“When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang…”

Leave a comment Standard

AutumnDrive1

AutumnDrive2

AutumnDrive3

AutumnDrive4

AutumnDrive5

AutumnDrive6

AutumnDrive7

AutumnDrive8

AutumnDrive9

This past weekend was cloudy and rainy- the perfect weather for long drives with no real destination in mind. On Saturday, I ventured out on the back roads to Western Massachusetts. After taking a wrong turn, I ended up at the Winsor Dam. I’d never been before, and climbed out of my car to stretch my legs, take a stroll, and check things out. The view was breathtaking, and that’s putting it mildly. I was awestruck. At one point, as if on cue, the sun broke through the clouds, giving me an opportunity to snap some of the above photos.

The others were taken at Quabbin Park Cemetery down the street later on that afternoon. It was such an unusual mix of very old headstones (1800s,) some so faded you couldn’t read a word on them, to not-so-old ones with fresh flowers resting beside them. I was the only one in the cemetery for quite a while, which made it rather nice and peaceful.

AutumnDrive10

AutumnDrive11

AutumnDrive12

AutumnDrive13

On Sunday, I once again found myself heading back to Western Massachusetts, this time to visit a friend for the afternoon. On the way, I stopped at a house resting quietly on a busy main street in West Brookfield that caught my attention almost immediately. Looking long abandoned and in need of more than a little TLC, I think it’s safe to say it’s my dream house. It’s so, so beautiful, a fixer-upper for sure, but beautiful.

I stood out in the rain, happily taking photos of the faded stained glass and the curtains that were still visible in the top windows. I’m in love. The only thing I kept thinking, apart how dreamy it would be to live in it, was how great it would probably be as a bed & breakfast or something.

A girl can dream.

Lazy Days.

Leave a comment Standard

ParadisePond1

ParadisePond2

ParadisePond3

Sometimes the weekends where I have absolutely no plans whatsoever turn out to be the most incredible. Having run all of my errands earlier last week, thus freeing up my schedule, but I hadn’t really come up with any specific place to go or any specific thing to do. My long-time friend Troy, currently living in Western Massachusetts- and in a similar predicament as me- got together with me in Northampton yesterday to spend the afternoon and evening just hanging around town. Our first stop was Paradise Pond at Smith College, and while Troy went for a swim, I was perfectly content with dipping my toes in the water and sunning myself on the dock for a while.

MontagueBookMill1

MontagueBookMill2

MontagueBookMill3

MontagueBookMill4

MontagueBookMill5

Troy and I have known each other since my Freshman year of high school, so about 12 years now, give or take- which is more than enough time for him to figure out that I love finding new places to explore that are off the beaten path or are considered strange and unusual (as Lydia Deetz from “Beetlejuice” once said: “I, myself, am strange and unusual,”) so he knew I’d appreciate his leading me to the Montague Book Mill, which is exactly what it sounds like- a large mill, converted into a book store, art gallery, and café- located in the middle of nowhere. I was floored. I don’t know how much time I spent wandering from room to room until I finally took a seat in the photography section and skimmed through book after book while a very calming stream flowed below the window that was next to me, but it was so neat.

The books vary between new and used, and the entire building smells like old wood, so it was just sort of this appealing sensory overload. I got lost in it all until Troy found me, hiding away in one of the many nooks of the place with my nose buried in a book about photography in the 1930s, and took me to dinner downstairs at the Lady Killigrew Restaurant, where he introduced me to the concoction known as Maple Milk (ridiculously easy to make, and also ridiculously yummy,) and where I ate a really fantastic brie, apple slice, and apricot jam sandwich.

It was just a really nice, relaxing, sort of spontaneous day spent in good company in beautiful scenery. I really enjoyed myself.

AntiqueCars1

AntiqueCars2

AbandonedAntiqueStore1

AbandonedAntiqueStore2

AbandonedAntiqueStore3

Earlier today, I went for a long drive with no real destination in mind. I stumbled on some old cars that were up for sale on the side of the road (I want the Buick!) and an abandoned antique shop hidden away on a turn-off. I stopped to snap a few pictures before I headed back home to veg out, watch some Netflix, and prepare for the work week ahead.

Such a lovely weekend.

xox

Sunday Drive.

Leave a comment Standard

WesternMassFarm

WilsonsDrugStore1

WilsonsDrugStore2

StansDriveIn1

StansDriveIn2

HadleyMotors1

HadleyMotors2

DwightChapel1

DwightChapel2

Sometimes, usually on warm, sunny days, I get the urge to get into my car and just drive with no particular destination in mind. I don’t know if it’s taking in the scenery, the freedom of not having anywhere to go or anything to do, or just the excitement at the possibility of discovering some place new, but it’s incredibly relaxing for me.

On Sunday, after running a couple of errands in the morning, I did just that- hopped into my car and just drove with my windows rolled down, listening to music, and cruising on the back roads until I reached Western Massachusetts (specifically Belchertown, Hadley, and Northampton- where an old friend of mine lives.) On the way, I found so many interesting abandoned places- a pharmacy, a roadside cafe, an automotive shop, a church in the middle of the woods- and I stopped to enjoy the peace, quiet, fresh air, and snap a few photos.

There were a few other sites I passed along the way that I have every intention of going back to check out in the coming days (an abandoned motel and a farmhouse being a couple of them), weather permitting.

While I was in Northampton, I also spotted this house on the main street and immediately fell in love with it. It’s not abandoned, but it’s my dream home!

NorthamptonVictorian1

NorthamptonVictorian2

SO gorgeous.

Odds & Ends.

Comments 2 Standard

TiffanysBDayCake1

TiffanysBDayCake2

TiffanysBDayCake3

1-25 Tiffany's Cake & Medfield State Hospital 006

I had mentioned in my last entry that in lieu of a traditional birthday cake, some of my family surprised me the other night with those tasty red velvet and salted caramel cupcakes. Unbeknownst to me, however, my mom had a surprise (belated) birthday cake custom-made for me for another small get together she’d planned at her house last night. I have a bit of an infatuation with Tiffany & Co., so my mom had the cake shaped and frosted in the design of one of their trademark light blue gift boxes with white ribbon.

I had to take a couple pictures of it before I guiltily cut into it. It was just so cute- and so were the very bright and colorful flowers I received as a belated-birthday present, too. The whole evening was such a wonderful surprise!

Today, I bundled up and headed out to explore and photograph the old abandoned Medfield State Hospital. Unlike other locations I’ve been to, the grounds of the hospital are open to the public from 6 AM ’til 6 PM daily. Entering any of the buildings is strictly prohibited, and there are security personnel who routinely patrol the area, but for the most part- you can roam freely without being hassled. The place is monstrous, and very spaced out, which left me with a lot of ground to cover.

Because of the cold, I was the only one up there today- which made the whole experience a little eerie at first, especially when I was hearing metal clanging from inside the buildings whenever the wind blew, or seeing animals run by when they heard me approaching, but it proved to be a really cool adventure. I’d like to go back when it’s a bit warmer out so I can stay and poke around a little longer.

The hospital was built in 1892, and stayed open and operational until 2003, which explains why it’s still in relatively good condition (sans a couple of broken windows here and there) compared to other abandoned hospitals &  asylums in New England.

The grounds were also apparently most recently used as a filming location for the movies “Shutter Island” and “The Box”.

Down the street, a couple of miles away from the front entrance of the grounds, is the Medfield State Hospital Cemetery, where patients who died between 1918 and 1988 have been laid to rest. I had wanted to stop and respectfully take a look, but it looked like the front entrance was closed off as I drove by a couple of times. Maybe next time.

“The ocean breathes salty…”

Leave a comment Standard

Hampton

Hampton2

PlaylandArcade

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is head up to New Hampshire (usually Hampton, Seabrook, and the surrounding areas), and cruise along the coast, park by the ocean, and just relax with a hot cup of coffee and some good music. The boardwalk and most of the seaside motels are closed, which makes the place look like a ghost town, a sharp contrast to how it typically looks come July and August- but it’s so peaceful.

I headed up there earlier this afternoon for a few hours to take in the scenery before the snow started to fall, and made a quick stop in Portsmouth a few miles away to photograph the long abandoned Portsmouth Naval Prison:

PortsmouthNavalPrison

PortsmouthNavalPrison2

PortsmouthNavalPrison3

PortsmouthNavalPrison4

PortsmouthNavalPrison5

I first saw the prison last Spring/Summer after taking a wrong turn in an attempt to head back towards Boston from Portsmouth. I was in awe at it’s size as I drove over a bridge that ran along the water across from it and knew that I wanted to come back to photograph it at some point.

The prison was built in 1908, and was used until it’s closure in 1974. Since it would be too expensive to either renovate or demolish, it sits alone, weathered by the elements and decaying from lack of maintenance. It’s a beautiful structure, although getting close to it is tricky since it’s located on the grounds of a restricted federal facility, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

The facility was actually referenced to  in “The Last Detail” (1973), starring Randy Quaid and Jack Nicholson, as well as Stephen King’s story, “The Body”, which was later filmed as “Stand By Me”.

Sick Day.

Leave a comment Standard

Without fail, nearly every year around this time (and typically during “January Thaw”), I tend to get a nasty 24-48 hour cold that renders me completely useless to the outside world and causes me to retreat to to the depths of my bedroom- armed with tissue boxes, a gallon of Simply Orange orange juice (with extra pulp!), a bottle of Ibuprofen, and my Netflix subscription to ride it out until the worst is over and I feel well enough to return to work . Last night on my way home from a day trip to check out an urban exploration location in Western Massachusetts, I started showing the telltale signs of an impending illness- my throat started hurting and I had a dull headache that grew increasingly stronger as the hours wore on.

I typically wouldn’t be concerned, but there is also a bad flu epidemic that has swept most of Massachusetts (and judging from last night’s Golden Globe Awards, nearly everyone in Hollywood has it, too), so when my symptoms hadn’t improved much by this morning, I opted to take the day off from work as a precaution to rest, relax, get plenty of fluids in me, and nip it in the bud before it got worse without risking potentially spreading it to any of my co-workers.

I feel a lot better now than I did this morning, so here’s hoping it was just a fluke.

At least I had a good weekend.

DaliExterior

DaliFood

BirthdayBoy

DaliFlan

Saturday night I took Sean out for a belated birthday dinner (his birthday was last Monday, but our work schedules delayed the celebration by a few days). At his recommendation and request, we went to Dali in Somerville. I’d never been before, but Sean seemed confident that I’d enjoy it, and he was right.

The food itself was really good, but I was so enamored with the decor of the place that I kept getting distracted from our fried milk and flan. Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside is really, really cool. Definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of Spanish food.

WesternMassSnowfall

Back roads in Western Mass.

I said it earlier in this entry, but yesterday I headed out to the mythical land known as Western Massachusetts, specifically the town of Greenfield, to take a few photos of the Candlelight Motor Inn. I was hoping it would be in a more tranquil part of town, but a McDonalds has been built directly next door (they actually share a parking lot), so trying to get into the zone while people were ordering Big Mags and Happy Meals twenty-five feet behind me was a little difficult.

I can’t find much history on the place, like when it was constructed or when it was closed down (all I could pull up was a 2012 obituary of a woman who used to work in the housekeeping department), but the buildings are in rough shape. Add in the elements of snow/ice potentially weakening the roof and floorboards, and I chose to take exterior shots instead of risking my safety to try and get a couple of interior ones.

Here were some of my favorites from the bunch:

CandlelightMotorInn

CandlelightMotorInn2

CandlelightMotorInn3

CandlelightMotorInn4

CandlelightMotorInn5

CandlelightMotorInn6

There was a pool area I had wanted to check out, but I was losing light quicker than anticipated, so I’m thinking I may have to make a trip back- more than likely in the Spring or the Summer when it should be less slippery and therefore less hazardous to walk around.

I did see a couple of other interesting locations on the way I’m thinking I may check out this coming weekend if I have the time and if I’m feeling well enough.

Speaking off, it’s time for me to drink some hot tea, take a shot of NyQuil, and get ready to turn in for the night.

xx