The Allure of Island Life

Feel like life is moving too fast?  Take a few moments to slow down while I have fun explaining, as best I can, the allure of Martha’s Vineyard . . .

I am not alone in this feeling; it is very easy to understand why people from everywhere love this island so much . . .

. . . and like to tell everyone about it . . . because when they’re here, time stops — they feel like they are coming home.  And if the island could sing (which it actually does in its own way), it would sound like this.

People love the small town life they find here . . . they leave their hearts and then they dream of coming back to retrieve them . . .

. . . they like to show their lyalty . . . they like to wave at kindred spirits when they see them on the road . . .

. . . it’s like a secret code, only they understand . . .

. . . Those that know, know; they know they know, and that’s all that matters . . .

. . .  they really don’t care what people think . . .

Because that’s how love is.  It’s totally understandable from my point of view . . . over-the-top love for the island of Martha’s Vineyard has been going on a long time; here are a few reasons why . . .

For most people, this has always been the way they get there . . .

. . . the old-fashioned way; you drive your car onto the ferry for the forty-five minute ride to the island; you can bring your dog and sit on the top deck, with the water and the wind and seagulls flying alongside trying to grab donuts out of your hand; usually you are in love by the time you arrive … it’s already too late, you are smitten …. you go home and get a new license plate.

If you come at night, you’re in even more trouble . . . clanging buoys saying hello, ocean smell and lights along the shore weave a spell . . .

Alone time in quiet places is addictive . . . it’s the little things, like slowing down . . . listening to the waves . . . and watching turtles cross the road . . .

People come here to escape real life and begin to notice things, like sweet gingerbread trim on old houses, for no reason, just because they can  . . . and do . . .

. . .  people come to commune with nature . . . they like to share the space . . .

. . . they come to see interesting monuments to the past . . . and understand island history . . .

They come because they like to smell the roses . . .

They come to steam up the place . . .

The all come looking for something; for some, it’s heart-shaped rocks . . .

They like to have their lunch in a room with a view . . .

They come because they like the roofline in downtown metropolitan Vineyard Haven…

They come for the long sunsets….

They come to go fishing . . .

They come to light candles on the beach and forget the days . . .

They come to look for shooting stars . . . and they find them . . .

They come to hear the music of a different drummer . . .

And they come because they like porches . . . and people who know how to decorate . . .

They come to watch the moon rise . . .

They come to shop . . .

Many come for summer . . .

Some like the fall . . .

And some who come here

Never leave at all. 

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553 Responses to The Allure of Island Life

  1. jane townsend says:

    What a great promotion for your gorgeous island ! Sadly we only had a short 4 day break one wet spring but still loved everything. I can see why you stayed. One day I’ll return and see a different season.

  2. Rosanne in Oregon says:

    What a charming post! MV is made even more famous because it is the home of the wonderful Susan Branch!!!

  3. Jack says:

    Who’s that girl ?

    • sbranch says:

      You don’t remember her?

      • christie ray says:

        precious beauty, she is…

      • Laura says:

        Beautiful girl with the sad eyes next to an immense rock that is completely split in two…little did she know the great joy she would make of her future, those she would bless with her limitless sharing of heart and soul, but then again I do believe I see that in her eyes as well. Precious beauty indeed.

    • Diane Harris says:

      And how old is she? Who’s her stylist?

      • sbranch says:

        She’s 33 and she has no stylist, which I think is fairly clear! 🙂 But, you will notice, she is comfy!

        • Pat Mofjeld says:

          She looks like a lucky someone who has found herself “Home”. I think that must be one of the biggest blessings in one’s life, to find a place you feel at home…and thanks for the beautiful pictures of MV. Don’t you worry that too many people will flock there and make the island sink? 🙂 Well, the good thing is that the tourist season isn’t year-round. We talk about retiring to Door County and that is one thing we consider–dealing with tourists part of the year…I’m a bit envious of your water-tempered temperatures as this summer on the plains has been too hot and humid for me! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            It does take a certain kind of person to live here year round, it isn’t for everyone. It’s out here a bit, and if a storm comes, it’s REALLY out here!

        • Coni (Nashville, TN) says:

          33? I think she looks about 18 and without a care in the world. You look beautiful!

        • mari says:

          a beautiful girl filled with dreams and love for MV ♥

        • Janet says:

          Thirty-three? No way. Ohmigod – I thought you were about 16, no kidding. Look at that babyface. Maybe 18. And making your first visit to the Island – when the Bug Got You. You were bitten by a great big friendly magical MV bug and never quite recovered. :>)

  4. Marianne says:

    Simply beautiful. When I saw your photo at the end, you made me tear up. Just beautiful…

  5. Anna Robinson says:

    Well Susan,

    Now I feel I have to add another place on my “must travel to” list. Thank you for adding a seed of inspiration into my dreams.

  6. Priscilla in SD from So CA says:

    What a mesmerizing and enchanting post. Oh how I long to be there on your island. I have had this longing for over 30 years. Thank you for letting me see the sites through your eyes!

  7. Lois Pearsey says:

    Keep it up and I’m moving there. Lovely , indeed.

  8. Holly says:

    One of my all time favorite songs, perfect choice! One of the songs that define a generation. And, a perfect background pick for your photos. I certainly get it… and really want to experience MV someday! Happy mellow summer Monday to everyone!

  9. Karen Saunders says:

    Do they limit the number of cars that can be on the island at once?? Good picture btw.

    • sbranch says:

      There’s only a limit to how many will fit on the ferry!

      • Karen Saunders says:

        Then it must get really crazy in the summer. Is the traffic horrible in your little teeny town?

        • sbranch says:

          Only on rainy days . . . if it rains then people all decide to come to town together, otherwise they are distributed neatly on all the beaches! But where we are, we can walk to everything, so we never really feel it.

  10. Crystal says:

    Oh how I needed this in the middle of a VERY Monday morning! I have my own dream of island living, but on the other coast. I already have the island and even the house picked out! I hope if we ever find a way to make it come true you and Joe can come for a visit and we’ll all sit on the deck and watch the Orcas go by. Thank you for regularly reminding me to see beauty in the everyday and joy in times of struggle.

    • CarolK says:

      Crystal, sounds like your’ve got your eyes on Orcas Island or one of those islands. We loved that island when last we visited. My brother owned land on top of the mountain there looking down on Eastsound and foolishly sold it a few years ago. I would have bought it from him but where would I have gotten the 1.5 mil he asked for and got!!!

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        We have friends who moved to Orcas Island and they love it. I think there is a romance about living on an island…hmmm…why aren’t there any big islands on Lake Superior??? 🙂

      • Crystal says:

        Whidbey in particular, Carol. I have a PNW soul but life has me in the deep south instead. So I content myself with reading the “local” papers online, marvel at the difference in forecasts on Weather Underground and sneak peeks at the ferry cam. It would take about that much to own the dream house I have picked out so I keep buying those lottery tickets!

  11. I have been dreaming of a visit to Martha’s Vineyard ever since “Heart of the Home”…and guess what? I’ll be visiting in September!! I am so excited I can hardly stand it. We’ll be visiting my husband’s sister in Cape Cod so of course, we are a hop, skip and ferry ride away from MV. How in the world will they get me on the return ferry?

    • sbranch says:

      September is such a beautiful month on the island . . . and gets nice and quiet after Labor Day.

      • Janet says:

        Is it true that “real” New Englanders have this aversion to staying on the Cape and Islands past Labor Day?

        I have a college friend who was born and raised in Boston on Mount Vernon Street [FYI girlfriends – just about THE most beautiful street in America] who spends Summers on the Cape at Wellfleet and was actually shocked when I commented once on how authentic [and fun] it would be to have Thanksgiving on the Cape. I think I asked her if her family ever came back down to Wellfleet for Thanksgiving or the holidays – something like that. Here I was imagining pumpkins, squashes, bright leaves adrift in the streets, salt air, the aroma of roasting turkey – the whole nine yards of a genuine Yankee Thanksgiving. Something that I would just LOVE! But she was just stunned at the idea. “Oh no Janet, only TOURISTS stay on the Cape past Labor Day!” Leaving me with the definite impression that staying past Labor Day put you only about one step up from “hillbilly” in her book. We all laughed about it and I’ve ever wondered if that was a general New England attitude.

        • sbranch says:

          I think your friend had it a little backwards! When I first moved here, there was a saying, mostly on T-shirts! “If you can’t take the winter, you don’t deserve the summer.” And everyone at that time measured time by winters. How long have you lived on the island? Seven winters. (LOL, “one step up from hillbilly.”) No, there’re “summer people” and “year-rounders” — both are wonderful of course, but the second group does do the “pumpkin, squashes, bright leaves adrift, salt air and roasting turkey” thing. And the smart first group hang around for it!

          • Janet says:

            Thanks, Sue – what you’re saying is what I always thought must be true myself. Backwards for sure – but a terrific person despite that quirky idea. A product of her Brahmin upbringing, no doubt – but hands-down the most generous person I think I’ll ever know – definitely the antithesis of the frugal New Englander. One of these years we’re going to talk her into letting us have a clambake in October – hopefully with Indian summer weather. It must be heaven near the ocean in the Fall!

          • sbranch says:

            I can tell you, there is nothing like a New England fall!

  12. Munya says:

    Just beautiful! Is that pink house with all the lanterns in Oak Bluffs? I was in awe of that town! I think it’s time I return to MV to get a taste of perhaps summer or winter (I went in early fall). I’m afraid I might never leave either!

  13. Suzanne says:

    Susan, you look so adorable….the heart of the island is in the heart of the home. <3 – East Longmeadow, Ma.

  14. I love your photos, but it’s your art that you include inside each post that always makes me smile 🙂 I wish I was on the beach looking for heart shaped rocks!

  15. mary spring says:

    Oh, Susan…it’s been a long week-end !!..with teary-eyes I thank you again for all you do!!!!! …with love..

  16. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    That does it…next trip will have to be to MV ! Thank for for all the great photos and LOVED the one of you at the end ! It is a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” here and this was a breath of fresh air and a reminder to enjoy the life. Thank you.

  17. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan!
    Well there certainly is a lot to what you are saying and writing about because my children keep going back and back and back every time I turn around. They love it. The bug has bitten them too. Enjoy your summer if you can with all of the many irons you have in the fire. Your pen must be wearing out a bit by now…….blessins to you. Paulie

  18. Karen Saunders says:

    Also, I have a silver bug convertible with the plates that say ‘Soo Fun’ and when my husband ‘HAS’ to drive it when his truck is being fixed and someone tells him how cute ‘his’ car is he quickly tells them “It’s my wife’s car.” (Not macho enough I guess….) If one of my son’s happen to drive it the flower in the vase immediately is thrown in the back seat out of sight. What do they want? I got silver for them when I REALLY wanted RED or bright GREEN or YELLOW!!! One of each would be good…..

  19. Rachel Lucas says:

    Sweet & happy memories…the best bit of beautiful MV? YOU are there! Love xoxoxo from SUNNY England, yay!!

  20. Doreen Strain (from Florida) says:

    Your making my heart ache! I’m so missing the New England area….I’m sure you are all sick of hearing me say that…but I really am! Once my husband and I retire we are northern bound. I hope too much doesn’t change in the next 7 years. Lovely post today …as always! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

  21. Ruthanne says:

    Hi Susan….
    What a lovely love song to Matha’s Vineyard. I’m at the beach myself and thanks to you, decided to not bother with the laundry and dusty corners….I’m off on a walk to enjoy this beautiful day. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and savor the beauty of my surroundings!

  22. mary spring says:

    P.S. ..please say a “happy birthday ” to me and it will make my day !!!!!!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Mary!!!

      • Gini Gould says:

        Hi Mary, From one SB Girlfriend to a SB Birthday Girlfriend, Happy Happy Birthday! May today be the beginning of happy surprises, where you can let go of troubling days behind you! Hugs to Mary!

  23. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Ahhhhhhh. That’s all I can say.

  24. Gin in New Hampshire says:

    Susan, I’d love to hear more about your early years on the island. Your “becoming an artist” story is always an inspiration and I read it when I need a boost.

    I’ve been following your career since the early Country Living days and have had MVENVY ever since. Thanks for being such a wonderful artistic role model.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m going to write the story of how I got here one of these days.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        I’ve been waiting to see you write that line. Thank you! You’ve been changing our lives, growing our hearts, and helping us to cope with days that sometimes aren’t so great with your “house of creativity”; your “book of inspiration” will put the icing on the cake. I will need at least 4 copies of that book – one by my bed, one in my office, one in my briefcase, and one in the part of the house where I spend most of my time. We are all on a journey to hopefully find our “beautiful island” in life; you have found yours and every detail of your story will inspire us to keep moving forward and never give up hope.

  25. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    That was a wonderful, sweet post….especially the last…”you” not leaving at all. You almost put a tear in my eye and it’s not even that time of the month! I’ve been to MV once with a girlfriend and I loved it….although at the time I was younger and not too happy to find out everything closes around 2am (coming from NY where nothing closes). Now that I’m in bed by 9pm and up at 5…I love being up so early-it’s a special time of day…I won’t have to deal with that situation when I bring my husband and yellow lab back to visit the vineyard. Enjoy your day! Maureen

  26. Ahhhh…love those licence plates ~ how fun! Never been to Martha’s Vineyard…on our list of places to go though! This year was Cape May year ~ it was just lovely and relaxing….no ferry required this time 🙂 Thanks for a sneak peek visit of this gorgeous costal gem!

  27. Denni from MN says:

    Loved seeing your island views, Susan! It’s great, adventurous fun to go traveling, but what a place to come home to, your wonderful MV! Thanks for the
    tour, I can continue a dream of being there!

  28. BJ says:

    What a lovely place to be. I’ve never been to MV, I’m on the other coast, but I escape there as I read your blogs and dream of lands far off.

  29. Tracy Jones (Charlton, MA) says:

    I have visited the island twice and it is still my favorite place!

  30. Chris Wells says:

    Oh how beautiful! I did SLOW DOWN for a whole week. I’m back at work today. For this land-locked West Texan, water is a real draw. I just returned from Lake Michigan, stayed at Suttons Bay. I am in love! The sand dunes, the waves, the shops. You hardly needed your car, unless you left town. Everyone walks. We picked blueberries and raspberries. I had forgotten how good they taste when you pick them. I laughed at the t-shirts that said: Lake Michigan
    No salt No sharks No worries.
    What a wonderful life decision you made moving to Marth’s Vineyard! Someday, someday………

    • Deb from Dixie says:

      Hi Chris….wow, when you said Lake Michigan… brough back the memories.
      Generations of my family are all from Michigan, and Michigan has so many places of beauty, I really miss it.
      Susan’s post reminded me of my childhood, riding the ferry ( back then the Chief Wawatum, a car ferry)…and the ferry over to Mackinaw Island….we spent many wonderful summers in Mackinaw, long before it became touristy …so much history there, and ah, the north woods!

      Chris….when you wrote ….No salt No sharks….I thought, true……but did she try the Lake Perch? because they are the best……and you just never seem to get find them, except around “Lake Michigan”.

      • Laura says:

        And…”Don’t mess with the Mitten”….lol

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        Hi from the other (west) side of the lake!

      • Chris Wells says:

        Our last day there we ate lunch at the North Peak Brewery in Traverse City. I had beer battered local white fish (not sure if that’s perch? not a fisherman:) ) it was SO good. I grew up in Ohio and lived my whole life next door to Michigan and I had no idea how absolutely beautiful it was. I will be going back.

  31. Ann says:

    Love your pic at the end! The MV Chamber of Commerce would be fools is they did not link to this post. It’s a beautiful island but I lost my heart to the “other” one. They are both so alike, though, that I truly know why you fell in love with MV. Is there a story to the chickens around the grave?

  32. Diane Byrum says:

    It’s your capture of the Vineyard that also makes it so enticing and inviting. What a land of enchantment and beauty~especially the beautiful and poetic woman in the last photo! This was fun and thank you for taking me there. Some day I’ll come for a visit and stay {sigh}.

  33. Enjoyed everything in this post! Well, I always do anyway! Like the others, I also have a tear seeing you at a younger time. You have always been a beauty! Thank you for the joy on a Monday morn. Blessings on your day too!

  34. Philippa says:

    Reading the first plate number you posted, it is sadly reminiscent of the tragic events that did take place in Colorado. Batm….

    • sbranch says:

      Oh to be at . . . 🙁 so sad.

    • Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

      That’s what I thought at first glance too Philippa! Then I continued and was swept up in the beauty of this post – peace and nature which is just right way to start the week after the turbulence of the last 4 days! With a landlocked mermaid at the end!

  35. Susan A. says:

    So my first name is Martha…middle is Susan, (which I like :))…you have me curious as ‘kitty cat Jack’ to learn how it came to be called ” Martha’s Vineyard!” Your photos have piqued my interest. Luverly!

  36. Laurie G. says:

    Such a beautiful place. Wish I was there now.

  37. pat addison says:

    ahhhhh what a lovely feeling and a lovely post. the small town life, it can get addicting. we live in a small town, only 1,700 people or so, may have gone up or a bit down. but it is a small town, and life is good. one can sit on the front porch and watch the tourists go rolling by or go down to the main coffee shop and catch up on the local news and gossip. one can talk to the cashier or join in a conversation while getting your groceries checked ( can’t do that in large cities and towns) and you can walk along on the roads or bicycle and enjoy the peace and quiet. lovely isn’t it???? hugs…… 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      It is!

      • pat addison says:

        we may not have the charm of Martha’s vineyard here, but we have charm of our own, and small town living is the only way to go!!! love it here in the Fall, all the beautiful colors, the smell of the chimney smoke as the woodstoves start burning, the crisp fresh air and the crunch of the leaves underfoot….. would i trade all this for Martha’s Vineyard, no but maybe for a visit. why don’t you and joe come over here for a visit to bigfoot country and enjoy some small town life, we could sit on the porch and watch the last of the summer visitors caravan on down the road to home and watch the kiddies go off to school, and watch the squirrels play around the yard and see the deer come up for a visit and the turkeys. its a peaceful life here, and i would not trade it for life in the city. lived there, done it and no thanks!!! this is the life, peaceful, quiet and the way it should be for everyone. come on out this way girlfriends for a nice lil slice of heaven, the vineyard is a big slice of heaven, i live inthe one of the smaller slices……..hugs!!! 🙂

  38. Linda P. Bak, CA says:

    I have really enjoyed traveling with you this summer, it has been so much fun. The grave with all the roosters – who is buried there?

  39. Joan says:

    Hi Susan – you can see by my blog name (MV Obsession) that I am a HUGE fan of the Vineyard. And yes, I do have a NJ license plate that is Vineyard related, my daughter does too. I’ve had mine for almost 20 years.
    Getting on the ferry one time the ticket guy asked me what a NJ car was doing with an MV license? I said that my mother was raised on the Vineyard, my dad was from NJ-he laughed and said it was good I was being fair 🙂
    Love your pictures, especially yours at the end.

  40. Hi Susan!! This is lovely!! You are so right, there is something about living on island that never leaves you. I spent the first 10 years of my life on an island (Jamestown, R.I.) and I still dream about going back and living there!!! Wow!! I think I just wrote down my big dream……:) Thanks for sharing!! Happy Day!! xoxo Debbie

  41. Amy says:

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing. We feel the same way about our island- Whidbey Island. Come and visit sometime. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Would love to!

    • Laura Croyle says:

      I Love Whidbey Island! We live not too far away and visit often, driving over Beautiful Deception Pass….I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area! Susan, you would love it, too!

  42. Lisa R (northern Arizona) says:

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give….someday…. beautiful picture of a young girl in love~

  43. Susan says:

    Although I am a Colorado girl at heart, I love, love, love this post! I have been to MV once many years ago. Part of the charm for me was the different little town and beaches – all with their unique charm! I visited Nantucket years later and felt a bit claustrophobic. We stayed in Sconset and had to pay a taxi each time we waned to go into town. The ferry ride was long since Nantucket is 30 miles out to sea instead of 3!

    Have you ever read books by Elin Hilderbrand? I just finished her latest release, “Summerland.” Her books are set on Nantucket which I enjoy. (I’ve read all of them!)
    So you know of an author who writes novels about MV? It is fun to be able to picture the places described in the book!! (Diane Mott Davidson does this with her murder mysteries. Hers are set in Evergreen, Colorado, where I used to teach. She also includes recipes!)

    You are indeed fortunate to live in a place with so much ambience!!!

    • sbranch says:

      You can check out the list they have here!

    • Kathie Ferko says:

      Hi Susan from Colorado…

      I visited Martha’s Vineyard about 2 yrs. ago and discovered the Cynthia Riggs mysteries from MV. If you like mysteries like I do you will enjoy them. I have many Elin Hilderbrand books. She was from Collegeville, Pa before she moved to Nantucket. She visits the local book store when in the area. There was a meet and greet supper this past winter. It was great to meet her (and her mom and daughter.) She discussed her new book…read from it and signed a copy of Summerland…which we just received this June. See Ya…enjoys reading.

      Kathie from Limerick, Pa the books

      • Susan says:

        Aren’t you lucky to have met Elin! I had no idea she was from Pennsylvania. So are many of my relatives… Great tip about Cynthia Riggs! Thanks so much.

  44. Lovely. There is a draw that the sea has, isn’t there? Would love to step through the pictures and walk on those beaches, but… not to be today.

    I liked this reminder you posted in the replies:

    The little things that make life sweet — you can find them anywhere . . .

    Today mine are the sound of cicadas whirring their summer songs, the purple grass in the shade versus the yellow-green grass in the sun, and the crepe myrtles that bloom along our street and have parties at night. We see the confetti they leave behind on our morning walks.

    Happy day to you, Susan.

  45. Julie says:

    Beautiful post, beautiful island.
    I love it, most in mid-Autumn
    but the four seasons captures its endless, ever changing charm.
    Can’t imagine ever living in a one or two season spot ?

    Awww……..that last photo….a penney for your thoughts ?
    Do you remember where it was taken ?
    Hope you carved your name in the rock
    or buried some remembrance in the sand…
    after all, you ARE the Vineyard’s sweetheart !

    Here’s favorite, refreshing, 34 second escape off
    the Vineyard’s Gay Head cliffs-
    it’s a keeper,
    bookmarked for emergency uplifting & renewal,
    you can just feel the ocean spray on your skin.

    • sbranch says:


      • Julie says:

        Anyone viewing the video must click on “Full Screen”-
        splashing water on your face feels great
        but this video is a million times more rejuvenating.
        Even though the cliffs are not visible,
        nothing is prettier-
        warm, toasty & mystical than being on the
        Gay Head cliffs at sunset.

  46. Francine says:

    Love it! And what a artsy looking beautiful girl!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Artsy or just confused . . . “pattern blind” maybe?

      • Deb from Dixie says:

        “pattern blind” maybe? that’s funny…….I thought, cool, artsy and trendy, and I am a fan of the big socks and the boots too.
        What touched though me was, I looked at that photo of you on the rock and thought, amazing, she had the guts to “stay”, start over, see what happened next and that was the beginning of making her dreams come true….

  47. Barbara (WA) says:

    I bet “our Dad” got tears in his eyes seeing that sweet girl in the last photo. . . And I, too, live on an island, ride the ferry boats while viewing majestic mountains or the Seattle city skyline. I love your descriptions of why people come to MV but I particularly love the charming & unique gingerbread on the houses!

  48. Diane Harris says:

    Thanks for the mental diversion away from work and the tragedy in Denver. Much needed to think about pleasantries.

  49. Lori C. says:

    I’ve only been to MV once – right after the movie Sabrina came out. On a vacation of a lifetime, I flew out to MA to visit my dear friend Gayle, who later died of a very aggressive type of cancer. I miss her so much. I miss MV. I remember asking at a local book store if they knew where you lived (I so wanted to snap a photo of your lovely home) but they wouldn’t tell us.

    • sbranch says:

      The day they were filming Sabrina, three of my best friends and I walked into town to have lunch, and stumbled into the “scene” they were shooting . . . we didn’t know! Got out of there fast! I’m so sorry to hear you lost Gayle . . . so sad.

      • Janet says:

        Sue – did you end up in the finished movie? How exciting! Or on the cutting room floor? That would be such a great line for your biography or resume or something – “cameo appearance in the film “Sabrina.”

        Though I really liked the 1954 Bogey-Audrey Hepburn version better. If there’s more than one version of anything, I’ll almost always like the old one better…

  50. Susie Stevens says:

    I have been to martha’s vineyard once and long to return. Lucky you Susan. :):) Smiles, Susie

  51. Gill says:

    When you next go over to England, try to go over to the Isle of Wight. You may find it is a little home from home! I only lived there a year, before I was married and whisked away to Norway, but there is a little piece of my heart there still and I try to get back with my children every now and again. Once an island girl, always an island girl 🙂

  52. Ro from Rose Cottage, New Jersey says:

    Thank you for the mini vacation! and I will add my Awwwaaah! to your last picture!
    My sister and I had a week in Mashpee,Mass. with one day over to the Island while you were on that ‘Other Island’ (England!) it rained, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying your piece of Heaven.
    Thank you for you being our ‘tour guide’ to some of the sights on the Island.

    • CarolK says:

      Yes, it was a lovely vacation. Next time hopefully I’ll have both my new knees and we can walk through all the places Susan mentions and this time not to forget to have that lobsta! And maybe rent mopeds and tool around….and stroll on a beach and look for neat stones and sea glass… ya…..

  53. Martha Ellen Figart says:

    Once the salty ocean air fills my lungs I am in love. I do not live at the ocean, but must find a way to travel there at least 3 or 4 times a year. Love your picture on the rocks! xoxo ♥

  54. This post has so many comments!
    I will come to experience the quintessential, isolated island life and to work on my genealogy. My Kerr-Walton family ancestors were there from the 1700’s. I am called to walk where they lived and walked, to breathe in what they breathed…the sea…for me, it is necessary.
    xoxo, Chris

  55. JoAnne Daniels says:

    Thanks for your love-letter to Martha’s Vineyard. I suspect that as much as you love England and had a wonderful time — it’s always good to be home and see it again with new eyes.
    I’d love to visit the Vineyard one day. I’ve spent many a summer on Cape Ann,
    MA — my “heart” place, but I could see myself falling for Martha too! :o)
    I always look forward to your blog — it always gives me a smile. Your descriptions and photos are wonderful.
    JoAnne, from rural N.W. New Jersey — it’s good to appreciate where you’re planted.

  56. karen hoida says:

    Feel like I had a little vacation….

  57. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your town with us, I love looking at the houses & gardens & the ocean….

  58. I HAVE to visit one day. It looks like the perfect summer getaway. I can see why you never left. I even like the pics of the winter landscape…make the summers that much sweeter. Thanks for sharing the inside scoop on the Vineyard.

  59. Kimberly says:

    You are a breath of fresh air!!!! Thank you for always helping us to feel in such a lovely way! Thank you Thank you! <3 Hope you are having a beautiful day! Kim

  60. Susan in SC says:

    A beautiful post read through tears.

  61. Erin says:

    I have only you to thank for my undying love and passion for the Vineyard. From the moment I picked up your Autumn book years and years ago, and saw your beautiful life there, I was completely and forever smitten. Martha’s Vineyard stands as an inspiring symbol of how I aim to live my life. Perhaps I’ll live there someday, or perhaps I’ll stay a visitor… whatever my fate is, I know it’s fire will always live in my heart.

    THANK YOU for that.

  62. CarolK says:

    If that doesn’t say LOVE, nothing does! I can relate because even thought I’m landlocked now I’ve always loved La Mear. That last picture is a hoot! just because that’s my idea of a good dresser. Yes it is!!!

  63. Lezlee says:

    Susan – it was such a huge move for you! Did you always love this area? Or were you just drawn to it . . . . .I am a Pacific Northwest native but I have always loved New England:)

  64. Barbara F. says:

    I am sold!!! I will get there one day. (Susan, have you thought of entering the real estate business there?) ^o^ And thanks once again for my signed copy of the Summer Book. xo

  65. Betty Post says:

    I live in Upstate New York but my heart belongs on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve visited many times and always look with longing out the back window as we drive away, knowing it’s where I belong but cannot stay. Someday maybe I’ll come for a visit and just refuse to leave 🙂

  66. ArlineLA says:

    It was YOU and memories of Carly Simon and Jame Taylor’s music that brought us to MV for vacation several years ago. The people were wonderful and I loved the little retired lady who gave us a 4-wheel tour out to Chappaquiddick Island and to the lighthouses. And, since I am always one-degree-of-separation to some Beatle story, Paul McCartney had just stayed in our B&B! The lobby had a picture of him. Thank you for sharing these memorable pics, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      One degree of separation! My sister is one degree away from Jackson Browne. She says “Guess what?” I always say, “Jackson Browne called you!” So far, it hasn’t happened, but I still am pretty sure it will!

  67. Pamela Jewett says:

    Sweet summer post, along with lovely photos and dreams. You make Martha’s Vineyard so enchanting with its siren call. We hope to make the trek someday. Thank you Susan… are a doll.

  68. Susan says:

    … My interest in visiting MV is peaked with your blogging, especially today’s. Your wonderful island is now on my bucket list. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home. 🙂

  69. Sally says:

    And some people come on vacation and rent a jeep just to see where you live drive all over the island and never find it! But are still happy they came

    • sbranch says:


      • TJ says:

        But…some people will always remember peeking over the front hedge and seeing the adirondack chairs in a circle on the lawn…and a glimpse of the picket fence garden…and Joe coming home so it must be time for dinner at the Black Dog…we never said a word just continued walking on the other side of the street…in awe of the view of “The Heart of the Home”…all of it so very Susan Branch!!

        • sbranch says:

          Oh, that was YOU! xo

          • TJ says:

            Yes, it was ME!! Twelve years ago…truly a lifetime ago…we travel to MV on August 11 just one month before “September 11.” I sent you photos and a letter detailing my MV vacation…you were home in CA, and I made you home sick.

            I know all this and treasure the memory because much to my surprise and delight, you sent me one of your cards with a lovely note from CA…You said, “Hi Teri!” It felt like we were best friends, and it tickled me when you said something that I wrote made Joe laugh.

            I made a wonderful scrapbook (3 to be exact) including copies of my SB sticker-embellished envelope to you along with that long, long letter detailing “All the News” about our MV adventure documented with photos, your note to me, and tucked in the back of each scrapbook was a copy of a recent magazine article with interior photos of the “Heart of the Home.” I’m still in love with the spring green wallpaper in your dining room…reminds me of some of your scrapbook paper.

            The cover of each of the “Be Still My Heart” (Is that appropriate…or What?) scrapbooks looks like a picket-fenced English garden with a thatched roof cottage in the background, and the cover and pages are bound/laced with sheer ribbon in a floral print…my only disappointment with the books was that I really wanted a beachy scene on the cover. Now, I know that cover is absolutely perfect for telling my SB story.

            The scrapbooks are much loved by me, my sister, and my friend…fond memories in the midst of turmoil.

            As usual, I digress…

            Hope you come to northern VA on your book tour…I’ll bring my scrapbook for you to see the treasured memory that you inspired.

          • sbranch says:

            That would be wonderful! Thank you TJ!

  70. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Martha’s Vineyard has been on my list of places to visit for 25 years!! I love the photos you posted and they just renewed my determination that I want to do this sooner rather than later!! There is something so peaceful and beautiful about the life you have captured in your pictures. Now that I am hooked to your blog, I can’t wait for the fall photos to come out. I have your Autumn Book which gave me some insight to the beauty of the island. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year so please share some of your adventures as they happen!!

    And I have a July 7 birthday and was lucky enough to be in France on a tour. But thank- you for your adorable birthday post for all of us readers. It was like a personal birthday card from you !! Perfect!! And thanks so much!

  71. Deb from Dixie says:

    Visiting Marthas Vineyard has been on my list of dreams to fullfill, for a long, long time. One of these days…….it will come true.

    I still use my granola and biscotti tins from the Black Dog, ( ordered a long time ago) they sit on my desk holding my colored pens and some art supplies….drink coffee out of my MV mug and sometimes wear my MV
    t-shirt…..LOL……maybe sending MV mojo into the universe…. will help that dream come true a little more quickly…can’t hurt, right?

    Also, loved the post and “Turtle Crossing”… cute!

  72. zinnia patch says:

    Hi Susan, so glad to see a post from you today…..I’ve let the news really get to me this week’end and my heart just goes out to those people in Denver. Ahhhh your island, you are living my dream…..and loved the ending, your picture, so pretty…..

  73. Nancy kilrain says:

    Our 35th wedding anniversary is coming up in the fall & we went to Martha’s Vineyard for our honeymoon…….seeing this Beautiful post, I think we Need to go back !!!! I love visiting your blog & admire all your beautiful sketches, your creativity is inspiring ! A few years back Carly Simon had the best video of a concert she did on the Island, it is our favorite ! You were probably there !!! Thank you for the beautiful tour !!!

  74. Cynthia Krynock says:


    This was the BEST! I love it! Makes me want to come and set a spell…in the Autumn….and just soak up the island!


  75. viv says:

    I just had lunch in MV. Lovely.

  76. Martha B says:

    I loved your blog on England, but there’s no place like an island in the US of A…Have visited the Vineyard a few times, and honeymooned on Nantucket. Now I travel to the Isles of Shoals (Star Island) off Portsmouth, NH.

  77. Ritchie Saunders says:

    Susan….Love your outfit!!! Perfect! I know I had one like it!! My license plate for CA is the lovely whale one with our coast of ocean in Santa Monica for the background.
    Plate says “SAYVIT”!! Couldn’t get SAVE IT but most people figure it out!
    We’re off to Camino Island in WA in a few weeks and also the Long Beach Peninsula in a little house right in the dunes. Grew up in WA so summer is always a special place to visit! 58th High School reunion of friends I grew up with and lunch with my college pals. These tragedies bring us all closer together! We are survivors! Hugs!
    Ritchie Pacific Palisades, CA

  78. Giovanna says:

    This post started all silly, funny and all MV-ish! I enjoyed reading every bit of it….but I didn’t expect the last line. It touched my heart…you found your heaven on earth! You are so lucky. Enjoy every moment 🙂

  79. queenmum says:

    I have had a rough few days, and your post today has me smiling through my tears. I love island living (lost “mine” in the divorce 25 years ago) and each and every post about your Martha’s Vineyard has me craving a visit….I think that next year will be the year. Thank you so much, dear Susan, for lifting my spirits.

  80. peg says:

    Love the picture of you on the rock…..perfect! no wonder you love it there. its written all over your face! thanks for sharing some summer shots of MV. xo

  81. Tricia B. says:

    Hi there Susan,
    Love the post…as always…doesn’t matter what you write about my dear, I love it. This one is really special tho- I have never been to MV but would love to one day visit. I don’t think I would ever want to leave either!! 🙂 Have a wonderful day. Thank you for all you do everyday to always cheer me up!! You are the bestest!!! GOD Bless you and Joe and your precious little cats!! 🙂 XOXOXO Hugs and Love from Tricia B.

  82. laurie says:

    a little piece of heaven on earth, where I live is much the same as where you are, smaller, not on the ocean, but the great lakes, I have only visited where you are in photos or television and of course your photos which in the way you describe i feel like i am right there, I thankyou for that,

  83. Sandi says:

    Thank you for the magical trip to MV. One day I hope to visit. I would love to know the story behind the Roosters in the graveyard.

  84. Jeanette says:

    Susan, What a lovely post. Can I be an honorary resident? I am going to add a visit to my Bouquet List, I’ve wanted to visit for so, so long. Thank you for the precious gifts you give us! I love your photo at the end, I can see why you haven’t left, why would you!?!
    Enjoy your Monday! Beach love and Sunshine hugs, Jeanette

  85. Jane alexander says:

    Susan, it is very satisfying to know that you stayed in Martha’s Vineyard. Seeing the young woman, and knowing she had found her place, in this grand scheme of things. To see peace fall upon her soul. One reason it is beautiful is because you have shared yourself with thousands of other women for years now, showing them how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Actually, I pray for my daughter, 38, to have that peace settle upon her, and I pray for her Prince Charming to come to share the peace with her.
    Jane Alexander

    • sbranch says:

      It took me until just around that age to find myself, so there is every reason to have hope!

  86. carmel says:

    Susan, your lovely post today reminds me of one of your inspiring quotes (this one from “Girlfriends Forever”). “It’s a toxic world but you have the power to protect yourself. Feed your life from the well of sweetness.” Thank you for bringing sweetness into our lives today. I also enjoyed reading about the others’ island or small town lives – so fortunate to have some peace and strong community.

    • sbranch says:

      We are, and there are so many in this country. Including Aurora .. it was one guy, it’s good world.

      • Dawn from Minnesota says:

        The “good” seems to shine a little brighter in the midst of
        our crazy world. My daughter, just returned from the
        Aurora area last night. That “one guy” caused a multitude of
        heartache….but; many of her stories and thoughts, confirmed my belief in the “goodness” of mankind. I felt very blessed to have her home! On her late-night flight, back to mn., about ten minutes from landing…everyone began noticing a strong burning smell…it kept getting stronger and stronger….even the seasoned travelers were becoming concerned. Finally, the pilot made an announcement…. Passengers, you may have noticed a strong burning smell, please do not be alarmed, it seems we have just flown through some geese……. : .\
        It was hard not to notice the unique burning smell of her
        hair as I gave her a big Welcome Home Hug…….it was good!

  87. Barbara Thomas says:

    There’s a bit of a poet in you Sue! Thouroughly enjoyed this post. It makes me want to go and live there, too. I just love that last shot of you. Who took the picture? It reminds me of how crazy we all seemed to dress back then and sort of proud of our independent spirit that went along with that!

  88. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan……….Yes, MV is a very special place and we have such fond memories of being there. I loved all the old homes with the gingerbread trim. My Joe would never consider living there though because of the cold and snow so I’ll just have to dream about living there. I tell him we are retired now so we don’t have to go out if it snows……..we can just light a cozy fire in the fireplace (something we had in Maryland but not in Fl). Yes, it is a magical place, and I can see why you love it there. And, most importantly, you found true love with your Joe and that makes it even more special! I would love to see MV at Christmastime. I’m sure the homes are decorated beautifully. I even loved the ferry trip over, but we went there in September when all the summer visitors had left! Loved the picture of you at the end of the blog. Wow, that was many years ago. You were so brave as a young woman to go to a far away place. I so admire you. Maybe when winter comes you’ll show us a picture of you with the purple and lime scarf that you knitted on your Queen Mary cruise. Hugs, Gail Buss, Bev. Hills, Fl

  89. Cyndi in NC says:

    Thanks for the beautiful pics of the island. I love the ocean and always feel at home there. Again thanks for sharing again. *S*

  90. Robin in New Jersey says:

    I have a dear friend who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. I have always wanted to visit there. Maybe someday…

  91. Sylvia Watkins says:

    Such a wonderful respite from recent troubling events. Thank you. Is the Nancy Luce print available still?? Chickens are kind of important in my life :-). I think Nancy is a kindred spirit. Love you Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, if you scroll down HERE, it’s on the right side of the page . . . Nancy is my kindred spirit too, what a brave girl who never gave up.

  92. Marilyn says:

    MV is on my list of place I would like to see. I dream of living by the sea in a gingerbread house and a license plate and James Taylor for my music. Your picture do remind me of another island, on I have visited and wandered through, on another coast. Though it is on the west coast I love visiting Bainbridge Island in Washington. It has much the same feel. Now I am picturing a vacation on an island.

  93. Irina Wistoff says:

    Loved it! Hope some day I´ll have the chance to see this island with my own eyes… it´s a long way to go from Germany! But if you can dream it…. 🙂 Thank you so much for this lovely post! Please let me see some more some day!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Go to the top of the blog, there are lots of things about Martha’s Vineyard up there . . .

  94. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Afternoon~
    Looking at those photos reminds me how much Martha’s Vineyard & Door County have in common~ We are a little spoiled as we get to go to Door County almost every year and we only live about 6 blocks from Lake Michigan~ would love to come to your island~ maybe some day~
    Happy Monday~

    • Diana - Highland, IL says:

      HI LYNN! My husband and I spent a most wonderful vacation in Door County last year in October. I didn’t want to leave. We only scratched the surface of wonderful things to see, do, eat, and drink in that area. We stayed at Egg Harbor in a little cottage and I would have been happy to stay there…. we will definitely be back for more fun in the future!.. As I get older, I am drawn more and more to the peace and tranquility of the water.. be it lake, river, or ocean. I can honestly say that outside of our 25th anniversary trip to Hawaii, that this was my most favorite vacation site!! Of course, I need to go to Martha’s Vineyard.. I would also love to see Deer Island, where Dan Fogelberg lived…. my soul is fed with his music and seeing the sun setting over the water.. James Taylor, Carly Simon, such storytellers.. and Susan Branch… another beautiful storyteller… I think I need to retire on the water somewhere.. for me it will be north.. not a hot weather girl but am having to survive this extreme heat we have been having this summer….FALL … please come quick!!! And all the island princesses… know how lucky you are!!!

      Have a wonderful weekend GF’s! ,

  95. JoEllen Bendall says:

    You must have arrived on MV about the time of my 1st visit. I still lived in NYC, and came as often as possible. When I’m able to visit, I still take the 1st ferry out of Wood’s Hole, have breakfast next door (I wonder now if Joe was in the kitchen), and then play the day away. You are THEEE BEST for sharing. Now my soul has had a sweet vacation and I can go scrub the floor! xoxox SWAK

  96. Lucy says:

    You are so beautiful – inside and out. Today your post leaves me teary and happy!
    I’m so glad you found MV and MV found you!
    XO Lucy

  97. mari says:

    just beautiful, Susan – I can smell the salt air, see the stars, feel the sand between my toes…from my desk in Virginia. I miss my visits to MV – in all seasons – I wear my silver link bracelet from C.B. Stark with the MV charm all the time. Susan, you have such a creative way with your memories, photos, and words. This is one of the most favorite posts that I will keep in my special Susan Branch folder 🙂 Have a wonderful week!!! big hugs to you ♥♥♥

  98. Pam says:

    Lovely, you are blessed living somewhere like that 🙂 By the way summer has arrived here at long last, we have had sun for two days!!!!!

  99. Pat Beckman says:

    My license plate says “grmapat” and has been the neatest thing ..everyone gets it right away.driving down the high way people wil look over and give me a thumbs up and on and on with more stories.
    We have reservations for MV in Sept, I have wanted to visit there for years.cant wait to see your house in person…maybe you’ll be hanging sheets out and we’ll wave. We’re staying in Vineyard Haven too.I promise I won’t make a scene.
    Really looking forward to the trip
    Thanks for all you do, wish I could have won the Peter Rabbit book, it was my birthday and every thing last week

    • sbranch says:

      Well happy birthday, and I want you to know, you share your moniker with my mom, who is also Grandma Pat!

  100. Ginny Sargent - New England says:

    How true it all is! I am a New Englander and I am so fortunate to live in a place where I am two hours from the mountains and one hour from the ocean. I know I am child of the sea when come March and I have not been near the ocean, my heart begins to ache and I can imagine the call of the seagulls and the pounding of the waves. The ocean is beautiful all year round. But, I like it best in the spring when the waters are often as clear without the green mossy overgrowth of the sea bed. In Maine the water is almost a blue-green of the Caribean. Oh I can understand why someone would love to call MV their home, because in these parts we are in a tiny bit of heaven. Thanks for sharing Susan, it was a lovely bit of the Islands that you have given us.

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