KATONAH, N.Y. – Ambling the grounds of her 153-acre estate after five months in prison, Martha Stewart (search) said it felt good to be home, but she also reminisced somewhat wistfully about her time behind bars.
"I didn't really miss material things at all," she said to reporters gathered at her mansion. "It was kind of nice to have a rest from the material things. And from this," she added, laughing and pointing to the media horde.
On her first day home Friday, a cheerful Stewart walked her dog, Paw Paw (search), into a snowy paddock and handed treats over a fence to her five horses, caressing them. Later, she ducked inside her new greenhouse (search) and emerged with handfuls of lemons.
"People make jokes about making lemons into lemonade," she quipped.
Stewart continued to project the softer, more approachable image that she cultivated in prison, waving and sending cups of hot chocolate to reporters and photographers. She wore an ecru quilted coat and matching knit scarf.
"It feels great," she said, when asked about her first day at home. On the subject of breakfast — she hadn't eaten yet — Stewart said she had missed "the idea of cappuccino (search)" more than the actual beverage.
The display of gracious living began at midmorning, just hours after Stewart made a speedy dash home from a federal women's prison in Alderson, W.Va. She was released at 12:30 a.m. and flew to New York in a private jet, arriving at her Katonah estate 40 miles north of New York City by 3 a.m.
Stewart has 72 hours from the time of her release to set up a meeting with a probation officer. Then, she'll get fitted with an electronic anklet, and her five-month home detention will begin.
It wasn't clear which of several houses on the estate Stewart, 63, would choose for her confinement.
Stewart will get 48 hours a week to work outside the home, and is expected to commute to her Manhattan offices next week. She's working on two TV programs, and she might be allowed to do some taping on her grounds — if she also gets a town permit. But when she's not on the job, Stewart will be confined inside her house, unable to take a stroll like she took on Friday.
She will, however, be free to throw dinner parties.
Back in Alderson, which had been swarmed by fans during the night, a prison guard emerged at midmorning and picked up garbage as news crews rolled up their cables.
All but four die-hard Stewart supporters were gone.
Stewart's neighbors in New York seemed to be taking her return in stride.
"I guess it's good to be home even if it's home confinement," said Clement Darshow of Bedford, a retired financier. "I'm sure she won't be any trouble here."
Wes Smith, who was delivering mail in Katonah, said, "She's served her time. She's probably a changed person. Maybe she learned her lesson."