In October and November 1996, Mr Quiltingmick and his Mrs (that's me) went to the north east of the United States, and spent five weeks travelling on the train from New York to Montreal, Canada, to Boston, to Washington D.C, and back again.
One of our stops was Amherst, Massachusetts. We had never heard of Amherst until we decided we needed a stop on the train line between Montreal and Boston - a stop that meant we could experience a New England town in fall. The guidebook revealed that it was a college town and the hometown of Emily Dickinson, and this just sweetened the deal. We splashed out on some lush B & B accommodation and arrived into the arms of a very welcoming hostess and a very beautiful town.
We spent a few days walking around Amherst and nearby Northampton, checking the book stores and the cafes, the cemetary, the college campuses and the Queen Anne Stick style architecture. It was all new and exciting and so very 'New England'. Mr Quiltingmick still reckons he'd like to retire to Amherst and make pocket money by chopping wood.
Not being familiar with the concept of an enclosed porch, we were captivated by the one at our B&B. We were encouraged to enter the house by way of the porch rather than the front door and it certainly felt more welcoming. Because we were there in fall, the porch smelled strongly of the over ripe apples that were kept in boxes on the porch. It was an amazing smell and very heady. Whenever I think of Amherst I think of that strong smell of apples. I don't think I've smelt anything like it since.
That was until today, when I brought 5 kilos of quinces into my house. I'd read of the amazing fragrance of quinces, but didn't believe it until this morning. It is a magnificent fragrance - slightly sickly sweet, strongly perfumed and so much like the smell of over ripe apples. I am going to make Quince Paste, and Quince and Orange Jelly. It might take me days to make these things as quince takes a long time to cook, but with a smell like this pervading the house I really don't mind how long it takes me. It's taking me back to Amherst, Massachusetts and that can only be a good thing.