“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others…”

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s a short work-week for me as I have Wednesday through Friday off- and for good reason! Troy and I will be venturing back to Boston on Wednesday to see Hozier perform at the Wang Theatre (and reuniting with my dear friend Steven, who is currently on tour with him-) and then the remainder of the week will be spent resting, recuperating, and more than likely redecorating my apartment for the holidays. Sadly, it’s time to put the Fall decor away and swap it out for some Christmas stuff, instead!

But, needless to say- having to be at work today and tomorrow instead of getting a jump on my mini-vacation has me going a little stir crazy.

I was filled with similar energy yesterday, as well- despite it being cold and gray outside- and I took the afternoon to locate something I had only recently discovered while scrolling through one of those “bizarre things to do in your area!” clickbait advertisements/articles (which actually ended up being pretty helpful!)

I had never known about the “Tin Man of Goshen” or the Three Sisters Sanctuary– but once I read about it- I knew I had to see it for myself. The land, over eight acres at this point- is an ever-evolving art installation filled with huge metal sculptures, intricate glass work and straw figurines.

I had started my adventure at the sanctuary on my own after finding it tucked away off the road side- but Troy surprised me by making an appearance shortly after my arrival, as well- and together we explored the winding installations. It was lovely- made even more so by the fact that we were the only two people there apart from some workers who were tending to the land.

As always, I took plenty of photos. You can click to enlarge any of the images below!

It was really, really neat- and unlike anything I expected.

A little later on this week I’ll have another Autumnal/Thanksgiving-inspired recipe to share before I head off to the city for a couple of days of wild, early-Winter fun- and the full recap of that adventure should be up by Friday if I’m not too exhausted!

As always, enjoy the start of your week, everybody! Stay warm and stay strong!

Friday will be here before we know it!

xx

– Ashley –

MASS MoCA’d…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Amid all the Halloween-related fun last week and a busy workload at my office this week- I’d nearly forgotten to share some of my photos from a recent outing to MASS MoCA I had gone on when my dear friend Troy surprised me with day passes one rainy afternoon about a week or so ago.

The last time I’d been at MASS MoCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art,) I’d gone to see Maggie Rogers perform at an outdoor space in the museum’s courtyard during the Summer. An unexpected and pretty wild thunderstorm forced the crowd inside for a while- so I got to see parts of the museum/exhibits while we waited for conditions to become safe enough to venture back outdoors and continue with the show as scheduled.

I had mentioned to Troy, who was also with me during that outing- that I had wanted to come back and see the museum in it’s entirety someday.

And what better day to do it than a chilly October afternoon when it was pouring outside?

We walked from room to room, wing to wing, for a few hours while the rain beat down on the roof above us. It was a beautiful, relaxing day. Some of the exhibits stood out to me than others- like James Turrell’s “Into The Light,” Rafa Esparza’s “staring at the sun,” and my girl Annie Lennox’s “Now I Let You Go”- but overall it was a really incredible experience.

And, naturally- I snapped photos! To enlarge any of the images below, simply click!

Afterwards, Troy and I wrapped up the evening with an early dinner at Freight Yard Pub (in North Adams)– which was superb- before it was time to head home, dry off and warm up from the rain.

Such a good day.

I’m off to work bright and early today as usual- but a little later on this week I’ll have a peek inside my Fall makeup collection and some links to where you can buy what I’m wearing before we break for the weekend.

Until then- enjoy your “Hump Day,” everybody!

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 –

Old Fashioned Autumn…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

It’s hard to believe that September is already winding down considering it feels like it only just started- and the first day of Fall was only a couple of days ago! While October is undoubtedly my favorite month out of the year and Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday- I love those early Autumn, breezy mid-September days we’re lucky enough to get here in New England. There’s something really special about them. The fairs, the farm stands, the first signs of pumpkins and apples. It’s magic!

This past weekend, when the temperatures gradually started to cool as the sun was setting after a couple of hotter-than-expected afternoons- I took a quick drive over to Historic Deerfield to stroll, stop by their outdoor Fall craft fair– and try to photograph some of those hints of Fall in what is one of the most picturesque locations in Massachusetts.

The leaves are just starting to change- some are already falling onto the ground- and with the sun shining and the lovely Autumnal displays outside some of the historic homes- it made for some great pictures and a wonderful afternoon overall!

This coming weekend I’d let to set off to to the Mohawk Trail to really capture the bright reds, oranges, yellows and golden tones I’ve noticed during my drives to/from the area. The trail is truly one of the prettiest backdrops for leaf peeping!

But that’s after I share my September ’19 favorites this coming Friday- and after I get some work done from home today, first!

Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everybody! Let’s push through to Friday together!

xx

– Ashley –