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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October in Sleepy Hollow

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October."
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

So, where have I been again? Sorry I kind of cut the postings of my Martha's Vineyard trip short- I've decided to save the last two parts for an especially snowy and chilly day this winter. Why? Looking at some summery pictures of my trip on Martha's Vineyard might cheer us all up when our noses are red and chapped, and we're sick of scraping ice off our windshields! It'll be my little ray of sunshine for you... 

In other news, there's been a lot going on in my life at the moment. Dealing with the loss of my Lola has been a struggle daily, as expected. She was truly a beacon in my life. Without her here, things are undoubtedly emptier, bleaker, less bright. Which is why I've decided to start looking for my own apartment. I feel with Lola's passing, a new chapter is waiting to be opened in my life, so I've been on the hunt for a new place to call home where perhaps I can welcome another kitty in the near future. Jake and I have one particular place in mind which we viewed yesterday. It's very small, but cozy and clean, and is right by Jake's favorite beach! I'm truly praying it works out, but if it's not meant to be, I know there will be others...

On Sunday, Jake and I took our annual day trip to Sleepy Hollow. I know I swore the last year I was there that I wouldn't go back since everything had become so circusy and depressing in comparison to how it used to be, but let's face it: the beauty of this region is still there. And we really just made our own tours again, consciously veering away from all the tourist traps. So, all in all, we had yet another nice trip. 

This is Sunnyside, Washington Irving's (the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) country home. It was expanded from a small cottage in 1835 and remained in the family till the 1940s! It has breathtaking views of the Hudson River, and has been meticulously restored. A must see if you're ever in the area!

 I could get used to this view!

After visiting Sunnyside, we drove over to the Old Dutch Church, the scene of the climatic altercation between the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane in the legend, and strolled around the property.

"Here Lyes the Body of James Barnerd Who Departed 
This Life the 4 of March 1768 In the 48 Year of His Age
The Boisterous Winds and Neptuns
Waves have Tost me too and Fro
By Gods decree you Plainly See
I am Harbour'd here Below --"

Jake and I loved that one.

First Gabriel's first wife, then the baby he had with his second. Hard lives...

 "The Headless Horseman Bridge" -- Don't confuse it with the real location, though! If you ever come visit the Old Dutch Church, there is a historic plaque right near the gates of the entrance which marks the real location of the bridge. It's part of a main road, you barely even notice you're on a bridge, but it's there!


After the day was done, Jake and I had dinner at my favorite restaurant in town: Horsefeathers! Good burgers, good atmosphere, an extensive beer list... what more could you ask for?!

Cheers to a spooktacular October!

- - - - - - - - - -

Hope everyone is enjoying this enchanting and most wonderful month!
And can you believe it? Next week, Jake and I will be off to Salem!
It seems like only yesterday I was planning this trip, but it's almost here...
New England, here we come!  ♥

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Martha's Vineyard (Part III)

To pick up right where we left off, the next morning we had a yummy breakfast to get ready for THE BIG DAY... today was the day we were going to meet the one, the only, Susan Branch! ♥

After we finished enjoying our bagels on the sunny and spacious front porch of the inn, we walked to the bus terminal and took the ferry to Vineyard Haven, where the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore is located, and where Susan Branch was to have her book talk and signing later on.
Since we had some time to kill, we looked around the neighborhood...

Being history and antique lovers, walking past a flag that says "antiques" is unheard of in Jake-and-Erin-World, so naturally, we decided to go and investigate.

One of the greatest finds of the entire trip was finding this antique shop, The Backyard Store. If you blink, you'll miss it. It's right off Beach Road on a dirt road, and is the first house on the left. The pathway to the store is lined with crushed scallop shells, and before you even make it to the door, you've already spotted hundreds of little weathered antiques scattered about the property. This is NOT your polished, posh antique store! It's creaky, and dusty, and covered in cobwebs... but in my opinion, those are always the best kinds of shops, and the ones where you'll find the real treasures!

Jake and I could have spent hours in here, but our tummies were growling, and we had places to be! But I can tell you Jake found an antique ice cream maker for $20 (they're worth over a hundred), of which I couldn't talk him out of buying, and he actually lugged onto the ferry home. "It's worth it!" he insisted as he dragged it up the steep steps of the boat. Okay, honey. If you say so.

As for me, I bought myself a charming vintage patchwork quilt decorated with little faded anchors on it. I spotted it from across the store, and let me tell you, it was love at first sight. And at the price of only, you'll never believe me, $25! Unheard of.

Isn't it beautiful? ♥

If you like antiques, and you're in the Vineyard Haven area, do not hesitate to go to the Backyard Store. The owners are Martha's Vineyard natives, are extremely knowledgeable, and have countless of wonderful, one-of-a-kind items that are just waiting to be spotted by the right kind of eye!
Highly, highly recommended!

So after our lovely afternoon of antiquing, Jake and I continued walking down Beach Road to The Net Result, one of the most popular fish markets on the island, and after eating their lobster rolls, I can see why!

They were bathed in melted butter and absolutely delicious.

Oh, shoot! What's the time? We better start heading towards the Bunch of Grapes... it's almost time to meet Susan! Jake, hurry! Finish that lobster roll. I know you want to savor it,
but Susan is waiting!

Inside the bookstore, this is one of the first things I spot, and...  
Oh my God, is this really happening?! keeps repeating in my mind.  
Somebody pinch me, and oh, look!

How absolutely, positively adorable! At this sight alone I nearly wept.

Jake and I took our seats and put our name tags on. I mingled a little bit with some of the other Girlfriends waiting with us... I even knew a few from this very blog! And I was especially waiting for one of my dear friends, Georgie, who I helped plan a gorgeous floral arrangement for Susan that was to arrive any minute.

There it is! Right above the podium that Susan Branch would be speaking behind before we know it!

This beautiful arrangement was done by Flowers by Donaroma's in Edgartown, and had personal touches created by Georgie and I, and several other Twitter Girlfriends, like handwritten notes to Susan, and an Emma Bridgewater mug commemorating her new book and the start of her upcoming book signing tour!

Tears were most certainly in my eyes at this point, and Susan was yet to arrive!

Soon Georgie came, and we gave one another big hugs, and got the chance to meet one another's amazing guys who had been such great sports by humoring and supporting us amidst all the emotion and excitement this trip had happily bestowed upon us both! I really don't know what I would have done without Jake being there with me every step of the way, and I'm sure Georgie felt the same way about her Joe!

Wait, what's that? It's suddenly become quiet...

Look! Susan Branch is here!

Georgie and I squealed! We wanted to run up to her straight away and give her hugs and shower her with greetings, but we felt it would be best to wait until after the talk, though when we did walk past her, she immediately noticed us and called us by our very names!
Which, speaking from a Girlfriends point of view, felt pretty cool.

After the initial euphoria faded a bit, we scurried off and took our seats, and got ready for the book talk!

She started off by showing us pages of her original diary from her trip to England which was just lovely to see. She discussed her book, her meeting Joe, she even read a little excerpt from A Fine Romance which sounded even more beautiful coming from the person who actually wrote and experienced those words!

Guys, it was just amazing. There's no other way to describe it. Seeing the woman whose life you  have followed for years, who you aspire to be like each and every day, who is responsible for inspiring so many of your dreams and countless passions in your life... She was the reason for sparking my love for New England! Without Susan Branch, there may never have been an I Heart New England in the first place, and without this blog, I would never have met all the incredible kindred spirits I call my friends today... I never would have had the pleasure of knowing YOU.

So for all of that, I thank you, Susan! ♥

After the talk we all gathered on line, and to tell you truthfully, I was shaking like a leaf. What do I do, what do I say when I have so MUCH to say? How can I get it all in? I was holding my copy of A Fine Romance, and of course, her Autumn book, the first book I picked up of hers, and the book that introduced me to Martha's Vineyard and cemented my love for New England. So much meaning I've stored into that one little book.

And before I knew it, I was shaking her hand, and instantly all the nervousness went away! I felt like I was meeting a long-lost friend, and talking to her became the most natural thing in the world!

Maybe I was talking a little too much! But how could I not? Six years of reading her books, and only Twitter to contact her, I had to let out all the years worth of praises and expressions of adoration I've been waiting to shower upon her from the very beginning!

I even got to meet Petey! There he is, showing off my new bookmark that I will treasure FOR-EVER
(actual scrap paper from Susan's studio- original paint dabs, scribbles, and all!)

There's my friend, Georgie, meeting her soon after!

And there's the three of us together, at last!

I don't think I have to tell you how high I was on cloud nine after leaving the signing.
A dream come true, and another day on Martha's Vineyard... I was in heaven!

Ecstatic! ♥

After awhile of composing myself, Jake and I headed towards the Blue Canoe Grill, the fairly new waterfront restaurant in town that has been getting nothing short of rave reviews since it's opening!

Our table was elevated high up on a cat walk, and man... could you beat this view?

We started off with the Lobster Fritters which were just as unique as they were divine. 
So flaky, and sweet, and sinfully succulent... I could eat these every single day.

Here I am, soaking in the magnificent view while sipping on a glass of chardonnay.

Ah, now isn't that a sight for sore eyes? ♥

Jake ordered a special, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was, but I got the Seafood Risotto, and let me tell you. I can't begin to express how absolutely perfectly delicious it was. Without a doubt, the most amazing thing I have ever eaten, or can remember eating. It was just Mmmmm...

I know I told you the Atlantic Fish & Chophouse was my favorite restaurant on the Vineyard, but that was before I had eaten at the Blue Canoe. Guys, you can't beat this place.
It is superb in every single way.

The view alone is to die for.

Look at the sky that evening! I mean was this day enchanting, or what?

This pretty little summer moon followed us all the way home... ♥

When we returned to Oak Bluffs and our inn, we spent the evening quietly on the candlelit porch, creaking to and fro in our rocking chairs, listening to the crickets, and sipping on some local brew.

 A friendly little kitty cat even stopped by to say good evening too!

A perfect ending to a beyond-perfect day... ♥
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