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 –

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 –

“Life’s no fun without a good scare…”

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! (As happy as a Monday can be, anyway!)

What a weekend it’s been! Last night was the first full night’s sleep I’ve gotten in a few days- so I’m feeling pretty refreshed today and eager to get things done at work so I can stay one step ahead of the game!

As Halloween creeps closer and closer, my days (and nights) have been filled with horror movies, outings to creepy locations, costume preparation and baking spooky-inspired goods for friends, family & co-workers. It’s been so much fun- and I’m going to be pretty bummed out come November 1st when all the terrifying-in-a-good-way thrills and chills take a backseat until next October!

I think one of my favorite things this year has been finding new places to visit (and scream my head off!) with my friends. Case in point, this past Friday night I made a 2-hour trek to Lee, New Hampshire to check out Haunted Overload with a group of friends and acquaintances. The outdoor haunted trail- located at DeMeritt Hill Farm- was recommended by my friend Chris who had visited it last year and spoke very highly of it.

The theme of the trail changes every year, so you never know what to expect- and it’s SO intricate, detailed, creepy and fun! It wasn’t at all what I expected- and I loved every second of it! Between the HUGE scary wood carvings and the full-sized structures (including a decrepit old Victorian era house) that you run in/through/around while being pursued by evil clowns, butchers wielding chainsaws, etc.- I was hoarse by the end of the night.

Luckily, the farm offers warm apple cider (and snacks) at their stand at the end of the trail- so I made sure to have a drink and pick up some cider doughnuts for home before I left! I’d love to come back next year- or even better, check out the trail during the day to get a better look at the craftsmanship during one of their kid-friendly afternoon events before the season wraps up!

If you find yourself in Lee, New Hampshire before Halloween- definitely stop by. You won’t regret it- and tickets to the trail are way more affordable than other local and highly publicized horror houses that are half as interesting as Haunted Overload is!

Saturday was a little less horror-centric but still picturesque and lovely as I headed up to Montpelier, Vermont (via the scenic route- a 4+ hour drive through the mountains and valleys) to visit my Uncle with my mom and Oliver before he reports to a scheduled surgery in a few weeks.

We left early in the morning, giving us plenty of time to sight-see and admire the foliage along the way. Vermont is a truly lovely state, filled with beautiful farms, old homes, hidden cemeteries and winding roads through the woods- so with a Spotify-generated Fall-themed playlist and some hot coffee- it felt like the perfect Autumn day enjoyed with family.

And even though I’m not a fan of Winter- at all- I’d love to head back up to the area for the holidays since I’m sure it’s absolutely lovely blanketed in snow and Christmas lights!

This week is shaping up to be another busy, exciting one. I’ll be re-appearing on Indie617 this coming Wednesday (where I’ll also be catching a live set from The Wombats later on in the afternoon!) as well as checking out a Jack O’Lantern exhibit with some dear friends who are visiting from the West Coast for a few days.

I’ve got another recipe to share a little later on this week, plus some photographs from my adventures along the way over the next few days- but before I get too ahead of myself- I’ve got to make it through work today!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! Let’s get through it together!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Lizzie Borden Took an Ax…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Although today marks a holiday I don’t necessarily believe in celebrating- my office is still closed and I still have to make the best of having a Monday off. My plans today include apple/pumpkin picking with my mother and my niece out in rural Massachusetts, peeping some foliage, and enjoying a lunch outdoors in the beautiful splendor of Autumnal New England!

This time of year, I like to highlight some of the “spookier” pieces in my wardrobe- from Wednesday Addams-inspired tops, dresses with bloody hand prints all over them, and stockings designed to look simply skeletal. It’s a really fun time for fashion in October- and that also includes some unique jewelry, too!

I’m very fortunate in that I have friends and family who understand and encourage my love of all things horror/macabre- so they haven’t blinked twice when I started showing up to get-togethers in recent days with this large Lizzie Borden pendant necklace I had picked up during a Winter visit to her family’s home (now a museum) a couple of years ago! To them, it’s perfectly normal.

Apart from the large brooch featuring Lizzie’s portrait, the necklace also includes a cheeky sterling silver ax/hatchet charm that is noticeable to those who take a long enough glance.

I typically don’t wear this necklace with anything fancy or flashy since it’s big and attention-grabbing enough on it’s own- but it’s a nice addition to my usual October daytime ensembles which consist of (mostly) all black tops, jeans and boots. I aim to look like a vampire as much as possible through Halloween, really.

The necklace is available at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast website (and the inn itself is a pretty fascinating visit if you ever find yourself in Fall River!) which also has a bunch of other really interesting and morbid souvenirs available for purchase. I mean, who wouldn’t want a magnet with crime scene photos of Mr. & Mrs. Borden’s bodies on their refrigerator, right? Definitely a conversation piece for sure.

I have even more oddities to share in the coming weeks, but a local legend seemed like a good place to start when diving into the “Halloween Corner” of my closet!

I’m off to grab coffee and doughnuts (it’s a cheat day!) with my family before we head off to our fun-filled Fall day together. I’ll have plenty of pics to post later on this week- and on Friday I’ve got a pretty quick and easy take on a classic recipe to share with everyone!

Here’s hoping you all have a terrific Monday- and if you’ve got it off from work- make the most of it!

xx

– Ashley –