Rainy Days and Book Stores…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

When I had initially announced my impending move to the Pioneer Valley earlier this month, I had mentioned that I wanted to highlight some of my favorite places to pass the time out that way. For any of you who have followed this blog or it’s past incarnations- you probably know that I predominantly write about restaurants/bars/shops/attractions in the Boston area or around my hometown in Central Massachusetts.

Being out in Western Massachusetts, close to the Berkshires, and truly in one of the most beautiful, clean, environmentally conscious and artistic parts of New England opens the doors for me to discover and share so many new people, places and things will all of you- and I knew right away that an old favorite (but a goody!) would be first on my list to reacquaint myself with.

The Montague Book Mill, which is a used book store, art gallery and restaurant(s) within an old mill from the mid-1800s- is one of my favorite places to go, curl up by the window with a good read, sip a cup of tea and just relax/zone out for a couple of hours while I listen to the nearby Sawmill River flow past.

I’m never the only one with this idea, and the Mill have utilized a lot of their nooks and crannies by turning them into quiet, peaceful places for those looking to work/study without interruption and in a unique location.

I haven’t been in a few years- but made it a point to stop by on Monday during my day off while the rain was falling outside. As always, I ended up exploring and snapping some photos!

To see the enlarged version, just click the picture!

Before I left to head back home, I popped into The Lady Killigrew Cafe for an early dinner (their brie, apricot jam and marinated apples sandwich rules!) and a quick cup of coffee. How I’ve missed that place. I promised myself I wouldn’t wait another 2-3 years before I went back again- and now that I’ll be living less than 30 minutes away- it’s a promise I can keep!

I’ll be back in the area tonight after work to meet up with Troy for dinner and drinks- and will more than likely make another appearance over the weekend since I’m on the prowl for new furniture.

Until then, though- it’s all about getting things done at my office and getting some caffeine in me as soon as possible!

Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone! See you all again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Monday, Monday…

Good Morning and Happy (ugh…) Monday, everyone!

I suppose I can’t complain too much since I have the day off from work- and with Friday being my half day- it’s shaping up to be a quick, easy and painless week at the office for me. Although the sun seems to be indecisive this morning as to whether it wants to come out or not- it’s warm out and I’ve got a lovely drive ahead of me. Not to/from Montpelier, Vermont as originally planned- since there was a change in scheduling (I’ll get to in a minute)– but to meet with my soon-to-be-landlord at my soon-to-be-new-apartment to go over some final details.

I’ll also be taking the remainder of the afternoon to visit one of my favorite places in the Valley and, more specifically- Montague, Massachusetts. It’s been ages since I’ve been and today seems like just as good a time as any to go!

Don’t worry- I’ll have the photos/recap up shortly. It’s one of my favorite well-kept-secrets out in Western Mass!

Did everyone who celebrated Easter have a good one? I’m still a bit sluggish from the huge dinner I had at my mom’s house last night- but the company was great and the weather was perfect. The only downside I can think of is that we were missing a few people due to unexpected illnesses and last minute scheduling conflicts- including my uncle who I had been preparing to pick up in Vermont and bring down to stay with my family for the weekend. He couldn’t make it- although there’s talk of planning a Summer cookout/BBQ for his birthday to make up for it, instead.

Regardless, we all had a wonderful time and I have enough leftovers to last me a few days- which is always appreciated. I even managed to dress Oliver up in his Sunday best for the occasion!

He looks like he’s ready to lead the Debate Team to victory.

As April winds down over the next few days and we prepare for May- I’m also preparing for a week-long trip to the West Coast in a couple of weeks, my move to the Valley, the Boston Calling Festival and other late Spring/early Summer plans and travel I have lined up locally. There’s so much happening and I’m just trying to take it day by day and not burn myself out!

Later on this week I’ll have the photos from my adventure in Montague this afternoon up and running, and then on Friday I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things/items/products/odds and ends/etc. from this past month.

Here’s hoping you all have an easy and stress-free start to your week! I’ll be back on Wednesday!

xx

– Ashley –

Pre-Easter Prep

Good Morning and Happy (Good) Friday, everyone!

I’m not a particularly religious person. My family, rooted in Catholicism since way back when- have grown considerably more lax in our religious beliefs than say, my grandparents or my great-grandparents were in their day. While Easter was all about God and Jesus and uncomfortable, overly-starched frilly dresses or suits for my parents when they were little- they’ve thankfully raised my brothers and I to just make it all about food, fun, and being with family.

A holiday I can get behind, really!

This weekend- which will be spent at my mother’s house- is going to be a bit chaotic, to say the least. In-between all the cooking, cleaning, and decorating- I’m also taking on the responsibility of picking up and bringing back family members who reside way up North in Vermont- more than a few hours away. I don’t mind, since it’s a lovely drive and Spring has sprung and all- but it’ll take place in-between my gig at Indie617 on Saturday and work obligations on Monday.

Needless to say I’m going to need one serious power nap come Monday afternoon/evening- but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, I’m just excited to see my family again before my big move next month! It’s going to be a bit time consuming and hectic around that time- so I’m looking forward to the calm before the storm where I can eat, drink, laugh and catch up with cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.

I’ve got some fun photos, re-caps, and my “Monthly Favorites” to share next week when I return to Blondie Birdie bright and early post-holiday on Monday morning- but I’ve got some handy links for those of you who are still getting your Easter breakfasts/brunches/dinners together that I hope will help!

That just about does it for me this week. I’ve got to get going at work and get ready for some plans I have later on today/tonight out in Western Massachusetts.

I hope you all have a fun, safe, candy-filled Easter! I’ll see you all again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Good Morning and Happy Marathon Monday, everyone!

Now that my big moving day news is out of the way as of last week- I have been focusing on the actual move itself- including the lengthy and tedious process of beginning to pack, buying new furniture to replace older pieces I don’t necessarily want to take with me, coordinating the delivery and installation of those new pieces for when I’ve returned from a brief stay in the West Coast just prior to my mid-month move-in date, so on and so forth.

It’s exciting and admittedly stressful for sure- as is the case with any move of a significant distance (and moving anywhere out of the city can be considered a significant distance!) but I’m taking it day by day and finding joy wherever I can.

When I’m not working or packing my life away in boxes, I’ve been exploring my soon-to-be-new-neighborhood, as well. I’ve been to the Pioneer Valley plenty of times over the years (including multiple visits per week for work and friends in recent months) but there’s still so much to see/do/uncover. I have my favorite places established for coffee and food, i.e. The Roost and Mama Iguana’s in Northampton, respectively- but with any community with a budding and prominent art/theater/music scene- there’s a lot of hidden gems that may otherwise go overlooked if you don’t seek them out!

Troy has been a huge help in showing me around, introducing me to new places and people, giving me tips/tricks on what’s worthwhile and what to avoid, etc. He’s lived in the Valley for years and knows nearly everyone/everything out in Western Massachusetts.

Last Friday night, he brought me to the Tunnel Bar for the first time. It’s an old railway tunnel from the 1800s tucked away in downtown Northampton that was turned into a very chic cocktail lounge. The space is unique for sure- and would be amazing for a performance piece. Based on notes on my phone and a napkin I found in my purse that Troy and I had scribbled on as we drank- it looks like we had started to develop a script while we were there?

I think I’m going to start developing a series of posts highlighting some of those unique and must-see places for anyone reading who wants to visit the area- and I could probably start as soon as this week!

But for now, today has me back to work and back in the city for Marathon Monday- even with the current torrential downpour and thunderstorms. It’s one of the best days to be in Boston- as the Marathon showcases incredible athletes’ resilience and the city’s enthusiasm for their dedication (and excitement for Spring!)

I’ll be sure to post plenty of photos/videos on my social media throughout the day, and I’ll be back a little later on this week to share one of my favorite Springtime vintage finds from my closet!

Have a wonderful start to your week, everyone! Stay dry and be safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

Stay-cations, Horror Movies and Chicken Coops…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

As we reach the halfway point to the weekend and I prepare to share some big and exciting news in a couple of days (I gotta’ make sure the ink is dry, first!)– I’m taking a look back on what was a pretty exciting weekend that took me from one side of the state to the other. Lots of driving? Sure. Worth it? Absolutely.

On Friday, after I’d left work for the day and ran some errands- I partook in a little “Stay-Cation” in my hometown of Worcester with Troy who was working a conference in the city over the weekend. We ate locally, had some super strong drinks, and watched the re-make/re-telling of “Pet Sematary” which was… Not that great. I’m nearly certain I’ve said it before, but Stephen King movies rarely translate well on screen. I’m not sure if it’s because what you dream up in your head as you’re reading his work is infinitely more scary than anything any director can pull off- but many film adaptations of his stories rarely work properly (except “Misery”, “Stand By Me” and the re-make of “It.”)

I digress. “Pet Sematary” was a serious let-down (except for the cat. I loved the cat!) and if our tickets hadn’t been discounted- I probably would have been really mad when I was leaving the theater.

Side Note: where is the trailer for “It: Chapter 2?”

On Saturday, after leaving the Indie617 station in Boston for the afternoon- it was off to the wilderness of Barre, Massachusetts to visit my friend Stef and her husband Andy in their new home they’d recently moved into for dinner and a late night horror movie with some of our circle of friends. Our film of choice? “Sleepaway Camp”!

Stef and Andy are budding farmers, and now that they’re out of the city and living in a very rural, remote location- they’ve been able to start using their land the way they’ve always wanted. They’ve already started getting their animals in order and are planning what fruit/vegetables to grow once the weather gets a bit nicer.

While I was visiting, I met Stef’s newest family addition- a bunch of little chickens! They’re not for food, by the way (they’re way too cute) but Stef is hoping to have fresh eggs when they get big enough.

I’m trying to convince her to invest in some alpacas, too. We’ll see how that goes.

Sunday, after sleeping entirely too late (I needed it)– it was all about errands, preparing meals for the week, and catching up on e-mails with an iced coffee in one hand and a pizza bagel in the other in and around my home- where I sometimes just need to sort of veg out and be still in for an afternoon or an evening to re-center myself and relax.

For now, I’ve got to get to work and attempt to stay one step ahead of the game despite how busy it’s been lately- and get ready for Friday!

Here’s wishing you all a lovely “Hump Day!” Talk soon!

xx

– Ashley –