Oh, Girlfriends!  We made it!  Finally, to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm, a place I’ve dreamed of visiting for years.  I brought my camera, my sketch pad and my journal and now I want to take you on the tour!

We started out from the little town of Ambleside in the Lake District where we’d rented a flat ~ Hill Top Farm was in Near Sawrey, about a half-hour drive. Here’s the music that was playing in the car as we drove along the narrow winding lanes . . .

Good thing a picture is worth a thousand words, because I don’t think a thousand words could ever tell the beauty of the Lake District!  This photo (above) is taken just around the corner from our flat in Ambleside, and that’s just the beginning.

Here’s a view of some of the countryside you see between villages.  The town names around the Lake District are familiar to me, although we’d never been here before, the village names ring out in my mind like a fairy story: Ambleside, Grasmere, Keswick, Near Sawrey; I’ve been reading about them in stories about Beatrix Potter all my life.  It was startling to those names on actual road signs.  

We didn’t plan to go to Beatrix Potter’s house the day we did.  Although we’d traveled across the ocean to do this, the way it happened turned out to be kind of a surprise.  It was the Queen’s Jubilee holiday weekend all over England and just like our Fourth of July, people were off work; kids were out of school, the Lake District was crowded with families, cars, hikers, bikers, and caravans.  So our plan was for us to wait to see the house until later in the week, when the crowds went back home.  But, we thought, it might be smart to just drive by Hill Top to get the lay of the land. . .

As it turned out, it was the only sunny day we had the whole week we were there ~ a perfect day to go out and explore.  By the time we got to Near Sawrey, home of Hill Top, it was after lunch . . . way too late to even hope to get into the house. Because friends had told us before leaving for England, “Forget about getting in unless you arrive first thing in the morning. You have to be there early to get tickets.  Visits to Hill Top are timed; its just a little house and they only let in a few people at a time. You’ll probably have to get your tickets, drive away, and come back later.  There will be a line.”  That was OK with us, we didn’t care because we had a week; we’ll go, we thought, leisurely, when the minibreak people go home.  We just wanted to know how to do it, so we’d be ready when the time came; where to park, how the tickets work, etc.  I didn’t expect to get Hill Top all to myself, but I was definitely willing to give it my best.

Signposts point the way to Windermere, to Wray Castle (the first place Beatrix’s parents rented for her childhood holidays where she fell in love with the Lake District); this way to Hawkshead, now to Sawrey.  Such familiar names.  We must be getting close.  My heart is beating.  There’s a bunny!  

It’s hilly and green with cottages and farm houses, and it feels like a fairy tale.  Suddenly we round a bend. A big green sign says “Hill Top.” What?  Already?  Is this it?  We’re there?  It’s the car park (British for parking lot) for her house!  There’s a parking attendant right there, and the very first spot, the first one, is empty.  He’s waving us into it with a big smile on his face.  But we are confused. Joe leans out the window to ask, “Is there ROOM inside the house?” Because we know there can’t be. 

“Oh yes,” he says, with a lilt, and his rosy cheeks get plumper with his smile, “Just right!”  We look at each other.  OKaaaay, we say, thinking should we?  It was a definite change of plans.  What are we thinking?  YES, of COURSE WE SHOULD!!  Let’s GO!

 We get out of the car.  My eyes are darting everywhere.  I am scanning the rooftops of Near Sawrey.  I’m thinking, This doesn’t LOOK like it.  I thought somehow I would recognize it, why, I do not know.  Maybe we’re in the wrong place (I’m fretting a little because this is too easy).  But we see a sign that says, “Tickets.” Inside the little stone house we get a guide book along with our tickets for the 1:40 house entry.  It is now 1:20.  Heart is doing back flips.

We’re told to walk along the lane, through the village, around a bend and  “Look for a little green gate.”  Now we are the ones whose footsteps scrape the pebbles along the narrow road where Beatrix once walked, past the little tea rooms with their flower boxes overflowing, beside a meadow under the bright blue sky and puffy white clouds, to the picket fence gate that says, “entrance.”  We stop.  Give heart a rest.

 Big deep breath, and then, go.  Up Beatrix Potter’s very own narrow stone steps, s l o w l y, savoring every bit of it, along a little path, past a fenced and hedged meadow with buttercups, lambs kicking up their heels (all white and one little black one).

Under a tree with a huge twisted trunk, we see . . .

. . . two bunnies grazing on buttercups (See them?  The second one is just off to the left of the crook in the tree); of course there were bunnies!  There had to be bunnies!  A discussion ensues, like Morning Science, I ask Joe, “Do you think they’re trained to stay there?”  He says, laughing,” I think they can’t get out!” pointing down at the chicken wire encircling the pen.  

Up a long stone path we went, where clumps of old-fashioned perennials ran all over each other, blurring together like a green watercolor.


I took this little video so you can feel it along with me!  And there it was, the house itself, Hill Top.  Beatrix wrote, 

“As nearly perfect a little place as I ever lived in.” 

 Sweet as pie, exactly as I have dreamed it, her real house, real to touch, two-story, grey rock with dark green trim around all the windows and doors and along the roof line, dripping with white wisteria.  

The front wall was covered in rambling roses and festooned with Union Jack bunting (like all the rest of England during the Jubilee).

Only two more minutes before we could go in, I’m checking out every detail of the outside of the house, looking for clues!  I smell the roses, then peek around a gate, seeing that one of her side windows was lined with the same Beatrix Potter People I’ve had on my kitchen shelf since I was in my twenties.  (I wrote about that BP awakening in my journal ~ it’s too long to put here.)  It’s really her house!  So excited!

A dream is a wish your heart makes . . .

In through the front door we went.  (More MUSICA?) They didn’t allow photos to be taken inside the house so this is where I pulled out the piece of paper I keep in my purse for sketching emergencies.  I stood still in her rooms, writing and drawing, because I know you’re going to want to see it in our journal and I wanted to “remember” as much as possible.

Here are some of the squiggles and descriptions I jotted down in the house, and here’s one of the pages I’m translating into the diary.  I can faithfully report that Beatrix is alive and well and still living in the house. Her spirit is fully there, in her very own straw hat that hangs next to the fireplace in the kitchen, her worn clogs at the foot an old Chippendale chair, in all the little bits and pieces of her life displayed in hutches and cabinets all through the house.  Views from her upstairs windows remain unchanged because the village is unchanged.  Looking through the same panes of leaded glass she looked through, I was touched knowing I was seeing what she saw, rooftops and fields, green hills, wildflowers and hedges, her view of the place she loved most.  

Her childhood dolls were still there; and standing by her draped 16th century carved walnut bed, seeing the embroidery she did for it herself, I felt her presence in the nicest possible way.  Everything is in soft warm colors, she loved this house the way Joe and I love ours . . . she treasured old things like we do, did most of her furniture shopping at auctions.  There are antique hutches with flowered teacups and teapots, one of them is shaped like a pink crown; there were layers of thick flowered carpets  — and lots of wonderful art on the walls.  Paintings, watercolors and oils, mostly images taken from nature.  The green and white floral wallpaper in the kitchen went up and covered the ceiling too.  Everything in the house belonged to Beatrix.  Most of the things in her dollhouse, the furniture and the miniature food, were bought for her by the first love of her life and publisher of her “Little bunny books,” Norman Warne.

We stayed in the uncrowded house, soaking it in, for two glorious hours, peppering the lovely National Trust person (Jenny Akester) upstairs with our questions (both the ones we thought of ourselves and the ones you were whispering in our ears).  Jenny was gracious enough to share her wealth of Beatrix Potter knowledge with two (maybe thousand, including you dear readers) pilgrims from America.

Here’s what I didn’t know.  If you’ve all seen Miss Potter, which you would love, you know that Beatrix was in love with Norman Warne.  Against her parents wishes, they became engaged (she was thirty-nine, but there were many constrictions for women in those days and she was a dutiful daughter).  A month later, while Beatrix was away with her parents on holiday in the Lake District, Norman fell ill, and died. Can you imagine?  Shock.  Something changed in her, and that very same year, 1905, she took her first step toward independence from her parents, and bought Hill Top Farm (many think owning a bit of the Lake District was a dream for both she and Norman).  But despite what I thought to be true, she never lived at Hill Top full time.  I didn’t know that, I thought she moved to Hill Top and lived there the rest of her life.   Instead, it became her getaway ~ she continued to live with her parents in London, but she visited her house often. She decorated Hill Top, furnished it, turned it into a working farm, raised sheep, planted the garden, painted there, embroidered things for it, loved it dearly, but she didn’t live there.  In 1908, she met the man she was to spend the rest of her life with, William Heelis, tall and handsome and five years her junior, who was a local solicitor from nearby Hawkshead (where we also went and visited his offices which have been turned into an adorable little museum). William had been helping Beatrix with her real estate purchases in the Lake District (she was busily using her “Little Book” money to buy up old Lakeland farms to save them for posterity).  They fell in love, the old-fashioned slow way, and she married him (against her parents’ wishes) five years later (in 1913 when Beatrix was 47) and that’s when she moved permanently to Near Sawrey and into Castle Cottage with William where they lived together for thirty happy years.

William and Mrs. Heelis, as she was known from that time on, moved into Castle Cottage (that’s it above) just across the meadow from Hill Top. Hill Top, it seems to me, represented a dream for Beatrix — she decorated it all her life, even bequeathing certain personal items to it after her death, to be left on permanent view for the public to the National Trust.  Beatrix died in 1943.  William died with a broken heart, eighteen months later in 1945.  And that’s just part of what we learned at Hill Top Farm. 

 We walked out the front door, eyes blinking in the sunshine (they keep the house dark, to protect the things inside, but also, that’s how it would have been in Beatrix’s day, she never put in electricity), completely fulfilled and happy, back along the garden path, into the gift shop of course.

I bought a couple of little things for my Peter Rabbit Room at home, just a little door hanger with a drawing that says, “Peter Rabbit’s Room” on it, and a perfect little coaster for next to the bed.  There was an expensive limited edition of her book Peter Rabbit in there (those little lavender things in the very back on the left, behind that girl’s head, see them?), a first-time ever reprint of the one Beatrix paid to have published herself; and only 1000 made.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy it.  Don’t I have enough?  I thought, erroneously, still reeling, brainless, from the wonderful visit.  I will have to see if I dream about it, I thought . . . I’m coming back anyway.  We have a whole week here!  There is no saying goodbye.  Not yet anyway.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . see Part. 2

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443 Responses to BEATRIX POTTER and Me

  1. Janice Chandonnet says:

    We are up north (as we say in Michigan) on vacation and was so excited to discover we could connect to the internet. I was so waiting to see and hear all about Beatrix Potter. So, so, interesting. Loved the beautiful homes and surrounding landscape too. Felt like I was right there – soooo exciting!!! So smart of you to take notes and drawings! Can’t wait to see the final works of art. Wow, wow, wow!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you !!

  2. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    I’m in Beatrix Potter Heaven! Thanks, Susan & Joe!

    Marie xo

  3. Gert~Iowa says:

    Good rainy morning! Finally we’re getting some much needed rain here in Iowa! I know the farmers and gardeners are happy! smile.. (I will miss the Farmers Market so not so much happiness for me…lol) The reason I’m writing again is…I reread your post this morning (can you tell how much I love it?) and I don’t know what was going on in my cyber land but, there were pictures missing and jumbled up the last time I read it…so now it makes so much more sense!! Last time I just used my imagination…after reading your amazing ‘words’! The close up pic of the bunny is soooo cute! sweet!!!

    Have a great day!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy rainstorm Gert, if you need more, let me know, and I’ll see if I can blow some of this over the sea, your way!

  4. maybaby says:

    I have been laid up with back problems for nearly two weeks, and joining you on your journey has been such a wonderful escape! Thank you so much for making the time and effort to share it all.

  5. Lynn McMahon says:

    Thank you for sharing your adventures and creativity with us!
    I am spending so much more time doing creative, little things with my granddaughters~ I share your blog with them even though they are only ages 2-6~ Never to young ( them) or old (me) for art and adventure! They love looking at your books as much as me!
    Another inspiring lady~along with you~ has been Sharon Lovejoy. Both of you so talented!
    Because of you two~ and me I guess~ the girls are not afraid to play with bugs~especially Rollie Pollie Bugs~play dress up~ read or be read to~ paint~explore~ enjoy the beach~ which reminds me~ have you had the chance to look for Beach Glass? And on and on~
    Again thank you and God Bless your generous heart!!

    • sbranch says:

      Hello to the kids Lynn, and no, never to young for art and inspiration!! Oh yes, beach glass, because we live on an island, is a staple at our house!

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Hi again~
        I meant to say beach glass or ” ocean ” glass hunting (in your case) while on your trip!
        I agree with other girlfriends~ go back and buy the book!
        I have learned all too well about regretting not purchasing something I knew in my heart ( even if it was more than I thought I should spend) I TRULY wanted to treasure! Think about the pleasure that book will bring you the rest of your life~ who knows how long books are even going to be printed?
        Books are such an investment~ Electrictronic tablets are great but there is nothing like holding a book in your hands! Just go with your heart!

        • sbranch says:

          I went and got it! I can’t imagine what I was thinking; there were only a thousand of these made!! And it’s the only time they have ever reprinted Beatrix Potter’s first book exactly the way she herself (before she found a publisher) had it printed the first time! Really very special, with a cover that came from fabric from her dad’s fabric company. When I woke up the next morning, I could hear myy Peter Rabbit room demanding I get back over there and get that book! I’ll do a post on it and show you.

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            So glad to hear that~ What a piece of history!
            You are a very lucky girl!!! Cannot wait to see it!

        • sbranch says:

          I went and got it! I can’t imagine what I was thinking; there were only a thousand of these made!! And it’s the only time they have ever reprinted Beatrix Potter’s first book exactly the way she herself (before she found a publisher) had it printed the first time! Really very special, with a cover that came from fabric from her dad’s fabric company. When I woke up the next morning, I could hear myy Peter Rabbit room demanding I get back over there and get that book!

  6. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Susan has made this a REAL dream-come-true, once-in-a-lifetime, trip to England !!! So Real in fact…..I had a very Real charlie-horse last night! And all I
    could do between the Hops & oww…owww’s was Laugh and think OMG!!!
    I really am IN the suitcase!!!!

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      The Queen Mary charlie-horse was just a thought….so I guess I better
      be careful what I wish for huh ??? But I wish for A LOT more better
      things…. 😉 ….so maybe…..just maybe……..

      • Orange Juice?? it is a true remedy tested and proven by my Jim…I can’t drink it too much acid; but, once when I had a charlie-horse (any idea where that name came from)….I did drink a small glass and BAM it went away and the next morning I didn’t have the residual soreness either!!! Girlfriend you get a handle on those cramps cause time is nearing where we are back in that suitcase and no time for them….we need to pack a thermos of orange juice just for YOU!!!!

      • TerrieInAtlanta says:

        Tonic water! (Gin or vodka optional 😉 First heard about this from friends who are serious gardeners; it was repeated in one of Rita Mae Brown’s books – her character runs a small farm and takes care of several horses. It’s something about the quinine, according to my doctor. Good Luck, Dawn, honey!

    • sbranch says:


  7. Jack says:

    Sue — I just read this post again; interesting how much more you “get” on the second pass! I noticed the Beatrix Potter figurines, all the way from Great Grandmother Afflac to Great Great Uncle Groundhog; all animals of the field — no doggies or kitties or even parakeets on display. Also that first picture as posted; with the water flowing past one side and the front door up at least one story from the bottom of the building; and all those other houses connected behind it? How do they access those other places? Plus the road signs showing the directions toward neighboring communities — without any info as to how far away they are. I see your prize drawing for the cup was completed and I suppose the winner was quite happy to get that Jubilee cup ….so what’s going on now? What are you going to do next? Seems like each new event becomes a “can you top this” activity, so what can we look forward to now? Time is getting very short before you are back on the Queen Mary 2! Are you ready?

    • sbranch says:

      Answering your questions Dad, there are narrow little paths and things, also the houses sort of go down the hill.
      Yes! The roadsigns give no mileage! Why? We do not know.
      Melanie was thrilled to be the winner; she wrote me right back–said she and Emily were jumping up and down! The mug is on its way to them in Rochester, Minnesota, USA!
      Sometimes I see something I’m sure the girlfriends (and the boyfriends) would love and I just can’t help it. I just found something else, something really special, not the be all or end all in giftdom, not a copper pan or spotted wellies, but it’s pretty darn wonderful, has England and this trip written all over it; but shhhhh, don’t tell anyone, I want it to be a surprise!
      Time is going by so fast, and reading back over the diary, so much has happened! Am I ready? I haven’t started thinking about it yet; we’re leaving here tomorrow, going to stay in our friend Siobhan’s little cottage … I put a picture of this darling place up the day I told everyone we were going to England, you probably saw it. Got a note from the Kitty sitter today that Jack and Girl are holding on, everything is good, the house is still standing, so things are good! xoxo Love you!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        Pat Mofjeld…if you are reading this maybe we can road
        trip down to Rochester and “Touch” the cup ?! Well, I
        guess we would have to ask Melanie & Emily first 🙂 and they
        even have such cute names….always wanted some sort of
        “ie” in my name growing up !

        • sbranch says:

          I almost tried to be Suzi, so I could put a heart over the i, except I am not a Suzi so it didn’t work!

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            …you are here!!! I know….I wanted to dot
            something with a heart too ! It always looked
            so cute ! So…I kinda got into smile faces….
            hahaha…. :.}

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            Did you ever have a nickname??? Or should
            I ask … that you can tell ????

          • sbranch says:

            No, just Sue, So-ey, Susie, Susan, and let’s see, yes, I have been called “the fairy tale girl.”

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            Question…..”the fairy tale girl” nickname….
            was this age 18 and under… or 18 and older????
            You must admit…It kinda has that
            “Sugar & Spice” ring to it???? 😉

          • sbranch says:

            18 and older, an old boyfriend, me with the rose colored glasses, or so he thought.

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            …oh susan : .} boys, boys, boys……and now….
            glasses? who needs rose colored glasses?
            You’ve got Joe ….and now your Life is IN the Pink……la vie en rose !

  8. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Jack….oH Mr. Jack……..these car rides can get kinda L oN G……..
    and since it’s almost Father’s Day “Happy Father’s Day!” 🙂 ……could you Please Please tell us a …….”when Susan was a little girl” story ????

    • sbranch says:

      No thank you!

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        haha…oh Susan……I’m sure he would only share the “cute”
        stories !!! 😉

        • sbranch says:

          His idea of cute and mine could possibly be different. It’s us kids who have the stories, of him, and camping, the ghost stories, and the bears!!!

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            LOL Susan!!!! Do Tell !!! Bears???!!! Hahaha !!!!
            Our campsite…….Skunks!!!!!

      • Jack says:

        I’ll just go a little way — we as most of you already know ….had Sue as our first of the eight kids. It was a very demanding delivery for her Mom, Pat (and me!) and required a specialist be called in to assist, but then the prettiest new baby you could want with a clear face, olive skin and a shock of jet black hair was born! I was only 23 and Pat was 17, so we didn’t really know what we were doing! She was off that two o’clock feeding after the first week and segued into our lives without a ripple — a strong healthy kid …. no problems. THEN, before I could blink, our next four boys came along and as peace-loving and calm as Sue was — we had just the opposite with these little guys, so Sue’s mom got used to including Sue in the business of taking care of these little ones. What kind of care? You name it. Everything from babysitting to feeding and bathing, to breaking up disputes. BUT Sue also demanded that no one, under any circumstances, go into her room and that is when the adults were called in. Sue was the kind of young daughter any family would be so happy to have …. even her only traffic accident came as she was sitting stopped at a signal ….. and was rammed into in the back of her Baby Blue Corvair Convertible (that Sue had worked for and paid for herself!) snif sniff. In retrospect I have to say she was always a willing helpmate for her Mom, and when the three little girls came along, Pat needed the help. So that is Sue; what you see is what you get, straight-arrow person of truth and integrity. And I don’t want anyone to get the idea this was the norm for the rest of the Stewarts. For example, a clue, our dog would bark at any Police Car passing by the house! Aggressively, right out to the edge of the property, at the fence line!

        • sbranch says:

          Well, that wasn’t bad, you were very good … in fact, that was just wonderful!!! I love it when you talk about how cute I was as a baby! “-) Brings back so many memories — that car!! With the white “leather” bucket seats!!! It was so cute! And this, girls, is from the guy who went to work every day, and made it all possible. Please don’t think we were Ozzie and Harriet, we had all the same ups and downs as happen in any family, but it’s great that we have so many fun things to remember. xoxo

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          That was beautiful~Thank you for sharing!

        • Kathy from Brevard, NC says:

          This is a lovely story about such a lovely and loving woman, Jack!!! Thank you Dawn for asking for a story! : )

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          oH Mr. Jack….You are the best! A Susan story!
          And it starts with…..”the prettiest new baby you
          could want….. 🙂 ” When you looked into her eyes for
          the very first time……did you have any idea how she
          was going to change Your world ?! Your house must
          have been quite the hub-bub of action and “chaos” at
          times….four little boys in a row!!! Susan….all I can
          say is……. 🙂 And…man-O-man…..a car crash at a stop
          signal….in a Really Cute….paid-for-all-by-myself-car !!!
          (Do you know the same thing happened to my husband
          Bret… proud….didn’t even get it home…and bang-
          poof…rear-end on fire…he was fine…but the car was
          not so lucky!) “oH Susan!” I have to go Look now…
          I think there is a picture of her & that car in one
          of her books???
          Mr. Jack…all I can say is…. whatever You and your
          family did….you created something really, really,
          Special in Susan!!! oH how she can See & Share this
          big ol’ World of ours, huh?! You gave the “prettiest
          new baby” everything she needed to become a woman
          of “Truth & Integrity”….and I’m sure it started when
          you looked into her eyes for the very first time!!!
          “High-Five” and a “WOO-WOO!” Mr. Jack …. 🙂
          because…”YOU did Really Good!!” Thanks again, and I
          always look forward to seeing you here in this world
          Susan has created!!! So this Sunday, Father’s Day,
          be Proud, be Happy, and go Make some MORE…
          No…no…no……… not anymore prettiest babies! I was going to say, “Make some MORE Memories !!!!!”
          with a 😉 and a 🙂 ……….XoXDawn

          • Dawn from Minnesota says:

            well…it’s not Susan’s cute car that I was
            thinking of….it was Janet’s little black MG
            midget convertible sportscar…but I knew the
            photo was next to the Tarzan page…. 😉

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Have so enjoyed, along with so many others, your trip to England, and your generosity in sharing this with us. Perhaps I have missed the answer to this question (could that be possible when I read the blog so many times?) but will you be reprinting the blog, either in with the book (oh, really, really can’t wait for that) or separately? Enjoy the Cotswolds! If you haven’t been to Winchcombe or Sudeley Castle yet, it’s worth the trip. Oh yes, and Bourton-on-the Water, and Gloucester. 20 + years ago there used to be a little shop with all things Beatrix Potter right outside the gates of the cathedral. I wonder if it is still there?

  10. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Oh Susan- LOVED your description of everything as you walked thru Hill Top and all about the walls- and just every detail….i felt that same way 2 years ago when in Amsterdam- i toured the hiding place of Anne Frank. I had read her book numerous times- and i am fascinated and horrified at all the stories i have read from that time. While touring the hiding place- i walked around and around looking at everything- the walls- the sinks-everything……not the same as touring Beatrix Potters house- i know- but i was in awe…as you were in BP house. I felt all the saddness and the happy times too….but just loved your telling us every detail. Thank you!@!@!@! I have enjoyed your blog so very much- can’t wait to get the diary you are making now- wonder when they will be for sale? hahaha- have fun on your trip. Enjoy!@!@!

    • sbranch says:

      “Despite everything, I still believe the world is good.” — paraphrasing Anne Frank, but it’s close; I love her too! How wonderful that you got to be there. I wish she could know how many lives her little diary has touched and what a difference her short 15 years has made.

  11. Karen says:

    have you seen the movie Miss Potter? 2006

    here is the website on the internet movie data base.. i think you would enjoy it tells the story of her life.

  12. Rita from MN says:

    Wonderful, Susan, just wonderful. I think I shall I add to my dream list buying your finished journal of your trip and then following it on my own some day.

  13. Mary S. says:

    ……just checked “twitter”….thank you for the incredible photos…OMG !!!! you are in Heaven….

    • sbranch says:

      We only have to thank the generations of self-sufficient, hard-working, independent-minded, stone-house building, peace-loving, flower planting, rock-wall building, swan-loving, river-walkmaking, tiny-arched-bridge building, cathedral-climbing, bell-ringing, preservation-minded luv-lee people who decorated this country so gorgeously!!!

  14. deborah says:

    What can one say??? Enchanting! Perfection! A dream! Charming!
    I love it all!
    I did learn those facts about Beatrix in the fictional series by Susan Wittig Albert, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter. This is a charming series and you would love it. Can’t wait to see all your drawings from the Lake District, and my favorite, Cotswolds.

  15. Jack says:

    Well I sure can’t imagine what this big find might be ! I really thought that cup was quite an extended special kind of gift to just simply have a drawing for ……so what’s the plan —
    will you be having another drawing for this thing that’s got you so excited? Or is this something to have one of your contractors make for sale in your online store ……? Well whatever
    …..good luck with it ……

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll see . . . (nice to have a surprise for YOU for a change!)

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Jack….Joe wouldn’t let Susan give Pete away would he???? I don’t think
      so ! But, then again….you never-can-tell with Susan !!!! I’m thinking that
      if it is Pete….my chance of winning this thing is looking pretty good !!! 🙂

      • sbranch says:

        There is no way Joe would ever allow Pete to go, even though he’s a little bit afraid of poor Pete, still it’s from his childhood.

        • Poor Pete, I have officially changed my feelings about Petey I must admit in earlier blogs I was guilty of saying he could make children have nightmares and he reminded me of Chuckie (of those scary movies I have never seen)….I am sorry for making those statements and would like to declare that he is just a precocious lil fella that knows something we don’t (hence the smirky smile)….so, if you and Joe could travel for almost 2 mos. with Petey that tells me he is worthy of my admiration and respect. Just curious…when you return home will Petey be out and about or packed away until another future trip to England??? I guess he has become comfortable in Joe’s canvas bag as his home of sorts he just deserves to be loved.

          • sbranch says:

            I lives in my sewing room normally, but now that we’ve become so close, I’m not sure where I will put him! Don’t worry, we all had to get used to his face a bit!

  16. Jan says:

    Susan ~

    Thank you for taking us on the ultimate dream trip. I, too, am a huge fan of anything Beatrix Potter, so your trip took me there as well. I’m off now to play my DVD of the Miss Potter movie so I can stay in the spirit for a wee bit longer. I must have read your blog 20 times already of your trip and each time I read it, I’m there in England. The music is sooooo soothing and ‘so right’ for this experience as well, thank you for that.

    Oh, by the way, my youngest daughter is having her first baby in three weeks (or before!) and guess what the theme of the nursery is??? Yup, Peter Rabbit! Not only is it going to be fun for my daughter and the baby, but the baby’s grandma as well.
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Love ~ Jan

    • sbranch says:

      Oh the baby’s grandma is going to have SO much fun! Congratulations to you and your family!

  17. matty says:

    York is my favorite place In The Whole World. But, I am thinking I could be converted to the Lake District. Keep those pictures coming! I am falling hard and fast, just like a teenage girl on her first date….

    • sbranch says:

      Watch today, we’re going to drive across the Dales!!! Oh it was beyond beautiful, I know the video can’t do it justice, but it will be a taste!

  18. Laura Croyle says:

    This was Perfectly Wonderful!! I almost felt I was there in person!! Thank-you, a million times for taking us all with you!! And clever lady that you are, to whip out your “emergency sketch pad” and sketch the inside of her house, when they won’t let you take photos! What a Great idea!! 🙂 Love the photo, too, of you taking a pic inside the gift store of Joe taking a pic of you! LOL! Can Hardly wait for your diary to be published. It’ll be a best-seller for sure!! Enjoy the Cotswolds! Can’t wait to see photos of that area, too!

  19. judy dow says:

    I got chills reading your blog about Beatrix. I knew she would speak to you and I could feel as if I were right there with you. You are so kind to take the time to blog during your dream trip. Thank you sooooo very much.

  20. Oh my goodness, Susan! Your post has been up for days now but, like Christmas, I’ve held it closed, teasing myself, waiting for just that *right* moment to open. LOVE this, so good to know Miss P and Mr. H married; I hadn’t known that but wondered. It seemed the thing for them to do. Long courtships are delightfully telling and, don’t you think, ensure a greater success at a long marriage?
    I’ve always wanted, or so it seems, to visit Miss P’s farm but, last trip to England, we visited Oxford, the Eagle and Child, etc. because we were such fans of C. S. Lewis. It’s wonderful, visiting someplace where you feel you know the folks who lived here. It adds the “real” to all you’ve ever read about them and makes all delightful!

  21. All so pinnacle! I hope. I wish, and I certainly do encourage you to go to Sara Nelsons in Grasmere for gingerbread. The recipie so sacred and guarded they keep it in a bank vault .

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, we stopped there too, so delicious, I sent some to my dad for Father’s Day … but don’t tell him!

  22. Oh, Susan! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved this post!!! You have such an amazing way with words and photos!!!!! I fell like I just visited Beatrix Potter with you! And I learned so much – I got tears in my eyes when I read that william died of a broken heart 18 months after Beatrix’s passing.

  23. Janet Rowland says:

    What a wonderful adventure you are taking us on. I love the video you took! I was there with you. Also, I cannot believe how you can just sketch and draw and use the most perfect watercolors! I can’t even describe how much I love your work! Thank you.

  24. sandi says:

    oh, i cannot wait to get home from (ahem) work, so i can share your beatrix potter post and pics with my little guy who is seven, we are huge peter rabbit/beatrix potter fans…(you may remember i am the one who told you several months back about when i was a child and would only check out the beatrix potter books in our school library until my teacher made me start checking out other books…then i went back to checking them out). i love this post so much i can’t even find the words…so just a thank you will have to do, i guess! THANK YOU!!! 🙂 from sandi and cole in maryland…

  25. Nancy Landauer says:

    I cannot tell you how very much I have enjoyed reading about your dream trip to England. So happy for you to experience all of these wonderful things. I have a special love for everything Beatrix Potter. I am a retired second grade teacher in Denver. The children always loved hearing about little Peter. I especially love her artwork. We have the baby dishes for all of our three kids. I am now introducing Peter to my 5 year old grandaughter. Thank you for your blog and all of the beauty of your special journey! If you have a minute could you tell us what brand of watercolors that you design with? Thank you so much!

  26. Linda says:

    I had never heard of the Miss Potter movie, but thanks to your blog and Amazon it is on its way for me to enjoy and stretch out the feeling of England.

  27. Linda says:

    Hi: I have been away these last 4 days on business and the first thing I did today is to check to see where you are. A part of my brain is on vacation in England. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and your passion. I am loving and looking forward to every bit. Cheers, lmh

  28. Oh my goodness Susan! I don’t know how you do it!!! Sending us all these notes and sketches and even taking time to add to your diary with finished drawings. You are the quintessential traveler! Thank you for the inspiration!

  29. Thanks for the post about Beatrix Potter. I love that you took sketches of her home and is already starting to fill in your English Trip Diary. The music was beautiful and perfect for reading this post. Please continue to enjoy your lovely trip to the Lake District. Katharine

  30. The Handmaiden says:

    just now getting to enjoy your post. I had goosebumps the entire time I was reading. I am so happy for you and your dream come true! Ever grateful for your generous sharing of all the details, through your pictures, videos and words. Thanks to Joe too, for being your companion. I know he is good company and the best of help in a tons of ways that allow you to show us all you do. For what is a dream if you cannot share it with your dear love in the moment and then later say, “Remember when…”

  31. I’ve had this post set aside to read when I had free time to just enjoy. 🙂

    My daughter and her hubby visited the area a few years ago as an early ten year anniversary trip. They were actually married a little less than nine years but the time was perfect and there was child care. 🙂

    I lived the trip vicariously through her as she talked on her cell phone and then sent me pictures.

    Your pictures are making me once again long for England! So beautiful… thank you SO much for taking the time to make the trip real to your readers.

  32. Mary- Heritage Stitchery says:

    Susan dear ~Thank goodness you will return on the QMII;time and pause needed
    to come down from that lofty sphere and return to the proverbial real world…
    not possible when jetting thither and yon…that is why the Lake District comes
    alive when reached by train, that “old-fashioned” method of getting wherever.
    Those of us who know better, prefer such civilized methods of transport…. the
    better to absorb the beauty around us. Bless you and Joe for making this side-
    car available to us, with the affable Jack providing color conversation… My dibs
    are already in for the memento book of your travels(in multiples) to share with
    Family and Friends….in time for Christmas????? God speed toward home….

  33. Sheryl from Chico, CA says:

    Hello…We’ve been vacationing at our beautiful lake in Northern CA for two weeks. Just now am able to catch up on all your posts. I am totally transported and want to learn everything about Beatrix Potter AND see the movie Miss Potter. Thank you. Safe travels to you and Joe.
    Luv and Hugs, Sheryl

  34. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Beatrix Potter *sigh* What a dream come true… in a sense 🙂

    thank you for sharing her with us 🙂

    I enjoyed the tour immensely <3

  35. Lorraine Sevich says:

    Hello Susan, and thank you for sharing your England trip with us! I marvel at how you are able to relate to all of us – with the simple pleasures that mean so much! Beatrix Potter!! How I loved her from the time I was little, and when my daughter was born, I bought her a set of Peter Rabbit books and re-read them to her from the time she was an infant. She will be a senior in high school this year, and loves plants, animals and nature. She is thinking of majoring in Plant Sciences, and I can’t help but wonder if this didn’t all start with reading Beatrix Potter! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  36. Bea Lamont says:

    How I love your blog. It allows me to escape, of only for awhile, to places I Have always longed to visit, but would never be able to see otherwise. I feel as though I am on the adventure with you. Thank you for sharing these with us.

  37. Janet Konrade says:

    Dear Susan….I TRULY enjoy your blogs, and you have such a gift of relating the magical places you visit, to the rest of us!! Love hearing and seeing all about your England trip, and Beatrix Potter’s home!! I have always loved Peter Rabbit…. and now even more after hearing of and seeing her home. God Bless You, Susan, as you are a ‘breath of fresh air’ to so many!! Janet

  38. linda Becker says:

    You are one very lucky lady, so much to see! Your trip has been so incredible! Thanks so much for sharing all the beauty and charm. Trying to overcome my fear of flying, maybe I’ll get to a few places in my dreams……..

  39. Lannette says:

    Dear Susan
    I have been a fan for so long I can’t remember when I wasn’t. My mother and my sisters; Raynette Ann, Annette Rae & I (Lannette Raye)…(i know right?)…have been collectors of your wonderful wonderful books for years, and all things Susan Branch. Anytime a new one would come out we each would try to be the 1st to discover so as to be the first one to send to each other as a present!!! Such a delight and a score to be the 1st! 🙂 Same with S.B. calendars, craft accessories and etc….now we have passed that tradition down to the daughters, nieces and grandchildren and they do the same thing!!! My most cherished book is your Christmas one because it was our last gift from our Mother and she was able to sign with love and her beautiful handwriting addressed inside to each of us even though she couldnt write anymore as she had no strength as she was very very ill and passed away within a few days of completing one for each of us (Christmas 1992). She passed away in November so when my sisters received theres for Christmas they were so surprised! I had the priviledge of being by her side when she signed mine! One of my most cherished memories.
    I know she would have loved your trip to England and to Beatrix Potters Home. She had English heritage so she would read that book over and over to us with the tea cups used as props. I wanted you to know I enjoyed the whole story/pictures/music etc. so much that I feel she did too through my happiness and fun in the experience. So your special special trip is going to be passed on in heaven while she is sipping tea and having delightful chats with her “heaven girlfriends”.!!! I love you and your exquisite talent for making all of us feel like your girlfriends! You will always be a special friend in my head and my heart. Thank you, Lannette Raye

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back, Lannette Raye, and say hello to Annette and Raynette! 🙂 I hope I got that right! Sweet story about your mom. Thank you!

  40. preleena says:

    it was great….the photos were beautiful….i came onto this site for some personal feelings about feelings about beatrix potter….its breathtaking! 🙂

  41. patricia says:

    aw, so enchanting….. going to read Beatrix in bed tonight as the crickets put me to sleep. love all the photos. patricia

  42. D Rose says:

    My daughter and I visited Hill Top- charming and wonderful! I felt at home there. I loved all the fresh floral arrangements inside of the home. Do you know what type of Euphorbia (Small round leaves) that they use in their arrangements? Who could I contact to learn more about floral arrangements inside Hilltop? Thanks!

  43. De Wever says:

    on ne peut pas dire que je sois tombée par hasard sur votre site mais presque et je le trouve charmant.Je suis une grande fan de Beatrix Potter et suis ravie de découvrir ou elle a vécu et puisé son inspiration.merci beaucoup.
    marie-anne, de France.
    un jour j’irai voir Hill Top

    • sbranch says:

      Beatrix Potter has fans in many lands . . . here’s how Google translates this comment from Marie-Anne ♥

      cannot say how I stumbled on your site but I found it charmant. I’m a big fan of Beatrix Potter and am delighted to discover where she lived and drew her inspiration. merci much.
      marie-anne, France.
      one day I will see Hill Top

      Bonjour Marie-Anne,
      Je suis si heureux de vous rencontrer. Vous allez adorer Hill Top!
      (me, saying hello back.)

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