Come with me, to the sea, to the sea, the sea of Love


It’s hot!  It’s the 4th of July!  Shall we go to the beach?  It’s Virtual Beach, a really good one!  Close your eyes, can you hear the waves rolling in?  Can you smell the sea?  See the sparkling water? Go ahead, take off your shoes, let your toes wiggle in the sand.  The gulf stream goes around the island, the water is warm; you can kick it up when you walk! Feel the wind blowing by your ears?  See the little birds running in and out of the water? Aren’t they funny?  Here!  Here’s a cucumber sandwich — crunch-crunch, isn’t it delicious, isn’t the bread soft?  Hear the terns and gulls swooping and diving?  The horizon goes on forever, oh! and now, look!  The sun is setting over the water.  Everyone just naturally wants to hold the memory of days like this and never let go.

So we bring it home, in the form of rocks and shells; beach glass and bits of drift wood. Even though Joe and I walk out to the beach almost every day, it never ever gets old, it’s always different out there, and we still almost always bring home something, because we collect memories just like everyone else, even though we live down the block from it. Our window sills are lined with our “finds” — check out my favorite green heart-shaped beach glass — or Joe’s pride and joy, the little red heart-shaped brick, all rolled and soft from the sea.

My landlocked girlfriend in California made a small writing studio in an old shed in her backyard — and to her, this is the beach — in fact, it’s Martha’s Vineyard right in her own backyard.  She’s made a cottage out of it, painted it sea blue inside, and filled it with beach things she’s collected over the years when she’s here; bowls of beach glass and beautiful little perfectly formed shells; she has beach photos, beach paintings, beach fabric on pillows and chairs, and a jar of Martha’s Vineyard sand. Colored lights are draped over the door; she’s made magic right in her own back yard.

In this photo, → I’m coming down the stairs, that’s beach glass on the lintel over the dining room door.  We hunt for new places to put it!

I cleaned my hurricane lamp yesterday, and rebuilt it with Martha’s Vineyard sand as the base for a new candle.  Next time you are on vacation, bring along a baggie, get some sand from a beach you love; make yourself a windproof backyard table light to remind you of carefree walks by the sea.
← There’s everything you need. You might want to sift through and clean the sand a bit before  putting it in your container.


Make a well in the sand for the candle, use tongs to arrange shells around the candle, the way you want them. Plop in a candle, deep enough so the wind can’t get it.


Right now, my studio window is open, Joe is puttering in the barn, making a new rain gutter for the house, every so often I hear the saw. He has a boom box out there so I can hear the music playing …it’s La Mer …  since we are celebrating summer and the sea, I think you might want to hear it?  Oui?

We’ll be heading to our favorite little beach tonight for sunset.  From there we can see fireworks in the distance — they go off in all the small towns along the shore of Cape Cod.

God bless America. How will you celebrate?  xoxo

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41 Responses to Come with me, to the sea, to the sea, the sea of Love

  1. Rosemary Thomas says:

    What a wonderful place to be on the Fourth of July! Love the beach glass…I have a little bit from MV on a picture frame with a pic of our girls bunch when we went to MV in ’03…and a pair of earrings made of beach glass from a jeweler in Vineyard Haven…may put them on today! Happy Fourth!

  2. mari1017 says:

    Happy Fourth of July, Susan!!! What a beautiful blog this morning – and I just love your tuxedo kitty! Celebrating today and tonight with friends at bar-b-que and fireworks. One thing you said that brought back so many New England memories – used to celebrate the Fourth on a small beach on the south shore past Boston. It was so much fun to have the lobster bake pit going, good food, great friends, the ocean – and at night we could see, as you do, the fireworks of many small towns across the water – farthest was Salem! And, of course, run into friend’s beach house to see the Boston Pops, the 1812 Overture and their fireworks – then back out for more fireworks of our own! Ah, sweet memories of wonderful Independence Day in New England! I will enjoy this one here, and I wish you and Joe and all your friends a perfect beach day and fireworks night!!!

  3. Gert says:

    Oh my dear did it!!! You created a ‘virtual’ trip to the sea for us!!! I closed my eyes & just got carried away to your Marrha’s Vineyard!!! Thank you so…much! I shall dream the dream….smile! Also love the candle idea…next time we head to the lakes we shall gather some sand!!! Your collections on doorsills & windowsills is lovely!!!

    Today..we will grill burgers, I am making potato salad (a must for the 4th), there will be sweet corn & watermelon for dessert!! Along with company naturally!!!

    Have a blessed day!!

    xoxo Gert

  4. Nellie says:

    What a wonderful trip to the sea! Your words have transported me there. Today we are taking a trip to the nearby county where my relatives settled. We are packing a picnic lunch, including YOUR potato salad (Summer Book). When we return home, it will be time for icy, cold watermelon, in the fridge since Friday.
    Happy Fourth of July to you and Joe!

  5. laurie says:

    I’m Candian but as I live on the American border, (which is water) we celebrate the fourth right along with the States,, as they with us on the Ist.Fireworks are set off both nights and are on a barge right in front of our home here on the water, parades, bands , street performers, craft fairs and lots of yummy food.Thats how we celebrare the fourth and the 1st

  6. peg says:

    We will be celebrating here at home….Charlie, Pete and I. A little grillin’, a little relaxin’….. listening to mellow music and enjoying what we sometimes take for granted…freedom!

    Love the collection of heart rocks & glass….i have a little platter of ♥ rocks on my writing table….great minds, huh?

    Happy 4th, Susan! I’m so loving your new blog! xxoxo

  7. Lin says:

    Thank you for giving me a little mini vacation here in Ohio! You are so fortunate to actually live on the water, unlike so many of us who have to travel so far and then only get to enjoy it for a few weeks. Happy 4th!

  8. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Happy 4th of July Sweetest Sue! Thank~You for Sharing Your Magical Beach with Us! Since Friday…Herbster & I Have Been Celebrating The 4th of July! Where We Live…We’ve Been Part of a real “Block~Party”! Filled with Fun People…Lots of Good Food & Cold Scrumptious Cocktails…& of Course….Tons of Fun! It’s Been Hot & Humid…a few Thunderstorms late in The Day…then Lots More Fun until Midnight each Evening…& Tonight The Fireworks! Happy Birthday America! & I’m Wishing You & Joe & Kitty(Love the Pic of Kitty at The Window!) The Most Wonderful Celebration Today! xoxo Poof!♫♥

  9. Judy C in NC says:

    The soldiers homecoming video just about did me in … I believe my patriotic heart is truly red, white and blue – I love the 4th and everthing it stands for – your post today was so inspirational and peaceful. Thank you for sharing you with all of us. Unfortunately, the kids are all busy this weekend, but DWH and I will be watching the fireworks thinking of them and other July 4th’s when they were little. Time to put on some patriotic songs and celebrate our freedom, and our America. Judy C in NC

  10. Rachel Lucas says:

    Hello darling, happy happy 4th July…even though it means independence from US!! What were we thinking to let you go?? I guess we had no choice….:-) Love this post, of course…so many wonderful memories…LOVE that green glass heart btw 😉 & you xoxo Raise a glass to the Olde Country tonight & we’ll do the same to the New

  11. Carla says:

    What a wonderful posting. We just returned from Cape Cod and spent the day at Martha’s Vineyard (not long enough….plus it rained that day, oh well) and this posting just made me miss it even more. I truly feel my heart belongs to New England and dream to move there some day! Happy 4th and thank you for such a beautiful blog!!

  12. Yvette says:

    Happy 4th of July to you as well, Susan. And thank you for this lovely evocative post. What a pleasure to read. It’s the kind of thing that instantly puts you in a good mood in case you were prone to the grumps as I, occasionally, am. 🙂

  13. Sivje says:

    Happy 4th Susan!
    We ARE going to the ocean today! As soon as I get my buns in gear, we are heading over to Bodega Bay. We love it there. It is less than an hour from Santa Rosa and the clam chowder is so good! And yes, we hunt for sea glass. However, the best spot for sea glass is Glass Beach up near Mendocino. We usually go a few times every summer and hunt for glass. It is beautiful.

    If you ever get up to Sonoma County, I would love to treat you to chowder in Bodega Bay!

  14. Barbara (WA) says:

    I love the shape and etching of your hurricane glass – do you recall where you found it? I awoke so thankful to be a woman born in a free country.

  15. Kris Malkin says:

    Happy 4th to you and Joe! May you enjoy your celebration as much as we will here in So Cal…Hurray for the Red, White, and Blue!

  16. Nicole Brake says:

    Gorgeous!!! Your best blog yet. I scooped up my 2 little ones to sit on my lap and listen to LA Mer and see all the beautiful pictures. We are in land locked Ca also… but recently went to Cambria and my son found a charcoal heart shaped sea glass as well. It’s Cherry pie and vanilla cupcakes for us tonight as we watch our fireworks!!! I use to spend the summers at Boston Ballet and loved being on the Esplanade every 4th. Watching fireworks with my little ones each year fills me with such gratitude. Hope everyone has a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Robin says:

    I love you blog and especially love todays post! Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas. I will be collecting a bag of beach sand on our vacation in two weeks, for my own beachy candle holder. I can hardly wait! Reading your blog helps return me to the joys of living life! Can we be BFFs?

  18. Kathy Miller says:

    Love the blog Susan! Visualizing your gf’s creation in California….would love some pics of that! Happy Fourth of July!

  19. Karen P says:

    Susan! Thank you for bringing us along on your 4th of July celebration! Love the LaMer video! (oh, and the beachy hurricane is beautiful!) And, I thought I was the only sentimental one who collects heart-shaped stones wherever I go! On a recent trip to England, I started noticing heart-shaped slate pieces…from then on, I was hooked! My hubby even gave me a heart-shaped potato chip he found in his bag! We are celebrating our grandson’s 10th birthday today, July 4th! No lovely ocean beaches but a pretty fun pool that’s keeping everyone cool. Happy Fireworks!!!

  20. Linda H says:

    I love your blog–its so much fun hearing from you more often with such lovely musings. I too love collecting beach glass, although mine comes from Lake Michigan beaches. Have you ever found the pale violet shade? Happy 4th!!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, once or twice, not often. I have a friend who found red glass; first off we never find red, and then, hers was also in the shape of a heart! Still looking for that one! Joe and I bought Redrum once, just because the glass was red, and threw it into the sea, but still, nothing. It’s about the hunt though, wouldn’t want it to come TOO easy!

  21. Barbara says:

    Happy 4th of July, Susan and Joe. I felt transported to the beach today, thanks to you and the La Mer video was wonderful. I marvel at how you find the appropriate videos to include in your blog……it sure helps me, who is not very savey with the techy stuff…thanks!

  22. Eileen Ciccone says:

    La Mer- my husband’s favorite song! We were recently on vacation, and visited Charles Trenet’s home, in Narbonne, France. Actually, we made a sort of pilgrimage there…

  23. What a lovely blog post! We lived by the sea for many years (Huntington Beach, CA) and from time to time I still miss it….

    Happy Fourth!
    ♥ Carolee

  24. Judith B. says:

    Happy 4th everyone! A quiet one for me as hubby has to work; but will have some hot dogs and potato salad when he returns home. Live about 52 miles from Galveston, Texas but normally stay away during a Holiday…too, too crowded. It’s been so hot here in Texas that most fireworks displays have been cancelled due to the drought….always next year. God Bless America and those who are serving in the military = Freedom.

  25. Diane Pino says:

    Loved this post! (But then, I love ALL your posts!)
    I collect sea glass too, and shells, and heart shaped rocks…
    wish I could look every day!
    And my first “beach cottage” was a corner of our garage
    that my then hubby walled in with planks and white washed…
    Filled with ocean-y things, it was my retreat… just big enough
    for one to work (I sewed my teddy bears in there) or two for
    a tea party by-the-sea. My now husband has “let” me turn
    our dining-room/family room into my beach cottage ~ it’s
    where we have all our dinner parties! LOVE it (and my hubby more!)
    Love the link to “La Mer” ~ have you heard this version?
    Happy 4th! xox

  26. Pat Mofjeld says:

    We celebrated with friends on the deck for dinner. Now they have gone home and we’re inside watching the Capital 4th music on the TV with two fans running on high and the volume turned up high as one of our schnauzers isn’t fond of the fireworks people in our neighborhood are shooting off! We keep telling her “just one more day of it!”… 🙂 Love seeing the photos of Martha’s Vineyard and the water. Love watching fireworks over the water (and from a distance as I, also, don’t like the noise!)–enjoy your fireworks over Cape Cod and Happy 4th of July to you and Joe! 🙂

  27. Sue says:

    Happy 4th of July! We will be watching the fireworks tonight over the ocean in Cambria, CA. We had glorious weather today.

  28. Gayle says:

    A BBQ at my daughters, watching the granddaughters hold sparklers and wonderful food!

  29. Oh sigh… We love the beach! And haven’t been able to get there, in some time.

    For many years, every autumn, we used to visit Cape Cod and Nausett Beach in particular. Nausset Beach, because a fav author of mine (Gladys Taber) loved it too.


  30. Brenda says:

    I live in Michigan. We enjoy a lot of beaches, not the ocean, but to me it is wonderful. We do the same minus the shells. Bring home rocks, polished glass and even tiny pebbly filled sand from the up north shores. We make stepping stones and put our finds in them. I have started filling jars and labeling them with the spot and year we carried home our treasures from. We always spend the 4th at my in-laws. They live across from a park in a small town where there is always a carnival and a very long parade on the 4th. Everyone brings a dish to pass.

  31. Cheryl E. says:

    Sea of Love was the song my husband I danced to for our first dance as hushand and wife at our wedding overlooking the ocean in Osterville, MA where I grew up. The summer of our wedding in August of 1985 were were on the Vineyard racing a sailboat in Edgartown Regatta. At the time, we were living in NYC so we had taken the week off to race together here on the island. Knowing we were getting hitched in about 5 weeks and having to file for a marriage licience in the state we were getting married in, we jumped off our boat one soggy afternoon and ran up the dock, up Main Street in Edgartown and plopped down in front of the clerck at the town hall. We are listed in the 1985 Edgartown Report! Anyway, that song always takes me back to a wonderful day for us. Thanks for the reminder!

  32. Pat says:

    I love your sea glass and heart collection, Susan.

    My husband was born in Italy in a small hill town on the Ionian Sea. When I visited his hometown for the first time I was amazed to find the beaches almost covered with beautiful pieces of sea glass! I collected so much of it that my suitcase became too heavy to carry. 🙂 I ended up giving quite a bit of it away to his northern relatives who lived in Genoa and Bologna, but I saved a large bowl’s worth for myself. I love looking at it and touching it and remembering our trip. It is my favorite souvenir!

    On my one trip to Martha’ Vineyard a few years ago I collected a large bag full of scallop shells from the beach in the Oak Bluffs area. I’ve used them since in many decorative projects. Somehow a discarded piece of nature becomes a priceless treasure!

  33. DeAnna Passmore says:

    I’m taking a trip to West Palm Beach, FL in a few weeks. I’ve never found any sea glass or heart shaped anything but they are wonderful! I love your collection and how you have it “hidden” where everyone can see it! You always make me smile!

  34. Helen White says:

    Ah, I shall go down to the sea again.




  35. Helen White says:

    James Cagney was brilliant. His footwork looked as if he were dancing on air.

  36. CATHERINE says:

    Thank you for the beautiful waves that started the page. They remind me of my childhood summers on Cape Cod. Our cottage was on the mainland, but next year, I am going to the “Vineyard”. The candle idea is beautiful, the things we can do with shells are incredible! I can’t wait to send you a picture of my “Cape Cod” Christmas tree in a few months. Speaking of shells, have you ever read, “My Beautiful Broken Shell”? Thanks again, Happy August!

  37. Janie O says:

    Dearest Susan,

    What an adorable picture of Miss Kitty!! I love the way she is looking up at you and that you found her a fish shaped treasure of her very own.
    Kitty Kisses >”< ~Janie

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