Nina Lenzner Evison
My mother, Nina Lenzner Evison, began her time in Little Compton in the fall of 1987, when her father, Robert Lenzner, and his wife bought the yellow house at 311 West Main Road. They split the purchase with a friend, Liza Bailey, but eventually owned the entire property after Liza moved to London. Dale, Bob’s wife, was very familiar with the beauty of Little Compton after having spent time with her college boyfriend nearby in Westport, Massachusetts. The house they bought used to be the old tea house for people traveling through the area in the early 1800s. She thinks the house was built around 1820. The couple decided to renovate it and therefore during my mother’s junior and senior years in college she spent school holidays in Little Compton by hitching a ride from her friend who lived in Warwick, RI.
In 2001, while pregnant with me, my mother spent the month of August in the same house after moving up there with my older brother, Ollie. In Tiverton Four Corners, on the lawn behind the law offices, was where my brother first learned to walk. At that time, Bob and Dale had separated, and were later divorced, so that my grandfather sold what he owned to her. For a ten-year period, no one in our family had a house in Little Compton to go to in the summer.
Then, in summer of 2011, my grandfather decided to rent another house on West Main Road. My family decided to visit for the fourth of July weekend. Although I was only nine years old, Theo six, and Ollie eleven, I knew that something about Little Compton was special. My mom knew too, as she was reminded of its beauty and charm during that weekend in July. On Saturday morning we went to the Art Café for a coffee and my mom decided to go across the street and look into the window of the Little Compton Real Estate office. There she saw a listing on Baileys Ledge, which she knew was a really beautiful area of Little Compton. After coffee, we drove as a family to see if we could find the listing. After driving down the first half of the road, we stopped where a sign stood outside a house, but realizing it wasn’t the right broker, and my mom knowing that she had seen an ocean view, we kept going. Eventually we found 68 Bailey’s Ledge Road. Everyone in the car marveled at the view. My mom called the broker right there, not expecting a return call as it was the fourth of July weekend, but to our surprise she returned her call and the rest is history.
The house at 68 Bailey’s Ledge Road belonged to Sandy Mackintosh and it was where all the Mackintosh kids grew up. Our first summer on Bailey’s Ledge was in 2012, which was also when we learned that our neighbor, Daphne Farago, wanted to sell her house. Just a few doors down, my parents knew that the Farago house was on a much more appealing piece of property and would be a better fit for our family. My mom decided to talk to Mrs. Farago, who took her inside and showed her the house. The property was in great condition, spacious, and felt like a home. My parents decided to buy the Farago house privately and sell the Mackintosh house to the Malloys, who would then be next-door to their own extended family. We have been spending summers in Little Compton ever since.
In August of 2016, my mom’s half-brother, Jed, had just bought a new boat and was staying with us for a short period of time. On a Saturday morning, he desperately wanted to take the boat out to a beach but we were tired of only going to Lloyd’s and Tappen’s. My mom had the brilliant idea of driving over to Phillippi Beach in the boat, because she knew it was a beautiful spot, and anchor because that was not against the “rules,” even though it is a private beach. As we pulled closer to the shore at Philippi my mom spotted a black dog running through the water retrieving a stick and thought he looked very similar to Dickens, the Mackintoshes’ dog and best friend of Sadie, our dog. As we swam into shore, we realized that it was Dickens with Mary Mackintosh strolling along the beach. My mom started chatting, naturally, and Mary introduced us to her niece, Charlotte. Jed and Charlotte started talking and as we wanted to keep walking to the end of the beach, my mom realized that Jed was going to be left behind in deep conversation with Charlotte. Eventually, we took the boat back home, my mom emailed Mary to get Charlotte’s email, Jed emailed Charlotte, and two years later, I have an Aunt Charlotte.
My family would have never ended up in Little Compton, year after year, if it wasn’t for my mother. I believe that she has loved Little Compton ever since she first came as a college student. Little Compton and its incomparably beautiful landscape and topography are now an integral part of my family’s history.