A gorgeous waterfront estate in Easton found a buyer this month after being on the market for over a year. It was listed for $15.5 million, though the final price is still unknown, since the sale isn’t scheduled to close for another three weeks. But the sky-high price tag isn’t the only intriguing aspect of the 36-acre property known as “the mannequin mansion” for its theatrical roadside displays starring life-size human dolls and real-life props like trucks, boats, and small airplanes. Rumors about the buyers’ identities are also proliferating on Eastern Shore community forums, with speculation ranging from Tiger Woods to Ted Leonsis to the Obamas.
Owners Thomas Blair, co-founder of prescription drug benefits company Catalyst Health Solutions, and wife Alice Blair purchased the Miles River property in 2002. A 2019 article in the Washington Post details how the couple refashioned the enormous compound to accommodate their 16 grandchildren. In addition to a six-bedroom main house, there are multiple cottages, barns for horses, alpacas, and chickens, a swimming pool, walking trails, and a boat dock. Tom Blair, a pilot and vintage WWII plane enthusiast, added an airplane hangar and airstrip, and hung a WWII Spitfire in the “great room.” The couple’s love of church ruins inspired an art installation featuring ivy-covered stones that resemble a crumbling house of worship in the English countryside.
Whimsical displays weren’t just reserved for the family. The Blairs’ mannequin-filled dioramas on St. Michaels Road became the stuff of local legend—and a worthy detour for visitors in the Instagram age. Major holidays were often marked with high drama as Christmas reindeer or Thanksgiving turkeys battled it out with hunting mannequins. Donald Trump’s inauguration brought a full, seemingly real-life security detail along the road, including black Suburbans flanked by dummy security guards and a mannequin changing a flat tire on a Lincoln limousine, while replicas of Donald and Melania waved to an empty field, backs turned to the road. (Some folks on social media mistook the scene for an actual motorcade, perhaps Dick Cheney en route to his home in St. Michaels). The displays weren’t always comedic. One Memorial Day brought rows upon rows of white crosses, wreaths, and flags to the lawn. You can check out past displays on a Facebook page dedicated to the theatrics.
There’s no confirmation yet on who the potentially famous buyers are. Or what will happen to the mannequins. But in the meantime, they’re out along Route 33 for a final bow.