We’re Home!

We’re home!!!  With an unexpected and dramatic end to our trip, that was more exciting than we deserved, wanted or imagined, but fun, now that it’s over and we lived to tell about it.  The train trip from California to Massachusetts, in our room with a view, was sensational as usual, with the almost-full moon following us the whole way home.

The topography changes as we cross the country, from desert to farmlands, to cities, then deep woods; but no matter where we were, it was the same moon shining in on us.  Here it is coming up over New Mexico.

We had a delicious dinner during our layover on Thursday in Chicago (at Big Bowl, delicious Pad Thai, with coconut ice cream for dessert); slept like babies while winding past the Great Lakes; all day Friday we had gorgeous views of leaves, rivers, lakes, and red barns while speeding through upstate New York and the Berkshires.

Hello man out there.  The room with a view lives up to its name.  The train is late, but we don’t care.

Because we’re watching the beautiful world go by.

And then the drama begins: we know now, we’re going to miss the last ferry boat to the island.  It was always going to be close.  We were supposed to get off the train in Worcester (pronounced Woosta, by the way) at about 7 pm; we’d hired a car to come collect us (for the two hour drive from the train station to the ferry) and maybe, we hoped, we’d just make the last boat home to the island.  But the train is two and a half hours late; there’s no chance we’ll make it.  We have to get a motel for the night and take the first morning boat.  No kitty.  Whimpering noises could be heard.  I petted Joe and told him not to cry. 

It was raining when we got off the train; the driver was waiting for us — with our first surprise of the evening; their regular car was out on another job, so they sent a long, really long, embarrassing actually, like prom night, stretch limo to pick us up!  That was fun!  The driver also knew we were too late to make the last boat; we started to tell him what motel to take us to.  That’s when we got the second surprise; he told us he had called and found out that if we wanted, for the same price as a motel room, “Captain Jim” was willing to take us over to the island tonight (even though it was going to be near midnight) in one of the Patriot boats (a 24 hour shuttle service to the island which we never heard of before).  OH BOY!!!  We are ecstatic.  What a surprise!  Yes!!!  Sign us up!  Girl Kitty here we come!!!

I’m bound for the island.  The tide is with me.  And it feels like I’ve never, ever been gone.   Carly Simon

I know just how she feels!  As we drove across Massachusetts, the storm began to clear, the clouds were blowing by at top speed, and the moon peeked into the car window (that’s what that is in the photo above!).  We felt so lucky.  We were sorry we didn’t have champagne because there was a row of champagne glasses, lit up with pink light in the limo.  Things were slightly surreal.

We drove through the rainy night, us in the back, sitting in pure luxury (about six blocks from the driver), across the Bourne Bridge onto Cape Cod, and then into Falmouth at almost midnight, down to the dock to where the Patriot Boat was tied.  The car backed right up to the boat, where we start unloading our bags, while I, for the first time, as the wind about blew me off the dock, got a look at the boat that is supposedly going to take us across the deep, deep, really cold and choppy water to the island.  Hmmm, I said to myself.  Wouldja look at that.

At first I don’t even think it’s a boat.  It takes a moment for grasping the situation.  It’s bobbing up and down, nudging the dock, the storm has just passed so the wind that blew it away, is now UP, the water around the boat is black and choppy with white caps, and I am questioning everyone’s sanity. It’s way past my bedtime, my thinking-thing is messed up; I’m giddy with the idea of going home, prudence and caution has left the building.  Joe is saying, “It’s OK.”  Captain Jim looks normal.  He is very experienced.  He does this every day at 4 am, for starters, to deliver the newspapers to the island … including all winter long.  And of course, Girl Kitty is waiting.

The suitcases are loaded, and we are supposed to go into that little door, down the stairs, to the little row of wooden benches, and experience the trip in a dark room, at sea level, or below — right now, in port the waves lapped at the windows.  Fifteen minutes ago we were in the lap of luxury, now we were bobbing up and down in the dark briny night; with clanging noises, scudding clouds, blustery waves, and sea spray. The good news is, the big ferry takes 45 minutes for this trip; on this boat, it will be only 20 minutes. I can do almost anything for 20 minutes.

Goodbye cruel world I say to myself.  The engines start, and for the first minute and a half, we stay outside to take pictures as we pull away from the dock, but then we realize how stupid this is because we can’t stand upright, no one has offered life jackets, so we get ourselves inside.

OK girls, try not to get seasick while looking at these next photos, I held still as I could, but we are rising to the top of each wave, and then slamming down to the bottom, not the best conditions for photography (or anything else), but you will get the gist of the thing.

It was nice to see the moon.  But it was very dark out there.  We didn’t stay in the below-sea-water unlit room, we went up front with Captain Jim, so we had the view out the front windows.  I kept my eyes, like a lasor, on the tiny lights of the island twinkling in front of us . . .  we plowed through the waves, going up, down, slam! Up, sideways, down, slam!  And so it went, salt spray blowing over the boat, metal parts echoing and clanking, floor shuddering, me holding on for dear life.

See how dark it is? See how far away the lights are?  The guys are so calm, talking about how the patriot boats started; I didn’t say a word, my job was to keep the white light flowing around us, will us toward the lights, take photos, and not throw up. Up, down, slam!

We are not in Kansas anymore.

Look how close!  Giddiness is beginning to return to my heart.  Home!  I could almost swim this if necessary!

Our hero, Captain Jim Scudder, getting us to shore.

Docking the boat in the safe harbor of Oak Bluffs . . .

And a civilized cab to take us home . . .

Joe helps cast off, and Captain Jim heads back out to sea, with a ton of gratitude to take home with him to his own bed . . .  And us?

We go home too . . .

And Girl Kitty helps us unpack. 

We spent all day yesterday in Domesticity City, putting things away, looking at the mail, making chicken stock, cutting parsley and marigolds from the garden, filling the bird feeders, saying hello to the house, walking out to the pond, all the things people do when they’ve been gone a long time and are grateful for home sweet home.

Little things, a fire in the fireplace and a lap kitty, tea in my favorite cup, a big bed to stretch toes way down to the end; shower pressure!!! I love our shower.

 Thank you for coming on the trip with us!  Hope you had fun!

With pomp, power and glory, the world beckons vainly; in chase of such vanities, why should I roam?  While peace and content bless my little thatched cottage, and warm my own hearth with the treasures of home.    Beatrix Potter 

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367 Responses to We’re Home!

  1. Nina says:

    Welcome Home Susan & Joe! Thanks for taking us with you! So glad you are home safe & sound! xx

  2. Jojo says:

    Normally I read your blog or the Willard and I just want to be right there with you doing whatever you are doing but I have to admit that I can’t swim!! You were a brave soul braving the storm with Cap’n Jim.

    • sbranch says:

      Swimming really would not have been much of an option anyway! Doesn’t that make you feel just a whole lot better!?

  3. Kelly J. says:

    Wow! Thanks for taking us along for the ride! An awesome adventure indeed 🙂

    P.S. I love Carly S. too!

  4. Treese says:

    I knew Dorothy was always onto something when she said, “There’s no place like home”. After I return from a trip it seems like there are times my home wraps itself around me and I feel so safe and happy. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Welcome Home.

    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you. It was wonderful! So many people and places. Makes it all the better to come home…watching the squirrels run across the lawn out my studio window right now.

  5. joan says:

    Thank you for taking us on this wonderful trip. Someday I WILL go on my own long train trip!

    I love how how girl kitty helped you unpack. She’s a sweetie. =)

  6. Betsy says:

    I feel as though I just read an adventure story! My stomach was getting little knots in it just reading and looking at the pictures. You must have jumped for joy through your front door. What a great trip, I had a blast being along with you and Joe.

  7. Beth says:

    Welcome Home! Sure looks like Girl Kitty was glad to see you! Whenever we travel, even if it is only for a few days, I miss my kitties Lucy and Ricky so much. Does Girl Kitty try to get in your suitcases when packing to leave?
    Thank you for taking us on your trip -it was wonderful! Enjoy this beautiful Fall Sunday 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Yes she does, and also when we come home! It’s really hard missing your animals, I talked to people on the train, in the dining car, about how they couldn’t wait to get home to their dog or cat!

  8. Philippa says:

    Welcome back to home sweet home and Miss Kitty. I have so enjoyed reading your blog,after contacting you about the B P book.

  9. Ah yes, there’s no place like home. Always nice to go away but wonderful to come home. I’m sure Kitty was so happy to see you. Thanks for taking us along on all your adventures, it was most enjoyable!!!!

  10. lori says:

    What a great story and beautiful pictures to wake up to this morning. Thanks so much. Glad you made it home safely!

  11. Lin says:

    What an adventure, Susan, thanks for sharing! I BET you slept like a baby last night! I so agree, “there’s no place like home”!

    • sbranch says:

      Hard to get up…! Sunny today and 60 degrees and windy….perfect fall weather, enough to get me out of bed!

  12. Oh, my… I get motion sickness so easily that I did get a little queasy looking at the pictures but I do understand that desire to get home to your kitty. I am SO glad I’m not the only person who feels the draw of their feline calling them home.

    Our daughter and her husband lives near Worcester so we now know exactly how to pronounce it, just like here in our part of the Midwest one learns how to say Louisville, Kentucky (Looo-a-vull).

    They vacationed in Colonial Williamsburg last month and gifted us with a condo to stay in across from them and lovely, lovely days of going back in history (as well as a short trip to a tea room!). We had a wonderful time.

    However, on the way home all I could think of was seeing how our kitty was doing. Our son came home from college twice to check up on her and make sure she was fine but we were still apprehensive. At first she didn’t talk to us and then she followed us everywhere we went! We had the exact same sitting on the suitcases (and then in them) scenario.

    So glad you are home safe and sound. I’m just LOVING your blog and so glad to be able to visit your home and garden more often. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      There should be more of that and less of kitties in the suitcases for the next couple of months! So glad you came by to visit Brenda!

  13. Marianne says:

    OMG!!! Times like this after a long trip and someone “saves the day” (night) and you see how truly wonderful total strangers can be in this world! Sometimes you have to be out of your element to see that! Whew! Rather than throwing up, you’re taking pictures for all of us to see! Whew! Unfortunately I would have had to leave my husband behind…could not have handled the boat ride home!

    • sbranch says:

      We really thought of getting that motel room, but one more unpacking and packing again wasn’t that appealing. By the time we got to the boat, and got the layout, the captain was there, up (not in his own bed), it was almost midnight, we couldn’t very well say, Oh never mind!!!” 🙂 I’m glad we did it, otherwise, I don’t know what I might be writing about today!!

  14. Terri says:

    So did you have some hot pink golashes on with cupcakes on them, or neon colored ones so they could find you! LOL!! OH that looked like so much fun! I bet you were standing with your feet planted about two feet apart, camera in one hand and holding on with the other! I can see it in my mind, and I would be doing the same thing! LOL! I get car sick but I grew up on the water in NC and I don’t ever get sick in a boat, now matter how much it sways!

    Oh my and Girl Kitty, she just looks like love in fur doesn’t she? Nothing like wet nose kisses! And a fireplace with the wood cracking and all those things that are the comfort of home. It is nice to get away, but it is always so wonderful to come back home! What a trip this has been, Whew, I am worn out! LOL!!

  15. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Ahhh, welcome home. I’m still marveling that your driver found the option of the patriot boat for you! Not only did you get a stretch limo but you had a driver that actually sought out a way to get you home….now that’s service!
    I have to tell you I received my vintage wine glasses (your people packed them beautifully, keeping them safe!) and christened them with some Italian Prosecco! They are even more beautiful in person so, “Cheers!” to being home.

  16. wow, that was some way to get back to the island!! So fun and scary~but great to be home.

    • sbranch says:

      You can pretty much expect the unexpected when it comes to the island and its weather …. we’ve been frozen in too…no boats coming or going some winters! Throws a bit of excitement into life!

  17. Gert says:

    Welcome Home! What an adventure you had.. Yes I was scared & even kind of sea sick…but Kitty was waiting wasn’t she? And that had to make it all worthwhile! smile..

    Blessings & glad you’re back on the island!
    xoxo Gert

    • sbranch says:

      Thank Gert, very nice to be here! Hope it’s beautiful in Iowa today!

      • Gert says:

        Oh yes it is! We went for a walk this morning…just lovely! Need to get our fireplace going this week…as our temps are to be quite cool…Fall most definitely is here! smile…

        • sbranch says:

          We have a fire right now . . . cold outside, and beautiful too.

          • Gert says:

            oh…wish our gas was turned..I know we’d be burning ours tonight also! Just warm & cozy..huh? Which reminds me I think we’ll have a cup of cocoa now to warm up & get cozy! smile….

  18. Martha says:

    Wonderful story – with a happy ending. Home sweet home!

  19. Wow! What a Susan & Joe’s adventure in wonderland! First in the lap of luxury and then tossed in an ocean traveling bus, to go up slam, up slam all the way home! Bet you’ll never forget this trip! The pictures from the train were great, Dinner in Chicago sounded fun, and then the suspense of the rest of the trip, from the happy look of kittys face, all purrs chin scratches, it was all worthwhile! Looks like kitty is saying “hurry! hurry! get the suitcases put away, so I’ll know you aren’t leaving again! Looks like you had a real cozy 1st full day back. Yes Susan, there’s no place like home! Except you have two homes, in the most beautiful places on earth!
    Glad you are safe!

  20. I love the stories of your train trips! One day…..
    So glad Capt. Jim got you home safely.
    Have a wonderful Sunday!

  21. Rachel Lucas says:

    What can I say, sweetie…except that I’m NOT missing that ferry for all the tea in China!! So happy you’re home…& you’re all so right, there’s really no place like it xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      After you live through it, it’s fun! Don’t want you thinking about how nice home is right now; I still want you to leave yours and come here next month!!!

  22. Rachel Lucas says:

    ps Paul would have loved the Patriot boat…but he’d have totally refused to go in the stretch limo!! xo

  23. Pom Pom says:

    Oh, how wonderful and exciting, Susan! In a week, I’ll be waking up in Boston with my Bill and flying to Bar Harbor for a few days stay! Yahoo! I can’t wait to bounce around in a boat watching for whales! I’ve never been to Maine!
    I loved the boat part of this post. On my post right now is the Susan Branch recipe keeper. I bought it at school from the traveling book lady! I’m so excited to put my all-time favorite recipes inside!
    Lately, I’ve been looking at rag doll cats online. Have you ever seen one? They look like such wonderful kitty-ness. Bill says no to kitty ownership but a girl can dream. Your kitty is lovely! So sweet about welcoming you home! No pouting or anything!

    • sbranch says:

      So funny, I met a lady on the train that has one, she was wild about it! No, my kitty didn’t pout, and I was surprised, plus she’s been in my lap constantly since we got home. She missed us!

  24. Doreen Strain says:

    Welcome Home Susan!!!! They would have had to put a rope around my waist and pulled me into that boat. I would not have been able to walk onto it under my own power…LOL ! I would have been having visions of the boat capsizing and me being eaten by some hungry sharks!!!! And I’m not kidding! I’m sure Kitty was sooooo happy to see you, and I see that the tress in Upstate NY did as I told them to do (like I mentioned in my tweet to you) and waved their glory to you and Joe as you rode the tracks past them. Thank you so much for allowing all the “Girlfriends” to come along with you & Joe! We had fun and got to see some sights we would never experience if is wasn’t for you and your trusty camera. I know you really got a wonderful show in NY because when I left there to come home here to FL last Wednesday…the color was just starting to peak! Once again welcome home, allow your heart to feel the simple abundance of being there and know we (all your “girlfriends”) are glad you are home….safe & sound! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  25. Wow! I enjoyed this adventure. Except for that last part….I have to take a Dramamine to ride in the back seat of a car so I was sick just looking at the boat on the dock before it ever cast off.
    Welcome Home
    Mama Bear

    • sbranch says:

      I was a little sick when I saw it too . . . but I had no girlfriend back up … only Joe and crazy captain. 🙂 No they were both good, and we made it!

  26. Ruthie P says:

    Susan Branch-I just ADORE you!!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful life and wonderful talents with us.You make me happy  xoxo,Ruthie

  27. What an adventure. It’s always good to have an adventure every now and again (and live to tell about it)LOL!
    Glad you are back safe. Now you can enjoy the rest of your Fall weather!
    Have a lovely day today.

  28. Patricia Neron says:

    It actually looks like Kitty is pulling on the zipper to open your suitcase, adorable.

    I know all too well the desire to get home on an island after a long trip. My husband and I used to live in Victoria British Columbia (yes it’s beautiful) but I hated the fact that after a 6 hour flight we had to get on a tiny little plane for literally 15 minutes to get home and now a days planes are never on time so we would always stress out that we might have to get a hotel room in Seattle if our flight was late and all we wanted to do was sleep in our comfy cozy bed. Reading your story, I felt your pain and like you I would do anything to get home, even jump on a boat in rough choppy water in pitch black darkness. Because once you walk in your front door, “There is no place like Home”.

  29. mari1017 says:

    How true that sometimes, after traveling, you just don’t care what it takes ~ just get me home!!!! So glad for Captain Jim and his magic boat to bring you safely to the Island 🙂 Reminds me of the commuter boat I took every day across Boston Harbor to get to work ~ through every kind of weather ~ water coming through the window seams and running down the tables ~ Coast Guard Ice Cutter in winter breaking up ice in front of us the entire way so we could get to work 🙂 ~ weather… gotta love it~ =:-O
    Enjoy your beautiful Sunday ~ it’s perfect here also ♥ Hugs to all of you and looking forward to a wonderful week ahead ~ the upcoming Willard and my birthday (tomorrow) complete with a trip up to NY to see sister, family and mom 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Mari! Now that was some commute you had there!!! Have fun in NY! Say hello for me!

      • mari1017 says:

        Can chuckle now looking back at it, but those dark mornings with the harbor rocking and rolling, it was an adventure. Of course, there were the gorgeous mornings and sunset rides home to balance it all out 🙂 Thanks for the birthday wishes, and I’ll say hi to all 🙂 p.s. my cousin plastered my b’day card envelope with your Girlfriend stickers – it was fun to find in my mailbox yesterday!

  30. Merry says:

    I’m so glad you were able to get home to girl kitty. I bet she was excited to see you! I couldn’t have ridden in that boat; I too get carsick in the back, so I can’t imagine the boat ride.

    I love the pictures from cross-country you’ve posted. Your adventure has made me want to travel by train now. 🙂


  31. Sandy Richmond says:

    Susan, Thanks for a great blog post- adventure, comedy and drama all rolled into one! Were you standing in the boat clicking your heels together and saying, There’s no place like home.. ? It really felt like we were there along with you! I too, love that part of the train ride thru the Berkshires.. So beautiful. Welcome back!!

  32. missholly says:

    oh..that kitty!!! A reason to take that boat for sure but……..oh man would I ever have been a little (lot ) nervy dervy…..and I know exactly the seas you were in because we popped over the to your lovely Island for the week end and I was looking a that sea just yesterday in Katama!!!! You are brave brave brave…. And did you ever come home to the most beautiful weather ! Total fall perfection!! Kitty looks so happy to have you home! Yea for you all! Happy day!

  33. Sheryle Towle says:

    Welcome Home, Susan & Joe! That was quite an ending to your trip! Girl Kitty must be so happy. It is always wonderful to get back home. In the cold of winter (usually the end of January) we are anxious to get to Florida for a nice break. However, after 3 weeks of sunshine I get homesick. Can’t explain it because I know that we are buried in snow back in New England. BUT….I have to get home to our little home, my own kitchen! It is such a wonderful feeling. Breezy here today, can’t imagine your voyage on the deep blue sea! xo

  34. Barbara (WA) says:

    Oh for Pete’s sake ~ a limo and a midnight wild boat ride !! Too funny! Got tears in my eyes seeing Girl Kitty on the suitcases… Welcome home and I am looking forward to Autumn on MV through your eyes.

    • sbranch says:

      The leaves did what I asked for, and they have not turned . . . just a vague flavor of orange and yellow — two weeks before Halloween, doesn’t seem possible! But it feels like fall, that’s for sure. I had a fight with myself not to turn on the heat this morning.

  35. That was quite the adventure!! But it sounds like well worth the heaving waves and dark night – to arrive safely at your home and settle in! I so enjoy reading your blog as you travel from the West Coast to the East and then hopping over to Sharon’s preparations to close up their Island cottage off the coast of Maine and travel Westward…hard to imagine for those of us who live in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

    • sbranch says:

      I actually do look forward to the day when I only have one house to contend with, but for now it just works out better like this, and definitely gives me an excuse for adventures!

  36. Country Gal says:

    That was fantastic, like a good book cause thats what it felt like reading a good book. the kind you never want to put down. Thanks for taking us a long with you on your wonderful journey there and back. Wonderful photos and writings . It’s great to travel but better when you return to your Home Sweet Home !! Have a great day !

  37. {oc cottage} says:

    Wow! Like an episode of “Amazing Race” that was! So glad you made it safely home to Girl Kitty who is so blissfully unaware that mommy & daddy where dangling perilously close to the jaws of death mere minutes beforehand! Now, I for one, would like to know more about the Edith Potter who is spoken of in your video…Real Housewives of Martha’s Vineyard? ;}

    m ^..^

    • sbranch says:

      I will have to get Joe to do that because I was barely listening to them…in fact you heard as much as I did! I was busy praying and taking pictures!

  38. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Oh My Goodness Sweet Sue….Now That was a Boat~Ride! but Clearly You & Joe were in “Good~Hands” with Captain Jim! 🙂 lol I Loved…”Whimpering Noises” & “I petted Joe and told him not to cry” Hilarious & so Cute! I Love Your “Pink~Light” Stretch Limo…Fun! & 20 minute “Dark Briny Night”…& Carly Simon’s “I’m bound for the Island The Tide is with Me and it Feels like I’ve Never Ever been Gone…Perfection…Oh to Be HOME….& that Photo of Kitty helping You Un~Pack….Priceless! She really did Miss Her Mommy & Daddy…(Meow & a Hug from Me to Her) 🙂 so Sweet Sue…again Thank You for Bringing Us along…it was Beyond Fun….ahhhhhhhhhhh Now it’s Sunday…..so Stay Cozy by the Fireside…with Lap Kitty Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring with Contentment….sipping Tea in Your Favorite Cup…Knowing…there’s really no place like Home! Amen! L♥ve & Happiness & always a bit of Pixie~Dust xoxo Poof!♫♥

  39. Lori says:

    Welcome home Susan! I enjoyed “our” trip so much – thanks for taking me along. (And I don’t even have to unpack now …) Looking forward to the next fall foray of foliage and folly!

  40. mari1017 says:

    just like you! from one happy home to another ♥♥♥

  41. Marcia K says:

    It sounded like a part of a romance novel!! You just didn’t share any juicy romance.. hmmm I gotta go find me a good book somewhere. I loved reading it! What a grand New England adventure 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  42. pam says:

    HOLY COW. That’s crazy, and in the dark! Well you lived to tell the tale, and that’s what’s important. And amazing that that is how your newspapers get there. Super cool. What an andventure. Happy back home days. xo

  43. Jeanie Piscitelli says:

    I loved enjoyed your trip , but as I said before I am glad your home , I was so glad to see your kitchen again, with the pot on the stove, the Beatrix Potter quote says it all!!

  44. Cathy in Golden, CO says:

    I’m so glad you’re home – safe and sound. I truly enjoyed our trip together. Can’t wait to see the fall colors on the island and a spooky Halloween Fright! It’s beautiful here today also. I am fixing to bake your apple/cranberry crisp. Enjoy your contentment! I send kitty scratches for your baby.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you as she is wearing my hand out! Yum, apple crisp with cranberries, is there anything better? I don’t think so!

  45. Nancy says:

    I just love your blogs Susan. Your pictures are beautiful and capture the trip as though we are there with you! Say hello to Kitty for me. I agree leaving the animals is hard and I get anxious to get home to them even though I know they are being well taken care of by my son. I love to see the pictures of Maine, so beautiful and so different from So. Cal. Thanks again.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, and both beautiful in their own way. Martha’s Vineyard though, is a bit of a drama queen, with the wild storms, old houses, horse and wagons, and leaves blowing all over . . .

  46. Christine Anderson says:

    Welcome Home, I loved your trip!
    We are touring California and were just a few days ahead of you in SLO, Cambria,then we continued on to Salinas Redding, visiting family and are now in Mammouth Lakes for 2 more days then along the Eastern Sierra foothills and back home to Covina, just east os LA.
    I loved seeing your pictures !

  47. Bonnie L says:

    Just have to tell you that I am so glad I found you! Your boating adventure reminds me of the day my husband took me halibut fishing in Alaska! I told him that it was the worst/best day of my life! I tell people that I get motion sick if there is too much water in the bath tub! ;o) Actually, I wondered how I would cope when we decided to travel full-time in a motor home! Some days are better than others! Thanks so much for sharing your stories. My mother is tolerating the radiation treatments well, so far. If the weather in Iowa turns before her treatments end, my husband will take the motor home south and I will move in with a relative. Hope someday to be wherever you are and stand in one of your book-signing lines! 🙂 Thanks so much…you make me smile!

  48. Kathy says:

    I love you, Susan!

    That warmed my heart in every way! My husband has been going through a horrendous health crisis caused by a doctor’s mistake for the last 2 years…..your writings describe the life I used to have. We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, though…and I’m looking forward to living the good life once again…thank you for keeping it all going for me while I’ve been gone! 🙂 (I have a sweet, sweet pic of 2 of my daughters in front of your shop on Branch Street a few years ago that I’ve been wanting to show you for a long time….I’ll get to it soon, maybe.) xxoo ((((hugs)))) Kathy

    • sbranch says:

      Keep on keepin’ on Kathy! I love the light at the end of the tunnel and pray it hurries to catch up with you!

  49. Martha Ellen says:

    Dear Susan—So happy to hear that you and Joe made it home safely! I have loved following you across country and back home again. Your last day was quite an adventure—kinda scary! Your kitty poo was worth risking life and limb. My husband and I just returned home after being in Colonial Williamsburg for the week celebrating our 44 anniversary and my birthday. Thanks to you we went to many antique shops–bought 4 old red top jars–they are soaking in the kithchen now–also got a beautiful old tea towel and croceted potholder. My husband bought me a Royal Albert tea cup that I am using for my tea this afternoon. Susan, you have bought much joy to my life! Thank you!!! xoxo♥

    • sbranch says:

      What fun! I love coming home from antiquing and working my treasures into our household. xoxo Martha Ellen

  50. Kathy B says:

    “And each heart is wispering – -Home, Home at Last”

    How wonderful it is to come home to someplace you love!

    Thanks for taking us with you, it was a lovely trip

  51. Kimi says:


    There’s No Place Like Home! “Glad your both back, Kiss girl Kitty for me….

  52. Deborah says:

    wow,….you are one brave girl! As I have, myself experienced o “no land in sight, choppy to rolling sea, and watching even a seasoned, daily tripster veteran fisherman of 80 become sick” along with the “UP DOWN, SMASH” of a small vessel”on a fishing trip out of Gloucester MA on the Yankee Pride,…I HEAR YA GIRLFRIEND! The limo then the bucket!!! Wow you had some trip back! I bet you have some great times to tell Girl Kitty. Glad you also got to see the countryside in upstate Ny,..It IS pretty this year…very golden and soft, glowing when it rains, and mystical when the sun hits the leaves…I love your post today, and am glad you are both home sweet home!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Deborah! Girl Kitty isn’t as nice as you are, she doesn’t care where I’ve been even a little bit!

      • Deborah says:

        Just had to let you know that I took myself to our B & N bookstore today, and found a lovely surprise…a big ole’ 12 month magnetic SB set of notepads and stickies, and such! Never saw this one before, so I had to get it! I was actually looking for your calendars there, but didn’t have any…I will shop online for those…Love the notepad with the Oct. ghostie….

  53. Judy Murrah says:

    So glad you made it home safe and sound through all your fun and adventures. I had the joy of meeting you and having you sign my calendar at TCC last month. As I told you then I have been a fan of yours since your very beginning and bought your books and stickers, etc. I love your blog more than any other blog I visit. I’m always tickled when I see there’s an entry. Thank you so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Judy and thanks for coming to TCC — what a wonderful event that was! Thank you for the blog compliments! xoxo

  54. deezie says:

    Hi Susan
    Welcome Home!!! I just love home. There is never a better place than home. It was so much fun traveling with you and it really did seem like we all did. Loved everything about the trip. That was so funny when I saw the picture of the boat you were taking back to the Island, I was laughing. Oh my I might have been sea sick if it were me. But you got home that night and that is what matters right, nice and safe, alittle bumpy but you got there:)
    Enjoy the weekend home with your Kitty

  55. Nancy B says:

    I could hardly wait to check in today to see if you made it home yet. Yaaaay! You did! I’m still sad I didn’t get to meet you in SLO. I’ve really enjoyed your trip. Thanks for sharing.

  56. Jacqui G says:

    Well now, it’s the perfect ending to the trip you took us on! I would expect nothing less- just like a novel with the exciting part just before the end…You are both brave souls and I’m glad you made it home in one piece. By the way, the views of the Fall countryside were beautiful- I wanted to follow the man down that country road:) Welcome home XXOO

  57. Charlene Hisayasu says:

    In SLO, I personally thanked you for sharing your life with us. 🙂 It is fun to vicariously live your life through your wonderful, enlightening and entertaining blog! I laughed outloud when I saw the photo of Captain Jim’s boat…or facsimile there of! Thankful for your safety and warm homecoming! I look forward to experiencing the Fall season in M.V. through your delightful writing. <3

  58. Barbara says:

    Hi Susan,
    Soooo glad you and Joe made it home safe and sound. I probably would have taken the same trip to get HOME! Love to go on adventures but it always so good to get home to our bed, our animals, even the horses miss us! Thanks for taking us along on your adventure, I love the California Central Coast, I’m headed to Paso Robles this coming weekend for a cutting horse show. Can’t wait to get there to see old friends, watch some good horses work, I know when I head that car north towards home I’ll be in that can’t wait to get there mode!!
    Thanks again, XOXO’s

  59. Betsy Brunette (and guess what....I am blonde!) says:

    Susan….had your trip across the water been in daylight, you might have taken the ride without hesitation, but that shroud of darkness feels ominous when the wind is added to the mix. You are not only informative and delightful to know but now we all know how brave you are too! I like the saying, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” You did it on that boat ride across to the island….way to go!! And welcome home from all of us.

    • sbranch says:

      And isn’t serendipity fun, if you live through it! You’re right, if it was daylight it would have been easier, but it was what it was! Thank you Betsy!

  60. Our first trip to Block Island sounds like your adventure (it too started with a train ride) only instead of a limousine we were stuffed into a station wagon with a family of 5 plus dog for a 30-mile race to the Westerly airport because the ferry wasn’t running. Our plane (if you can call it a plane) ride was an adventure in itself! But all ended well. The sun came out for the remainder of our stay and we fell in love with island living but have had to content ourselves with a couple more visits over the past 35 years.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

    • sbranch says:

      I did a booksigning on Block Island once…what a darling place. If you took your camera over there, you might never get home! Thanks for reminding me Cathy, I’d love to go back there one day!

  61. Karen says:

    Welcome home Susan and Joe! You’re so lucky to have these wonderful autumn memories of this trip home. Although I’ve never been one to suffer from sea-sickness, I must admit that I began feeling queasy when I saw Captain Jim’s boat! Oh my gosh!

    Your Kitty Girl was so cute on your suitcase……..almost like she was trying to open it!

  62. Sue Miller says:

    Thanks for the adventure! The best part of a rip is returning your heart to home with happy memories. Welcome home!

  63. Lisa R says:

    Happy to know you are home safe and sound! Susan, I have to tell you, that boat looked liked one of those fishing boats in the movie Perfect Storm!! Truly, all of your pictures looked like scenes from a very dramatic movie. I would have hopped aboard too though, if it meant getting home. And I have to say, thank you, thank you, for more train pictures! The man of the house here will be retiring early next year, and I think a long train ride will be our first adventure. LOVE traveling along with you. You know, you are somewhat of a celebrity to me, being a famous artist and all, but I feel like I could just have you over for tea and some of those yummy maple cookies, and enjoy girl talk. Love that about you! Always looking forward to your next post. : )

    • sbranch says:

      You could Lisa, and I’m sure it would be wonderful! That’s what I love about the girl talk right here! Oh blogs, where have you been all my life!

  64. Francine says:

    Welcome home! What a adventure!! I can’t wait to see your diningroom table set for some special occasion – I always enjoy seeing your vintage table display!

  65. Heartsdesire says:

    Loved the train ride, thanks so much for taking me along. The boat trip, not so much. Even 20 minutes in a stormy sea would have me scared to death. I usually have to take a tranquilizer when I take the ferry from Victoria (B.C.) where I live, to Vancouver. And this is a big, big boat. I admire your braveness, but I know what it’s like. When you’re so close to home, really nothing can stop you from getting there. Especially when there is a wonderful kitty waiting for you. Glad to have you back safe and sound.

  66. JudyCinNC says:

    I am always surprised by how quiet the house really is after coming home from a trip. I love being around family and children and seeking new adventures, but I love being with just me, the wonderful husband and our precious little dog in a unhurried and quiet atmosphere. I think it gives us the opportunity to revisit all the memories we made while away – kinda like saying “be still my heart.” Thankes for taking us along and glad your journey brought you safely home. Judy C

    • sbranch says:

      We have had no noise all day today, no TV or music. We are not normally like this, there’s always something, so perhaps we are on your wave length!

  67. Mary S. says:

    What an awesome blog!! And exciting! I want to do that (the boat trip)!!!! I laughed when I saw the limo – but hey! You deserve it! Because you are a celebrity, you know!
    I know just how you feel about coming home! The idea of travel always appeals to me, and there’s so many places I want to see; but every time we’re away and come home, I say I will NEVER be away more than two weeks at a time, ever again!!! Thank you, again, for sharing this. Love you!

  68. Francine says:

    p.s. Thought of you today when I stopped at Culver’s for my yearly Pumpkin Malt – yum!

    • sbranch says:

      No more Culver’s for us!

    • Karen P. says:

      Oh Francine! Is that pumpkin shake just a little piece of heaven or what???? (Although I had a pumpkin malt.) Like a creamy, liquid pumpkin pie in a cup! (but can’t have it too often…). I was there last weekend and my hubby’s butterburger had a heart-shaped pickle on top. So cute that I had to take a pic of it.

  69. sheila says:

    girl kitty helpin’ ya’ll unpack just made my heart smile 🙂

  70. DeAnna says:

    Glad you two made it home safe and sound! I’m sure Girl Kitty was just as happy (if not happier!). I was a week without a computer (hard drive crashed!) and had much catching up to do! I thought about taking a train out to Salt Lake City this coming July for a convention I’m going to. I’ve never taken one before and your adventures are very convincing! When I looked they seemed VERY expensive! Am I looking at them right?

    • sbranch says:

      The large rooms are very expensive — the smaller ones aren’t as bad, and both include three meals a day in the dining car. We have an Amtrack Visa card we use all the time, so we rack up miles that way.

  71. Rita May says:

    I was there with you the whole time!

  72. Francine says:

    I just noticed that tonight a movie called The Magic of Ordinary Days comes on the Hallmark channel at 5:30 and again at 7:45 Wisconsin time. It’s a 2005 movie, but it takes place in the 40’s…..I love that movie!!!!

  73. Laura Croyle says:

    Wow! You never fail to entertain us with your adventures! So gad you made it back to home sweet home safe and sound and Girl Kitty didn’t snub you!! Enjoy snuggling with her!

  74. Carol Lichwala (gramz) says:

    So glad you and Joe made it home safely. I took my landlord and his wife to Martha’s Vineyard for an anniversary gift about 20 yrs. ago. The boat ride out of Hyannis was so choppy, I thought for sure we were going to drown….but as you see, we didn’t. I had no idea the waters can be so choppy on a nice warm sunny day. Everyone had to stay in the center of the boat….very scary.
    I am hoping one day they will build a nice sturdy bridge to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket…just like to the Keys in Florida.
    I love your kitty…..she is so cute. She is very glad you and Joe are home, she missed you very much.

  75. Bonny ~* says:

    I was a lifeguard and swim instructor for about 10 years and there is no way I would have made that trip without a lifejacket!!!! Brave girl…or maybe just too tired to think straight…either way, I’m happy you made it home safely!! I SO enjoy your blog…I feel like we’re best friends!!! Thanks! <3

  76. Jeanne Hedin says:

    I know you are happy to be home and Girl Kitty is just as happy to have you back home. I think I can hear her purring all the way to Minnesota . . . or is that you? 🙂

  77. Nellie says:

    What an adventure! So thankful for your SAFE return to Martha’s Vineyard!
    I share your pleasure at returning home, although we have only been away four days.:-) It will be good to sleep in our own familiar bed and shower in our own familiar shower, too.:-) Making chicken stock sounds like a very wholesome activity for your first day back. Girl Kitty is a fantastic helper.:-) Our Shadow was very vocal about his family being away.:-)

  78. Glenda says:

    Susan B,

    First, so glad you and Joe had a safe trip home (full moon my favorite). Thank you for sharing your trip. I really enjoyed it so much. My husband had surgery about the time you started the trip. We are not able to travel this fall, but I got to “travel” via your trip. So fun! Growing up, my Dad worked on the railroad, but we NEVER traveled via train…Crazy,uh? Looks like such a fun adventure. As I read your blog, I smiled when you said “I petted Joe and told him not to cry”, but when I got to the part about Captain Jim and his Patriot boat and “Hmmm, I said to myself. Would ja look at that!” I laughed out loud. 🙂 You are a brave lady, but hey what an adventure after the “limo” drive! 🙂 This is the second trip I have taken with you as the “guide”. The other one was several years ago, when my husband took me to MA to see the cranberry bogs. I have always wanted to see them. We flew to Boston and then rented a car. I also made a copy of your “map” from your Autumn Book as our “guide”. We didn’t see much of Boston, but sure loved all the places we visited that were shown on that little map. WE hope to go again. So thank you again Susan B for two very wonderful trips. Loved them both! Who knows maybe our next trip will be via a train…..:) No plans for ferry boats during rainy weather, though to be included! Limo would be OK. 🙂
    Love ya!

  79. Ann Y. says:

    Welcome Home….what an adventure ! Love how your love for your home comes through…tea, doing house stuff….and I laughed, because when we are away for more than a week I tell my husband “I miss my shower”….Good to know there are others who feel the saem. Welcome home again….

  80. CarolK says:

    Welcome Home you two. So glad you both made it back home safe and sound despite the roller coaster boat ride. I just had to chuckle all through your blog though. It reminded me so much of all the time we were desperate to return home after a week or two away and the funny (now) episodes we experienced just like your’s. Just makes one realize the true meaning of Home Sweet Home. The return is all the sweeter because of the feeling that we get that ‘we made it’ once again……..that is until the wandering bug bites and off we go into the wild blue yonder. LOL Looking forward to seeing some beautiful fall color and blue skies from MV. Hugs, hugs and Hi Kitty……..^..^

  81. Lynn says:

    Glad you made it home. Always wondered what those little boats were coming in and out of Oak Bluffs – we call them “Toonerville Trolley”. They go through all kinds of weather. I must say – as much as I love MV – I didn’t envy you this time. I couldn’t have done it. You and Joe were brave. My stomach would have been in Woods Hole!
    Thanks for sharing.

  82. Wendy says:

    I have had a marvelous time going with you on your trip…thank you very much for allowing us to come along and enjoy your adventures with us…..the last one was a little rocky, but I see that all ended well for you……I know your kitty is glad that you are home…..

  83. Sharie says:

    Susan, Thank you so much for sharing your trip to San Luis Obispo. I’ve enjoyed ‘traveling’ with you and have looked forward to your blogs. (You were so brave to get on that boat!) Congratulations on making it home safe and sound.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sharie, I don’t think (should just put a period there and leave it at that) I knew what I was getting into!

  84. Nancy says:

    that reminded me of trying to fly home the last trip – flight cancelled, airline uncooperative, and on and on. until an angel from my original flight told me there was an earlier departure I could ask the airline to put me on – the relief was overwhelming. trying to get home and knowing it might not happen according to plan is so frustrating!

    but your next day at home sounds so civilized (chicken broth, tending to the house and so on) – that’s why I keep coming to this blog – it’s all so civilized. Thank you!

  85. Pamela Jo says:

    So glad you arrived safely back home. Too bad the boat wasn’t as luxurious as the limo! The East Coast has had lots of rain while you were away…Told you that you weren’t missing much! LOL! Hope your pretty fall leaves weathered the storms and are still clinging to the trees for your enjoyment. Ooohh, I love Girl Kitty! She and my sweet Molly could be twins! The best part of my day is when I sit down for a cup of tea with Molly on my lap, so I know just how much you are enjoying Girl Kitty and being back home again! Vacations are fun, but there really is no place like home! Glad you made it through your many adventures and always appreciate that you share them with us! ~xoxo~

    • sbranch says:

      Joe has to bring me everything when I’m in my chair because “I have a cat on my lap.” 🙂 Thanks for writing Pamela Jo!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Oh gosh, we use that excuse all of the time, too! “Would you get me _______ because I’ve got a dog asleep on my lap.” We both do it to each other and then laugh… 🙂

  86. donna marie says:

    Welcome Home SB!!
    It already feels cozier here on the East Coast now that you are back! Wow! Talk about an adventure! Glad you stayed safe and dry!
    As always, Thank you for all you do and looking forward to what’s to come!
    love <3 donna marie

  87. Welcome Home Susan!!!! There is no place like home. I love to travel but I also LOVE to come home…….Angel

  88. Cynthia A. Harp says:

    I always love the hear about your train trips. Thanks again for taking us along with you. I know Kitty Girl was happy you are home safe and sound. Good night.

  89. Karen C says:

    Thank you for taking us with you on your trip. I for one had fun! So very glad that you and Joe made it home safely. You never seem to have a dull moment! I must say that you are much braver than most of us. The risk sometimes is worth the reward! I must admit, I did laugh when I saw that little door you were supposed to go through to take your boat trip home.
    Looking forward to seeing more autumn in MV. Hope you have a great first week home.

  90. cecelia says:

    wow! You are brave! I think I would still be on the dock arguing with my husband!!!

  91. Ronda says:

    Welcome home Susan! And Joe!
    Just reading about the boat trip home, made me anxious & probably raised my blood pressure a little. Nothing like ending a wonderful trip with a little excitement!
    Thank you so much for taking me with you! You took me to places I never been before! And now I have ideas to add to my list of things to do. I have always been drawn to New England, now I feel I have a friend there!
    Thanks again for sharing!

  92. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Well, you brave soul, getting onto that little boat in the middle of the night. Just goes to show what we will do to get home! I’m amazed you managed to take pictures while the boat lurched up and down on the choppy seas. Was really fun reading all about it and seeing the nice limo and the little boat but the best part was seeing Girl Kitty helping you unpack. Know she is happy to have you and Joe home and things back to normal. It was great fun sharing your trip through pictures and tweets from the twain.
    Trips are fun but coming home is heaven.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so right. Right now my kitty is pulling threads from the jammie sweater trying to make me pay attention to her!!

  93. Theresa says:

    There is no place like home!! You are such a true blue artist…That trip back home on the patriot was a slight palpatation indeed!!! Yikes! Captain Jim is a cutie patootie as well…tee hee hee
    What an exciting life you have, and I so love this blog. You and Joe rest well, and enjoy the canopy of colors in your own backyard…aaahhh…salt air…you are so fortunate to hear the call of seagulls everyday as they whisp their way across the sands of time

  94. Trish K. says:

    Whew! Before I went to sleep friday, I prayed for your safe midnight crossing. I was so relieved Saturday morning to see the teapot, and to see you both were safe. Once in college, I foolishly drove home in a snowstorm at night. I desperately wanted to spend break with my Mom. My guardian angel must have been with me though because, despite it taking hours longer than usual, and not being able to see the difference between the road and the fields, I made it! My Mom was so mad at me! Sometimes you just need home. Why does my cat only demand attention when Im trying to type? She walks in front of the moniter, bumps her head against me several times, and lays down on the keyboard!!! Attend to me now, human.

  95. Angie Berry says:

    Goodness, I was getting sick with you on this boat ride, lol! But how nice to finally make it home to warmth and comfort and especially girl kitty.

    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. I have really enjoyed the sights of your train ride; feeling like I was there myself. My uncle that has now passed on used to take the train all the time between grandma’s house and his home but we never heard stories about it or saw pictures. I wonder if he saw the same beauty you did or did he maybe sleep all the way? I wish that I could talk to him about it now because I really wonder. I remember how fun it was to wait at the train station for him and how excited we would be to see him. Thanks for bringing memories to mind.

  96. Amy Lynn says:

    Welcome back Susan and Joe! While you were out….
    we got the East all ready for your return: we had the leaves recolored with the most beautiful Fall colors you’ve ever seen, we turned the heat down so it would be nice and chilly for you, and we ordered the wind and rain to be delivered upon your return. (hee hee) Hope you enjoy it! 🙂 WELCOME HOME & HAPPY FALL!
    Amy Lynn
    (and all the other girlfriends) here in Southwest Virginia!

  97. Karen P. says:

    Susan, love that you shared your trip with us…every part of it. That boat ride, tho, reminded me of a scene from The Perfect Storm! SCARY! I don’t know how you managed to stay calm enough to take pics? Such a commitment to your people! You KNEW we’d want to be there with you, didn’t you? Glad that you’re home safe and sound. Now, enjoy your Autumn in paradise!

    • sbranch says:

      I did know it, I thought I could save you from it by going and photographing and now you never have to do it, you already know what it’s like! 🙂

  98. Sandra says:

    Holy Cow! That looked to be quite the adventure; glad you weathered it in good humor and arrived home safely. God’s blessings on those who did their part to get you home soonest.
    This past week, we took a ‘copter ride over Myrtle Beach, SC. When we got back to the ‘copter port, they asked how I like it. I told them I loved it and if grip alone could have kept us up, we’d have flown forever! I had a *grip* on the side support structure and am pretty confident that helped keep us in flight! -LOL-

  99. So glad you are home safe and sound. Love the pics, but afraid I would have been very seasick. Even knowing I had a beautiful kittie waiting on me – suppose I could have just hung my head over the edge of the boat for 20 minutes, but it would have seemed like an ETERNITY! So nice to settle back in at home in the fall. I am off today, so Onion Soup Gratinee is on the menu and I think I will make an Apple Pie. Then a big cup of tea this afternoon, and to watch my latest Hercule Poirot DVD with my big fat Moodie cat on my lap – almost Heaven!

  100. Sandy says:

    Wow what a ride, more than one, you always make me feel like I have traveled to places I have never seen. Thank you for the Breast Cancer bookmark on FB. I so enjoyed the time I got to spend with you in San Luis Obispo. Sorry for all of the crying but I just couldn’t help myself when I think of my Mom and breast cancer. I can’t wait to hear about the wine glasses and I know we will have more adventures with you before the end of the year. So happy you and Joe are home with your sweet Miss Kitty. Enjoy the warmth of your homefires and the beauty of the season. Can’t wait until our next trip with you if only to the store. Sandy Perry

    • sbranch says:

      I totally understand, and really loved you for it! It was great meeting you! Thank you for coming, and for this too! xoxo

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