Father’s Day in Hampshire County…

Good Morning and Happy Monday (yuck…) everyone!

While I had absolutely *grand* plans for this past weekend in anticipation of lots of sunshine and soaring temperatures- Mother Nature threw all of us here in the Valley a curveball and turned a beautiful and breezy Saturday afternoon/evening into a positively chilly and rain-filled Sunday. It wasn’t just an occasional shower or sprinkle, either- but big, fat cold droplets that seemed to last all day.

My scheduled strawberry picking at a local farm and an outdoor brunch unfortunately had to be rescheduled for a later date this week/month- but I did my best to make do with my afternoon after I finished some early morning errands.

Of course, yesterday was Father’s Day- which is always a rough day for me to get through ever since my dad passed away unexpectedly in the Summer of 2012. I’m usually able to distract myself or keep myself occupied so that I don’t feel too sad- and living in a new area where I’m still getting acclimated and familiarized is definitely a BIG distraction these days. I took the opportunity to drive a little further West than where I presently live to do some exploring and try to find a Father’s Day present for my mom.

To explain: After my dad died- my mother and I made a pact that for every Father’s Day and for what would have been her and my dad’s wedding anniversary- we’d celebrate it together. This could mean having dinner together, buying each other little gifts/cards, etc. We have a family dinner scheduled later on this week, of course- but I wanted to get her something special, too.

My mom loves anything Americana or kitschy, farm-related things- so my living in the Valley is a dream come true for her because I’m essentially surrounded by that stuff on all sides. As I was passing through Williamsburg yesterday- a charming little town Northwest of Florence- I spotted the Williamsburg General Store and knew I’d find something perfect for her there.

Sure enough- I came across this bumble bee watering can and immediately thought of my mom- who spends a lot of time outside tending to her yard and would probably use this for it’s intended purpose AND for decoration.

I’m excited to see her reaction when she opens it. I think it’s adorable- and don’t worry, she doesn’t go online much so unless someone shows this post to her before I visit her later on this week- my posting about it isn’t going to spoil the surprise!

I’ve actually got a short work-week this week, having taken Wednesday off to be present when the last of the furniture I ordered arrives and is finally delivered to my apartment. So, as much as I don’t want to be at work right now- at least I’m not technically here a full week.

But I’ve still got lots to do this morning- so this just about does it for me today!

Enjoy the start of your week, everyone. Let’s push through to Friday together!

xx

– Ashley –

Moose Crossings and Ice Cream Sundaes…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Every year, when Father’s Day rolls around- I like to take a day or two to just get out of town for a little while and visit new places, try new dishes, or see new art and otherwise keep myself preoccupied for a little while. My own father passed away from chemotherapy complications nearly six years ago- and while I don’t fall into a deep depression the way I did during the first couple of Father’s Days after he was gone- I still tend to get sad/emotional from time to time.

Thankfully, the weather was lovely this past weekend- which made taking a mini road trip up to Brattleboro, Vermont on Saturday all the more enjoyable since I could spend time outdoors in the sunshine. And, since I naturally took the back roads to get there- I was able to stop along the way at different farms and along trails and river edges to squeal at cute animals or dip my toes in the water to cool off.

I put a lot of miles on my cars, for sure- but it’s worth it. I love to explore, and on warm Summer days- nothing beats driving through the countryside with the windows down, listening to music, and sipping iced coffee or tea. It’s very therapeutic for me.

And with all the hiking I did on Saturday when I wasn’t behind the wheel- I made sure to treat myself with a little hot fudge sundae at Northfield Creamie. I pass by it a lot whenever I’m in Western Massachusetts, but had never actually had the chance to stop and savor their delicious desserts until now! It was well worth the pit stop.

On Sunday, one of my longtime and dearest friends out in Western Massachusetts invited me out to Turners Falls for an afternoon to get a behind-the-scenes look at a show he’s performing through this weekend at the Shea Theatre. It’s an immersive theater experience- which is right up my alley- and I’m excited to see the play in it’s completion this coming weekend. It was really interesting to see all the work and preparation that goes into it- and I had a lot of fun meeting everyone since they were all so unbelievably friendly.

After a dinner at Riff’s (their goat cheese and avocado quesadilla is the best, by the way) and doing a little street art tour by some of the building sides and alley ways- I had to bid my dudebro adieu and head home so I could get a good night’s sleep in me before sliding into work bright and early on Monday morning.

Overall, I had a beautiful, relaxing and food-filled weekend- and I knew my dad was there with me in spirit. He would have loved the scenery- since he was a fan of taking long and aimless drives, too. That’s where I get it from, after all!

Many thanks to the friends who took time from their days with their own fathers to check in and send good vibes (and more than one funny joke or meme to keep me in good spirits) and to the new faces I met along my travels who made me feel welcome and cherished. It means more than you’ll ever know!

But I’ve got to get to work and make sure I’m staying on top of my tasks today!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful mid-week!

And, with only a couple days left to go- there’s still some to enter my Beach-themed giveaway! Get on that!
Turners Falls, MA. 6/17/18

xx

– Ashley –

Surf’s Up…

Happy First Day of Summer!

I’m celebrating the Summer Solstice with an ice cream party at work today, but before I go crazy with the toppings- I wanted to share some details from my weekend!

Father’s Day has, obviously, not really been the same for me since my father passed away in the Summer of 2012. While I admire and always send my love and best wishes to all awesome dads everywhere on such a wonderful and well-deserved day of appreciation- it goes without saying that I miss my own dad very much. I fully admit that I get emotional from time to time when I think about him- and this past Sunday was no exception. I had a good cry- but I didn’t let it ruin my day.

My dad would have wanted me to push through any sadness and make the best out of my day- just like he always did- and what a beautiful, sunny and warm day it turned out to be! The weather this past weekend was originally supposed to be on the rainy and cloudy side- but by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, the temperatures were soaring and the sky was clear. I headed up to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire (one of my dad’s favorite spots to visit) to soak up the sun and the sand- and I arrived at the coast just in time for high tide and some pretty big waves.

I’m not a good surfer by any means- but I do give it my best on occasion. It’s a really fun and challenging hobby I hope to master someday- although Sunday was not that day. I got knocked off of my board more than once (okay- I got knocked off of my board a LOT)┬ábefore I eventually retreated to the rocks to watch some other enthusiasts give it their best shot.

When the tide eventually started crashing dangerously close to where I had stored my gear- I took a quick drive along the water to grab an Almond Joy ice cream cone at one of my favorite spots, The Beach Plum, and then started to make my way back towards the city.

This weekend is going to be spent at another beach (again!) with friends, but overall- I had a really good Sunday. I think my dad may have been there in spirit- at least it felt like he was- and I hope he enjoyed the day as much as I did.

xx

– Ashley –