Having been a photographer for years, Judy Gross never imagined she would become a writer.
â€śI used to walk around the neighborhood with my friend Ellen and talk about the Kentlands and how much we enjoyed living here,â€ť said Gross. â€śEllen suggested that I write a book about the neighborhood, so I did.â€ť
And so began the year-and-a-half long labor of love that culminated in â€śThe Kentlands: A Home for All Seasons,â€ť Judyâ€™s beautifully written and photographed book, now available to the public.
Gross is an accomplished photographer and has been photographing Kentlands for more than 19 years. Her work appears in the Kentlands Clubhouse and Carriage House. Writing, however, was a new challenge.
â€śI had to bug people to write parts of the book,â€ť Gross said.
She first approached Joe Alfandre, whose company, Joseph Alfandre & Co., bought and developed the land on which the Kentlands was built. She admired the beautiful essays he had written about the community and attributes the name of her book, â€śA Home for All Seasons,â€ť to an essay Alfandre wrote about the community.
Gross interviewed many other people, including Andres Duany, Kentlands land planner; Juliana MacDowell, granddaughter of Otis Beall Kent, former owner of the land on which Kentlands was built; and everyone in between. â€śThe book is full of quirky stories from neighbors,â€ť Gross said.
The author traces the history of Kentlands from the 1750s to present day through stories told in words and in photographs. â€śThe book is all in color, except for the very old photographs that are in black and white,â€ť said Gross. â€śSome of the photographs have never been seen by the public.â€ť
Gross has self-published the book and has pre-sold many of the 250 copies published in the first edition. She is a featured author at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 19 and will speak about her book at 10:40 a.m. She will have a booth at the festival, which takes place on the grounds of Gaithersburg City Hall, and will sign and sell her book, priced at $26.95. Book signings are also scheduled for Framerâ€™s Choice in Kentlands Downtown in September, and for the Kentlands Mansion in December and January.
â€śI wrote this book as a community project, and it feels wonderful to have completed it,â€ť Gross said. â€śI think itâ€™s wonderful that so many people contributed to this book about the neighborhood we all love.â€ť
For more information and a detailed schedule of events at the Gaithersburg Book Festival, visit www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org.