On Our Way Home . . . to Martha’s Vineyard!

Welp, we’re our way home to Martha’s Vineyard!  We’re on the train; crossing the dark  desert this very moment, with the thinnest line of hot pink sunrise outlining the black-silhouetted skyline of buttes and hills — I welcome you to my blog in a squashy sort of way . . .

 Having pictures like this one I took at Judy’s show is almost as nice as the real thing, especially if you are swaying through Arizona on a train somewhere east of Flagstaff!  We really don’t need a big ole squash in our “room with the gorgeous view,” although we sure do have everything else in here!  I’m drinking my first cup of tea, made in our room with the electric tea kettle we bring on every cross-country trip. The train horn is wailing out to the dark sky; we’re going through a little town, lights of the houses and streets are all I can see.

Yesterday morning at dawn, we were packing for our drive down to the train station, when I looked outside and had no choice but to stop everything, grab my camera and run across the wet lawn to take this webby photo of our farm fence over the foggy back forty.  If it wasn’t so pretty with the morning dew, it could be seen as a bit halloween spooky, especially when paired with this:

 . . . . which, I admit, did take me back a bit; there was a moment’s pause before reaching to turn the doorknob at the Tea Cozy in Cambria a couple of days ago, where my girlfriend Diana and I went for our goodbye tea and lunch.

But of course it wasn’t scary at all on the other side of that door; it was a delicious lavender tea and pumpkin soup lunch, lots of girl talk, laughter and hugs to last us until we meet again.  (It’s hard to love people so much on both sides of the country!  Goodbye is not my favorite word!)  The photo of the soup made me think that you might like to see how easy it is to dress up split pea or black bean soup for your Halloween dinner — or maybe chili . . . (the recipe, in case you missed it, is just a bit further down this page!)

Joe is still mooshed into his pillows, kept asleep by the rocking of the train; the sky has turned to gold above the pink now; soon it will be time for breakfast in the dining car, and later we get to have a nice long walk while the train stops to get its windows washed in Albuquerque, land of primary colors, red rock, white clouds, blue sky.

 We’ve been in a time warp this last month, crossing the country and back; we never know what day it is!  It was a mere September-something when we left home!  Someone mentioned November to me the other day, and I thought “Why is she talking about November — that’s not for three more months!”

But here’s proof, the full Hunter (that’s October) moon, shining in on us last night in our room as we pulled out of Los Angeles.  (See those two other little lights in the sky?  There were actually four; the other two didn’t show up in the picture; they weren’t stars; they were airplanes in line, coming in to land at LAX!)

Yes, there’ve been lots of goodbyes this month, hellos, then goodbyes.  It inspires many opportunities for kisses. This one is to my  sister Shelly; she’s the youngest of the eight children in our family and the mom of twin boys who are eight-years-old.  I was in the 8th grade when I told my mom I wanted to name our new baby after the most popular girl in my Junior High School who’s name was, of course, Shelly Stewart.  I wob her. 

On our last day, we took Judy and Kellee to Ventana Grill in Pismo Beach, to feed them delicious food, and to say goodbye to them (and to California!).

P.S. My life would probably always be out of focus without Judy and Kellee! 

I tweeted the ride down Pacific Coast Highway, in the moving car, as we traveled along Trancas, Zuma, then Malibu Beach. There was no problem sending photos and videos from my iPhone, of boarding the train and watching Beatle Youtubes on the computer; all magic and working like a charm.  But today, this post has disappeared from view twice, taking most of my brain cells with it.  I would have tweeted to let you know, but of course the phone didn’t work either! A smarter person would have not fought city hall and given up the first time. Apparently, the desert, moving trains, and technology are not, how you say, “as one?”  I almost gave up, but here it is in all its glory.  My question is this  . . . what do you want to see next?  I could show you the inside of the famous Madonna Inn where everything is pink–I took many photos in there.  Or maybe you would like a posting with lots of sparkly pictures titled “I Vintage Glass” — or I could show you how to keep wooden spoons and cutting boards beautiful; or I could just kill two birds with one stone and make us a list of what I have to do when I get home.  That would be a thrill.  What would you like my darlings?  . . .


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165 Responses to On Our Way Home . . . to Martha’s Vineyard!

  1. Maryellen says:

    Thank you for taking us with you on the twain! I just wish we had pictures at the Tea Cozy, too! I love tea rooms.

  2. Jan says:

    Hmmm, such a delima! I would rather see your list of things to do when you get home home. ♥ Maybe surprise us another day with the Vintage Glass pictures. First on the list had better be hug Girl Kitty! ♥

  3. Janice Kay Pipes says:

    Susan it was sew nice to meet you at your book signing, I got all star struk and nervous. I teach and do public speaking, don’t know what happened . It had to be you…lol. Any way thank you for signing my calender. And when it comes to my birthday I will have a lovley note from you to help celebrate!
    Thank you for lighting up our lives with you outlook and joy!
    Janice Pipes

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Janice! LOL, so funny, I had to take a class in public speaking to do what I do…. and it still scares me! Thank you so much for coming!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Janice, I had to smile when I read what you wrote. I met Susan when she was in St. Paul at a book signing. I felt the same way! I felt nervous, awkward, and didn’t know what to say–and I knew it at the time which made it even worse! First of all, I’d never been to a book signing so didn’t know what to expect. Then, I guess it was meeting someone I really like and admire so much, maybe that was it. I’m 61, not a kid, not usually shy, and usually not reduced to feeling this way! And certainly Susan is so nice, there was no need to feel that way! It was really nice to meet she and Joe. They are both very down-to-earth so I don’t know why I reacted that way, but I did…so see, you aren’t the only one! 🙂

  4. Jacki says:

    ” Homeward Susan ”

    As she boards the train
    Perhaps out the window she’ll see sunshine or rain
    A little sad but happy too
    Leaving one place behind for the time being
    And welcoming the other to see what’s new
    Sights and sounds
    Places and things
    Homemade and vintage
    Amazing what inspiration brings
    From within she does smile
    While everything around her is worth the while
    Everything sacred and special
    Kindred to her from the start
    Embracing what ‘s important
    Near or apart
    Homeward Susan…

    For Susan in all that she does and see in her travels, her two homes, etc…

  5. karen says:

    all the choices sound wonderful. Let’s do them in the order you listed them…inn, glass, list. I want too much, right? Enjoy yourselves and thanks for letting us travel with you.

  6. Nina says:

    ooo oooo I think all of those things would be nice Susan! In any order you like! Just thought I would let you know I made your brownies tonight and they were delicous! Thanks again for taking us on this trip….look forward to the next one! Hope girl Kitty doesn’t make you pay too much and gives you lots of kisses! xxxx

  7. Joy Hall says:

    “What do I want to see next?”… All of the above!

  8. Such an adventure – cross country by train…so much more appealing than air travel these days!

    Love the sour cream spider web on top of the soup – so fun.
    Safe journey.

  9. Kristen says:

    I can’t believe you are headed home already…seems like you were just traveling across the country. Have a wonderful, relaxing trip and enjoy…soon I just know you will be talking about snow and Christmas in all its glory! 🙂

  10. Dolores says:

    I am such a pink girl you can probably guess what my vote is, the Madonna Inn! I would love to see the pictures so much. But I also would love the vintage glass posts and I am all about the lists! So I am sure whatever you want to start off with will be wonderful as always. Okay I know I am a little greedy and want them all! I am working on that but it may take awhile! ha!

  11. Jean says:

    Reading about your journey (along with pictures) was almost as good as having made the journey myself (and lots easier). Thanks and hugs.

  12. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Clickity~Clackity….choooooooo~choooooooooo….I can feel The Train Swaying….Oh How I L♥ve Your Blog! & This Cross Country Trip on The Twain… 🙂 Judy & Kellee are Fabulous….& Your Baby~Sister Shelly! Beautiful (Like You!) it’s wild Your Baby Sister is The Youngest & My Baby Sister Jenny is too (of six for Us) & You Named Your Sis & I Named Mine & She is the Mommy of Twin Boys & Jenny is The Mommy of Triplet Girls…( & They are all age 7 I do Believe)Taylor is & Too!….Magical…let us know what You & Joe are Having for Dinner…in The Club~Car….Relax & Enjoy…for Soon You Will be HOME….Your Island & Kitty Await! Yay! Twirling!…& Sweet Sue ANYTHING You Post…Brings Us All Pure Joy!…Thank You again for Bringing Us Along…..♫♥I Hear the Train a Coming….♫♥ A Toast…Under This Glorious Hunter~Moon….Safe Journey Sweet Sue & Joe…& soon…We shall WELCOME You HOME! 🙂 Whew…what an Adventure! Sweet Slumber Tonight! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..zzzzzzzzz….. 🙂 xoxo Poof!

  13. Tana Griffith says:

    I have so enjoyed your trip! I would love to know how to keep wooden spoons and cutting boards beautiful.

    • CarolK says:

      I second that motion. I have a cutting board in the shape of a big ole lobster and another in the shape of a Scottie dog and then one in the shape of a pig and since I’m going to keep them a long time it sure would be great to know how to treat them. Love the spider webs on the fence picture. Now my friends wouldn’t look at me sideways when I show them the webby pictures I took inside a covered bridge in Canada last month. Who could pass up a shot or two of such lace work, especially when it’s all dripping with dew. Have a safe trip home. Can’t wait to see what Fall looks like on M’sV………CK

      • dottie says:

        I just said to my hubby — “HAH — someone else takes pictures of cobwebs on fences!” — hee-hee. I loved finding many, many tiny webs adorned with dew on our pool fence one morning and took many different photos. Hubby doesn’t mind my multi phto crazes nearly so much since he bought my tiny digital camera — with film it was a sore spot at times.

  14. Have a fun train ride all the way home and at all your little stops along the way. Be safe 🙂

  15. Donna says:

    I’m so greedy…I would love to see everything you mentioned! Love anything and everything you care to share with us. 🙂

  16. Darlene says:

    I love the ocean but have been there once in the last 20 years. Beautiful photos of your friends and the Pacific.

  17. Carol D. says:

    I would like to see how to care for wooden spoons etc. Thanks!

  18. Susan, whatever you post….I read it all. Thanks. Love Angel

  19. Merry says:

    I’d like to see all of your post ideas! 😀 I’d especially love to see the list.


  20. Treese says:

    Boy, first time crawls and then it runs-almost mid-October. Have a wonderful train trip! I love your house in Cali! BTW who needs a house when you have a garden? I own a little house in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England. It is a old Victorian on the Tyne River. I was always amazed it is a small house, but with a great huge English Garden. When I go over to visit my house and the Lake District I go mad for all the gardens.

    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl.

  21. Judy says:

    Pictures of Madonna Inn would be so fun!! My hubby and I honeymooned there 35 years ago !! 🙂

  22. Lori says:

    Susan, I agree that whatever you decide to share next will be great! (I remember hearing a critic say that a certain famous author could publish his grocery list and it would be a best-seller. That might just be true in your case!) Enjoy the rest of your trip and wave when you are near/in Indiana. I’ll be waving back and sending blessings your way.

    • sbranch says:

      Grocery list! 🙂 Sometimes they are funny, and we have saved them! When we talk to each other on them, Joe and I!

  23. Lisa R says:

    You could be a food photographer too! Your bowls of soup are always so beautiful! I’m always happy to read anything you post on your blog, but if I get to choose a topic, and I’m not sure this was one of the choices, I would love to see more train pictures! I just can’t get enough of that glorious train! Enjoy your trip home! Clickety~Clack

  24. Nellie says:

    What I would REALLY like is to have dinner in Chicago! Then, stroll along Michigan Avenue before boarding the train for the rest of the trip to Martha’s Vineyard.:-)
    Seriously, I have loved ALL your posts, so wherever your creative genius happens to carry you is just fine with me! Enjoy your evening! xoxo

  25. Laura Croyle says:

    OH, do we have to choose?? LOL! It makes for more work for you to post Everything, however! But whatever you decide will be great! And, please be sure to post photos of your new little kitten when you find him/her. But not until you’ve given Girl Kitty lots of hugs and treats and she’s sure you won’t be leaving her again anytime soon, of course!!

  26. Margot says:

    Where to eat in Chicago??? All the good traditional places I used to like are closed. 🙁
    I would like to see the glass as I collect it along with new art glass. However, I really need some new tricks for cutting boards. I heard something about salt for veggie stains. I do have some special cutting board oil from Wisconsin. So…how about both themes???
    I saw those lights when I was floating on Chesapeake Bay one evening three weeks ago and I thought they were fire flies. LOL Planes, just plain old planes. Yesterday I didn’t even realize September came and went when I heard a story on the news that happened a month ago in September!!!
    I feel like the girlfriends are from the same time warp. I wanted my girlfriends to know that I found Laura Ashley garden tools and boots and umbrellas. I need those boots!

  27. Francine says:

    Hum-m-m…..the ocean was awesome…loved hearing the sounds of it! The pink restaurant was beautiful..but I think the vintage glass has my vote! I ♥ vintage glass too…..green depression is my favorite! But anything etched is right up there as well. Have a safe trip home Susan! I too saw that moon last night! Breathtaking!

  28. Norine Molnar says:

    I second all of the above, please!

  29. zinnia patch says:

    thank you so much for all the fun! this trip has been a blast! as for what i would like next……all of the mentioned , but you could start with the “to do” list…. i love ” to do” list tee hee …..have a safe trip and …pet kitty for me!!!!!

  30. Suzanne says:

    The TLC show “The Little People” just went to the Madona Inn for a vacation and they gave us a great tour but from their perspective…I am sure your perspective would be very different. Yes Susan we all you girlfirends want it all from you, but we would not want to drain you with so much to do when you get home. So just know we appreciate everything you send out. Love to you!

  31. Betty says:

    It must be wonderful to see the sunrise from a moving train. I’ve really enjoyed all of your descriptions as you have sped across the country. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us and enjoy the rest of the journey.
    Re the topic of your future posts. The vintage glass sounds good, but I would be happy with whatever you choose:)

    • sbranch says:

      We are waiting for moonrise right now….just left New Mexico, stopping now in Trinidad Colorado . . . leaves are getting bright yellow here . . .

  32. Sylvia Faye says:

    Susan I would dearly love to hear the history of the Madonna Inn as I believe it was named for Our Dear Mother Mary and pictures of the interior would be a bonus.

    Enjoyed being on the train both ways with you and the joy you gave to all those you
    came in contact with.

    I feel as though you were my missing little sister, that I never had.

    God was very good to me and I found one of your little books called Christmas Joy…my heart soared as it was within my budget at a local hospital thrift shop and the copyright was 1995. With the print being a ‘wee bit’ on the tiny side there were times I had to use a magnifying glass.

    Safe trip,
    Sylvia Faye

  33. Joann says:

    Hello dearest Susan!

    I love that you asked!!! I, like all of the others, like anything and everything that you write about, but something I would love to know more about is Judy and Kellee and how they came to be and what they do and how they do it….the ‘behind the scenes’ sort of things. I think that any business person needs strong wonderful smart people who help them and have their best interests at heart….you attract amazing people to you and I find it interesting how you delegate authority and how they make it all work. I know for myself that I am VERY PROTECTIVE of my Susan……I ‘talk her up’ all the time….tell absolute strangers how wonderful you are and how they should all read your books and buy your rugs and things….how they’ll just be happier if they do……you have an amazing power that comes from your heart and we all know it. Your genuine love of what you do is contagious; we all feel it; we are all inspired by it; we are all moved by your very nature. We feel the love you feel for Girl Kitty; we know how you feel about Joe, the train, and a little ‘twine’ now and then…..you’re our sister, our friend, our neighbor…..of the highest order. And yes, we are ‘your people.’ Your PEEPS!! So, if you ever run out of ideas on the blog, I have a thousand questions……and yes, I’d love to see how Judy’s daughter got proposed to once again…..we all need more romance in our lives.

    Love from one of your peeps in CO,

    • sbranch says:

      OK Joann you are my go-to peep when the well runs dry! That was so lovely, thank you . . .

      • Bonnie Crawford says:

        Dear Joann,
        Are you the same Joann that came to the Madonna Inn for the Antique show on Sunday? If so, it was very fun to meet you at Susan’s book signing…. If you aren’t the same Joann, I wish that you, and all of Susan’s ‘Peeps’ could have been there to share that fun afternoon with her! It was a very Special day in every way! 🙂

  34. Lori Hortegas says:

    You are so good at table settings/decor….would love to see an autumn dinner party picture-rama….

  35. Lee Ann G. says:

    Have loved everything that you have so kindly shared with us Susan, especially your dear daddy. Love seeing your journey whether you are away or back at home. It always feels like I’m at a girlfriends house and we are just sharing together about life. Love love love your blog and you.

    ♥Lee Ann

  36. Kim S. says:

    The Madonna Inn looks wonderful – please post pictures of that but I can’t wait to see all of your pictures – Have a safe trip home!!

  37. mari1017 says:

    Just read on Twitter that “Comments” is back on, so just have to post 🙂 That was a quick trip ~ and wow! ~ did you pack a whole lot in ~ great fun to share in your travels, tweets and adventures ~ thank you sooooooo much for switching to a blog ~ it’s just the bomb! and twitter too! 🙂 Safe travels back to the Island where a New England Autumn and Girl Kitty awaits you ~ and we await another share of wonderful domesticity, Susan Branch style ♥♥♥

    • sbranch says:

      Home…I can hear my heart-magnet calling!

      • mari1017 says:

        mine is calling out for a birthday visit up to NY to see my family ~ nephew will be home from college ~ girls’ luncheon at Chat Noir Tearoom ~ all kinds of visiting and fun 🙂 It’s a hike up there by car, but it’s always worth it ♥♥♥ Isn’t HOME a lovely word??? (even if your home home is one place and your heart home is another?)

        • sbranch says:

          Wise enough to know the difference!

          • dottie says:

            Yes, home home and heart home — I have several heart homes. Just spent most of September in OH which is definitely heart home. And sometimes I get homesick for Belgium — lived there long enough that it became home home and it still calls to me now and again.

  38. daricia says:

    i was just in northern arizona (from nc, a quick trip to the grand canyon) with my dad, with whom i havent taken a trip like this in at least 30 years! couldnt believe it was so warm in phoenix and so cool at the canyon…who knew the grand canyon was 7000 feet above sea level? i thought of your train trip and your dad when we drove past flagstaff! re: which post we want next — just love to hear you talk, susan! any topic is fun when you tell about it.

  39. Martha Ellen says:

    Susan I would love to hear about anything you want to share! Your blogs are so wonderful–very informative and filled with so much joy-how refreshing! It is always exciting to read about you! Have a great train journey! xoxo♥

  40. jeannine leonard says:

    You have the most wonderful things to show and tell us, I am sure we would love to see all of these ideas and pictures.

  41. Sarah Maldonado says:

    I want to see ALL those ideas you mentioned you might post. And by the way, I just love that ivory colored jacket and tie. It is so “Annie Hall” and you look precious in it! Thanks for all the great photos, ideas, and feeling like you’re my out of town friend along with all these other people here!

  42. JudyCinNC says:

    I would love to see some New England scenery – I am sure it changed while you were gone – throw in some of those glass posts which just might start me on another antique hunt. Can’t think of anything better than life with Susan going through fall – capturing Thanksgiving with thankfulness and cheer and then weaving our way to Christmas readyness and celebration. Throw some of those wonderful recipes in to the post and I will love it all. Thank you for sharing and for being you. Judy C

  43. Joan says:

    Susan, I am enjoying reading your blog. I’m new to it, but have been a fan of yours for a very long time. I have several of your cookbooks – stained and well loved! My daughter has recently discovered them too.
    Your trip across the country has been wonderful to follow.
    Thank you for taking us with you.

  44. Andrea B says:

    Hello Susan, I love your art, your words, your heart….hey I rhymed…anyway, so fun to follow your blog! Thanks so much for always lifting a gals spirits! I am in North Dakota, by the river and when I read about twain twavel (oops) and Where Women Create I just feel like I am right along with you! And when you seem to mention all these places that I have been…Pismo Beach, where, when I was just a 16 year old, I met a cute lifeguard, and had a sweet kiss by the ocean…and then you say Flagstaff, where our daughter was born ( she just turned 27!!)Wow…you truly seem to be one of the sweetest people I will never meet, but gee, I kinda feel like I have, Thanks for letting me ramble on….happy homecoming…love Andrea B

  45. donna marie says:

    Hey SB <3

    I just plain love your blog! Thank you for all the pictures, recipes, artwork and everything that is YOU!! I so look forward to "catching up" with you and your latest adventure. All your ideas sound great for a new post. Thank you for the inspiration you give and the time you take for all of us!

    <3 <3 donna marie

  46. Anything you post is wonderful! I’m always delighted to see your name in my in-box.

  47. Kerry S. says:

    Glad that you are going back home & hoping you have safe travels. I think you took our lovely fall weather with you – it’s over 90 degrees in the LA Harbor area today!! My husband working in Boston area said it’s in the 60s there today! So envious!

  48. Mary Cunningham says:

    Hi Susan! Aren’t spiders crafty? I haven’t quite figured out what a “cob” is…as in cobwebs…lol Love sparkly glass or anything that says “bling”…can’t wait for our next treats from you…a must is Girl Kitty pics…she is sooo pretty! And she really did miss you, but she will act like you left her “Home Alone”! So enjoyed the trip and blog and videos…checked in every morning to see what the days events might be…did you take that lovely desk on the train with you? The one you were sitting at and signing calendars and books….it was very much “you”.anything you post next will be “eye candy” to us…even your lists! Got crazy a few minutes ago and ordered all of your calendars for ME…have to be organized next year…more and more “girls” want me to clean their houses, while they go out and do other “stuff”. Soon it will be time to change our clocks back…my cousin in Maui asked me if it had happened yet…I had to check my SB calendar for the date…love your charming art! “HUG” Mary

  49. Patty says:

    First of all, you and your sister are so darling, as is your daddy ! I am sure we all will want to keep up with what you do when you get back to your MV home. I think I would like to hear about cleaning the wooden cutting boards. I did enjoy the silver cleaning lesson. I will be using the sour cream idea for the Halloween chilli dinner we’ll have! You are such a happy spot in life! So fun to travel along with you and Joe…Thanks!!

  50. Gumbo Lily says:

    Your Shelly is adorable! My son, John, wanted to name my best friend’s baby “Shelly Peach.” He was just a little boy back then. I never forgot that sweet name. When my first granddaughter was “on the way” I asked if they would name her Shelly Peach. In fact, I called her that as a “love name” before she was born. She came out Hazel Marie, but I call her Hazel Peach. Maybe we will get a Shelly some day.

    I would like to know how to keep my cutting boards beautiful. I was considering a butcher block counter top, but hesitate due to stains and such. Thanks for taking us on your trip!


  51. Charlene Hisayasu says:

    Hello Susan! <3 What an absolute treat to meet you and Joe @ the Remnants show! You are right to say that it is so much fun to stand in line with other Susan Branch fans…we are all kindred spirits! 🙂 The Remnants show was wonderful. We shopped the 1st day and returned the 2nd day just to meet you. You are an inspiration as I begin the watercolor sessions of my art lessons. Thank you for our short chat, autographs, and photo opp! 🙂 Have a wonderful trip home to M.V. and the Fall season! I look forward to reading your blog! <3
    p/s I would love to read about the care of love-worn wooden spoons and cutting boards.

  52. Mary Ann says:

    Oh show us the secrets of Madonna Inn please and then maybe some ideas of how to decorate for fall without having to remove it all come Halloween. I am turning the pages of Autumn right now and will run off to order another copy for my daughter. Last night we were under the same Hunter moon, we live in Long Beach just in the flight path as those planes make a big turn in off the coast and line up for LAX. There is freeway that runs parallel to the flight path and it is amazing to drive from west to east at night when it seems like dozens and dozens of flights are lined up all in a row and we drive along wondering how they don’t catch up to each in a massive traffic jam !

    • sbranch says:

      I was born in Long Beach — my mom lives in Seal Beach!

      • Mary Ann says:

        Oh I always knew we were ever so compatible! We often go walk along Main St, eating in the fabulous resturants in Seal Beach, its way more “homie” a beach town then Long Beach.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Please tell us that your family in Seal Beach are all okay–were not near the terrible shootings that happened today…

        • sbranch says:

          Oh yes, we are all fine…no worries for us. Awful for others though!!!

          • Glenda says:

            This is wonderful news that your family in Seal are all ok! I had never heard of Seal until I read about it this morning on your blog. I went downstairs and then saw the article in the paper. Just horrible and a reminder to all of us how precious life is, as we live it moment by moment. Our thoughts and prayers are with those families and friends and the community of Seal.

          • sbranch says:

            Absolutely, it’s a cute little town too, right on the water, with a big pier.

  53. Gert says:

    Hey Susan I am so glad to see that the comments work! smile… Just love following your blog &being with you on your twain twip! lol Anything you blog about is amazing, so whatever you decide is great!

    Enjoy your train journey…& of course your shopping in Chicago!

    xoxo Gert

  54. Kathy Phenix says:

    Dear Susan, Just want to tell you that your trip inspired me to go antiquing yesterday in downtown Melbourne, FL. Had a lovely time and found two wonderful items. A hanging plate depicting Rubrum (Stargaver) Lilies, one of my favorite flowers. I had 3 in my wedding bouquet, which I carried 24 yrs ago (Sunday was my anniversary and Sir Paul McCartney got married for the 3rd time.) The other item is a gift for my sister who has a passion for cows. It’s a Jersey cow creamer. While in the shop the owner started telling me a sad story about her husband of over 50yrs and I just listened and tried to comfort her. It was almost like I was sent to that shop to “help.” As a nurse, people seem to tell me their troubles and I will give advise when able. I’m afraid I could only offer her prayers to deal with her difficult problem. But, it made me feel like I really accomplished something good, because she really needed to vent and I was there to listen. So thank you. WE did a good deed! And got to do a little shopping also.

  55. bobbie fey says:

    Please share your train trip. Every little bit. My husband and I just finished a round trip on the Coach Starlight from Spokane,WA to Irvine, CA. We have made numerous trips across the country and can’t wait for the next one. The people we meet are so wonderful and interesting. The dinning car is always fun and the Amtrak people go out of their way to make a fun trip for everyone. Your writing about all that is in your life makes mine richer. Keep er coming! ~Happiness & Smiles~ Bobbie

  56. Betty says:

    Chicago? Tomorrow night? Wow. Here I sit at the desk on the 36th floor of this fabulous hotel in downtown Chicago. I am here as guest of the American Library Association/National Endowment for the Humanities.
    Sooooo this winter when your local library right there on Main Street, MV starts advertizing the Let’s Talk About It: the Civil War, you can up sign for the class. I love MV, but this is great fun for a few days. I’ll have a glass of wine tomorrow night and think of you somewhere here in Chicago. See you back on the Vineyard.

  57. Jeanie Piscitelli says:

    I for one will be so happy when you are back home I miss your post from the vineyard very much, I am so anxious to see what fall will look like at your home.

  58. Barbara Whitebread says:

    You have so inspired me to want to take a train trip sometime. It is definitely on my list of things that must be done 🙂 !! Blog? Hmmmm……… Would like to read about your “To do” list, when you get home. 🙂 I loved the video of the ocean. Thank you SO much for sharing these videos which let us get the feel of “being there”! I hail from Kansas, yes, the land of “OZ” lol. I had this little dream that I might be at a train crossing and catch a glimpse of you passing through. 🙂 Yes, a little far fetched but that is what dreams are for, right?! Have a safe trip home to the Vineyard. Look forward to each and every new blog and newsletter! Thank you, sweet Sue!!!! <3

  59. I am so glad to see that Madonna Inn still looks the same inside! Did you take a picture of the inside of the bathroom? Isn’t it the best? Love to video of Pismo Beach on your last luncheon day there! Hope you have a restful trip back to your east coast home of Marthas Vineyard! I know we will enjoy the rest of the trip with you! I can just imagine the rocking of the train and how it can lull you to sleep! Enjoy!

  60. Dee says:

    Susan, thank your sister for appearing on your blog. I definitely see the resemblence. Sisters are wonderful! I love mine (I have 2 of them).

  61. Ginnie says:

    What do we want to see next? Oh, anything you want to show us! It’s all wonderful when seen through your eyes. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing with us!

  62. Debby Mc says:

    “It’s hard to love people so much on both sides of the country!” Boy, that is the truth! I have homes on both sides of the country (San Diego and NY state) and go through this very same thing each time I leave either place. I so enjoy your travel journals from the train. One day I will make the trip that way. Has to beat flying! And I have a soft spot for SLO and the Central Coast. My son lived in SLO for a few years and I absolutely loved going to visit as I have always loved the Central Coast. We’ve eaten in that very room in the Madonna more than a few times. And my daughter and I tried to stay in as many different rooms there as we were able, collecting the postcards from each one as we checked it off our list. Of course, we have many more to go =-) Love Pismo, and all the coastal towns. And, on the other side of the country, I LOVE Martha’s Vineyard! So, your blog pretty well covers my favorite things =-) Hopefully, you will still have some Fall left when you arrive. The leaves are subtler this year here in NY but have been beautiful nonetheless. Indian Summer came and went and now we’re back to rain and coziness. Yay! I will definitely enjoy that until I head back west in November.

  63. Sherrill Kerbaugh says:

    Sweet dreams, Susan…have a fun, safe trip home to Martha…
    Thank you for all the wonderful virtual travelling…it is so much fun to read what you write and hear you speak while shooting your mini movies… : )
    LOVE the Poetic Pumpkins…very clever and original!
    Till tomorrow…can’t wait!

  64. Stephanie T says:

    Um, I would like to see and hear about…….all the above, please! Reading your blog just feels good. Thank you, Susan.

  65. Susan,

    You could just copy a page of the phonebook and we’d probably all love it. I’d love to see your to do list! It always makes me feel better to see how busy other people are.

    Someone suggested you just give us your grocery list… Actually, that WOULD be kind of fun! I love it when I’m at the store and find someone’s discarded list in my cart. You can really really wonder when you see some of the odd combinations of things we all put on a grocery list!

    I wanted to tell you that a few months ago I made a big life change. Seeing people like you, who do what they really love, was a big help. Well, in the last week I’ve seen my first article published in a magazine, self-published my first children’s book and am about to see my first real newspaper article printed! It’s a very small start, and who knows where it will all go, but dreams really can come true!

    Take care and enjoy your trip back!


  66. Cheryl Egan says:

    I have been following your trip all along the way and I woke up at 6:00 am this morning to read on MSNBC that there has been an Amtrak accident in California. I had to read your blog here to make sure it was not the same train you are on. I was in panic mode for a few moments here! Just to assure me and everyone else, tell us where you are as soon as you wake up!

  67. Sharon from Maine says:

    Glad to hear you are safe Susan, I think we were all worried! I just love reading everyone’s posts. I feel like we really are all your family the way we are all connected in our thoughts and feelings.

    I, too, would love anything you want to show us. One thing, though, I am really anxious to see when you get back home is how your pumpkin is doing in your compost pile. But no matter what you put on here Susan, it’s like getting a little gift every time I open up your blog, honestly! And I know that’s how the others feel, too. You give so much of yourself and that’s why we all love you so much. Enjoy your train trip back home. Keep us posted! xxxooo

  68. Kirsten Wichert says:

    Dear Susan, You know it doesn’t really matter what you post……we love it because it is soooooo YOU! I feel like I made this trip with you. We had so much FUN, didn’t we? I really would love to see a photo of the new kitty when you find her or him.

  69. Choo Choo….I can just imagine you chugging down the track….have a great stop in Chicago….maybe you could begin your blogs to all of us from your arrival home; to hug and love Girl Kitty and show us your Fall scenery at the Vineyard…then as a “reminder tribute” to you and your past month away show us all the highlights of your trip? That way you can re-live all your special memories and we can just dream along with you….anything you choose will be delightful. My husband Jim’s birthday was yesterday and we just went to a lovely town in Indiana called Nashville where there is store upon store of crafts/antiques and just had a lovely day. I can’t tell you how many times I thought of you Susan as I saw so many lovely things. I ended up buying some vintage glass bead jewelry, and we shared a wonderful day together. We are having cool temperatures with morning highs in the 30’s coming…..oh well, it was nice while it lasted!! Safe passage across this lovely land, and a big wave from me when you pass through Indiana!!! All Aboard……

  70. Patricia says:

    Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease Susan, more vintage glass! I love Cranberry Glass, and just discovered a miniaturist by the name of Grenyer who makes exquisite miniature cranberry glass pieces… ladies, if you love glass, check out his pieces (some are on Ebay). I want to build a dollhouse just so I can have a room to showcase this glass!
    Thanks, Susan, for taking the time you do to send all us girlfriends such fun happenings!
    Get home safe!

  71. Sandra says:

    You’re doing a wonderful job, enjoying it all and thinking you’re brilliant because you’re so high tech!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m higher tech that I used to be, much lower tech than I wanna be! So much to learn! Thank you, glad you’re here!

  72. Kathy says:

    Morning Susan! I would love to see what you are thinking of doing for your autumn fall get togethers when you return to the island. It will be so beautiful to see from the train as you reach closer to home. I wish I could wave to you from upstate NY and give you a piece of apple cheesecake bars I made for our quilt guild. Will you still be adopting another kitty to keep Baby Kitty company?

  73. Sandra Gillanders says:

    First of all have to tell you I look forward to all your pictures and of course commentary on this blog, wonderful. Have to say, I’m a big fan of vintage glassware and dishes. Any pictures would be great, also would love to see M.V. fall glory. But, don’t leave out pictures of train trip either, I want it all…have a wonderful journey back home. xoxo

  74. Deb says:

    I think all of the above! 😉 The tea room photographs and details would be lovely, but there is something especially intriguing about other peoples lists!!! I Love Them! someone could make an entire little “pocket book” with just other peoples lists on them and I would buy it. I even like the ones i find left behind in the grocery carts! So please, feel free to post as many of your lists as you like, and your sweet anecdotes about the train trip as well. AND your wonderful homekeeping hints! *sigh!~ This blog is my happy place!
    ~Be safe and well~

  75. Kim Forester says:

    As soon as I saw the picture of you and Shelly, it was obvious that you were sisters ~ The likeness is stunning, and the love and affection (and the little twinge of sadness at goodbye on Shelly’s face) told the story of life’s connection. Thank you, too, for sharing the video of your beloved friends – both the human kind and the ocean kind. I think I could smell the salt sea air and feel the mist!

    One more thing — It is such a breath of fresh air to see you and your friends and loved ones as models for “women of a certain age”, not only in what shines from your faces but in what you choose to wear. Your esprit de corps is so cheering and inspiring! I wanna look ‘n be like you girls!! :o)

  76. Dear Susan,

    I loved your blog… but did not, nope, nope, like that “thing” above the doorknob! lol I would have screamed for sure lol
    I thought your sis looked like you before I read that she was your sis. I love looking like my family 🙂
    I missed the train tweets 🙁 bleck. But will hopefully be there for the next. too much going on here.
    I’d love to see all you mentioned too, you are definitely on the right track… are you ever off that track?! lol BUT Might I add the painting video too … step by step for inspiration? I tried to start and watched youtube videos, but that’s as far as I got.
    I’d also love to see how you wash the dishes! I know, sounds weird, but we do it every single day, why not see how you do them 🙂 Then when we’re doing the dishes, we’ll have a real image of you doing your dear dishes 🙂

    You, Susan Branch, are such an inspiration!
    I do thank God for you. When things get hard, life gets rough, all I had/have to do is look through one of your books and there’s that “happiness” again 🙂

    Thank you, dear susan
    Denise of Ingleside

  77. Living at the Jersey Shore, and having visited Cali twice, I am reliving such happy moments through your blog posts! I loved traveling down the PCH. I would like to try a cross country train trip sometime…putting it on my bucket list. What would I like to see? All of it, as you are ready to show, little by little, the vintage glass and everything else. Today you inspired me to make some butternut squash soup just so that I can make a spiderweb on top of the serving bowl!!

  78. Lori C. says:

    You know that scene in You’ve Got Mail? Where Tom & Meg can’t wait to log on to see what the other person is saying? I think we ALL feel the same way every morning when you greet us with your blog!
    I think it would be wonderful if you were to do A Year on the Vineyard! From the changing leaves to the first snow fall, to New Year’s wishes and welcoming in spring. Golly, if you put us in your grocery cart, we’d be happy with that! We love seeing the world through your eyes: whatever you’re doing, we’re just happy to be sharing it with Special Little You!

  79. Nancy says:

    Whatever you show is great BUT if you go through Nebraska (my home state) could you take a picture or two?

  80. Glenda says:


    When I received my first Willard from you in the mail, I was so excited to read it and to get the “little surprise”. Your blog continues to be read by me each day with the same enthusiasm and the “little surprise”. I love the spontaneity of all the things you post. Just so fun to see what “little surprise” with be there when I open your blog. There are so many ideas out there, and each of us has some requests, but it is YOU and what you want to share with us that I love! Thank you so much!

  81. kate says:

    Ditto for Lori C.’s post!
    Whatever you write we are at your heels anxious for each word and picture!

  82. Jane Marie Hulslander Goff says:

    Oh Susan,

    How I love, love, love the pinkness of the Madonna Inn! Many thanks for the pictures and the comments. My husband says I am always in a better mood after checking into your blog! It’s true! It is always uplifting and has many pretties and funnies! Please post and share everything! From glass to brass and isms to wit, I get a lift from it all! Love you Susan, have a wonderful trip back to the east coast, Jane Marie

  83. Patty says:

    I’ve always wanted to ride a train across country and your trip has made me want it all the more.

  84. Amy D. says:

    Do you have a photo of you in the Audrey Hepburn dress? We must see!!

  85. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Sweet Sue & Shelly, what a darling picture to treasure, good job Joe or ?. Like your blue & white vest Susan! The ocean scene is wonderful, it keeps calling me, thanks for the pics, & very cute Kellee & Judy! It’s so amazing that we’re all enjoying that beautiful full moon all across the world! You’ll be home tonight, and won’t it be wonderful – Girl Kitty & your own bed…sigh, what more could you want. I’ve loved joining you on your trip, thanks so much for taking me along, good thing I packed light, all that packin’ & unpackin’ at all the stops! xo PS Going to have to see Madonna Inn next trip to that area!

  86. Jenny Hundley says:

    Someday I hope you can make it to an enchanting antique shop in Nonesuch, KY called Irish Acres. It is a magical place and there is a restaurant in the basement – The Glitz – that offers a wonderful full service luncheon (full of pink and black and tons of tiny white lights – it is perfect!). I went again last week for my birthday and I ALWAYS love it. Get the Nonesuch Kiss for dessert!

  87. Siobhan says:

    I have wequest! Did you and Joe make it to La Super Rica Taco in Santa Barbara? Tell me that story pwease! So happy to share your views!


    • sbranch says:

      We didn’t! We forgot and ate earlier, and weren’t hungry in SB — so it’s on the to do list for next time!!!

  88. Katharine says:

    I’d love to see pictures of Cambria, the Madonna Inn, and any other lovely view you come across. Thanks for writing from the train.

  89. Veronica says:

    Congradulations Patricia! Happy Autumn and Happy Cooking!

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