designers taking part in the show house have been assigned one of the twelve rooms or a portion of the grounds to decorate. The designers come from throughout New England.
The eighteen firms include Aisthesis, All About Kitchens and Baths, Anniebell’s, Coastal Organizing, Dan Viehmann Landscaping, Days Gone By Interiors, Fiore Interiors, Frank Hodge Interiors, Interiors with Provenance, Krista Stokes, Paula Rossouw, Snug Harbor Farm, Spaces, TJ’s at the Sign of the Goose, Well Dressed Interiors, Wright Interiors, and King’s Wharfe.
“Some are paying tribute to Kenneth Roberts,” Edwards said. As an example, in the living room there will be “a collection of books” that Roberts had in his own library, including those he authored. “There is a very period feel.”
Roberts built the estate in 1938 after writing  “Arundel,” “Rabble In Arms,” and “Northwest Passage.”
The latter book was the story of Roger’s Rangers and was made into an MGM motion picture in 1940 starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Young and Walter Brennan.
“Kenneth Roberts was an intensely private man,” Edwards said in a prepared release. “This is a very rare opportunity for the public to see this historic home and to enjoy the stunning work of these designers.”
Rocky Pastures burned in 1976 and was “rebuilt but not actually as Kenneth Roberts built it,” Edwards said, but in the same footprint as the original structure.
The show house activities begin with an Opening Night Soiree Saturday (June 22) under a tent on the estate grounds from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event will be catered by Kitchen Chicks with entertainment provided by the Chris Humphrey Trio.
Shuttle transportation will be provided from the Consolidated School in Kennebunkport. Tickets are $60 for Kennebunkport Historical Society members and $75 for non-members and are available at the Historical Society at 25 North Street, Kennebunkport, 207-967-2751.
Other activities scheduled include a Lunch & Learn Series at noon on three separate dates.
On Monday, June 25, Joyce Butler, historian, archivist/curator, and writer, will explore the colorful personality of Roberts and chronicle his life in her presentation on Kenneth Roberts: The Man  at The Colony Hotel.
On Monday, July 2, food historian and writer Sandy Oliver, will highlight Roberts’ interest in food in her presentation about Kenneth Roberts’ Chapter on Food in His Trending Into Maine,  also held at The Colony Hotel.
The final Lunch & Learn will be held at the Nonantum Resort with etiquette specialist Andrea Pastore providing thoughtful and useful solutions to various etiquette situations in Navigating a Place Setting.
The $45 ticket for each session includes admission to the Show House, lunch, and the speaking event. Tickets are available at the Historical Society.