I invited two companions to go with me on this year's Library Home and Garden Day tour around Unionville, but I also put them to work: after each stop, I asked them for their impressions (the companion with legible handwriting was assigned the role of scribe). It was surprising how different our reactions were. The house that one called "magnificent" was dubbed "too angular" by another. One preferred a simple woodland path with deer-eaten hostas to the perfectly in bloom, weed-free bed nearby. The senior-citizen member of our group greatly appreciated the places where there were sturdy railings to hold on to.
Because we took our time and asked questions, our merry band made it to only half of the stops: two farms on Hilltop View Road and the two "sister houses" formerly owned by longtime Master of Foxhounds Mrs. Hannum and her sister Mrs. Walker (now owned by Nancy and Crosby Wood and Cuyler Walker).
We greatly enjoyed the family portraits and foxhunting photographs but felt sorry for the guides who had to try to explain all of the complicated Hannum/Smith/Harriman/Stewart/Davidson family connections.
We were delighted to chat with two of the homeowners, Mike Rotko and Nancy Wood. One member of our party is a dog lover (dogs reciprocate the feeling, too) and had a wonderful time getting to know the canines at several of the houses. At Rotkos', my scribe noted, "There were carrots in the horse barn. We could feed them!"
Also at Rotkos' we had the pleasure of meeting the new library director, Megan Walters, who went on the tour in the company of Tom Swett, president of the library's Board of Trustees.
This year's tour took visitors on some narrow, winding back roads like Green Valley and Hilltop View that normally see little traffic. We saw one car pulled over on Mill Road shortly after it became a gravel road; the driver was studying his map and looked quite concerned, as if he must have taken a wrong turn somewhere (he hadn't).
The members of the library's Special Events Committee and their helpers did a beautiful job, as always, getting visitors parked safely (a definite challenge in a few of the sites with long driveways) and in and out of the houses efficiently. They even took down all the directional signs shortly after the end of the tour (politicians, take note!).