Getting Spooky…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! Another work week is done and in the books!

I had wanted to share photos of the absolutely gorgeous foliage we have going on here in Western Massachusetts with all of you this morning- but as most of you know- sometimes life and other obligations come up unexpectedly and plans can change at the last minute.

It’s been a very busy week for me- both at work and outside of the office where I’ve been coordinating upcoming events and social gatherings with friends and family. October is usually a pretty packed month for me anyway- and this year is no different!

This weekend marks my annual trip to Rock and Shock in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts- where I’ll spend a day celebrating all things horror movies and Halloween. And then on Tuesday through Wednesday- I’m coming back to Boston to catch a show from Bon Iver at TD Garden and spend some time in the city I love and miss very, very much!

But needless to say, my days post-work have consisted of a lot of planning and a little packing for my upcoming mini road trips and overnight stays. It’s left little time to go out and photograph the changing season properly!

Despite my hectic schedule as of late- I intend on snapping plenty of photos over the next few days and getting them up here on Blondie Birdie ASAP. I’ll also be stopping by some of those creepy, spooky, possibly haunted locations around New England I’ve been talking about to share here on the blog and on social media, as well- and, of course- I’m going to start preparing my Halloween costumes! Yes, costumes. Plural. I never do just one!

In the interim, if you’re looking for some content to keep you busy until I’m back on Monday morning- you can check out the following recommended links!

But that just about does it for me for today, everyone! I’ve got lots to do before I leave work for the day and officially begin my Saturday/Sunday commitments!

Have a great weekend, y’all! Stay safe and be kind out there!

xx

– Ashley –

Paying Respects at Spider Gates…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

When I was a kid, “Spider Gates” (officially called the Friends Cemetery) in Leicester, Massachusetts was strictly off limits- both by parents everywhere and by the local authorities who would frequently bust trespassers or party-goers in the middle of the night.

Established in 1740, the Quaker cemetery- literally hidden in the middle of the woods (you need to hike a ways away from the only nearby road and through the forest to find it) has been the subject of urban legends, ghost stories, and paranormal fascination for years. The stories range anywhere from the somewhat believable (someone had hanged themselves from a tree within the cemetery during the 1800s) to the absolutely ludicrous (the gates actually serve as a passageway to Hell.)

The reality is that Spider Gates- while undoubtedly eerie for sure- is actually a pretty peaceful spot to visit and marvel at it’s pristine condition and practically ancient headstones. As part of my project to share some of the more unusual and spooky locations around where I grew up and am currently residing here on “Blondie Birdie”- I made a point to stop by yesterday afternoon and snap some photos.

I was the only one there at the time, which made the experience all the more surreal.

And no, I didn’t get possessed by any ghosts while I was there. Not that I know of, anyway. You can see some of my photos below. Simply click to enlarge!

“Spider Gates” is open to the public now during daylight hours only- but if you plan on visiting- just make sure you wear comfortable shoes and have some bug spray with you. Just in case!

I’ll have more roadside oddities and local creepy-ness to share a little later on this week- but with it being Monday and my being back at work bright and early this morning, I’ve got lots to get done!

Enjoy your day, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Autumn Leaves and Arsenic…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! I’m so thrilled that we’ve made it to another weekend!

Having been born and raised in Massachusetts, and spending most of my time in and around New England- I’m no stranger to the curiosities and oddities that can be found pretty much anywhere if you’re keeping an eye open. We’re well-known globally for our bizarre, sometimes morbid history, unusual landmarks and creepy (and often rumored to be haunted) locations.

In October, I like to showcase some of those bizarre places/things as it seems fitting given the Halloween spirit. I figured for the 2019 season, I’d start with a notorious headstone in a small, Quaker cemetery about 45 minutes away from my apartment- and yesterday, after wrapping up a half day at work- I ventured out to find it in the little town of Pelham, Massachusetts while I was admiring the foliage!

Nobody is really sure what the mystery illness that claimed Warren Gibbs’ life in 1860 was (back when the common cold would pretty much seal your fate)– but his brother, William, suspected foul play and accused his sister-in-law- Mary- of poisoning Warren with arsenic-tainted oysters.

The result of this suspicion was a pretty brutal headstone William erected for his late brother that flat-out blames Mary for Warren’s death with a poem etched into the front. You may not be able to read it in the photos- but it says:

Died by Arsenic Poison

March 23, 1860 Age 36 years 5 mos 23 days

Think my friends when this you see

How my wife has dealt with me

She in some oysters did prepare

Some poison for my lot and share

Then of the same I did partake

And nature yielded to its fate

Before she my wife became

Mary Felton was her name

Erected by his brother Wm Gibbs

The next time you think you’re being petty about something- ask yourself- am I William Gibbs level of petty? Because if you’re not having murder accusations etched onto the deceased’s headstone- you are not petty at. all. This headstone was next level.

Next week, I’ll be putting another unusual, possibly creepy place in the “Blondie Birdie” spotlight. It’s one of my favorite October traditions!

But until then, I’ve got to get some work done at the office and then prepare for a fun and (hopefully) productive weekend. Here’s wishing you all a fun and safe couple of days ahead!

See everyone again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

“She’s creepy and she’s kooky – Mysterious and spooky…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it!

That photo above would be the pumpkin a group of us (and mainly one of my more talented co-workers) carved at work. It came out pretty great!

While my weekend is looking pretty busy with my friend’s wedding and some Sunday Self-Care in the works- this past week has been extraordinarily fun! Halloween was a blast, kicked off with a large potluck brunch with everyone in my office (nearly all who came in some seriously kick ass costumes!) and an impromptu Red Sox/World Series celebration while the parade was happening.

I really do love our Rolling Rallies whenever a hometown team wins a championship. It’s an absolute free-for-all and a great excuse to take a day off of work- and everyone is in such a great mood. The feeling of camaraderie is really fantastic!

Following the party, it was time to set up my Halloween decorations (and the weather both on Wednesday and yesterday was warm, sunny and lovely!) and prepare for an early evening with my niece, brother and sister-in-law. While my niece made out like a bandit with all the candy she got trick-or-treating, pizzas were prepared and AMC’s ‘Halloween’ marathon was on full-blast.

Yes, that included “Halloween III: Season of The Witch’. Such a bad film that it’s actually a classic.

As the night drew to a close, Troy and I- both still in costume- decided to catch a late night movie and stopped by a screening of ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ which was fantastic. We both loved it. Great cast, terrific acting, awesome soundtrack- and a really interesting/unpredictable and keep-you-guessing story.

Don’t sleep on that one, guys! It’s worth a watch!

But for now I’m going to be powering through some work today (and probably heading into a little early-evening overtime with it as well) so that I can return from my weekend refreshed and as stress-free as possible this coming Monday. It’s always good to stay one step ahead of the game.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful, warm, and fun weekend ahead! I’ll have plenty of photos to share next week from my friends’ nuptials.

It’s going to be a beautiful ceremony- but I know for a fact the reception is going to be insane.

xx

– Ashley –

October 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, Happy Wednesday- and Happy Halloween, everyone!

With today being one of my favorite holidays, I’m starting things off a bit early this A.M. with a costume party and brunch potluck at my office with my co-workers before I head home to decorate my yard and front porch in preparation for tonight’s Trick-Or-Treaters.

My niece will be dropping by for a candy sweep of my neighborhood before we kick back with some pizza and enjoy a classic horror/slasher movie marathon- as is tradition!

I can’t believe tomorrow is the beginning of November and that Thanksgiving will be just a few short weeks away. I love a good food coma as much as the next person, but I wish October could go on just a little while longer- especially this past one- since it’s been so much fun!

This past month was filled with the usual spooky outings- from haunted pathways in New Hampshire, watching scary flicks in the middle of the woods (and in the middle of the night, no less), checking out Jack O’Lantern festivals with friends visiting from the West Coast and stopping by some of the more notoriously creepy graves in New England- but October was also peppered with plenty of shows, parties (including one of my best friend’s bachelorette party! I can’t believe her wedding is this coming weekend!), pumpkin picking at local farms and random get-togethers, too!

I traveled all over New England in October, including a long overdue trip to Montpelier, Vermont to spend time with family, catching a play at a converted barn in Western Massachusetts- and stopping by the Indie617 HQ to weigh in on music and events around the city not once- but twice.

FYI, if you missed those appearances, HERE’S the first and HERE’S the second! It’s always so much fun hanging out.

This past weekend, I actually braved the storm that rolled through the area to head to the station’s “Boos and Brews” party at Idle Hands Craft Ales in Malden to enjoy some good tunes, some really tasty beer- and PIZZA SKULLS (!!!) courtesy of Fat Boyfriend Bakery They were SO good.

I wore my Freddy Krueger costume to the party, which I’m also sporting today at work and will be wearing tonight while I pass out candy! I should have a decent photo of the whole thing up on my Instagram and here on the blog a little later on today/this week.

So, once all the Halloween excitement is (sadly) over- what do I have planned for November? Well, voting is right up there at the top of my list (and should be for everyone else, too!)– but blog-wise I’ve got plenty more recipes to share, especially with Thanksgiving approaching- as well as more late-Autumn wardrobe staples, early-shopping gift guides for the holidays, a peek inside my Fall makeup collection, and a bit more traveling before it starts snowing around here again!

But for now, I’m going to eat a ton of candy and savor today. Here’s hoping you all have a ghoulish evening! Stay safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –