“Oh, What a Night! Late September…”

Oh, it’s good to be home! After a beautiful and scenic drive home from my recent and brief stay in Schenectady, New York– I’m back in Western Massachusetts/The Berkshires and relaxing in my apartment with a couple days off this week before I pack up and head back to a different section of New York for a wedding this coming weekend!

And don’t worry- I timed the commute to be back in time for Sunday night’s premiere of the last half of ‘The Walking Dead’s final season. I’m so ready.

On our last full night in Schenectady, Troy and I had been at a loss for where to go to dinner since it was a Friday night and a lot of the popular recommendations in more boujee, “new construction” and luxury loft areas were booked up and over-crowded. While venturing a little off the beaten path- we stumbled onto a restaurant front (that looked like it was being operated out of a house) called the John Riccitello Restaurant. The menu said it was Italian food and we went in- and we knew immediately that it was meant to be. It was fate that brought us there.

John Riccitello’s is like something straight out of a movie- between the décor, the authenticity of the food and the familial bond between everyone who either worked there or was dining there. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming- and we found out the place had been a popular spot for locals for decades, dating back to the 1960s. The bartender, Lewis- is the son of the original owner- and gave Troy and I a little history and a lot of smiles while we got to know him.

I don’t know when I’ll ever be in Schenectady again- but I’d definitely go back to eat there if and when I am!

The next day, when Troy was finished up with his conference and was all packed up to head back East to New England- we stopped by Union College to check out the Nott Memorial- which had been pointed out to me as a place of interest while I was in town. This 16-sided stone-masonry building, dedicated to former and long-time college president Eliphalet Nott- is a stunning lecture hall, art museum and study space with beautiful stained glass windows and a detailed dome.

It’s also open to the public- and Troy and I had the entire place to ourselves for about an hour before other visitors came by to check it out.

Once back in Massachusetts, Troy and I picked up passes from Forbes Library in Northampton (which also has a very cool Calvin Coolidge museum and art gallery inside!) so we could pick up his his Aunt for a day at Mass MoCA in North Adams yesterday. Not only since she had never been- but there were also a couple of exhibits each of us had interest in seeing.

I hadn’t been back to the Mass MoCA since before COVID started- and I’d nearly forgotten just how big the place is- but we made good time with seeing nearly all of the exhibits before we headed out to get a late lunch nearby. I think a big help was that the FreshGrass Music Festival was taking place outside the museum, which kept a lot of the indoor exhibits uncluttered and easy to navigate.

My favorite temporary installation was Marc Swanson‘s ‘A Memorial to Ice at the Dead Deer Disco’- which gave me some serious New York City/’Sleep No More’ vibes while I walked through it. I really, really liked it- and I’m looking forward to doing some more reading into it’s creation.

And as the evening wore down and we returned to the Pioneer Valley- Troy and I stopped by his friend Zoe’s wedding reception/party at Smith College (with an after-party and some pool at Packard’s in downtown Northampton.) It was so nice meeting everyone and seeing some familiar faces between drinks and games. I had such a nice time!

A few more adventures await in the coming days (and I’m sure I’ll be posting plenty of photos soon) before Troy returns home to California and I head back to New York- but I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite things from this month in a couple of days, as well as recapping September in it’s blissful entirety by the end of the week!

‘Til next time!


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Hi! I'm Ashley. I'm a blogger and a radio personality with a makeup and shoe addiction based out of Boston and the Pioneer Valley. These are my (mis)adventures.

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