Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009, It's been nice knowing ya.

Whether you loved it or loathed it, 2009 has finally decided to go on its merry way. It certainly has been a bit of a rollercoaster, and I, for one, look forward to a shiny new year, full of hope and expectation. Come to think of it, we get to say goodbye to a decade too. I hope it's been a good one for you. In case you don't remember, here's a pretty good place to reminisce...

Ultimate List of Decade End Lists

I hope you and yours have a fun, safe, and happy new years celebration tonight.

May 2010 be your best year yet.

Thanks and Happy New Year!


p.s. In prep for our winter break (January 4th thru 27th), we'll be offering up hand-packed pints & quarts, buy one, get one 1/2 off Saturday and Sunday (2nd & 3rd)!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bay Road Photo Guest Spot - Part 2

This just up, part 2 of my little guest photo piece at Bay Road Photo. In case you missed my intro on part 1, Bay Road Photo is a great little blog over at MassLive. It's all about my favorite hobby, photography, and is full of great images, tips, and local goings-on. Laura Merwin is the head blogger/ace photographer over there, and Easthampton's own Patrick Brough chips in too.

Here's my latest, some of the images may look familiar...

Zen Photo Tips Part 2

Stay warm. Hope you're enjoying this last week of 2009!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 Home Stretch.

A cute little 5 year old was in the other day and offered up the best 'offseason' ice cream slogan ever. Wait for it.

'It's Summer somewhere.'

With all due respect to Parrot Heads ('It's 5 o'clock somewhere'), I think I'm keeping that one.

I hope you had a great holiday and are recovering nicely on your couch right now, empty homemade cookie cups, candy cane and chocolate santa wrappers all around you, and a good movie playing on the new Blu-Ray DVD player with matching plasma TV.

In the event that your leftover holiday dessert supply runs low, you're welcome to come on down to Mt. Tom's. We've still got all your favorite flavors of ice cream, pies, and more confections than you can shake a Wii joystick at.

Oh, and your favorite scoopers are all well trained in the fine art of making a mean hot chocolate. Steamed milk, Giradelli sweet cocoa, homemade whpped cream. Dare I say, the best HC in the area. But don't take my word for it, stop by and decide for yourself.

What better time to break in that new giftcard from Santa. And stock up your freezer for January.

Here's a refresher on our scooping hours before our annual winter break:

Open Daily (including Monday) 12-8pm, 9pm on Fri & Sat.
New Years Eve 12-5pm
New Years Day CLOSED.
Sat, Sun (January 2,3) 12-9, 12-8 respectively.

WINTER BREAK: January 4-27th closed.

Thanks for making 2009 our best year ever!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to You and Yours.

For those that celebrate the holiday called Christmas, I hope you and yours have the very best one ever. May it be filled with all of your favorite traditions, family, friends, and good cheer.

Merry Christmas!

It is the one season of the year when we can lay aside all gnawing worry, indulge in sentiment without censure, assume the carefree faith of childhood, and just plain "have fun." Whether they call it Yuletide, Noel, Weinachten, or Christmas, people around the earth thirst for its refreshment as the desert traveller for the oasis. ~D.D. Monroe

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Arcadia Solstice Celebration.

In case you weren't able to partake in Arcadia Nature Center's annual winter solstice celebration last night, I thought I'd share a few images. A little nippy, but still a beautiful night for it. Crisp and clear, with a small crescent moon and stars everywhere. After parking your car in the very dark field at the entrance, it's a cool (and cold) luminary-guided walk to the fire. The event started with various nature history readings and songs. I'm not sure who was singing or what exactly it was they were singing about, but it was beautiful and had a bit of a new-agey feel, enhanced by the fact that we were standing in a dark field in the woods under the stars along with a couple hundred strangers and friends.

The ceremony/performance part was interesting, but the natives, a.k.a. kiddos, started getting restless about a half hour in, chanting 'light the fire. light the fire.' I must admit, I was silently chanting this too.

To most everyone's relief, that happened just a few minutes later. It took a little while for it to get roaring, but once it did, thanks to a howling wind, this fire rocked...

My fearless friend Mary, while the rest of us were another 15 feet back, still warm as toast from this big blaze...

Mary's friend popping in to make sure she was staying hydrated...

This fire definitely would have cooked up a ton of marshmallows, but I think it was just a little too hot. I guess if you had a really long stick...

One last shot as I was walking back to my truck. Note the moon in the top left...

Hope your holiday parties, plans, baking, wrapping, shopping, and other adventures are all falling into place nicely for you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Home Stretch Hours

Can you believe it's almost Christmas already? Time always seems to accelerate to time-warp speed between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, and this year seems to be no exception.

Fear not, there's still plenty of time to order that peppermint stick ice cream pie and quart of eggnog ice cream to go with for your Christmas dinner.

Late December always seems to offer up some kind of winter weather treat for us here in New England. It seems this year it's in the form of an arctic blast... Hope you remembered to get that oil tank filled this week.

In any event, hope you're enjoying the holiday festivities, and your Santa shopping is going well. Just wanted to pass along the schedule of hours for the next couple weeks. It's a little confusing, but here it is. In a nutshell, we'll be open Mondays thru the end of the year, closing early Christmas & New Years Eve, and will be closed Christmas & New Years. And we'll be open the weekend after New Years. After that, Mt. Tom's does its January disappearing act. We'll be closed from January 4th thru the 28th.

Holiday Hours:

Monday, Dec. 21 1-7pm
Tues, Wed 12-8pm
Thurs (Christmas Eve) 11-5pm
Friday (Christmas Day) CLOSED
Sat, Sun Regular Hours (12-9 Sat., 12-8 Sun.)

Monday, Dec. 28 12-7pm
Tues, Wed. 12-8pm
Thurs (New Years Eve) 12-5pm
Friday (New Years Day) CLOSED
Sat., Sun Regular Hours (12-9 Sat., 12-8 Sun.)

There you have it.

Happy holiday'ing to you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bay Road Photo: Blogging Road Game.

My friend Patrick Brough, Easthampton's insurance guy and photo bug around town, and his partner in photography crime Laura Merwin have a very cool blog over at called Bay Road Photo. It's actually Laura's blog, and Patrick joined her last year to assist. There they share some of their amazing images and talk photography, with a good mix of light and sometimes serious photo banter. It's one of the blogs I follow regularly. In any event, I recently mentioned to Pat the idea of doing a guest spot and pitched him a little idea I had. He and Laura were into it, and a week later, voila!, a guest entry over at Bay Road Photo.

Here it is. Hope you can check it out.

Enjoy the arctic breeze today.

Can I make you a Chocolate Eggnog Latte?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Happy First Snow Day of the Season.

Well, we did get to wake up to a nice little winter wonderland this morning anyway. It's quickly turned to a slushy mess out there, as you can see from the Chrome Bear-eye's view out the window below. Hope you got out early this morning to make that snowman and shovel the driveway. Not so much fun right now in the cold drizzle. Looks to be a quiet day in scooptown today. A good day to crank out some holiday chocolate santa pops.
And make that giftbasket for the silent auction over at the Old Town Hall tomorrow night (Thursday, Dec. 10th). It's the Easthampton City Arts Annual Celebration & Open House from 6-8pm. Head on over and make a bid on this little cornucopia of Mt. Tom's sweets or one of the many other cool items donated by local artists and business folk.

Of course, you can always order one of these yourself and have it filled with whatever you desire.

The mountain did its storm disappearing act this morning, but it is interesting to see a little winding stream instead of the big old Nashawannuck Pond right now...

Guess it's the Sunday afternoon open skate at the Williston Rink this winter. Poor ice fishermen are going to have to take it on the road this winter.

The inflatable biker Santa was feeling the effects of the heavy snow, or perhaps a few too many at Whisker's last night...

You may not be motivated to leave the warm couch on a day like this, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't mention the cool new holiday flavors I whipped up yesterday. Just in time for your upcoming holiday party. Or just a little something to reward yourself for a shopping trip well done.

How about a scoop of Reindeer Tracks?

Vanilla with Chocolate Chips & Peppermint Pieces. (Hat tip to the anonymous suggestor for that one.)

If that's not your thing, how about Festivus, a holiday favorite, of Seinfeld fame. Brown Sugar and cinnamon with gingerbread pieces and a caramel swirl.

But wait, there's more. We have Eggnog ice cream for sure, but how about giving the brand new, Chocolate Eggnog a try. Intriguing, no?

Vienna Fingers and Mint Oreo make an end of year encore to help brighten your December too.

Drive safe, and hope to see you soon.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Regulars Rule.

One of the coolest parts of owning a small local biz is getting to know the ‘regulars’. Regulars come in many shapes and forms. There’s the one who comes in, without fail, every Sunday afternoon, for his weekly quart of cookie dough. Another brings his wife in a couple times a week. Each order up a large dish of their favorite, and the two of them sit and chat for an hour with the crew and me. It’s fun getting to know customers. Eventually, their visits start to feel like friends stopping by to say hello.

Sometimes, regulars stop becoming regulars. This is often triggered by a need to drop a few pounds, get control over some lactose-intolerance issue, swearing off sweets as a sacrifice for Lent, or just the busy-ness of life getting in the way. Then there are the seasonal regulars too. These are the folks that mysteriously lose their cravings for ice cream when the leaves come off the trees and the mittens go on the hands. Luckily, there are still quite a few year-round regulars.

I look forward to my weekly Sunday visit from a nice, older gentleman known best around town for his love of the Yankees. It doesn’t matter if it’s the dead of winter, and all his beloved Yanks are swinging golf clubs in lower latitudes. He just loves to talk Yankees, especially to a Red Sox fan this year.

Another regular whose visits I always enjoy is an equally nice older woman. She always has a smile on her face. ‘How’s it going today?’ I most often say. ‘Oh, pretty good,’ is her usual response. While she sits and leisurely enjoys her ice cream, she tells me about the exciting things she’s been doing. For a while, it was downhill skiing. Before that, it was sailing. I would occasionally bump into her at the gym I used to belong to, where she’d be lifting weights with a trainer. Most days she comes to the shop, we simply exchange pleasantries, she goes on to enjoy her ice cream, occasionally buying something to bring home, and is on her way. She’s always remarkably upbeat and cheerful. Oh, and did I also mention she’s a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down? Forced to endure the worst the disease Multiple Sclerosis has to offer. I don’t know much more about her life than she’s told while her assistant fed her a dish of her favorite ice cream, but from my view, she battled MS courageously for 30 years, never letting it prevent her from doing the things she wanted to do. I say ‘battled’ because her sister, another regular, came in yesterday and shared with me the sad news that she had passed away over the weekend, at the age of 62. A nice woman dealt a really crappy hand, in the form of the crippling wrath of MS, who despite the challenges, chose to play that hand the best she could. Thanks Nancy, for the weekly dose of inspiration.

May you rest in peace, or run again like the wind, whichever you prefer.

Nancy Minton

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Novel in a Month & other Goings-on.

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, and you haven't brought any gluttony guilt into the new week. December, how did that happen? And we all know how fast Thansgiving to Christmas goes. 2010 will be here in no time. I'm probably not alone in saying - here's to a shiny new year to look forward to. A lot has happened here in '09, the great BearFest, a very successful summer of ice creaming here at your favorite scoop shop, and an interesting mayoral contest, to name a few. But it also seems as if it's been a particularly trying year in other ways. Deaths, illnesses, divorces, break-ups, job losses, and this pesky recession seemed to cast a shadow over a good portion of the year. Still, there are many things to be thankful for, and in keeping with the 'glass is half-full' theme, here's to a strong finish of the year here in December!

It seems I've had a bit of blog-writer's block lately, as you may have noticed by the sparceness of posts here at the ICD recently. I think that may have had something to do with my latest little project, 'National Novel Writing Month'. A customer/friend mentioned the idea to me a few days before it was due to start (November 1). The object is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That's 1667 words per day, in case you don't have a calculator handy. The writing doesn't have to be any good. In fact, they encourage fast and bad writing. At that pace, there really isn't time to rewrite, edit, or even reread as you go.

Having never even attempted writing a novel, although I'd certainly talked about it enough, it was definitely intimidating. Like running a marathon after a couple 3 mile jogs here and there. In any event, I volunteered anyway, went to the website and signed right up. Two days later, I was writing like a madman. I must say, it was actually good fun. You write every day, then update your wordcount on the site. They send you pep talk emails from successful (and aspiring) writers.

You can form little support groups. They even have local groups you can join, and go to writing gatherings if you feel so inclined. Umass Amherst had one that I joined, although I never did get to go there to write. For me, writing is best done in solitude, mostly on my couch at home. I did get to enjoy a little writer's retreat at a friend's vacant beach condo. A brief taste of the writer lifestyle, that was pretty sweet...

I even got a little taste of the photographer's lifestyle while I was beachside, knocking out my first novel. Can't say whether my new writing creation will ever be more than just a big Word file full of 61,267 words, but you never know. It's a long, quiet winter for an ice cream guy in New England. Perhaps I'll include a little excerpt here someday...

If you're curious about the 'Novel in a Month' thing, feel free to drop me a line or stop in. Be happy to give you more info. According to their website, they had over 100,000 participants from all over the world. In case you're curious, there were around 32,000 'winners', which is about 19%. According to the site, that's a new record.

Moving on to the local stuff, don't forget to check out this weekend's Open Studios at One Cottage Street. Many amazing local artists have studios in there, and you only get 2 chances a year to see and purchase their fine works. This weekend is one of them...

Also coming up later this week, the always 'cool in a small town way' Santa Stroll. It kicks off at the Maple School at 7 pm. Santa leads the way, making a stop at the edge of the pond for the annual tree lighting ceremony. The tree is usually floating in the middle of the pond. With no pond this year, I'm not exactly sure where the tree will be. I'm guessing at the corner of Williston Ave and Cottage. Unlike the rag shag, costumes are optional. Hats and gloves are recommended though.

Finally, coming up next week, Easthampton City Arts is having their annual party and open house. They have lots to celebrate this year, after the hugely successful BearFest. The public is welcome to join the celebration. Food by the Apollo Grill, live music, a silent auction, and more. Should be a fun night...

Ok, I think I'm all caught up now. Hope to see you soon.