the last homely house

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The last time we visited this enchanting corner of the Berkshires, the stale snow of late March covered pond and stones and grass alike. Seeing each corner of these historic gardens enlivened by blossoms, lilypads, and trees took my breath away – and made me even happier to think that this place will soon become the site for a most important romantic occasion.

Consider this stream-of-consciousness (and intentionally vague) post a small opportunity for strange escapism – I hope these photographs can take you away from whatever troubles you for a moment! The common impulse is to compare this property to a hobbit-home in the Shire: but I think the experience it creates for the weary traveler has much more in common with Rivendell, “the last homely house…”

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mending walls

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The past week swirled by in a chaotic frenzy of planning: coordinating a research trip, wedding organization, freelancing, endless overthinking…

Some peace, however, emerged after a weekend of plants and the past. Though my work requires that I spend most of my time preoccupied with the mid- and late nineteenth century, I enjoyed visiting a historic “village” from a slightly earlier period – a site that’s also imbued with my own history, as I found it entrancing as a child!

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Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

That wants it down. I could say “Elves” to him,

But it’s not elves exactly…

– Robert Frost, “Mending Wall”

Though the restored buildings in this village attract the most attention, I took pleasure in observing the artifacts of countryside life — rugged stone walls layered with encroaching grass, simple fences formed of rough wood, and tall wildflowers hiding from sheep and rabbits.

The experience reminded me, in a synesthetic way, of the rolling tones of the Howl’s Moving Castle soundtrack.

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This dusty path stretched down to a covered bridge spanning a quiet river.

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As I learn more and more about the past, I delight in the constellation of knowledge that takes shape in my mind as I draw connections between people, places, and eras. Because of my travels, I won’t give any more tours until later in the summer – so in the meantime, I will take every opportunity to enrich my understanding of this particular period! (Starting by watching the gorgeous new Little Women adaptation…)

walking with dinosaurs

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Nothing says “cute lifestyle blogger aesthetic” like a series of photos of open-mawed animatronic dinosaurs, right?

Last weekend, I took a road trip four states over for an important family event–that also included an obligatory stop at a certain Pennsylvania attraction that we’d been eyeing for years. It’s probably no secret that, like the eight-year-old I am at heart, I have a soft spot for all things saurian, and this outdoor jungle of prehistoric beasts sent me into a glorious state of raptor–I mean, rapture.

(Also, yes, in case you were wondering: I did indeed wear my dinosaur dress.)

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Pathless Woods

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Hello from England, my friends! I’m writing this post as one still jet-lagged and bewildered (even after eleven hours of sleep!), but couldn’t wait to show a few photos of my first day of adventures here.

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In Emily’s Garden

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A Bird, came down the Walk –
He did not know I saw –
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,
And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass –
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass –
After two years of living in the Pioneer Valley, I had only visited the Emily Dickinson Museum–the former home of a poet whose works have entranced me since childhood–twice. Both pilgrimages took place during grey October days, when the grounds were already showing slight traces of frost.
My visit to the museum this past weekend, however, showed me the truest glimpse into Emily’s world I may ever experience. The gardens that so influenced her writing were in full bloom, and I found myself wandering and wondering, trying to capture a sense of this shy yet intellectually feisty writer whom I identify as a real kindred spirit, even though we were born centuries apart.

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Italy Preview: Bologna!

If you’ve been following my Instagram,  you may already have enjoyed a taste of my orange-hued explorations in northern Italy. Though this weekend I’m heading to the coast to hike the seaside route of my dreams, I spent my first few Italian days in “la rossa”: Bologna.
I don’t have my computer and can’t upload photos from my DSLR, but wanted to share some more colorful shots in the meantime until I return stateside next week!


Anubis doing his thing at a wonderful Egyptian art exhibition in Bologna’s archaeological museum.

Though the city is historically fascinating, this view was all a country girl like me could ask for!


There are so many secret gardens, walled courtyards, and rooftop terraces hidden in every building.



If I ever felt like grey, wintry New England was depriving me of the warm side of the color spectrum, Bologna has more than cured my deficit.


And the street art is plentiful, too!


Like this 14th-century gryphon, I’ll no doubt be very cranky and exhausted by the time I return: but I can’t wait to share my travels with all of you!

Have you ever visited Bologna or Italy in general? I’d love to hear any stories or memories you have to share!