Hike to The Hotel…

Hike to The Hotel…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

In continuing my “Haunted/Creepy Massachusetts & New England” posts for the month of October- I wanted to share another abandoned location that isn’t too far from where I live now- although you’ve got to hike a ways through the woods and up a mountain (literally) to find it. Be sure to bring some water and a comfortable pair of shoes!

In the late 1800s, the Eyrie House Hotel- perched on top of Mount Nonotuck in Holyoke, Massachusetts- was THE go-to spot for travelers and high society. Overlooking the picturesque region below- the hotel featured all the extravagant amenities one would expect to find at a five-star hotel in that day and age.

However, in April of 1901- while cremating two deceased horses on the property- owner William Street accidentally set the hotel and surrounding forest ablaze. The hotel was destroyed, unable to be repaired or replaced given Street’s rather frugal views on insurance policies/premiums- and all that remained was a small section of stone ruins that can now be accessed with a lengthy and steep climb up Mount Nonotuck.

This past weekend, enchanted by the idea of finding the old hotel during one of our famous rainy October days- I embarked on the long, exhausting journey- and wasn’t disappointed when I finally came across the ruins. My photos are below- and you can click on them to enlarge!

Honestly, my legs still feel a little like Jell-O from the hike, but it was so worth it!

But with it being a Monday morning, I’ve unfortunately got to get to work and make sure I’m staying one step ahead of things here at the office. I should be back on Wednesday with more Halloween-inspired fun!

Enjoy the start of your week, everybody! Let’s push through to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

“Cause every place I go- I take another place with me…”

“Cause every place I go- I take another place with me…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

It feels weird to be back at my office after having two days off during the week and then working from home for a half day yesterday- but I’m here and determined to get some stuff accomplished and get ready for the weekend after a planned dinner with my family a little later on tonight.

What an interesting few days it’s been, though!

As most of you already knew since I was pretty much gushing about it on social media- Tuesday was when Troy and I headed into Boston for the day to enjoy the weather (pre-bomb cyclone) and catch a set from Bon Iver at TD Garden from the front row. We had everything planned well in advance- but as most of you know and probably attest to yourselves- rarely do things ever go exactly as expected.

Things were off to a rough start when our AirBnB (which I will refrain from linking to on here even though all my instincts are telling me to put our host on blast) was not only not at all as it was advertised- but was also incredibly risky to both our health and privacy. We didn’t feel safe leaving our personal belongings there or sleeping there- so we opted to drive back to the Pioneer Valley after the show, instead.

For those of you who may not be aware- that is a LONG drive.

I was admittedly gutted- since I had been looking forward to being in the city for a couple of days- but when life gives you lemons and all that. Instead, we made as much as we could with the time we *did* have- including grabbing dinner and drinks in the North End at Assaggio and strolling around the city prior to the show starting.

Bon Iver was, of course- brilliant- and our seats were fantastic. Feist opened the show (and played “My Moon My Man”- which absolutely made my night) so I was very, very happy. I remain so grateful to everyone who facilitated getting us the seats after I had phoned in a favor. The chain of people is still a little foggy- but I’m hoping to get the specifics so I can send the proper thank yous accordingly.

On Wednesday, having returned to the Valley in lieu of tolerating unsatisfactory AirBnB accommodations- we opted to spend a lazy, rainy day dining out, driving, and catching peak foliage from Poet’s Seat Tower- which is just a short drive/hike away from my apartment and looks over all of Greenfield.

You bet I took photos. Click to enlarge!

Closing out the evening, before having to get ready for some work yesterday morning- Troy and I swung by the West End Pub in Shelburne Falls- right near the Bridge of Flowers- right before the night’s storm rolled through and took down most of the leaves (and a few trees, as well.)

Maple cheesecake is apparently a thing there- and I am filled with regret that I didn’t know about it sooner because it ruled.

And now, a couple days later and still a little groggy and in “mini-vacation mode-” here I am. Reluctantly getting back into a work state of mind.

Next week on the blog I’ll have some more creepy, kooky (mysterious and spooky) locations around the New England area to share, a return visit to one of my favorite Halloween attractions in Rhode Island to dissect- and maybe another peek into my closet before it comes down to the final hours ’til Halloween!

Until then, though- enjoy your weekend, everybody! Stay safe out there and be good to each other!

xx

– Ashley –

“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived…”

“… And when it’s time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.”

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While many of us typically dread Monday mornings (I still have to work today while many others can enjoy and embrace a long October weekend!)– this week is shaping up to be a fun and easy one- so I’m not too distressed at having to return to my office so bright and early. I have tomorrow and Wednesday off to spend some time in Boston, catch a Bon Iver show, and enjoy the company of someone near and dear to me. Thursday is my half-day at work, and then on Friday I get to attend an afternoon seminar until the end of the day- which keeps me away my desk for a few hours at the least!

Not all that bad, really!

And despite this past weekend being filled with my other jobs/obligations, errands, and preparing for the days ahead- I still managed to take a couple of hours to go leaf peeping and get some hiking in at a nearby reservoir while the sun was high- and caught some brilliant photos along the way!

Early to Mid-October is usually when the foliage is at it’s peak “pretty-ness” here in Massachusetts- and despite a few hotter than normal days at the beginning of the month and some recent torrential downpours- it looks like the leaves are changing right on schedule this season!

You can see larger versions of the photos below by simply clicking on them!

So, so unbelievably beautiful- and there’s still some that trees haven’t even started changing yet!

A little later on this week I’ve got a recipe for a fun take on miniature pecan pies (a hint- it involves cinnamon buns!) as well as a recap of my time in and around Boston! I’m so excited!

But until then, I’ve got to really take on the morning grind so that everything gets done before I head on out to the city tomorrow afternoon!

Have a great day off to those of you not working- and good luck to the rest of us who are! Here’s to a good week ahead!

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 –