As she watched live coverage at work Wednesday in Avon of the Sistine Chapel chimney releasing white smoke signifying a new pope, Anne Townsend couldn't help but think about the time she vacationed next door to the author who wrote a controversial novel set during a fictional conclave.
Townsend, of West Hartford, rented a Rye Beach, NH home with her family a few years ago that abutted The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's property. Her inlaws used to own homes in Rye Beach, and her father-in-law, who rents there annually, found the house.
While Townsend never had a conversation with Brown, she said they would say "hi" when they passed by each other.
"We used to see him walking his dog all the time," Townsend said. "He's just a regular Joe."
A friend of her father-in-law's who knew Dan Brown invited Townsend's daughter, Paige, now 18 and a Conard High School senior, to a birthday party at Brown's home.
The New Hampshire vacation area is no stranger to celebrity visits, Townsend said. Johnny Depp once looked at houses nearby. Townsend remembers peeking in the window of the small hub coffee shop in town where Tom Hanks was chatting with Brown. Hanks played lead character Robert Langdon in the movie adaptation of Brown's popular series.
Townsend is employeed as assistant to Avon Old Farms School Headmaster Kenneth LaRocque.
Have you ever bumped into a celebrity at an unexpected place? Anywhere near Avon? Who was the person and what happened? Do you know of a celebrity with Avon ties? Tell us in the comments!