Where Women Create at The Creative Connection Event

I’m going to tell you all about the Creative Connection Event we’re attending . . . But I know what you really want to see…you want to see a Butter Burger from Culver’s! It’s clear to me now, we geographically-challenged people on the right and left coasts have been unfairly denied and excluded from a particular kind of deliciousness . . . I never even heard of Culver’s before. Now I know, from the locals, this is THE PLACE!!!

A better burger than any I’ve ever had.  Hate to say, better than the old Bob’s Big Boys, better than In and Out Burger! Don’t know if it’s the “cooked to order,” or the butter-toasted bun, or the Midwest-raised beef, or the Wisconsin cheddar cheese; but probably the combination of everything. To sum up, if you can, get in the car . . . and find yourself a Culver’s.  If you come up through Wisconsin and Minnesota, you’re in for even more of a treat . . . because you can drive through the beautiful countryside where all those fresh Butter Burger ingredients come from.  This looks like a painting!  And it’s just out the car window!

Miles of this beauty  . . .

With huge Midwest clouds, and cornstalks turning yellow in the getting-cooler-by the-second sunshine.

I love barns!  One of the things I’d love to do someday is travel around the country and take pictures of barns.

And when there were no barns, there was the Mississippi River, next to us most of the time.  And suddenly, we were there, in St. Paul, and

Finding our hotel . . .

The Creative Connection Event has been amazing.  They’ve taken such good care of us . . . here’s the “goodie bag” they gave to everyone who came, filled with ideas and inspiration from some of the most creative people around.

It started yesterday (Thursday), and will be over tomorrow…so I’m trying to remember everything and take it all in.  The first thing they asked all 700 of us to do was to form two huge lines in the ballroom, for an hour of “speed dating,” where we’d meet someone, tell about where we’re from and what we do, exchange business cards; then the lines would move and we’d each get a new person. I met crafters, quilters, artists, computer wizards, writers, authors, social media queens, divas, moms, and designers. That’s me (in the green) — and that’s Joe, behind the camera.  He was in his element. So many girls, so little time! 

All day long there were hands-on workshops and demonstrations on subjects ranging from How-to-Blog classes, to Art Journaling, Mary Jane (Butters) Bread Making, How to Make Homemade Jam, Practical Business Advice by Megan Auman, Launch Your Farm Dream, Food Photography, Count Your Blessings Necklace Making, the Home is Here Textile Banner with Charlotte Lyons . . . I could go on all day.  The Keynote Luncheon (everyone back to the ball room!) featured Becky Higgins (who I know from years back at Creating Keepsakes Magazine).  Here is the beautiful lunch they served us, pure unadulterated Girl Food.  We were encouraged to “eat dessert first!”

After still more workshops, Dinner provided inspiration with stories from  Cristina Ferrare and Holly Becker from Decor 8.  I was so happy to meet Leigh Standley, the original Curly Girl who’s cards I know you’ve all seen — she was seated at our table, lives in Boston, so she’s a neighbor, and a doll.

This morning (back at the hotel), we had room service (my all time favorite thing about anything having to do with travel). I ate my grapefruit along with the new AUTUMN Magazine by Matthew Mead, still another gift from The Creative Connection.  (They knocked on the door while I was writing this and dropped off still another goodie bag!!!!)

This little garden is the view outside our hotel room window . . . pretty little thing isn’t it?  I’d love to go walk in it!  Hard to believe it will be deep in snow in a very short time.

Today I’m doing a video interview for DIY DISH  — it will air on their website in November and if it’s any good, I’ll be sure to let you know when. If it’s awful, forget about it, I won’t be telling. 🙂

 Tonight, authors in the group will be signing their books, and those of us who are in the August issue of Where Women Create Magazine will be signing that also, meeting fans, talking to everyone.  And tomorrow is the day I join five other “Entrepreneurial Women” on a panel for the Keynote Breakfast where we will be discussing the different paths we’ve taken to where we are now and what we learned along the way … plus lots of Q and A from the audience.

And that’s about it for today!  Better get out of my jammies!  Soon we’ll be on the road again! Hard to believe that Creative Connection will be in the rear view mirror by Sunday, but happy to know that Butter Burgers will be on the horizon!

♥     ♥     ♥

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108 Responses to Where Women Create at The Creative Connection Event

  1. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ♫♥♫♥♫♥ Good Afternoon Sweet Sue & “Photographer~Joe”! Yay Loved the Photo with You & Everybody Sue! omgggg I’ll Dream of That Burger! Yumminess! 🙂 Loved all Your Wonderful Photographs… Cornstalks & Miles of Beauty & Barns Oh My! & those Goodie Bags…& the Garden …Looks like The Creative Connection is Beyond Fabulous! (Thanks for Bringing Us Along!)Hugzzz & L♥ve to You & Joe Sweet Sue! Have Fun Tonight & a Magical Weekend! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ♫♥

  2. Jody says:

    I love seeing those barns and silos and the crops anchored into the prairies. I live on the prairies of eastern MT so I have a special attachment to your pics. I am also a barn lover and everywhere I go, I snap pics of barns and homesteads. It looks like you have a great start on your barn collection.

    I like this post.

  3. Jody says:

    Dittos on the butter burger. I think it’s a midwest thing and it’s delish, isn’t it? Oh yeah.

  4. laurie says:

    What wonderful event, and the photos just heaven,, enjoy the restof your trip,, that butter burger is something to look forward too!The farms look so much like our country side, one would think it was Ontario Canada, we’re not all bush,, just my part

  5. Rosie Snow says:

    In the words of St. Paul, MN’s namesake, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you!” Thanks, Susan for taking us on your trip! I can almost smell the Butter Burger…but the claim of it being better than In-N-Out? I’d have to taste it to believe it! Hoping to meet you in SLO in a few weeks. Happy touring till then. PS–you inspired me to take my first train trip on the Coast Starlight from the Bay Area to Portland–so glad I did!

  6. Carolyn Ann says:

    Susan, So happy you & Joe are having such a good time! The convention sounds wonderful. How nice that they gave everyone a “creative people” goodie bag.The hotel looks so nice. The Butter Burger looks so yummy along with all the other food! Wish I was driving through that beautiful countryside!

  7. Priscilla says:

    Have been substituting the butter burger for the double double and the big boy since my move to Sioux Falls from my hometown of Thousand Oaks, CA a few years ago.
    The beef and cheese here in the Midwest are very good, however I still think the CA burgers are the best and everyday I long for a double double or a big boy.

    I met you at a book signing at Edna Winery many years ago. Told my niece about you and then she met and sat next to you at a business luncheon in Arroyo Grande or somewhere near there. So after following you for many many years I feel as if you are family! Thanks for all your great work!

    Regret that I am unable to see you in St. Paul. Hope you will be in this area again soon.


  8. JudyCnNC says:

    Must go see the barns and hopefully see the ones that have the quilt blocks painted on them – road trip – unfortunately will not be able to get very far North for the Butter Bergers – I have heard they are GOOD!!! Bye for now. Judy C

  9. Gamma Rori says:

    Have you encountered the pastry delight of ‘pasties’ yet? When I first started seeing signs for these I immediately thought the wrong thing, lol. So, we stopped at one of this roadside diners and asked what they were. Boy were we in for a tasty treat! They are YUMMY! If you see signs for these, STOP and try them, you’ll love them, I promise! (Girl Scouts honor, and I was a Girl Scout for 2 whole weeks! lol)
    ♫♥♫♥♫♥ Thanks so much for the continuing Road Blog, it’s wonderful! ♫♥♫♥♫♥

  10. Country Gal says:

    What lovely photos. Wonderful of them to give you such awesome gift bags full of goodies! Looks like a great place to be and all the wonderful people you have met ! Thanx for taking us along cant wait to see whats next ! Have a wonderful day !

  11. Doreen Strain says:

    Just looking at that Butter Burger brought tears in my eyes Susan, not to mention the fact that I could feel my pants getting tighter around the thigh area!!!! Thank you for sharing the pictures with us. It really looks like a lot of fun. I bet you could feel the creative energy in the room. When women who possess the ability to inspire all gather together…no matter where they are, you can actually feel the energy in the air! It’s almost like a feeling of “excitement”! You come away from the event on a “high” so to say! Please tell Joe he is doing and excellent job picture taking and I look forward to seeing the “goings on” during the rest of the weekend. FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  12. Joy Hall says:

    How nice to get a peek into the creative conference and a look at that tasty burger! Looking forward to hearing more….

  13. Jocelyn says:

    Isn’t the sky amazing in the Midwest?? I was in Kansas a week ago, and I could not help but take picture after picture of the sky. It sounds like you are having a wonderful time. Keep us posted 🙂

  14. K. Ross says:

    Oh, when I look at those midwest farms and cornfields, my heart just melts! Actually brings tears to my eyes. What a beautiful, beautiful country we live in — from shore to shore! And thank God for those hard-working farmers bringing in those crops. What would we do without them! Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures with us — the best part is that they are the real deal too!

  15. Karen P says:

    So excited to see your gorgeous photos of my home state, Wisconsin! It’s pure joy to take a long drive during the peak of the Fall color season and see the farms and the forests and hillsides ablaze with color. I have a “thing” for clouds and love the cloud-filled skies! The conference sounds FABULOUS! Wish I were there! You look adorable in your little green sweater and I’m pretending that’s me there chatting with you! 🙂

    • Gert says:

      Oh Karen now I see where you live..lol sorry I should have looked for you before I wrote my answer! We’re really almost neighbors..Iowa is not that far away!


      • Karen P says:

        True! I guess that Iowa has Culver’s as well! We used to go to a great church camp in Iowa all the years that our kids were growing up just over the border in the northeaster corner of Iowa. Great memories. I love reading your posts. You sound like a very fun “Red Hatter!”

        • Gert says:

          Thanks Karen, I try to have fun at our Red Hat luncheons! We (the Queen) & I feel this is our ministry in life. So many of our ladies are widowed and or somewhat handicapped so this is just the highlight of their life! Glad you’ve experienced our great state…smile Actually those pictures Susan took look almost identical to some I’ve taken around here..smile guess we are all just Midwesterns..(big smile)

          Hope you have a blessed day!

  16. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    What a wonderful time you are having. I love that magazine, where women create, are you kidding me its one of my favorites. Love the pictures, love the garden you get to look at. The burger looks so yummy. I bet it was amazing to meet so many creative people. Enjoy the rest of your time there and traveling back. Can’t wait to see more photoes

  17. Joan says:

    OH my mouth is watering! And I live in CA so too far to get a burger!!!!

  18. Virginia says:

    What a great blog entry! Being a Colorado-and-West girl, with a bit of the South thrown in, it’s wonderful to see your photos of the Midwest. My dream vacation is to get on the train in Emeryville, CA and head east. Your Train 101 post (pre-blog) a while back sparked my interest in train travel. So far I’ve taken the CA Zephyr from CA to Denver. It was right after Christmas last year and there were holiday lights everywhere, just like you said. Magic!

    TCC looks and sounds like such a wonderful event! Love seeing and hearing about it through your eyes. Wish there was a left-coast version of it. Autumn Magazine? Right up my alley. Will have to look for it.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay, Susan. I look forward to more reports from TCC and from the (rail)road west. Will see you in SLO. Can’t wait!

  19. Susan,
    Not just because I’m feeling a bit contrary today, but I’ll take a Big Boy burger any ol’ day over the butter burger!!!! (I live in MN now…. but used to live in OH, and we ate at Bob’s Big Boy frequently, as it was one place where everyone in the family had a favorite menu item. And I’ve enjoyed the In-N-Out burgers while living in New Mexico for six years, too.)

    But the butter burger? In the words of my dear MIL, “Oh ISH!”. I’ve only had the horrendous experience of eating a butter burger once – and that was too much. (Only ate two bites…. and threw the rest into the trash.) My dad, husband and sons LOVE their butter burgers, but I will not eat anther one of those slimey, greasy, mushy things ever again.

    Onto brighter things!! So glad you enjoyed our gorgeous sights – isn’t it breathtakingly beautiful?? And were you prepared for the cool temperatures? Isn’t fall lovely here? My favorite season, hands down. And ALWAYS, one of the first things I do when the weather cools, is put my copy of AUTUMN out so I can enjoy it a bit of it every single day.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    • Pat Mofjeld says:

      Lor N: To each their own. If you don’t like the Butter Burgers, that just means there is one more for those of us that DO like them! 🙂

  20. Maryellen says:

    Oh Susan, what a wonderful experience. Thanks for taking us with you! About five years ago, I was a passenger in a mini van filled with 4-H Advisors on a road trip to a regional conference. I do think it might have been in Indiana or maybe Wisconsin when we began to see the Butter Burger Billboards. We were in a rush to the conference. (Oh, the road trip stories I can’t tell), but we made sure to stop by on our return trip. WONDERFUL MEMORIES and your picture makes my mouth water. I love the food pix at your conference, too. Will you ever leave?

  21. Gert says:

    Oh Susan..just another wonderful post! Of course you know how much we LOVE our Butter Burger! Our local zculvers is amazing & often we get a small sundae & share it as it’s so big.. Maybe I should have called it a ‘big’ small sundae! smile… Your photo’s “on the go” (as I call them) are amazing! Nothing more beautiful then countryside photos! You are a very good photographer, as is Joe..love the pic of you! Looks like the seminar is just wonderful…they are treating you like little Queens, isn’t that fun? Continue to enjoy yourselves…

    xoxo Gert

    • Karen P says:

      Gert! Do you live in Wisconsin?

    • Gert says:

      Oh Susan…I forgot (remember I’m old-lol) as a Red Hatter we eat dessert first a lot! it’s wonderful isn’t it? smile…

      • Terrie says:

        Oh, Gert! Coming from Iowa, my mom & dad always LOVED their MaidRites (is that the correct spelling?). As kids, it took us a few years to develop a taste for anything that wasn’t from McDonald’s, but once smitten, we were Lifers! I imagine this burger to be a completely different experience than Butter Burgers, but isn’t that the fun of traveling?
        Love, Terrie from Atlanta (by way of Dubuque!)

        • Gert says:

          Terrie.. We just got a Maid Rite (sp?) here & of course we had to try it. Others just LOVE them..but we weren’t that crazy about them..but again it depends on ones taste don’t you think? We have another drive in & they make loose meats like Maid Rite just a different taste that we love! So there we go..lol


  22. Nina says:

    O susan that looks like sooo much fun! And that burger looks yummy!! Imagine all those creative women in one spot….eating dessert first! Thats sounds right up my street.
    Sounds like you are in for a fun weekend. Enjoy and looking forward to hearing all about it! xxxx

  23. Janet says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Butter Burgers. As a bi-coastal girl with one foot in Seattle and the other on Cape Cod, I’ve been known to plan my vacations around the availability of Butter Burgers. Just too good to miss.

  24. Suzanne says:

    This is such a fun trip, I wish I was packed along in your suitcase! I’ve been through parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, when we drove out to my nieces wedding, the rolling hills and the farms dotting the landscape are just as your pictures show, so different from New England but still as beautiful. How fun it must be for you to gather with all these creative women as yourself, so inspiring! Looking forward for more!

  25. This show sounds like such a blast, I wish I was there, too. I love trade shows!

    Several years ago I took my parents on a big trip from Saskatchewan (in Canada) to Wisconsin where my mother’s family originated. Yes, they were cheese-makers who had immigrated from Switzerland. We had a wonderful trip driving through Minnesota with all the lakes and into woodsy Wisconsin near Lake Superior. My mother’s aunt owned a cheese-store on little Madeleine Island until she was 87! Now my sister is a cheese-maker, too. (www.farmhousecheeses.com)

    On the way home, we drove through the south end of Minnesota with all the farms and barns and little towns.

    Thanks for the reminders of a great trip.

  26. Sheryle Towle says:

    Barns, burgers & dessert first…..a bit of Heaven….thank you for the pictures! Joe, you are doing a great job. Enjoy every minute!!!! Very breezy & cool back here in New England (Southern Maine). Brrrrr

    • Doreen Strain says:

      Oh Sheryle, I am sooooo jealous! Very breezy & cool…and then Brrrrr! Oh boy, now I’m a little depressed as I sit here in FL with the temp. hitting 93 today. I would love to be cuddled up under a quilt with a good book and a nice hot cup of tea. As a matter of fact…just hearing about the coolness makes me want to get out my bed jacket. I love reading at night in bed when it’s cool and I need just a little something to keep my shoulders and arms warm. Oh yeah….it’s coming…I just have to have a little more patience. I soooooo miss New England (Upstate NY on the Mass./VT border.) I happy you are enjoying it though! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

      • Karen P says:

        Come on up to Wisconsin, Doreen! I LOVE sweater weather and today was the first real “sweater” day! Ahhhh…… We could have tea….chit-chat…craft…

        • Doreen Strain says:

          Maybe someday I will Karen! When I lived in Upstate NY I used to think about how wonderful it would be to be able to have sunshine and temps in the 70’s in the middle of Jan..Then we moved to FL. Now….I think about how wonderful it is to be in bed at night with the snow falling all cuddled up under a cozy quilt just wondering how beautiful it’s going to look outside in the morning when all is said and done. I guess that is where the statement “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”comes from. LOL ! After we retire we will have the best of both worlds so to speak! I’m happy you are getting the chance to enjoy your “Fall” weather. I’ll get my chance when I head up to NY in a few weeks! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

      • Sheryle Towle says:

        Doreen…..44 this morning in my part of Maine!!!!! Should be 65 & sunny later!

        • Doreen Strain says:

          Now your just teasing me Sheryle !!!! LOL ! I’m sure you are loving every minute of it…I would be! The cool weather will have the leaves changing in no time at all. Enjoy the show they provide you with. “Happy Autumn”!
          FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  27. Brenda says:

    Your trip looks just perfect so far. I live in Michigan and my family (as in siblings and parents) live in Indiana. Both states have Culver’s, but my favorite is their chicken strips. I will admit when I cannot decide on anything else on a menu chicken strips are my pick and theirs are the best. Not anything like Burger King strips at all. Have you met Rebekah Teal yet, MaryJane’s City Farmgirl. I know she is also at the conference. If you run into her, tell her Brenda from Ladybug Dreams says hi! Will be waiting for your next installment.

  28. Jennie says:

    What an exciting event to be part of! I hope the rest of it continues to be nothing but good!

  29. Lisa Hay says:

    We have Culvers in Texas too! YUM! 😉 Love your stories and pictures! Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us. Made your homemade brownies the other night and they were a hit! The kids were having a sleep over and gobbled them up and I got a message on our community board in the kitchen saying “Make more please – LOTS!” Gotta love it!

    • sbranch says:

      I saw that! But of course Texas would have butter burgers!

    • Gloria Groza says:

      Hey Lis! We’ve been in Texas 6 years and you never mentioned Culver’s Butter Burgers? Whats up with that? Next time I have a craving for an In-N-Out burger, we’re going there! Can’t wait!

  30. Francine says:

    Love the bag the goodies came in! And the food looks pretty delish!

  31. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    Oh my gosh! That Butter Burger looks delicious! I lived in Deephaven, MN from 1990 – 1999. NEVER HEARD OF A BUTTER BURGER! I loved our time in Minnesota – beautiful state – all of it – and we really miss it! We made wonderful friends there and I am definitely needing to visit them – would love to have them take us to the nearest Butter Burger!!!!!! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  32. Tina in Ky says:

    I adore Culver’s! I go there sometimes when I am in Lexington Ky…..Hope you and Joe are enjoying every second of your journey! Safe travels 🙂

  33. Peggy Cooper says:

    Oooohhh. I wanted to go to this event, but couldn’t quite manage it. Sounds and looks like it’s everything I thought it would be. Enjoy the rest!

  34. Been lurking for awhile, but had to comment on the butter burger! We got Culver’s in Mason and Hamilton, Ohio, near Cincinnati, during the last decade. I adore butter burgers, but I have to limit myself to a single burger–more than that is just too rich. It does remind me of the old Frisch’s Big Boys of my youth in the 50s and 60s. Haven’t quite converted to the cheese curds, though. Thanks for the great post. Would love to go to Creative Connection myself someday.

  35. Doreen Strain says:

    Hearing about all these wonderful places and seeing all of the beautiful pictures really reinforces that the United States is beautiful. Richard and I are planning when we retire to hit each of the fifty states. So, I’m keeping a list of all the wonderful places I’ve either hear about or read about that I think we might like to visit. Culver’s has now been added to that list!!!! Just one look at the picture did it for me…then to hear you all talk about it, almost makes me want to go fill the gas tank in my car and head out to the first state I can find one in. LOL !
    FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  36. Clairellen says:

    Hi Susan…I love ButterBurgers (born in Green Bay), and wanted to make a recommendation for your next Culver’s stop — try a Concrete Mixer…my absolute favorite flavor is raspberry, but there are tons of choices….served with a spoon, so it is not really a drink, but a ecstasy-inducing treat! 🙂 I am SO enjoying traveling with you and Joe vicariously…I have always loved your books and designs, but your blog is letting us get to know you as a close friend. Thanks so much for sharing.

  37. Ann says:

    Anything with a name like BUTTER Burger has got to be out of this world. My mouth is watering for one. The bad news is that the closest Culver’s is 425 miles away (I looked it up).
    Continuing to enjoy your train’s eye view of the country… Thanks!

  38. Amy Lynn says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures with us who love you!!! Just reading your Blogs & Posts gets my “creative” juices flowing.. and I want to tear myself away from my computer…. and get to my craft room!!!!
    🙂 Have a great weekend…. till we blog again!
    Amy Lynn

  39. Lori says:

    Thanks for bringing us along – looks amazing! By the way, Culver’s has great hot dogs too and you should try the cheese curds. Be brave, oh woman who puts pepper on her ice cream sandwich. : – )

  40. Jeannie M from NC says:

    Oh Susan how could anything be better than the old Bob’s Big Boys from the 50’s, 60’s era! Don’t know when they changed them, maybe you didn’t have them with their secret sauce, but in high school we used to cruise Colorado Blvd between Pasadena and Arcadia, and stop at Bob’s for burgers, and Henry’s in Arcadia for wet fries! Didn’t know about butter burgers in 1973 when we traveled through Wisconsin and Minn., would have loved to try them, but maybe they weren’t around then. Surely our friends in Minn would have told us!

    Sounds like you are having fun! I bet you are going to catch up on some sleep when you get back to the train! How do you do all that and still take time to do this wonderful blog! I envy you your energy!

    I just found out today that I fractured my little toe when I fell on my birthday in Aug. Stubborn me didn’t go to the Dr. till today! So I’ll be able to catch up on e-mail, computer shopping, sewing and reading!

    Have fun!


  41. Heartsdesire says:

    Wonderful photos of the barns and countryside. And the butter burger. What can I say that hasn’t already been said. I’ve never had one, and even though I live on the west coast (Vancouver Island), I can always put it on my bucket list. What a fabulous event you attended. So many talented people, including yourself. Wish I’d been there.

  42. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Can’t decide which pic I love the most – burger, farms, barns, goody bag, old hotel, food, garden – but maybe it is the one of you! Great job Joe, catching your girl enjoying meeting the ladies & really listening to their stories as she’s speed dating! BTW, just last week on the way to Bodega Bay, I told my husband I was going to take a trip and only take pictures of BARNS – I think I need to head further East! Perhaps one day Susan we’ll both meet while snapping pics of a great barn. You’ve gotta be pooped out tonight, but hope you don’t miss the moon, & sleep well you two – job well done!

  43. Sandra Gillanders says:

    That Butter Burger sure looks yummy, great picture of it. Is it called Butter Burger because there is butter on the bread or in the meat?
    Conference looks like so much fun and you look adorable in your green sweater. The pictures of the Wisconsin and Minnesota are so beautiful they could be a post card, thanks for the view from the road.

    • Gert says:

      Yes Sandra..there is “butter” on the bun & on the burger! It ‘s really a great buy! The burgers are really good..reminds more of homemade ones verses the cookie cutter ones are the other chain restaurants.. Smile… I think we need to visit ours next week! Smile….

  44. Pat Mofjeld says:

    My husband and I ventured to downtown St. Paul this evening to the Creatifve Connection. (He actually works downtown so is familiar with it whereas it was a real “adventure” to me as I next-to-never go downtown!) We went with the sole purpose of meeting my favorite author and artist at the Creative Connection. I have “followed” Susan Branch since her first book came out many years ago, and I think I own a copy of all of her books! Susan, it was very nice to meet you and Joe! We hope you’ll come back to visit us here in Minnesota again sometime. Then when we came home, I saw the beautiful photographs on this blog posting–so now I’ll add “favorite photographer”, too! You really captured the feeling of the Midwest in those photos–I loved them. And it has been fun to read about the two of you discovering Butter Burgers and fun to read everyone’s comments concerning them! Thankyou, again, for all you do! 🙂 Have a wonderful time the rest of your trip…

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Pat! Last night was wonderful…so nice to meet you and Norm!

    • Gert says:

      Oh Pat you know I’m so jealous….smile… I can’t imagine what it would be like to meet Susan in person….well….thats not true I can dream what it would be like! She would have to stand up and receive a great big ((hug)) from Tom & I! smile… But I’m still a little bit jealous!! Ha…


  45. Looks like you are having a good time, Susan! What a fun trip.

    I did post your recipe, along with a link, on my blog. Thank you very much! You are free to look at it at http://www.dapperdreamy.blogspot.com (no, this is not intended to be a shameless self-plug… I just don’t know how to email you directly! 🙂 ).

    Have a great time!


  46. Christie Ray says:

    I am so tickled to see this post…The creative minds in that one meeting place! I can feel the vibes of creative energy all the way here in Tennessee! And that darling curly girl! I need every coffee mug she designs; perfect birthday and Christmas gifts for the girls in my world;)
    I received my package of books a few days ago..Days, Day Book, Address Book, and AUTUMN! Oh my, dear Susan…you have blown me away! My husband is the main chef (and I do the baking) so we have each found our favorite recipes, already. I love all the quotes. We had traveled to pick up the cutest little wood stove, and the auctioneer we bought it from smelled just like my grandaddy…I couldn’t seem to leave his side… When we finally broke away and traveled back home, I opened the day book to record the trip, and other events that day, and there was that quote..”sends one back to the memories of the past, and it is the same with smells.” my eyes welled up… So, I have now committed to keeping a quote from your books on the chalkboard, as uplifting reminders. It is such a joy getting to know you through your wonderful blog, and now, through your beautiful books.

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Christie! Thank you!

      • Christie Ray says:

        Btw..told my sis-in-law about Autumn…discovered she loves you! She has a collection of stickers and such from years ago;) Fall is her favorite time of year, so I promised I would order her a copy as well…how excited she is! I’ve already had to make order #2 for a couple rugs, Emma B. mugs, and 2012 calendar…yikes…I’m hooked!
        Please tell the gal taking orders over the phone that she was absolutely precious!
        Happy trails to you both,

  47. Vicki From Virginia says:

    Susan! Thanks so, so much for sharing this fun and fab trip! I have yearned to take a train trip across this beautiful country to visit my BFF in Colorado, and your journal made it seem so much more do-able for me! I am going to start planning! Loved all the shots of your convention adventures too! I wish there were more,more,more! Would love to see all the bounty from those goodie bags! Any chance you can share (just spread it out on the bed and take a few close-ups!)?!! Your blog is my little mental escape. I always log off smiling and feeling calmer. Thanks for sharing Susan-World!

  48. Gail says:

    Dear Susan,
    . My favorite thing about the midwest is the people. They have such friendly spirits and can’t do enough for you. Enjoy your trip and thanks for sharing it with us. Lots of Love from back home in Massachusetts.

  49. Susan, thanks for sharing your wonderful experience with us! Have a beautiful weekend! Twyla

  50. Holly says:

    The Creative Connection event sounds & looks like so much fun. Being a west coast girl most of my life, I know what you mean about Fall in the midwest. I think it’s a close 2nd to the best place to be in the Fall, behind the colors of New England.
    And barns! I LOVE them, and I do photograph them. It seems for every great one I see, two more are falling down. Thanks for the post and inspiration.

  51. BJ says:

    Culvers is so YUM! They have one in Arizona that I got to go to this Spring when I went down to visit my friend. Oh my… so good. I had a ‘Concrete’ with my Butter Burger…. soooooooooooo good.

  52. Nancy L says:

    Just found your website and have enjoyed reading all of your posts. I can’t wait to see what you’ve blogged about every time I get on the computer. I’m from Northern Illinois so was so surprised to see you mention S. Beloit’s antique shops. I’ve been to them and now I’m curious as to which one you pictured. Thank you for the photos of our fields and barns….when you see them every day you forget about the beauty of what is right in your back yard (when I wish I could be on the coasts). I know you would love to drive thru Green County Wisc on your way back to the train. There are maps that show where all the barn quilts are thru the countryside. If you get anywhere near New Glarus on your trip, be sure to inquire about them. There’s a Culver’s there, too!

    Thank you for letting us all come on your trip with you. Now I want to take a train ride, too!

  53. Barbara (WA) says:

    Every bit of this post hits me right in the heart with encouragement and longing. What awesome women at that convention! I googled Culver’s and discovered there are TWO in my hubby’s home town and we’ve never heard of them, how can that be? I adore barns and have wanted to do the same thing, travel & photograph them. My husband grew up on a farm in MN with a big red barn that burned down when he was a boy. It is one of the first stories he told me when we were getting acquainted (the other one was all about lefse, LOL). So way before everyone had computers, I took a few teeny tiny photos his mom had of the kids with the barn in the background to a person who could scan them and make bigger pictures. Then I commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of the barn. It turned out so beautiful and my hubby (and his dad) loved it! Many family members ordered prints.

  54. Yay! for DIY Dish!!!! Can’t wait to see your interview.

  55. maybaby says:

    I am so glad you stayed at the St. Paul Hotel, the perfect place to rest up at the end of those long days. I wanted to say hello yesterday at the convention, but I was the volunteer manning the door to the market, so only got a brief glimpse of you as I let you and your husband in, ahead of the teaming throng of women eager to buy all that is handmade. Hope you have a wonderful last day of the conference, and that you continue to have safe and wondrous travels!

    • sbranch says:

      How sweet you are to volunteer to make this event the wonderful thing it’s been! I wish we could have said hello! Love you for doing this!

  56. Kate from WA state says:

    My parents were originally from Iowa and so I’ve been back twice to meet cousins. We went through the twin cities the last time, but we didn’t have any of the burgers when we were there. I guess we’ll just have to go back! Your pictures really express the beauty of the midwest with all the beautiful farms and especially the styles of barns! I haven’t traveled that much, but boy do they have some beautiful barns! If you ever make it to Vancouver, Washington you will have to try our regional BURGERVILLE hamburgers. They received the Food Network burger of the year in 2006 (I think). They use natural ranch-raised beef from eastern Oregon, Tillamook cheddar (from Tillamook, county Oregon) I don’t think Wisconsin cheese can compare, and Walla Walla onions when in season for the best out-of-this -world onion rings. Their whole menu is sourced as much as possible locally with only the best of the best ingredients. The company is so on top of things they recycle their cooking oil, buy alternative energy credits (wind power, etc) and offer health insurance for their employees instead of advertising! Since most of their workers are kids, this is great! Anyway, I have never tasted a burger to compare! Your blog is fantastic, I love it, and you too!

  57. Barb says:

    It is so much fun to read all of these Comments! and your posting about this Conference. I would LOVE to have been there and meet all those amazing people – I’m just a bit envious of you. (I think I would love to meet you the most – I’ve loved all of your books since the very first one!!!)

    Come to Michigan sometime and especially enjoy our beautiful Great Lakes! They are truly magnificent! America is really a gorgeous, diverse, wonderful place – we are a very, very lucky people!!

    • sbranch says:

      You are so right! Would love to meet you too! The conference was wonderful, I hope they do it every year forever! Creative women need a place to come together…and since all women are creative, you can see the logistics! Need it! Just a wall of support there.

  58. Lois Pearsey says:

    I think we need to give a shout out to the maker of that hamburger…looks delicious! Creative people all around. Looks like a great conference.

  59. Karen says:

    Culver’s is now in Phoenix, Az & the butter burgers are good but I do
    prefer In and Out. I love Culver’s pork tenderloin sandwich! Great pictures.

  60. Terry says:

    I soooooooooo wanted to attend this convention! I am a teacher and taking time off right now is not in the best interest of my students, but one day … Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope to read more about it. I will definitely be there one day.

  61. Amanda says:

    I have to agree that Culver’s Butter Burgers are the best. As a true Midwestern girl, I’ve had my share of burgers and this is my favorite! I only recently discovered Culver’s and I have to agree with the earlier post on the Concrete Mixers. Mmmmm! I have to pace myself but I love the peanut butter cookie dough. Glad you are having a great time 🙂

  62. Linda says:

    The farm photos are beautiful. I so miss autumn in the midwest! I live in the south now which is wonderful in the winter. I was able to take a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard in June and I was enchanted by the beauty there and by the cottages at Oak Bluffs. I was so tickled to see your post on the Illumination Night! That must be a sight to see!

  63. I love reading about your adventure and seeing the photos. Its like being there with you. And thanks for all the links. I will be visiting them all today.
    Mama Bear

  64. Nellie says:

    Oh, yum! What an amazing burger! And – what an amazing experience you are having!

  65. Margie from Lavender Cottage says:

    I’m adding my 2-cents worth late….anything, and I mean anything with the word butter in it will always be a friend of mine!! Enough said!!!

  66. Becky says:

    Oh Susan our Culvers in Romeoville Illinois is absolutely wonderful to teachers! They discount our lunches and our school holds fundraisers there. I have worked a few of the fundraisers, my students love to see their teacher bring meals to them. I have to say the back rooms are as immaculate as the guest area of the restaurant. Also the owners and staff are a delight! The food is excellent too. So happy you got to experience this Midwest Reastaurant! If you ever find yourself in Joliet Illinois, Dan’s Homemade Candies has the absolute best taffy apples in the fall.

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