On a Sunday walk on the Saint Michaels Nature trail I passed a favorite house, with a brilliant chartreuse fence. Growing out of the fence was a dollhouse sized structure sporting a paper that said “I Brio am pleased to announce the dedication and grand opening of Brio’s little Free Library. 3pm…” Wine and bread were offered in exchange for a book. As a further inducement I noticed a sign on the outside of the library that said “There are no strangers here, only friends you have not met yet.”
Happily I cut my walk short, obtained said book, and opened the purple gate which was flanked with purple Dutch clogs. I did not know who Brio was, but was met by the owners, an old friend, Peter Hartjens and his stylish wife Constance Morris Hope (a leadership coach). We sat at a sunny outdoor table, painted purple and sporting a dragon centerpiece. We sipped wine and chatted with Interesting neighbors who soon dropped by. Brio the dog slept under the table.
Peter previously owned a unique home emporium on Saint Michaels road, Tidedancers. His fans, I included, asked him if he would ever consider reopening. No, he said. He is now a “certifiable smilemaker.” He recently published a book A Million Smiles: 101 True (well, mostly true) smilemaking stories. The house, with its exuberant doses of whimsy, also makes one smile.
Pamela Heyne is a Saint Michaels architect and writer, firstname.lastname@example.org.