Martha Stewart strolled outdoors with her dog and fed her horses Friday morning, hours after returning from prison to the multi-million-dollar estate where she will remain under the watch of federal authorities while trying to revive her homemaking empire.
Before her five-month stay in prison, Stewart lamented that she would miss her beloved pets – cats, dogs, horses, canaries and chickens – and hoped to be free in time for her cherished spring gardening.
On a cold late-winter morning, she emerged from her home wearing a light-colored coat, dark pants and boots, but no gloves. Stewart walked with a companion and a red dog to a snowy paddock. She handed treats over the fence to five horses and caressed their muzzles, then turned to wave to journalists before heading inside again.
Stewart was driven to the 153-acre estate 40 miles north of midtown Manhattan after landing about 2 a.m. at Westchester County Airport in a private jet. She later was seen walking around inside her Winter Home with her daughter, Alexis.
For the next five months, Stewart must wear an electronic anklet so authorities can track her every move. But she is allowed to receive her $900,000 salary again and can leave home for up to 48 hours a week to work, shop or run other approved errands.
Her journey home began about 12:30 a.m. Friday, when two dark-windowed sport utility vehicles slipped out the gates of the women’s prison in Alderson, W.Va., and drove to a nearby airport.
There, Stewart – casually dressed in a gray-and-white poncho, dark jeans and ankle boots – smiled and waved to supporters as she walked across the runway and boarded the plane for New York.
“The experience of the last five months … has been life altering and life affirming,” Stewart said in a statement issued on her Web site. “Someday, I hope to have the chance to talk more about all that has happened, the extraordinary people I have met here and all that I have learned.”
Stewart, 63, who also has homes in Connecticut, Maine and the Hamptons, chose the Katonah estate, which she bought in 2000 for $16 million, to be her prison until August.
Besides running Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. and writing a column for her magazine, Stewart can prepare for the two television shows in which she’ll be starring: a revival of her daily homemaking show and her version of NBC’s “The Apprentice” hosted by development billionaire Donald Trump.