AVID MARIA: If the thought of purchasing a house from a prominent publishing scion seems ridiculously out of reach, it’s not.
Maria Rodale, vice chairman of Rodale Inc., the wellness-oriented publishing company started by J.I. Rodale in 1930, has put her Pennsylvania home on the market. The five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot house was listed at $525,000 in last Thursday’s special Homes advertising supplement to The New York Times. But two days before, the price had been reduced nearly 15 percent, to $450,000.
Why the markdown? The address is, after all, in Emmaus, Pa. Rodale also is said to be eager to sell, and evidently is ready to move into a new, eco-friendly home in the area.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still attributes to recommend her old “Garden Gate.” The property, according to Carol Dorey Real Estate, includes “magical” gardens, tended by the green-thumbed Rodale, and a renovated 1838 farmhouse with two fireplaces, skylights and a sunroom.
An overwritten online listing reads, “One notices the trumpet vine first: the thick trunk wrapped around a pillar on the modest front porch, then bursting in greenery overhead. The vine and porch are metaphors for the property whose humble exterior appearance belies the wealth of nature and fine details within … The garden, secret behind a stucco wall, also began its transformation in the 1980s. Rich variety, seasonal vitality, private glades and aromatic zones will make you want to spend every possible moment outside.”
So, could it be that someone at Carol Dorey is auditioning for a writing gig at Organic Gardening? Or did Maria Rodale, who’s also a published author, write the listing herself?
— Sara James
ROYAL SUIT: Public figures are continuing their siege on the press in Britain.
Following the recent high-profile libel suits of Roman Polanski, Cameron Diaz, Kate Moss and Kate Hudson, Prince Charles plans to sue Associated Newspapers after publication of excerpts from his private journals last week in its British tabloid The Mail on Sunday. The newspaper published excerpts from journals written by Charles in 1997 during Britain’s hand-over of Hong Kong to China. The article said the Prince’s journal was subtitled, “The Great Chinese Take Away” and in it Charles calls Chinese diplomats “appalling old waxworks.”
“This is a matter of principle,” said Sir Michael Peat, principal private secretary to the Prince of Wales, in a statement Friday. “Like anybody else, the Prince of Wales is entitled to write a private journal without extracts being published.” The article appeared at a particularly sensitive time. Charles was on an official visit to the U.S. earlier this month, when China’s president, Hu Jintao, was visiting London. The timing was interpreted by many as a snub on Charles’ part.
It’s certainly not the first time a member of the royal family has offended those in the East. While with Queen Elizabeth II on a visit to see Deng Xiaoping in the Eighties, Charles’ father, Prince Philip, famously referred to the Chinese as having “slitty” eyes.
In its statement Friday, The Mail on Sunday said that it stood by the story. “This was not a private journal,” said the statement. “It was widely distributed and viewed as an historic document intended for eventual publication … We are very surprised by the action taken by Clarence House [Charles’ London residence], which, if pursued, raises serious issues about freedom of the press.”
— Nina Jones
SYNC SINKS: After a last-ditch effort to sell Sync (reported Friday in WWD), Ziff Davis Media has ended publication of the two-year-old gadget magazine for men. The December/January issue will be the last. A spokesman denied that the decision had anything to do with Ziff Davis owner Willis Stein & Partners’ rumored plan to sell the company in 2006.
— Jeff Bercovici