Ivoryton, CT, where we are staying, was familiar territory for Katharine Hepburn. She began her acting career at the Ivoryton Playhouse with her first major performance. Born in Hartford, her family owned a summer place in nearby Fenwick. Fenwick fittingly named their Cultural Arts Center for their most famous and favorite resident. It contains a small museum, free to the public, housed in the old Fenwick City Hall.
Her place fronted on the sound with a spacious surround, a large pond and golf course behind, and only 40 neighbors when the place was first built. Above is a rear view of the house.
She had a brownstone in New York, but Fenwick was her favorite place to be. She shared this “cottage” with her brother and could be seen shopping, sailing, golfing or working around the yard by locals who gallantly respected her privacy.
Here she is doing some pruning on a pine tree with a fashionable scarf around her neck.
She left no doubt about her desire to be left undisturbed. She died at the Fenwick cottage in 2003 at age 96.
My youngest daughter was an avid fan of Hepburn during her high school years, and had collected nearly every movie Hepburn made. I believe I’ve seen most of them.
Classic Hepburn, this is my favorite photo of her from the museum, although the painting below has more character and catches a glimpse of her personality. I met her on the streets of San Francisco once. She was wearing a cast on her foot and acknowledged my recognition with a slight smile and nod of her head but held a hand up to let you know not to engage her. It was done so smoothly and respectfully that one could not even think to intrude. It made me smile and continue walking.
I didn’t know that she loved painting, nor that she was a credible artist. She didn’t sell them, nor give many of them to friends. It was a her own private joy. There are several of her paintings in the museum.