The Wolfe Pack Picnics at High Meadow
(Rex Stout's Home)
With a Tour of the House that Mr. Stout Built

See below for:

What a weekend it was with fabulous weather, great company, good fun, and virtual submersion in things Wolfean.

7/11/2003 – Friday Night at the Movies

On Friday,, July 11 20 Wolfe Packers gathered at O'Caseys Restaurant (22 East 41st St) in Manhattan to view the 1977 version of The Doorbell Rang. Many feel that this is the best treatment of a Wolfe story. One reason is that the screenplay was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Frank (The Subject Was Roses) Gilroy. The film stared the late Thayer David as Mr. Wolfe and Tom Mason as Archie. The general consensus was that Mr. David was superior to Maury Chaykin, but Tim Hutton's Archie was better than Mr. Mason.

7/12/2003 – Saturday Report from High Meadow

At about 11 AM an assortment of vehicles began the steep ascent to High Meadow – a plateau overlooking Westchester County in the rolling hills straddling the New York/Connecticut border near the Westchester-Putnam County border. The occasion is a Wolfe Pack pilgrimage to the home of the late Rex Stout, famous for his job in the Nero Wolfe mystery series as the literary agent to Archie Goodwin.

The first view of the house as we round the corner shows a low, flat-roofed house built into the rising hillside in the modern style reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was designed and built by Mr. Stout prior to Archie Goodwin’s first account of a Nero Wolfe case.

Mr. Stout’s daughter Barbara, his granddaughter, Liz Maroc McAuliffe, her husband and children, and her brother, Chris Maroc were gracious tour guides through the home and gardens. They showed and discussed the design, the structural components, the handmade cabinetry, and Mr. Stout’s office. Here is where Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, and a host of characters and their habits, obsessions, and habitats sprang to life. They also talked about the family patriarch as they knew him.

On the expanse of meadow beyond the house, the visitors spread their picnic goodies. Then began the competition for best picnic presentation and best food. What a spread!

Best Wolfean Presentation — Debby Montague, NH for a sealed box of Darst Sausages which hissed poison gas when opened. Debby said that Archie gave her the box, addressed to Mr. Wolfe at his home. Archie told her that Mr. Wolfe has stopped eating sausages.

Best Wolfean Foods — Jesse Strader, Burnside, MN for an Archie lunch: corned beef on rye, bananas, chocolate bars and milk.

Special Prize for Best Overall Presentation and Food — Kathy Braue, New London, CT. This special award was created on the spot because her presentation so clearly stood out.

To view the creativity and ingenuity that went into the winning picnic feasts, see the photos below. Look for: exploding box of Darst Sausage, corn from Farmer McLeod, crystal candlestick on a damask cloth with pie, brownies, and other Wolfean comestibles.

As the picnickers devoured their lunches and beverages provided by Goya (THANKS!), they had puzzles to solve. Shortly before the house tour began, The Editor-in-Chief of the Gazette, Jean Quinn, divulged the answers.

Promptly at 4PM, the revelers departed the Stout environs, to reconvene the following morning in Manhattan for a tour of Mr. Stout's Mr. Wolfe's and Mr. Goodwin's Greenwich Village.

Sunday, July 13, 2003, 11 AM at 33 5th Avenue, Rex Stout's Greenwich Village home

The Wolfe Pack’s walking tour of Rex Stout’s Greenwich Village began at the former apartment of Rex Stout and his first wife, Fay Kennedy. It included 24 stops, primarily story settings, but also a few Greenwich Village points of interest along the way.

The weekend ended with the customary brunch. Knickerbockers at University Place and 9th Street served a delicious, elegant, and varied repast to the walkers.

Rex Sout's Office
Rex Sout's Office

(Thank you to our hosts Liz, Barbara, Chris, and those patient teenagers, husband, and dogs. Also thanks to Debbie , Tony Iaccio, and Al for wonderful photos and to Al for the video.)