Friday, 25 October 2013


Hello from Massachusetts! I am currently guest writer at Bay Path College in leafy Longmeadow and I am loving it here. This is day 7 of a 10 day trip and I spent the first 4 days in Amherst, exploring Emily Dickinson's place and also meeting with my dear friend, writer and artist Marcella Brown.
Marcella Brown at her Colraine farm
I am enjoying the students very much - talking to their classes and yapping with them in general. I did a reading last night and tomorrow is Writers' Day, where I give a seminar on the short story. I've had such a warm welcome here from everyone - Massachusettsians (?) are extremely nice.
Marcella with one of her pastels
Marcella lives on a wooded hill in Colraine, near Shelburne Falls. Her place - all these places - have to be seen to be believed; they are idylllic, time-warpy, and autumnally beautiful just now.

Hills and woods near Colraine
Homegrown produce at Marcella's. We ate that marbled tomato for lunch.
It was a joy for me to visit Emily Dickinson's home and West Cemetery, where she is buried. The museum - her home and her brother's - are fascinating and moving and I had an ace guide, all to myself. Score.

Emily's Homestead - I walked past it every day as my B&B was on the same street
Emily's grave - 'Called Back'
Artefacts atop Emily's grave, including a pic of my Juno
In West Cemetery, Amherst, the lovely spot where Emily rests
And here in Longmeadow I have my own house, the college guesthouse - a wooden, porched, vast house that dates from 1799.
My Longmeadow home
The writer Anita Shreve lived in the house and she sold it to the college. It is huge, a warren of prettily decorated rooms, including a spooky basement that won't lock...
Guesthouse sitting room (one of them...)

Guesthouse pantry - the smallest of its 15 or so rooms

Colraine cornstalk

Between the people, the house, the libraries, the scenery and the experiences, I feel utterly spoilt. Thanks to Suzanne Strempek Shea for inviting me; Briana Sitler for minding me; Leanna James-Blackwell for lunch and chats. And Marcella for laughs, talks and expert tour-guiding. Great women all.

Marcella's Rosa - her parents were Cowboy and Nelly - names fans of 'Nude' will recognise :)


Emily said...

Looks just as I imagine it! Glad you are having such a wonderful time. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE Marcella's pastels :)


Ems, I was telling Marcella about you but she already knows about you through your blog! So, next time she is in Irl I will bring her to visit you. N x

Mari said...

Just gorgeous Nuala. I used to retreat in a place called Wellspring House in the Berkshires, Ashfield. Near Shelboure Falls. Gorgeous place of the world alright. Funny too since a Maine writer friend of mine just posted me shots of the Bridge of Flowers in Shelbourne Falls. She's a friend of Suzanne's, and I knew of Suzanne S. S. through her. Talk about small world this evening! thanks for the grins. :) :)

Rachel Fenton said...

I'm glad you've been spoilt, Nuala - much deserved! And thanks for spoiling us with these great pics. I just had a neb at Emily's website, too - beautiful work!


Mari, I walked across the Bridge of Flowers the other day! Gorgeous place.


Thanks, Rae. It is all good here :)
I am giving a talk on the short story this morning for their Writers' Day.

Kar said...

OMG! your house is amazeballs as the young folk say, just fab! I am all shades of green here wishing I was with you. Did you go into the spooky basement?
Marcella's painting is just gorgeous, oh to fit it into your suitcase and take it home.
It sounds like a great time is being had and I love the photos!
Enjoy the rest of your stay!


Ah, thanks Kar. I did go into the spooky basement, but not on my own!
Marcella's works are beautiful - some lovely nudes etc.
N x x x

Jacinta said...

Such a beautiful time of year to visit. I love Boston but have never been to Emily Dickinson's home or resting place. Thanks for the pics -- will def have to visit now! Safe flight!


I just had today n last night in Cambridge, Jacinta. Book shop heaven :)