Volume 14, Issue 10 ~ March 9 - March 15, 2006


Royalty Arrives in Chesapeake Country

The Man Who Would Be King is a classic work of fiction by Rudyard Kipling made by John Huston into a classic film starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine.

There’s a non-fiction version that describes Chesapeake Country’s wannabe kings and queens, the new arrivals erecting their dream mansions jarringly out of scale with their surroundings along our highways and back roads.

You can’t miss these monstrosities, rising up, up, up and spreading out, out, out to devour farmland and forests.

Is there a crazed builder out there with a Donald Trump complex and uncommon persuasive skills?

Or do too many people have more money than sense?

The size and styles are mystifying, the motivations baffling. Some are 4,000 and 5,000 square feet and ornamented with columns, turrets, multiple front entrances, soaring cathedral ceilings, five-plus bedrooms, dual staircases, gourmet kitchens and lap pools. We saw one advertised with “a buddy bath”; we’re not entirely sure what people do there.

The mix of materials — brick, stone and siding — reminds us of an old neighbor who used any and all materials he already had on hand (including sheet metal and railroad ties) rather than heading to the lumber yard when he built.

Before he died, Uncle John, who built his own home with a two-car garage, was amazed at the advent of garages big enough for three vehicles. “What do they need three-holers for?” he would ask.

Driving on Route 2 the other day, we were stunned to see a four-car garage with still another car-sized door on the side. Golly, would that make it a five-holer?

If class is what they’re trying to convey, then I guess they’re making the rest of us second or third class. Or maybe no-class.

Rather than blend in with Maryland’s rolling hills, these mansions attack the landscape, then convert what’s left of it to artificial green.

House envy? Not a chance. We can’t find time to keep dirt out of a cottage and weeds out of the garden. (Then again, we’re not hiring illegals to take care of our property.)

Unless you’re hosting high school reunions or scavenger hunts, why do you need all this space?

Who are these people impressing with their castles? Perhaps one another because, like us, many of their older neighbors in Bay country shake their heads in disgust.

Are you seeing what we’re seeing? Let us know.

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