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Monday, November 12, 2018

Mad About Madison

Hello, dear friends.  I hope that you enjoyed your weekend.  Ours was low-key, but we got a lot done. 

A few months ago, my old high school buddy Madalyn, who lives in New York, and I planned a mini-reunion.  We decided to meet in the middle which turned out to be Madison, Connecticut.

The last time that I spent time in Madison was when I was a little girl.  My parents used to take us to Madison for a craft fair hosted by a convent at Christmastime.  

Needless to say, Sista and I were never thrilled to go because we felt that we spent enough time kowtowing to nuns during the week.  But I'll save that for another blog post and therapy session.

Last week was a different story.  I was looking forward to getting to know the town of Madison.  Madalyn was not due to arrive at the hotel until 5ish, so I left early and looked forward to spending a good part of the day browsing Madison Center.

My first stop was R.J. Julia Booksellers.  I had read about this well-known store on the New England Today website which awarded it Best Bookstore in Connecticut.

My first impression of the store was its warmth and charm.  

The relaxed ambiance, substantial inventory, and the bustling of eager customers and helpful sales personnel had me thinking that this would be the ideal setting for a Nancy Meyers movie.

Are you listening, Hollywood?

Speaking of Hollywood, can you see all of those black and white photos on the wall?  They are autographed headshots of stars that have visited the store.

The moment I heard this I started to pay closer attention to the clientele.

The second-floor houses Young Adult and Children's books. This is the YA room.  I bet there is plenty of lively discussion around that lovely antique table. 

The store also has plenty of unique gift items.

And games too!
I gave some thought to buying this one just in case there was a lull in conversation that night.

I took advantage of the on-site cafe.  
It was very busy.

It's no wonder I had to wait for a table - the food was delish.

So many shops, so little time.

My keen window shopping skills brought me inside Maggie's.

This is the lovely owner of Maggie's.  I bet you think her name is Maggie.  Nope.  Her name is Gretchen.  She has owned the store for several years.  She grew up in retail - her parents owned a large shop in Naples, FL.

I wish that I could highlight every piece of Maggie's gorgeous inventory of home decorating as well as gift items.

I don't know why this photo came out so yellow.  I fell in love with this bedding ensemble.  Maggie's has beautiful linens, towels, as well as everything needed to set a stunning table.

Maggie's has an on-site design center including custom furniture.  Gretchen told me that she just finished decorating a beautiful home in my neck of the woods, Hingham.

I bid goodbye to this adorable preppy Santa and was on my way.

My next stop was my new home-away-from-home for the next 24 hours, the Madison Beach Hotel.

I was greeted by Annie, a lovely young lady at the helm of the front desk.  Annie filled me in on this gracious 82 room hotel and all its amenities including a spa. 

She also gave me a free drink ticket.
I knew I was going to like this place.

I got this photo off the website because my pic of my room didn't come out very well.  My lovely guest room looked just like this with a gas fireplace and spacious bathroom. 

The room was heavenly, but the view was the show stopper.

I met my bestie, Madalyn in the bar for a celebratory glass of free wine and then enjoyed a delicious dinner in the restaurant.

Even though I had not seen Madalyn in many years, it seemed like yesterday that we were getting in all sorts of trouble with the nuns.  

There I go talking about nuns again!

The next morning I was up in time to take in the sunrise with coffee in hand.

Over breakfast, we perused the yearbook and started planning next year's reunion. 
We agreed on same time, same place.
I'm already counting the minutes. 

Until next time...

Mary Todd Lincoln Coffman at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN

Preppy Empty Nester
Preppy Empty Nester

I'm Katie. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am an empty nester meandering through my middle-aged years while entangled in the never-ending process of renovating an antique home on the South Shore of Massachusetts. I love to write about books, movies, TV, celebrities, decorating, and weekend adventures. My favorite writing material is derived from my family: the Mister, my girls, #1 and #2, and my two untrainable, rambunctious pups, Chowdah and Chili.


  1. What a darling town. It looks darling and someday perhaps I might be able to visit the East Coast. Looks similar to some of the towns north of Chicago.

  2. I'm ready to book a room at that hotel. It looks like a great place to on this cold, rainy day in TX. I envy you getting to sample all the wonderful New England destinations. Keep sharing! I'm making a list. ☺️

  3. Two pretty ladies you are!! Loved the bookstore and sweet little shop. I would like to have that blue bedding.Coming over to your blog is always a treat.Janey

  4. What a charming town, Katie! I could have spent an entire day in the book store, that is my kind of place...books and food. The next day I would have stayed in Maggie’s all day. What a fun time with your friend and the hotel looks amazing.

  5. I love it that old friends can pick right up no matter how long since you have seen each other. And now I want to go to that lovely city. And I would probably enjoy the craft fair at the convent too!

  6. Charming as can be, both the town and your reunion! Your trips always seem so enchanting and I love that! Happy Happy Monday!

  7. What a fun little town! And that hotel is breathtaking! I love that you two have already begun planning for next year, what a fun tradition!

  8. Not sure if that photo is you and your friend at Catholic school, but I love it anyway. I didn't go to parochial school, but my daughters did 1-12 and those plaid jumpers look very familar. And sadly, there were only a handful of nuns still teaching. Old friends are the best kind.

  9. What a great time you had with your dear friend! That town and especially that gorgeous hotel looks like the perfect spot for a special reunion! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Girlfriend getaways are always the best!! Never heard of this town, but looks like a fun place to visit

  11. What a fun weekend in a charming town.

  12. What a beautiful bunch of shops. I spent some time looking at those pictures, checking out the merchandise. The hotel looks gorgeous, too. -Jenn

  13. I swear, you go to the most charming places. I want to be your sidekick on one of these adventures one day. I could get into all kinds of trouble at Maggie's, what a lovely shop. And, then to come back to such a lovely hotel, doesn't get much better.

  14. I know where Madison is, as I have relatives in nearby Essex.
    That's the great thing about old friends, you can pick up right where you left off.

  15. Love that bookstore, so delightful and all those little shops, I'd be in heaven walking through there! The hotel is beautiful and those views breath taking! Thank you for sharing :-)


  16. I am such a sucker for a bookstore. Loved the curved bookshelves. Makes it feel more intimate. And how wonderful you and your friend had such a terrific, immediate reconnection. I love that. Maggie's looks great and you do stay in a gorgeous spot when you travel! My vote of approval. I think it'll be a long time before I see another sunset on open water so thanks for that one!

  17. Oh I love the way you spent this 24 hours! I am enjoying every little detail from the book store and Maggie's. I'm sold on that hotel too, it looks fabulous. Looks like you two were conjuring up a lot of mischief My kind of getaway...........

  18. I loved your recap and your friend Madalyn! Girl trips are always fun!


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