August 25, 2012 |
BELFAST, Maine - The first sign says, "Slow. " Then, about 50 feet down this back road in mid-coast Maine, there's a second sign. It says, "Slower. " I ease up on the pedal. That about sums up the rhythm of life in this part of Maine, which is about as far as you can get from L.A. and still be in the same country (and sometimes it feels like another one). On this trip, I'm looking to go slower. Or maybe even go in reverse, to a bit of America that's like a half-remembered dream - to a time when books cost a dollar, dinner at the drive-in was as fast as food got and an overnight suitcase was called a "possibilities bag. " Sure, Maine has lots of fancy antiques stores and gourmet restaurants.
April 30, 2012 |
ELDON, Iowa - Beth Howard sits at her kitchen table on a Sunday morning and pulls back the curtain to peer at a group of rosy-cheeked youths taking pictures on her front lawn. They pair off to stand side by side in the pose familiar to millions - the dour farmer with a pitchfork, the unsmiling woman beside him in front of the white house. No one notices the woman in flannel pajamas sitting inside. "People seldom know that people live here, much less that there's someone watching them from the other side of the curtain," says Howard, who rents the house made famous in Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic.
January 19, 2012 |
Entertainment industry executive Roger Birnbaum and his wife, Pamela, have put their Beverly Hills home up for sale at $15.75 million. Completed five years ago, the nearly 7,200-square-foot contemporary farmhouse was a project of former talent manager and high-end remodeler Sandy Gallin. The Birnbaums bought the house from him in 2007 for $16.5 million. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house sits behind gates on close to a half acre with a swimming pool and gardens. The two-story living room has sliding-glass doors that open to a veranda.
October 27, 2011 |
A Sherman Oaks home built in 1936 for actress Joyce Compton is on the market at $1.795 million. Evoking an English farmhouse with a half-timbered exterior, it features beamed ceilings, a stone fireplace in the living room and oak floors. The updated 3,306-square-foot house includes a den, a family room, three bedrooms and 31/2 bathrooms. There is a separate one-bedroom guesthouse and a swimming pool. Joyce Compton, who died in 1997 at 90, was in more than 200 films with such stars as Cary Grant, Jack Benny and Clara Bow. She appeared in "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945)
September 3, 2011 |
To secure an audience with the Obama family matriarch at her farmhouse in western Kenya, you are told to pay respects at the local seat of power. This is a run-down government building where the district commissioner, a scowling man in a black suit, receives you without warmth. You've come to see Sarah Onyango, you explain, the woman referred to as "Granny" by the president of the United States. You are coming with the blessing of the president's half brother Malik Obama, you quickly add. District Commissioner Boaz Cherutich, who controls the woman's 24-hour security detail, dismisses you brusquely, saying: With the family's permission, you don't need mine.
May 15, 2011 |
I scrambled out of bed at dawn's first light, dashed to the barn to milk a cow, stopped by the chicken coop to collect fresh-from-the-hen eggs, then doubled back to the farmhouse for breakfast. Six of us gathered around the table at Verdant View Farm B&B, prefacing our early morning meal with the cheerful strains of the Johnny Appleseed Song. "Oh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple seed.... " Just another morning in Paradise.