Bee’s in the Lavender

It’s a beautiful summer day on Martha’s Vineyard when I’m writing this; bees are floating through the lavender, beach towels are flapping on the line, a gentle harbor breeze is softly rustling the trees.  But so quiet ~ it’s perfect beach weather ~ that’s where everyone must be.  There are no cars on the road, a rare thing for summer on this island.  All I can hear through my open windows are birds. 

Soon I’ll show you more about what’s going on here but today, I think we need just one more visit to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm — our second visit in a week — you knew I would have to go back!

Remember how gorgeous the sky was on the first day we found our way to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top Farm?  It wasn’t like that the second time . . . here it was on June 7, over the Lake District, dark, rainy, and moody.  Musica?  Yes.

Before we left the Lake District, I needed one more look at Castle Cottage (the light beige house above) where Beatrix lived happily-ever-after with her husband Willie for thirty years.  It’s privately owned so this is as close as I really wanted to get, but there it was, a sweet comfortable-looking little house just across the meadow from Hill Top.

It still felt funny that we could just drive here.  Beatrix Potter has been so far away from me for so long, almost on another planet.  But shockingly, like any other place, like any old McDonald’s on the corner, you can drive right up, put on your blinker, turn in, and park.  Go through a little gate, walk up a path and there it is!  Where it’s been for over a hundred years, with visitors just like me, coming and going.

I didn’t get a ticket to go into the house again because I have that vision permanently pressed into my heart.  I will never forget looking at the view through the wavy old glass of her bedroom window, the same ripply view of hills and green and cottages she saw all those years ago.  But there were a couple of things I needed to do before we left —  I had unfinished business.  As I was walking through the rainy garden for the last time I noticed little wet side-path I hadn’t seen before.  At the end there was a green door in the garden wall.  I went to investigate.  I didn’t want to miss anything.

I pushed it open slowly, making sure I wasn’t going somewhere I shouldn’t — then ducked under the dripping lilac to go inside.  It led to the walled vegetable patch in front of the house, and gave me a slightly different perspective on the house. I was inside the iron gate for the first time.  All alone, in the rain, in Beatrix Potter’s garden. 

Of course, Peter Rabbit was bound to get in trouble in this neck of the woods!  Such temptation; rhubarb and strawberries too.

There were little details I couldn’t see from the other side of the iron gate, like this recess in the rock wall.  It’s called a “bee-bole” ~ it’s made for sheltering bee skeps like this charming white box hive that Beatrix had “fixed up” — she also painted it into The Tale of Jemima Puddle Duck — later I painted it into the journal I kept of this visit. (You would have enjoyed watching me juggle camera, umbrella, hood on rain coat, purse and tears while taking photos.)

I also came back to get the name of the roses climbing over the front of the house.  I asked the person at the door but she didn’t know.  Which surprised me . . . they must get asked that question two-hundred times a day because those roses smell like heaven.  Don’t inquiring minds want to know?  So they can grow them all over their barn?  Or something?  So I emailed the gardener, and guess what, he didn’t know either!  My blog girlfriends thought maybe Zephirine Drouhin.

Here they are, up close.  They also look a little David Austinish with so many petals, they smell like David Austin roses too, really strong, but the gardener only called them cabbage roses.

The other thing I had to do was to take a photo of my miniature Beatrix Potter book as it soaked up some local ambiance, so I could bring it back to the Peter Rabbit Room to spread the wealth (a little more magic never hurts).  The little book is so proud in that room since we got home, its buttons almost pop, bragging around to the Beatrix Potter People of where it’s been and what it saw!

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail hoist it on their shoulders like a returning hero.

But this is what I really came back to Hill Top for . . . I knew, the moment I left the first time, I had forgotten something.  I must have been crazy to even think of coming all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to England, then to the Lake District, over the narrowest rock-lined roads you can imagine, on the wrong side of the road, risking life and limb, and then leaving this behind?  I scare myself sometimes. I’d picked it up in the gift shop and then put it back, regretting it every moment since, dreaming about it!

It’s an exact copy of the first book Beatrix Potter (who, as you can read in my journal of this visit, A FINE ROMANCE, is not only an illustrator, but so much more.  Most importantly, a conservationist savior of the Lake District, but also a respected natural scientist and regular person, despite being a genius, who was very proud of her prize-winning sheep) paid to have published herself, exactly the way she wanted it to be.  For this special, first-time-ever reprint, they used the same cover she designed originally, but they also added a dust jacket taken from editions published in 1903 by Warne; in a charming calico pattern supplied by Edmund Potter and Company (Beatrix Potter’s family business, isn’t it adorable?  Oh, for ten yards of that!).  They put the book in a special little bag and the only place you can buy one is at the gift shop up the garden path at Hill Top Farm.  I could not go home without it.

What makes them extra special is, except for the surviving original books, there are only 1000 copies like this.  On earth.  (At least that’s what they told me, and I choose to believe!)  And they all have numbers written in them like this.

The book is written in her own handwriting; all the pen and ink drawings are in black and white, just as they were when she first published the book. Only after Norman Warne started publishing Beatrix’s books were they done in color.  He believed in her.

I had (was forced by a power stronger than myself, therefore the court would surely rule me not responsible) to steal a flower from the garden to keep in the book. Stealthy, like a cat, despite the pouring rain, looking both ways and still seeing no one — into the dripping mock orange and climbing honeysuckle I went.  Rain pattered my umbrella as I tucked the wet rosebud softly, ever so softly, into my raincoat pocket, and was out of there before anyone noticed, leaving only a trail of muddy footprints, a clue soon to be washed away by the deluge; because I needed to press a real Beatrix Potter flower into my book more than I cared if I went to the Far Sawrey town jail . . . in fact, I took two flowers . . . . the rose, and an Iris for my journal.

And then it was time to go. Other than going inside and asking to take a nap in her actual bed, I thought I had done it all.  The rain was coming down hard, Joe was waiting on the other side of the little gate with the car running, reading his newspaper.  I stopped and took that one last photo of Castle Cottage ~ nostalgic, recalling memories that weren’t even mine ~ across green Post Office Meadow.  Nothing in the village of Near Sawrey has changed since Beatrix walked the narrow lanes with her border collie Kep at her side.

I hope you enjoyed our visit — I wrote more about this dream-come-true in our travel journal in case you also have a place in your heart for the life of Beatrix Potter . . .

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2,707 Responses to Bee’s in the Lavender

  1. Ro in Rock Creek, OH says:

    I’ve been out gardening this morning. I came in to shower and cool off, thought I would check your blog for encouragement to venture back out into the heat. You have my creative side energized! Thanks for sharing your travels with us. It’s like being a little butterfly on your shoulder just enjoying all that nature has to offer.

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh Susan, I have so loved reading along with you on your adventures. Now more than ever I want to go and see what you saw! What a truly magical trip and so thoughtful of you to take us along with you. Sigh!

  3. Glenda says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us girlfriends. It has been so wonderful! So many places that I will probably never get to see. I felt like I was there with you. Beatrix Potter is so special and I adore all my Peter Rabbit and friends things. So neat to see her home and the area after watching Miss Potter and reading her life story . Such a nice trip and nice friends too. Joe is pretty terrific too to let s join your “party”!

  4. Susan Stollard says:

    It should come as no surprise that I’m adding to my Bucket List: #25 Trip on the Queen to see Hill Top Farm. Thank goodness, I don’t have to cross things off in order, because this is moving to the top of the list!

  5. Veronica Butler says:

    I have the Beatrix Potter DVD from when my kids were little but I still watch it for myself! Love the intro which is not animated and the background music. What a life she had!

  6. Jamie Willow says:

    lovely! it’s been grand following all of your adventures. Can’t wait to see who wins! (pick me!)

  7. Carol Divis says:

    So beautiful, the roses growing across the house – the English weather certainly encourages wonderful scenes. And it’s wonderful to see these houses used by people we only know through their works, that they’re still standing and kept in condition so people of our era can actually feel the atmosphere that surrounded our heroines as they created the works we love.
    Thank you, thank you, Susan, for sharing all this loveliness with us.

  8. Angela Sweby says:

    Susan, hi,
    I came across your blog totally accidentally from following a link on Tanya (Sampler Girl’s blog)
    I settled down for a cosy read which I thought would take about ten minutes but am still here and hour later 🙂

    I enjoyed visiting Beatrix Potter’s cottage with you and then going on to Jane Austen’s house. This is somewhere I really would love to visit. Seeing all of the wonderful charms the cottage and the village have to offer makes it even more enticing. I am a huge Jane Austen fan having studied her at school for my literature exams and then going on to teach her books myself. I love this exciting swell of enthusiasm that has given her the literary recognition she so richly deserves.

    Seeing the beautiful garden around Beatrix Potter’s cottage brought all of the wonderful memories back of our visit there last year. I have to agree that the deliciously fragrant pink climbing rose twining around the windows does look and smell very like Zephryn Druin. We have this rose in our garden and are treated to the daily pleasure of seeing its gorgeous blooms and enjoying its sweet scent. Another exquisitely fragrant David Austin pink rose is Gertrude Jeykll but it ‘s a shrub not a climber.

    I would love to be considered for your unique and wonderfully generous Beatrix Potter book giveaway if I am still in time.
    Many thanks for giving me such a pleasurable afternoon.
    Angela Sweby

  9. Susan Ray says:

    Thank you, Susan……..your blog is the FIRST I go to in the AM curled up on my breakfast couch. I loved when you showed us the doggies on the boat coming home. Who would of known this great ship would take dogs. Thanks again for the trip and your devotion to your readers.


  10. Beth says:

    What a beautiful little book. Have so enjoyed the adventure. Thanks for taking us along.

  11. Marisela Escamilla says:

    How exciting! I pray that I can travel at my hearts content one day! Until then I will just keep reading about your adventures! 🙂 Thanks for sharing and I hope I win!

  12. Shelley says:

    I’ve so enjoyed our tour of England. What treasures we’ve discovered!! Thank you for sharing from your special perspective. What an extra treat it would be to own this book – there is no one to compare to Beatrix Potter – she was amazingly unique and special just as you are.

  13. Kathy Smith says:

    I love this blog so much! Someday I hope to follow in your footsteps and visit England.

  14. Patricia from Philly says:

    Hello Susan! I was on vacation – my daughter was married on the 4th of July and I was not connected to any “computer-related machines” while away, so here I am, (humbly) entering my name into your wonderful contest for the Peter Rabbit Book! Thanks for extending the deadline!
    I do hope I am the winner!

  15. Lauren Mumford says:

    What a treat it would be to win such a treasure!! But this is more to say thank you for sharing your visit to England with us. I long to visit England some day in EXACTLY the way you have done it!! Can’t wait to see your finished England journal, the trip as seen through the talent of your artistry will be as charming (if not more so) as this online duary has been I’m quite sure. Thank you for your continued inspiration!

  16. kathy winslow says:

    I am grateful for your happy blogging and the way you shared your trip with us. Thank you, Susan! Sincerely, Kathy Winslow

  17. Paul says:

    As artist’s ourselves, it is wonderful to see all of the beauty & creativity presented here! (Including the artwork & creations of Beatrix Potter!)
    Indeed in our lifetime my wife & I will never be able to visit places like this ourselves, but you truly make us feel like we have! Terrific journaling Susan!
    (My wife says you deserve an award for what you have done here!)

    • sbranch says:

      You are too kind Paul, give her a big hug for me . . . I think you both just gave me the kind of award I really love!

  18. Priscilla in SD from SO CA says:

    Yikes! Am I too late to enter?? Just returned from a short vacation. Thanks Susan for sharing your trip. You are a sweetheart!

  19. Carlene Rubino says:

    Enjoyed every second of “our” trip. Have felt for a long time we were separated at birth…or at least kindred spirits!!

  20. Linda Choudoir says:

    Oh, dear Susan. I have been following your trip to England and have been falling in love with everything you have seen. Walking in Beatrix Potter’s footsteps must have been magical. I would love to have a one of a kind book written by Beatrix Potter and shared by you. I will cross my fingers and hope, hope, hope! Thanks for everything you write and share with all of us.

  21. Becky L. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your trip. Beatrix Potter is childhood memories at Gramma’s for me. She had the whole set of tiny books for us to read. I wonder where they are now??

  22. Gill Smith says:

    I have so loved reading about all your travels in our beautiful country. We are soooo lucky to have it all here on our doorstep.Would love to win your little book….fingers crossed!! Gill

  23. Cheryl Jasina says:

    WOW!!! What a wonderful gift to give to us or at least one of us..I hope I win since my bestest friends husband is from England and several years ago she started doing little Beatrix Potter things for me since I had become pregnant after trying 7 years..unfortunately it was not meant to be and then lost the love of my life also. Still I would love to have this wonderful book. I would log onto your blog on my lunch break at work and I cannot tell U what a breath of fresh air U are and how we enjoyed the travels thru England!! Just came back from vacation so am grateful to have the chance to enter..U and Joe are a true gift Susan!! Thanks for the blessing U are!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Cheryl … sounds like you’ve been through some tough times! I’m so sorry! Sending Big Love xoxo.

  24. Cindy says:

    Oh boy! Glad I am not too late to leave my comment. It has been a very busy summer and so I have some catching up to do here on your blog…but knew it would be here and I am so looking forward to catching up. And I must add that it is an honor to have the chance to be selected by Vanna!

    Love, love, love this blog!!


  25. Diane Kenney Lewis says:

    I have been following along during your trip and am now thinking of taking such a trip myself. I love reading your blogs, but these especially. Thank you for sharing. My favorite Beatrix Potter story has always been “Squirrel Nutkin”. I wish I could read your blogs all day long and have the beautiful photos to look at too. It has been a rare treat!

  26. carol pfeiffer says:

    Susan, yor are soooooooooooooooooooooo wonderful, you are a dear, dear lady, I’m so glad I found your blog……………..I would also love to win the sweet book.
    Vanna please pick me!!!!!! love you, XOXOXO

  27. Mary D. says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your wonderful posts of your trip to England and the great opportunity. I have been reading the Beatrix Potter stories to my granddaughter who is almost three. She is fascinated by new and unusual words and loves Hunca Munca from the The Tale of Two Bad Mice. Every once in a while, with a twinkle in her eye, she’ll look at me and say “Hunca Munca!”. It’s just darling. I’m looking forward to many hours of reading to her about Peter Rabbit’s adventures.

  28. Donna says:

    You’ve really have made me feel I have been exploring England with you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I love my shared vacation more than you’ll ever know!! I’m still refusing to unpack my suitcase!! Donna

  29. Cyndy Szarzynski says:

    Treasures to be cherished forever! Know what is important in your life and be thankful; sharing, friendship, contentment, caring…

  30. GL says:

    Welcome home, Susan!
    We missed you so, here in the USA. Glad you were home in time to celebrate the Fourth of July. England is not the place to celebrate our independence!
    Looking forward to hearing about your summer on the Cape!

  31. Darlene says:

    So excited to add my name to the drawing for Beatrix Potter’s book, Susan! Thank you for posting a wonderful travelogue. It was a joy – and truly magical – to have you take us along!

  32. Snow Apple says:

    I usually stay quiet after I delight in your posts, even the ones where a comment might grant me something neat. I figure someone wants it more than me…though I remember I tried for those super cute bird salt and pepper shakers for my mom. But the idea of having a Beatrix Potter book from you, with my name inside painted or written by you, I think I want it as much as anyone else. I’m glad for the extended time. I was chattering to my boyfriend about it yesterday, saying how I wished I commented. He’s always hearing about your blog, how you inspire me and how much your cheerfulness and joy means to me.

  33. Sue (from Michigan) says:

    I love the little watercolor of Jack atop the stack of Beatrix Potter books in your most recent post. His “mustache” is so charming and debonaire! He looks like he’s ready to “tuck in” to a good read. Please, oh please, enter my name for the wonderful book drawing and thanks for your kindness in thinking of all of us and even making this a possibility! I wanted to mention a fabulous Michigan wildlife artist (unfortunately no longer living) whose work you might enjoy. Her name was Gwen Frostic and you can google search information about her and her work. She was a huge nature lover/conservator and had the most amazing studio and print shop (she was a writer and printmaker) in northern Michigan (it’s a rustic, enchanted looking building that has a wild bird refuge behind it). Her print shop is now run by someone else, but they continue to market products from her original printing plates.
    I hope your “settling in” continues to go well. Your descriptions of Martha’s Vineyard are alway so vivid – I can almost smell the sea air! I am anxious to finally visit some day.

  34. Dorothy says:

    I love Beatrix Potter and this beautiful little book. You make it very special indeed. Thanks so much for sharing all your wonderful trip memories.

  35. Lisa Boni says:

    Oh what fun it has been to travel along with you Susan! (and everyone else!) You’ve made it come so alive for me and now, I’m actually over the pond on a similar trip! I’m weeks away from the Lake District yet, but can’t wait to see Hill Top and Sawrey and all those lovely places that I’ve enjoyed in the BP books for all my life! I would love to be entered in the drawing for a chance to win the book, especially as they are all gone already!

  36. Susan S. says:

    Ireally enjoyed traveling along with you! how fun! Thank-you!

  37. Judi H. says:

    Susan, thank you so very much for taking us along on your travels. What a truly delightful journey and I am so excited just to have been able to enjoy it so magically through your words and photos. It would be an honor to win this amazing gift.

  38. Stacey says:

    Hi Susan,
    Welcome Home! And thank you for taking us along with you. I enjoyed every post, picture and video clip…I truly felt like I was there. I can’t wait for your book. : )
    The trip to Hill Top Farm was my favorite with the tour of the Emma Bridgwater Factory running a close second. Hill Top Farm tugged at my heartstrings as I vividly remember checking out the maximum number of Beatix Potter’s Mini Books from the library when I first learned to read. I can still remember the smell of the thick, glossy pages and the sound the cover would make as I opened the small books. I checked those books out over and over again and never got tired of reading about Benjamin Bunny, Tom Kitten and Squirrel Nutkin. Who knows if I’ll ever make it to Hill Top Farm one day, but thanks to you I sure feel like I’ve been there!
    Enjoy the rest of these beautiful summer days,

  39. Valerie Johnson, Fort Worth, Texas says:

    How adorable! My youngest daughter, age 6, has been introduced to the writing of Beatrix Potter this year and adores (sorry to use the same verb twice but it just fits) the stories and precious illustrations. Thanks so much for getting a copy for “us” girls! 🙂

  40. April Scheer says:

    Your blog is my favorite.
    I have Beatrix Potter on video that I watch frequently and Miss Potter on DVD. And even the Perfect Day DVDs. I love everything about her. I have many of her little books, and one just about her with pictures! I feel like I’ve found kindred spirits in you and your girlfriends. I would love to be considered for the lovely little book from Beatrix’s (or is that Beatrix’) home.
    Thank you for your lovely work and photos. The doses of pretty things on your site keep me coming back for more. May all the loveliness come back to you many times over!

  41. Omg be still my heart you and Beatrix Potter. I travel vicariously through kind people such as yourself sitting here in Australia holding my breath while you steal a flower from Beatrix’s garden hehe and i would have done just the same,Some things are worth going to jail over,Thanks for a lovely blog and your lovely gift of pictures that make our hearts sing,

  42. Hi Ya! I am so happy you extended the comment stream deadline to enter Vanna’s random number generation for the One & Only BP book (since twitterpater’s have determined this limited edition once-in-a-lifethyme book that you bought us is sold out! I think it really is the one & only now!) Have a lovely evening Susan. And thanks again, Karen

  43. Helen says:

    I’ve been a fan forever and ever : )
    It’s been wonderful traveling with you all over England…almost like being there too! Thank you so much for sharing all the joy with us : )

  44. robin says:

    so glad i still have a chance

  45. Kari says:

    You are simply wonderful! Thank you for the time extension…summers are enormously busy and you are so thoughtful to know that! I loved every bit of your travels to England and all of the posts you put up and the photos!! I ordered a mug from the factory you visited for my mom, celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee. I will give it to her for her birthday in August. I also rented Miss Potter and watched all about the the tale it told and how she came to purchase the land trust. Then I even researched her more because I was heart broken that Beatrix Potter was engaged and then her fiance passed away. Your words that she found a loving husband were a relief. Thank you for pressing a rose that in the photos almost looks more purply pink and the scratch and sniff feature on the screen was almost working so I almost smelled it from Oregon!! Yes, I would love, love, love the chance to win the precious book that you purchased at Hill Top Farm, and would share it with my students. Like you said we are all winners and what a joy to play for a chance! Thank you so much!! Happy July Days!

    ~ Kari

  46. Be still my heart! This is one of my dream trips! Can’t wait to see it all in person! Thanks for sharing Susan!!

  47. Nicole says:

    Oh Susan, I have loved your books since I first saw “Christmas Joy” in a little bookshop when I was about 11 or 12 and knew I could not go a Christmas without it. When it was under the tree on Christmas Day I was simply shocked and knew that Santa had known that I had wanted it, even though I never got to place it on my list before it was sent to the North Pole.

    I still love you. I have all of your books. I am 25 now (though still 12, really…) and cherish your stories. I have adored reading your journey throughout England, and to Beatrix Potter’s home. Believe it or not, I was on vacation with my family in Martha’s Vineyard at the same time, and walked by your house and saw your garden gate and simply swooned.

    So… miss Susan, please won’t you pick me? I do love you so, and Beatrix too.


  48. Kristina says:

    What an amazing giveaway! I’ve been savoring reading all your posts of your travels. We finally have started to get some rain in Colorado (thank goodness- it seemed like the whole state was on fire at one point!) and I find it so cozy to read of your travels with the pitter patter of raindrops outside. Thanks so much for taking us all along on your journey.

  49. Cathy says:

    I have so enjoyed reading about your trip to England and thought you captured Hill Top and Jane Austen’s home at Chawton perfectly. What I love most about your blog is your appreciation of life’s simple pleasures. That, and Jack’s cute antics which are the sweetest of simple pleasures! Thanks Susan.

  50. Dianne says:

    Thank you so much for allowing us to climb into your suitcase, as you boarded the QM II. What a wonderful journey we had. I can still hear the birds and the sheep in the meadow. Not to mention the lovely smell- fresh country air! There was so much to see, and oh so many favorites. I love the little bookstore as well as the home of Beatrix Potter. I have always loved her little books. In fact, one of the first things I bought for the nursery before my son was born was a complete set of Beatrix Potter. Jane Austen’s house had to be the BEST of the best, howver. Can you imagine writing a manuscript at that tiny table- and with a quill pen? I would have spilled ink everywhere!! I have so many favorite British authors, and I feel as if I have walked in their footsteps (thanks to you). When I glimpsed you knitting, I picked up my needles once again. I actually FINISHED a pair of socks that I started 4 or 5 years ago, and I’m now on my second pair. So glad that you are back with us on this side of the pond, although I will miss our walks. Enjoy the rest of your summer. I can’t wait to see the diary.

    • sbranch says:

      Good for you on those socks! I laughed at your spilled ink comment! I don’t know how she did it!

  51. Mary Lou says:

    I was with you every step of the way….and I loved it! My daughter and her family visited Marthas Vineyard yesterday while on vacation and sent pictures. That will be my next stop.

  52. Ellen says:

    Went to TEA at the Athenaeum Hotel in Chautauqua, NY on Sunday with friends. I wish you could have been with us just like I was “with you in England”. OR maybe you were?????!!!! Thank you for your delightful BLOG!

  53. Dawn says:

    Thanks so much for tucking me into your suitcase for this delightful trip! Your wonderful descriptions made me feel the rain on my face and the squelchy mud under my shoes!

  54. Mary says:

    You never cease to make me smile, I love love love coming to your blog. It always feels like the first sweet sip of raspberry lemonade on a warm breezy day. Thank you so much.

  55. Deborah Schakel says:

    Your photos of HillTop brought back my trip there in 1988. I have a Potter Figurine cupboard and bookshelf. For many years I belonged to the Beatrix Potter Society. I do a one woman presentation as Bea for schools. My favorite comments of hers revolved around the first books. The empty pages were meant to give your eyes a rest, and of course, they were little for little hands.
    Thank you for sharing the photos.

    • sbranch says:

      I do the same thing in my books, almost empty pages for resting of eyes, although I didn’t know that when I did them! Thank you Deborah!

  56. elizabeth says:

    I would simply swoon over this if I was chosen! I’ve always wanted to go there.

  57. Mary Fields says:

    I have so enjoyed your trip to England. It makes my heart sing to see all of the wonderful photographs and read about your adventures. My sister put me onto your website during the Queen’s celebrations. She and I are planning (dreaming!) of our own trip to England in the next couple of years. Thank you for sharing!

  58. Dianne says:

    LOVE reading your blog and seeing all the pictures!

    My mom used to read us all the Peter Rabbit stories when my sisters and I were kids. We even had dishes, the books and stuffed animals of the books! Thanks for reminding me of that part of my childhood!:)

  59. Marie Fluck says:

    Oh, how exciting, to get one of the original Beatrice Potter books!! I would have been dancing around in glee to have been able to buy one of those!! What a thrill to be there at her house and in that beautiful garden, rain or shine. You have made my day each time I read (and my daughter also) one of your new blogs of your adventures on this trip and felt as if I was there myself. Thank you for sharing so much fun. God Bless you always, Marie

  60. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    I am so glad!!! (and grateful) that I’m not too late for this! I had been away visiting my sister and her family – oh of all the wonderful give aways you have been so generous to do – this has to be the Most amazing! To have a book with both Beatrix’ and your art!!! So, so generous of you! As always, love your blog – it always lifts my spirits, no matter what you write about! Thank you!

  61. Jan says:

    Hi Susan ~

    I LOVE Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit and anything/everything connected. I sooo want the little book ~ thank you.

    Love ~ Jan

  62. Judy Morphi says:

    I traveled along with you on your trip to England and what a delightful trip it was. Thank you for the opportunity to win the little book.

  63. Munya says:

    Thank you for giving us stragglers a chance to enter! My mom and I hope to make a visit to Hill Top some day- until then, we are living through your wonderful pictures and stories. It’s been so fun reading all your England posts but we’re glad to have you back on MV for the summer!

  64. Shannon Robertson says:

    Hello Susan,

    I’ve always loved anything Beatrix Potter and I was thrilled to win my first Beswick Beatrix Potter figurine, Foxy Whiskered Gentleman from ebay! I appreciate your art and your lovely blog.

    Thank you for sharing,

  65. Beth Hester says:

    You rock! During this searing heat wave I keep returning to photos of your trip…rainy, misty, and cool. Cheers to you.

  66. Susan, thank you, thank you, thank you for extending the time for us to comment to give more of us a chance to win this amazing prize!!!! You ROCK!!! And I have loved hearing about our trip to England – everything about it!!! I have been discussing traveling there with my family now!

  67. Shelly says:

    Oh, Susan!! Thank you for taking all of us with you to beautiful England! I excitedly got on your website every day to see where you went and now England is officially on my “bucket list”!!! I get my Country Living British Edition faithfully each month, as you do, and it was fun to see you actually THERE! The ship looked like fun as well! Thanks for bringing something back for one of us too!! Welcome home!

  68. Sharon Coy says:

    Thank you so much Susan for posting on your trip to England! I felt like I was there looking at everything with you. You make the smallest details seem like the most important…..often they’re things that I would never have noticed. Thank you too for your give aways!

  69. Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you decided to extend the deadline. I missed this post entirely as I’ve spent the past week moving out of our house of 24 years into an apartment in downtown Montreal. Everything is topsy-turvy, so I’m SO happy to be able to enter my name. And your post was just the thing to bring my stress levels down a notch or two. Now, if I can only find my kettle and PG Tips…

  70. Dede says:

    Oh my—would love to have this. I am such a fan of B. P. I never tire of watching the PBS episodes of Peter Rabbit with my grand daughters. Such fun!
    I also missed this post…gee need to get with it!
    Thanks for offering such a treasure!

  71. Debbie says:

    I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much I enjoy your website!!! The trip to England was glorious; I sat on the couch with my ipad reading out loud to my husband and sharing the pictures (he like a good husband nodded occasionaly with a faint smile-probably wondering why is she so excitedly reading this to me??) I have enjoyed and shared your books way before you had a blog or even a web presence:) It is better to get to visit with you more often now online than to have for your next book to come out. Can’t wait for the England book!!

  72. Angela says:

    Love getting on my iPad in the morning when all is quiet and checking out your blog. It is the first thing I go to with my cup of tea. I loved reading about your trip and someday hope to see England.

  73. Lorraine & Sherry says:

    My BFF and I made a girl pack that when we reached or 50 yrs age we would plan a trip to Europe. It happened March last year. Sure enough one of our day trip was going to Hill Top Farm. Being a bunny lover I am, we were determined to get there. We made it to the little museum in the town, (I almost as tall as top of the front door), but as we made it up to the house it was closed already.:^( We were able to walk the grounds, and bunnies were out. As I was following your heartwarming trip, it excite me to realize that I was at Hill Top Farm and didn’t miss anything. I really didn’t miss that trip after all. I pulled out my pictures to look at it again while looking at your pictures just to say in silent, “I did see that but didn’t know what or who that white house was either”. Silly as it may seem, I can now pull out my Beatrix Potter coffee cup and use it instead of having it sit on the shelf. Thank you Susan for sharing your travels.

  74. diana navarre says:

    I’ve followed your blog preparing for my own trip to England next year! But, alas, all these special addition books will be GONE! sadly! But, we shall visit there anyway! Can’t wait!

  75. Karen Dunbar says:

    iI am new to this business of sending comments and am afraid that my heart felt plea to be
    Entered into the Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit book contest was lost in cyberspace! Please allow me to be in considered for this most delightful treasure. thank you so very much .

  76. Amy says:

    Dear Susan,
    Many, many thanks for taking all of us along with you for an amazing journey. Your posts always bring a smile to my face. You truly inspire me! xo

  77. PauliJ says:

    “…bees are squidgy in the lavender…” –so fun! It sounds a bit British! 🙂

    It must have been a treat to see about her house/yard things Beatrix included in her books. I always like seeing your stove and other items in your drawings, Susan.

    I continue to love your blog and thank you for taking the time to keep us inspired with beauty and creativity. 🙂

  78. Jill Palumbo says:

    Oh my gosh, I hope I’m not too late for this giveaway! I just adore Beatrix Potter. My babies nurseries were all done in Peter Rabbit, and I kept all the books, decorations, etc., because I couldn’t bear to part with them. I also have most of her darling books. I also had to have every book in the series Susan Wittig Albert wrote about her life. You are a lucky lady to visit her village ~ it’s on my bucket list!

    Jill Palumbo

  79. Kate says:


    You are a love – sharing your trip with us and even a gift! What a treasure – a special edition Beatrix Potter personally inscribed by you! You brightened my day just thinking about where I might put it (in the corner hutch with Nana’s antique embroidered pin cushions I think…). Well, whomever wins, your spirit of giving and sharing radiates through your blog and we all feel like treasured friends!.


  80. Ann Edwards says:

    Your books, website, Willards, and blog have brought me so much joy–thank you!

  81. Please toss my name in the hat for this lovely little book! I would gently read it, and then give it a loving home in an antique bookcase, where it would share a shelf with a Royal Albert figurine of Lady Mouse (from the Tailor of Gloucester). Thank you for sharing your marvelous trip in both words and pictures. Such a pleasure.

  82. Debbie D. from Tennessee says:

    How fun! Not only did you share your trip of a lifetime with us but now your loot! Thanks for thinking about us.

  83. Pam says:

    Oh my, well there’s surely little chance to win the book, and honestly, to me the best part would be that sweet lamb, because it would be drawn by a darling girl that I actually know! I loved reading your travels and pretending that I was along as a bird or a butterfly following in your wake. Everyday seems like a dream with you, whether it be filled with tales of Beatrix or laundry. xo

  84. Linda Riggs says:

    I loved following you to England!!!!! I also love this newest give-away as I love Beatrix Potter. We’re planning a trip to the island in September, I can’t wait!!!!!

  85. elaine ferris says:

    Susan..have loved your calendars,books and now your blog.Was going to my hometown in Barrow-in-Furness,Eng,but 9/11 happened.Went the year after and my daughter was able to go with me.I was so happy to show her the beauty of the Lake district and Beatrice Potters home. I know she was deeply moved by everthing she saw and we have devoured your blog together and talked of the fun we had,also it was a chance to visit with family over there. Thank you so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Very luck for you to have family there! I’m sure it’s a trip with your daughter you’ll never forget!

  86. Yael says:

    Sweet lamb…”playing house”! Thanks for taking us along to all the houses you love…

  87. Diane Martin says:

    If I could not make this trip myself, at least I could make the trip with you. Thank you for sharing. I eagerly looked forward to your entries.

  88. Nancy says:

    It has been so delightful reading all about your adventures in England. It made me want to go back there even more! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us.

  89. Kristin says:

    Oh my goodness, this is so lovely! Thanks so much for the chance to win such a treasure.


  90. Vicki says:

    There are a few people in history I would love a chance to meet. You have given me a chance to get to know of couple of my favorite people a bit better through your blog. What a treat to see where these two amazing women spent their days. Thank you for the pleasure of traveling with you. You have a generous soul to allow me to travel with you and offer this little book to one of us.

  91. Vicki Moss says:

    Hello from Ballarat in Australia, very much “downunder” as Ballarat is a southern city in the southern state of victoria. Please, oh please I hope to own this beautiful little book. I have just the place for it in my dollshouse!
    Blessings from Vicki.

  92. Linda from Memphis says:

    For those of us who couldn’t make the trip across the ocean, it is a treat to read about yours! Beatrix Potter is an especially bittersweet “trip” down memory lane since my oldest is going off to college in 37 days. We have several well worn, beloved volumes which we read to her way back in the day, and in fact, my husband’s first “gift” to her was a miniature volume set in a sweet keepsake box. I don’t think she will use her Beatrix Potter memorabilia to deck out her dorm, {Ha!} but we have saved it all back for her to pass down! Thank you for being such an inspiration to so many. Continue to share your gift…

  93. Nikki Pacheco Theard says:

    Thanks indeed for sharing your joy and creative heart on your latest trip to visit the Lake District’s Beatrix Potter home and gardens along with Jane Austen’s home. Big sigh, ahh, well between your written word and photos, it feels as if we’ve been tucked into your pocket. Just reading about this last special edition book of Beatrix Potter’s has been a delight, thanks for sharing so very much with your countless adoring readers, we are enriched by your artistic visions.

  94. Deborah says:

    How awesome. Thanks for the opportunity.

  95. gail says:

    What a sweet adventure, and what a lovely gift!

  96. April says:

    Your travels are always fun to follow. And every time I click on your website and my little kitten hears your twitting little bird, he comes running to find where the little bird is hiding. In fact, I have to admit that sometimes I click your website several times just to see his curious little face searching. so cute! -April

    • sbranch says:

      My kitty does the same thing! I turn down the sound though, because he tramples everything to get here! He loves the printer too!

  97. Dear Susan, I am almost speechless. I have been following your journey all along. You have had the most wonderful trip and I am so happy for you (while being pea green with envy). We are planning a return visit to England next spring and Hill Top has been at the top of my list for years. I can’t explain how emotional your pictures and posts made me. They took my breath away, they just went right to the heart and I could only look in small doses without almost crying. It must sound silly but there it is. It is lovely to know that others have the same appreciation.
    I have many little Beatrix Potter things tucked in many places in my home. Of course the figurines, a teapot, books, stuffed Jeremy Fisher and more. I just finished framing several prints for the two story Victorian playhouse my husband built. I admire her determination and artwork and lifestyle.
    I could go on but will not. Just would like to please be entered in your giveaway. That book is beyond generous and special. And with a drawing by you inside? Oh my!
    Thank you for your generosity and for all the joy you bring with your artwork and sharings.
    Good wishes from eastern Long Island. Thank you again, Ruthie

    • sbranch says:

      No, not silly, I still get choked up about it … while writing the diary, I’m making myself cry! So glad you’re going to get to experience it yourself!

  98. Lisa says:

    Susan, thank you so much for ‘taking us along’ on your amazing adventure; I have so enjoyed your descriptions, photos and videos. I am simply breathless at the thought of actually winning this giveaway! Even though I seldom win anything, I had to get my name into the hat. To think, one of us will actually receive this special gift from you, to hold in our very own hands and hearts! Wow.

  99. Deneen says:

    Oh How I would treasure that book! I love her whole story! Her illustrations were beautiful.She was quite amazing! Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this!

  100. Janet OC says:

    Hi Susan, it took me a while to scroll all the way through the many posts to get here. I wanted to let you know just how much I have enjoyed your journal from England and especially the Beatrix Potter Potter post from Hill Top Farm. It was so beautiful! The garden and the roses are the best! I just had to put a comment here for your sweet little book. Thank you for giving us all a chance to win 🙂

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