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. Nancy says:

    Oh, I love this! My husband and I both are celebrating a significant birthday this fall and want to come…..but all depends upon my 98 year-old mother….will keep a positive thought and plan away! Thank you!

  2. Sue Graham says:

    Lovely sentiment. Lovely you.

  3. Kathleen Reynolds says:

    It is always such a joy to see things thru your heart and eyes…<3

  4. Patty says:

    Enjoyed every little reason. Glad you never left, Susan! That way we all get to enjoy it too in some little way 🙂

  5. Oh how I would love to live there, too! As some of your other friends on here mentioned, I got a little teary when I saw your photo at the end. Look at how your life turned around not too long after this photo was made of you on the rocks. Living there was/is one of the best things that ever happened to you. Thank you for taking us along on today’s journey. ♥

  6. Kate G. says:

    How lovely it all is!
    Thank you for sharing and writing in your posts such great descriptions. ( Do you need someone to clean and work around the place for you?) JK…
    Don’t ever quit your blog! People like me need it and I don’t know how we got along without it before…take care

  7. Barb from Ohio says:

    What a wonderful tribute to that island you call home. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to visit there but almost feel like I have because of your pictures and descriptions. You are so blessed to be living in such a beautiful place!

    • Georgie says:

      Barb… I’ve never been to MV either and am so glad for Susan’s pictures and stories. If I ever do get to go and visit, I definitely will feel as though I am coming home! Don’t you also think MV is blessed that Susan and Joe are living there 😉 to share all the beauty with… us!!!


  8. Lisa from CT says:

    Thank you for taking me on a mini-mental health vacation again!! Your post jostled my memories from back when I was 16 or so. I remember riding a tandem bicycle with my brother on a perfect Indian summer’s day in October. Sweet memory!

    P.S. I loved your picture at the end. I do hope that someday you will write an autobiography or include a bit of an autobiography in your English Diary.

  9. Lynn Cooper says:

    Wonderful picture of you, Susan, sitting on the rock. I owned a house on Nantucket for nine years and know the lure of island life. We sold it to a good friend, and have been back since but I have yet to visit the Vineyard. Seeing your pictures and reading about life there lets me know that I need to come and see your island one day when the summer crowds pull out after Labor Day.
    Lynn Cooper

  10. Dawn says:

    Dear Sue,
    This was so wonderful! I love thinking of you living your peaceful, creative days on the island! It’s such a comforting picture. And that last photo….so so lovely.
    I hope we’ll vacation in Cape Cod again some day, and will visit MV again.
    Hugs to you!

  11. Nina says:

    O Susan This has to be my absolute favorite update! (I know I have said that before and probably will say it again!) “They leave their hearts and come back to find them!” That is sooo true! I left mine 3 years ago and I’m hoping to go back to find it next year when its my 50th birthday!
    That last picture of you as a young woman probably as much scared as you were excited and in love with the island that even you didn’t know at the time what wonderful magical things it had in store for you….or maybe you did and thats why you came. Love it Susan it gave me goosebumps! On a day when Ive heard some very very sad news about a lady I know just two years older than myself passed away so unexpectedly. She was so full of life with a great sense of humor and will be sorely missed. It just shows you have to grab life while you can and run away with it as fast as you can to where it takes you. RIP Lynda xxxx

  12. Gumbo Lily says:

    It’s a good thing to “love where you live.” Love the last photo of you!


  13. Nellie says:

    What a wonderful ambassador you are for MV, Susan.

    We spent three days on MV in October 2010, and I am more than ready to return! Your pictures make me “homesick.”:-)

    xo Nellie

  14. Mary Cunningham says:

    Such a beautiful place to live…lucky you!!!!!!!!!! Barefoot Sparkler

  15. Debbie Young says:

    We were there a few years ago visiting family for the day~not enough time at all~where has the time gone? It was twelve years ago!!! We came in the morning and left at twilight~pure magical was all that we saw. And so lucky to have an islander’s personal tour. One day we will be back for dare I say a much longer stay. As my mother in law would say with special places “…a bit of heaven on earth…”

  16. Jamie on Doty Island, WI says:

    Hi Susan-
    What a darling picture of you! Love all your photos, makes me anxious for my vacation to begin.
    Thank you for sharing…

  17. Loved our visit there and I was just reminded why we enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing, Susan!

  18. Wendy Louise says:

    So sweet Sue just like you ! You certainly know how to make one feel so alive and in love with life, I Thank-you from the bottom of my soul. 🙂 OOXX P.S. I’ll be there in a little while !!! HaHaHa!

  19. Lee Rose says:

    Oh, it has been too many years since I have been there. No where else really compares. You’ve inspired me to save my pennies & get myself back there one day.

  20. Lorna says:

    You are so fortunate to be living in Martha’s Vineyard. I visit the SLO/Arroyo Grande area quite a bit as two grandchildren work and go to school there. I wonder if you have given up on that area. Living in California, this is the next best area to visit.

    • sbranch says:

      No, would never give up on it, I have a house there, and I was born there — and my mom is there!

  21. Debbie S., Illinois says:

    The Vineyard looks so magical, I hope I’m lucky enough to visit someday! Loved your picture at the end, every time I read your posts I feel like I’m learning more and more about a dear friend.

  22. Priscilla Palmer from Naples, Florida says:

    So beautiful! I must make a visit one of these years. Although, I would probably visit off-season, as I am not fond of crowds. I know I’d miss out on all the summertime fanfare but the fall Halloween decorations or the winter Christmas decorations would do for me. xoxo

    Thanks Sue,

  23. Susan Havey says:


    Thank you for the “slowed down” look of MV. I had always thought it was swarming with paparazzi looking for the celebrities there in the summer. Presenting it with your descriptions of how it looks to the “natives” really gives a lovely, small town aspect to those of us who have never been there. What a “piece of heaven” you have given yourself. Enjoy!

    Susan in Spokane, WA

  24. Jack says:

    Getting back to that picture — I think it is you — that was taken before you had your colors done , right ?

  25. Pam G says:

    another place I have never been but hope to visit some day.
    I love your picture Susan.

  26. Susan McEnerney-Brasier says:

    Susan, this is 1 of your nicest blogs, just in it’s simplicty of the joys of summer, but especially the joys of summer on Martha’s Vineyard. the pictures of real life happening, people living real lives, and a quieter pace. this is how i try to live my life, real, and at a slower pace. i want to go on vacation at some point this summer, but for now, this was my minute vacation, thank you………

  27. Marcia in Brazil says:

    Beautiful pictures. Those lobsters look heavenly! (How old were you when you moved to Martha’s Vineyard?)

  28. Lezlee says:

    These things are meant to be . . .. for sure . . .

    By the way, a couple months back, I checked out a library book: ‘Martha’s Vineyard: Houses and Gardens’ and the very home featured (if I remember correctly it was first:) had a kitchen I was drawn to . . then it dawned on me that I had seen this kitchen before . . . nice feature on your and Joe’s home! Just loved the whole book:)

  29. Mary Jane says:

    Susan, you have no idea how much I needed your post today! The beauty and essense of Martha’s Vineyard is so unique so beautiful. Even on the saddest of days, it makes you believe in beauty and puts a smile on your face. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful piece of heaven with us. I have been craving to go back to Mass. along the shoreline and Cape Cod. I have never had such a beautiful vacation. I got to go to Nantucket. Which was lovely. But, I have a feeling that Martha’s Vineyard is even more magical. I hope next year that we can come. I have to add one more thing. Your trip to England was so beautiful I felt like I was there. But, the whole time I kept thinking, I would just like to be where you live lol!
    Thank You for this wonderful blog. Mary Jane

  30. Melissa Leathley says:

    I love this post. I am in love with Martha’s Vineyard because of you. I don’t think I’ll ever get there but I will read your blog and dream of what it’s like. The ocean is my very favorite thing on earth. I have a HUGE collection of seashells from different places so I can remember. Wish I had some from Marth’s Vineyard. Maybe some day!!!
    Thank you for your words and thoughts.

  31. Lezlee says:

    My comment about ‘these things are meant to be’ will make no sense:) because I hit some button or other and erased my reply to you saying you ‘ran away’ from home to New England . . . . . I think this picture looks like you belong to the sea . . .

  32. Sue (from Michigan) says:

    The descriptions and pictures of your beautiful island home are a welcome “escape” for the senses and a healing balm. Nature is such good medicine! I saw my first hummingbird in years last evening and later a gorgeous clear night sky full of stars. This morning, a northern flicker (I think – I had to run to the bird book and look it up! A definite woodpecker of some kind!) perched quietly in an old oak in the front yard. So grateful for life.

  33. Wonderful, warm post today–now I know your heart -(no matter how much we know you love England) is back again. There are so many wonderful places in the world, but noplace like home. Loved reading everything about M.V. today and seeing the photo at the end, back when you had no idea where you would be by 2012.

  34. Love the post. I have a small bottle of sand with a couple small shells in it that sits on my coffee table that came from MV in 02, when a friend went to visit MV and I jokingly said bring me some sand because that’s as close as I’ll probably ever get to it and she did. I cherish that bottle of sand like you do that rose from BPs yard. 🙂 I also LOVE that photo of you at the end. You look like you belong there.

  35. Lorraine says:

    So much fun – I was there years ago. Like so many mentioned, its time to go back – or to other places that call to you. Time flies whether you’re having fun or not. So you might as well have fun! Thanks for another lovely post.

  36. Cyndee Gayle says:

    You’re soooo right about the ferry. The ferry keeps the hectic world at bay. I always take a deep breath and sigh with happiness when I drive off the ferry. I’m home! It’s not MV but Whidbey Island for me. Living on an island…(it’s heart shaped sea glass, limpets, salmon, salty breezes, quiet) it’s magic 🙂 Loved your post as always.

  37. donna marie says:

    I’ve never been to MV but feel like I have through your blog! What a wonderful picture of you! I love your outfit and the look of pure contentment on your face! Thank you for sharing <3 donna marie

  38. Diane S. says:

    On my list of places I hope to visit one day. LOVE the last photo!

  39. Lynn Bontrager says:

    I loved this posting and James Taylor singing as I read it–what a wonderful end to my day. Thankyou!

  40. Carol Maurer says:

    We just got home from a week’s vacation to see the kids and grand kids! I thoroughly enjoyed the sun and heat! Here on the Northern Coast of CA. we don’t have much of either one. I so enjoyed seeing all the pictures of the flowers. Your picket-fenced garden in CA really looks wild! Just like the Victorians planted theirs. I’m so happy that a ‘birthday’ girl won the precious Peter Rabbit book! We have a rose that grows very well here called “Cecil Burner”. It’s an antique rose. I love it as you can dry the buds and they stay. They are small roses and a very pretty pink. Do you have them in southern CA? When we move up to WA, one of these years, haha, I want to try my hand at growing a couple. The smell is very potent and they last.

  41. veronica says:

    ‘Sweet Susan’
    ‘Heart of The Home’
    Home to Martha’s Vineyard
    Home of Bliss….
    Thank you precious soul that you are.
    I’ve come ‘home’

  42. Not too hard to understand why you stayed…..thanks for taking me to MV for a moment.

  43. Rae Ann from northern Michigan... says:

    I’m going to get there…MV…someday…can’t wait…

  44. Georgie says:

    How Wonderful!!! I just know all of those cars had a great visit to MV too… just like their drivers! It’s such fun to read license plates as they whizz by (I read and Joe drives…)

    Since I found your blog almost a year ago, I feel as though I’ve seen your island through all the seasons. And I must say, she wears all of them equally well. It’s so hard to pick a favorite. How could one choose between a rainy day looking out to sea, hearing a fog horn, or seeing leaves swirl about in the fall air while hearing them crunch under your feet as you walk up the hill looking at all the lit pumpkins on the neighbors porches? Of course, Christmas is my favorite celebration and I love looking in decorated storefront windows (and inside too) shopping for just that one special thing 🙂 But Spring is a favorite time too watching snowdrops give way to violets… then honeysuckle.

    I think I would enjoy a visit to Martha’s Vinyard ANY time of the year. Someday I’d like to do just that… pack up our red GEJO van and head north, and maybe even follow a full moon.

    Loved seeing your picture through my tear-filled happy eyes!

  45. Peggy H. says:

    Dear Susan, Loved your pictures of MV! We’re going to be there for a few days in September! Cannot wait! Just came across some wonderful children’s books which we had when my children were little; the art reminds me of your work. LOTS of details in each painting, and LOTS of charming animals. The author’s name is Jill Barklem. The books were the “Brambly Hedge” Series and consist of the “Summer Story”, “Fall Story”, “Winter Story”, and “Spring Story”. She also wrote “The Secret Staircase”, “The High Hills”, and “Sea Story”. Hope you can find them, as I know you’ll love them. Peggy

  46. Anita from California says:

    Lovely, you look so young …. beautiful island full of wonderful memories for my husband and I ….

  47. Barbara Watkins says:

    I loved the sad and inspiring story of Nancy Luce. And after reading your great post telling all about her, I found a wonderful thing. It’s not like a book or print or anything you can hold in your hand, but at you can get for FREE, the kindle edition of “A Complete Edition of the Works of Nancy Luce”. I can’t wait to read every dear word she wrote. Many thanks for all the wonderful things you share with us Susan, I look forward to your blog every day.

  48. carol oliver says:

    wow Susan,
    Thank you for taking me around Marthas Vineyard…again. The 2 times Ihave been to New England, the Ferry just did not work out. First time…on a tour, and no crossing that time, although it was a fabulous trip. The 2nd time, a
    storm, closed Ferry….no way. So disappointed, but I will get there someday.
    and by the way….YOU LOOK SO CUTE IN YOUR ARRIVE ON Marthas Vinyard photo…I loved your outfit, and so you and your life.
    Carol O. in So. Calif.

  49. Joann says:

    That is so adorable….. and what I see is the beauty of all of it through your eyes. I’ve wanted to come there for years and my trip there in 2010 was everything I imagined and more. I want to come back….but for right now, I’ll be thinking of the girl in the sweater with the long skirt with ruffles while I listen to James Taylor LIVE at Red Rocks tomorrow night in Colorado….


    Love from faraway….but so close at heart,

  50. Marcia A. Sherman says:


  51. Sarah says:

    Killing me softly with your words and pictures.
    Sarah Glamping near Mt Shasta with Herefords out my bedroom window.
    Nice, but NOT MV.

  52. tamar time says:

    Really sweet.

  53. Josie A (Valencia, PA) says:

    Hi Susan!
    The first time I think I ever heard of Martha’s Vineyard was when I was in elementary school in San Diego. I was about 10, John Kennedy was president and I think I saw pictures in Life magazine. The pictures spoke to a deep place in my heart. It felt like home. I can remember thinking I just KNEW what it would smell like and what the wind would feel like. Ever since then, when I see a picture, I’ll get that very same feeling. MV spoke to my heart way back then and it still speaks to me now at the age of 60. I have never been. It is on my bucket list, so one of these days…..

    Until then, my heart thanks you for the pictures.

  54. Kate says:

    Any houses for sale? I’m ready to move.

  55. Carolyn (SoCA) says:

    Waaaah…I came so close to visiting Martha’s Vineyard this summer; for sure on our next East Coast vacation. Thank you for taking me there via your blog!
    I love “watery” destinations. The ferry reminds me of the lovely times we have traveled to the San Juan Islands off of British Columbia and WA. Delightful!

  56. Karen Z - Victoria, Australia says:

    Hi Sue, love today’s post! Especially the grave marked with all the chickens, or as we would say “all the chooks”. We have a rooster and several “girls”. Just love them!

  57. Pat C. says:

    I’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, Susan, but hope to visit it, maybe sometime in the fall.
    But the Martha’s Vineyard tourist office could not have done a better job than you did of promoting the beauties of your island. It looks awesome!
    Thank you.

  58. I am SOLD. When’s the next ferry? :-))))

  59. TJ says:

    Hi Susan,

    Don’t forget the cozy “Black Dog” sweatshirts and T-shirts that are another MV signature. Those shirts are wonderful conversation starters for those who love MV. When I see them off island…always makes me wish I were there!

  60. Karen C says:



    Thank you for the wonderful pics today, esp for the last one. Do you still consider yourself a California girl or a MV girl?

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I’m both. How can I say I’m not a California girl, and How could I ever say I’m not a Vineyard person? Falling in love with two places, 3000 miles apart, is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done! But there was no choice!

      • Karen C says:

        I would say that it was rather intelligent! You didn’t split your love between the two places, you just grew a bigger heart that could love both places. And look at you now. SO very glad that all of us girlfriends got to meet that Cali-Vineyard woman through this blog and the internet. Have a great Hump day. 😉 Hugs

  61. CindyK (from Minnesota!) says:

    Oh Susan, this was just lovely. Just about made me cry. It was so perfect, and special, and a post I will read again tomorrow……much slower…..with a cup of tea…and dream of coming to MV ………..someday. Thank You!

  62. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Your blog is like a time machine for me, but then it’s precious that such community traditions still go on, such a balm to my soul. I am so glad that nowadays your smile goes to your eyes…eyes full of joy and life— to me, your eyes in that last photo are haunting. So glad to be a tiny part of your life! Thanks again for taking time to create your blogs…aahhh.

  63. Lorna schreck says:

    Your words and pictures are a delightful gift for those of us longing for a shore but surrounded by land, lots of land. My hope, no goal, is to spend a fall on the east coast taking watercolour classes, wallowing in natures’ colors and getting drunk on the sea air. And, of course, visiting the home of that great artist and author, Susan Branch. Oh, go on, you know her, she’s the one who married a Joe and want to England twice…and took me with her in 2012.

    Susan, thanks for being the best me I would want to be and sharing so openly, artistically, and authentically. You put smiles on faces, put joy in hearts and do it effortlessly.

  64. Karen P. - Green Bay, WI says:

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful place. I can see why you love living there so much! Hope to visit one day!

  65. M J Smith says:

    Very nice post! Island like looks so inviting. Did you know anyone on the island when you first arrived? If not, why did you pick that particular place to move? Would love to hear that story someday.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m going to write that story someday!

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        Oh my gosh, I just asked that very question out loud…and then pow…MJ asked it in “ink”! Hahaha I just love hangin’ out here with all of these like minded ladies! So much fun!!!

  66. Leslie Gammelgaard says:

    Your MV post was lump-in-the-throat good.

  67. Bonnie Crawford says:

    LOVED your post today Sue…..! I see why you love MV so much!~~ It is easy to fall in love with everything about it, and never want to leave….. What an amazing place to live!! xo

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Bonnie! So nice to hear from you . . . glad you liked it, yes it’s definitely the little things in life!

  68. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    I can almost smell the salt air! I’ve never been to the Vineyard, but my aunt and uncle lived in Centerville on the mainland and I love Cape Cod. My husband’s never been to New England and I would love to live by the ocean…my favorite place on will have to persuade him to visit! Thank you for sharing…and for the idea that no matter what’s taken place in your life, there is always hope and the possibility of change. 🙂

  69. kathy says:

    Hi Susan,
    We are coming to MV!!! Our first visit!!!! So looking forward to it especially with this wonderful post you did. What car ferry takes 45 minutes and from what point on the Cape does it depart? Any information you can share with me would be great. I can’t wait. We should be there in August. It will be a day/night (not overnight) visit .
    What should I not dare miss? Wishing to see you too!

    • sbranch says:

      Go to the top of the blog Kathy, there’s lots of information in I LOVE MARTHA’S VINEYARD. You depart from Wood’s Hole . . . just Google “Steamship Authority Woods Hole MA.” Vineyard Haven is about a block from where the boat comes in–a sweet little town to wander in and have lunch, once you are on Main street, which is one way, follow up the street with the traffic, about 3 blocks, turn right to go down to the water. Depending on what you want to do.

      • Kathy says:

        Thank you so much for writing back. I will take all your suggestions. I love the ocean. Every where we have traveled if we are close…it draws me. I feel this pull, this feeling of reaching out, the air, the breezes, the call of the Ocean, it feels so good, like a call home.
        Love flowers, animals, plants, I guess you could say I am a nature lover. An artist since I was 4. Travel with my Husband who is also an artist, paints, sketchbook in hand and love to paint and draw on location. I LOVE following your writings and photos and especially your lovely artwork. We are traveling this trip with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and look forward to being on your lovely island.
        Thank you again for replying. And again if there is more I should know before we come Please feel free to write again.
        Wishing you summer breezes,

  70. Juliana - Jackson, NJ says:

    I first learned about MV when my brother spent the summer there doing summer stock back in 1974; he called us very excited because there were people from Hollywood shooting a movie about a giant shark. My sisters went to visit him and brought me back a tee shirt with a map of the island. I have wanted to go there ever since, and that was looong before I even knew how beautiful it was! I have yet to visit, but maybe this will be the year, I hope so! I loved everything about this post – the beach always makes me feel better – so glad it helped you too, Susan!

  71. Pat Mofjeld says:

    You DO look younger than 33 in that photo–though, you still look young! 🙂 (Ha! not that you are “old”–I especially say that because you are not that much older than me…) 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I think 33, from my perch here, is very young! 🙂

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Me, too…though I will say–and maybe I am showing my age just saying this–that I keep noticing that a LOT of people look very young to me now. Clerks, nurses, waitresses, etc.–the young men and women look like junior high age and I KNOW they are older than that! LOL! 🙂

        • Marianne in Hidden Meadow, SoCal says:

          Pat — I know the feeling….at age 57, even my doctors are starting to look like they just graduated med school! I find myself checking their credentials framed and hung on the exam room walls…

  72. Sandy from Ca. says:

    What a wonderful post I feel like I now have been to MV thru you. Love your picture at the end you look so very young . You make each post so enjoyable that I feel like I too have been there. The beaches look so different from the ones here in Ca. Thank you for the tour and enjoy the rest of your summer:) So happy the “Birthday Girl” won the lovely BP book a very sweet gift for her<3 Sandy

  73. Cindy Maulin says:

    hi susan!!! LOVE THIS!!! especially the stars..(which I cannot believe that gorgeous shot btw)…and you by the sea..that is precious!!! what a great place to live and visit…one of these days!!!…have tried to post over the last several days but connections have been sketchy… been to Frontier Days in Cheyenne, then Estes Jackson Hole…it’s 65 degrees out!!!! Yellowstone by the end of the week…so incredibly beautiful!!! So happy for perfect was that!?!?! birthday girl and all…very cool…. : ) don’t forget girlfriends..cheer for TEAM USA as they compete in London at the Olympics… very fun that they are in England as we all have just recently had the most wonderful tour of the place via Branch Expeditions!!! thanks again susan…still warm and fuzzy from that… cheer loud everyone!!! love, cindy

  74. Tami says:

    Ohhhh Susan!
    Such lovely images! Paired with your words make me homesick for a place I’ve never been. It’s on the top of my “bucket list” though.:o)When you say it’s your “heart magnet”,I totally understand! I feel drawn to it and to Ireland. Have never been to either one, but can’t remember not wanting to go, even when I was a kid. The other place I feel inexplicably “at home” is up near Pismo. Thank you so much for the virtual tour!! The photo of you at the end is so poignant. Got a bit choked up for reasons I can’t explain. Makes me sorry for all you endured on one hand, but on the other, those experiences made you who you are and I very much like and admire that person!! Thanks for being your wonderful self! <3

  75. Now, I want to come to see for myself!

  76. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    What a beautiful place to live! I can understand how you could be creative living there. What a great picture. I bet when you moved there you were full of hopes and dreams. Did you buy your house when you moved there?
    You will always be a California girl at heart, like me!!
    I am still living in the valley (Woodland Hills), but dream of other places.

    • sbranch says:

      I lived in Woodland Hills for years! Yes, I bought my first little house, only one bedroom, within a month of coming to the island.

  77. Karen says:

    What a lovely post! All the reasons why I feel like I’ve come “home” when we visit the island.

  78. Marie says:

    I just adore that last picture of you Susan! So young . . . weren’t we all!! I loved this post. Loved all of the glimpses and insights you have shared about the Island. This is a place I have always longes to go . . . perhaps one day I shall actually make it there! One can but dream . . . and as we all know, dreams have a way of coming true! xxoo

  79. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Hey, Island Girl! You still look the same but so much has happened in your life since then,yes? Is it the seclusion of island life, being in the ocean, East coast living!
    I miss being close to the ocean, it really does call to me. I feel it pulling me back if I’ve missed a summer there. ( born in NJ..summers in Maine.. now landlocked in Indiana!)
    Oh, to smell the Ocean and stick me feet in the sand…………

  80. Jane Grayson says:

    I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
    ~L.M. Montogomery

    Love Jane, Manchester, England

  81. judi says:

    Warm, inviting and very touching. Hugs!

  82. Penny Hoopes says:

    wow! that was wonderful:) i got sucked in & loved it. Thanks!

  83. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    Down here on the water where I live, you see “Salt Life” bumper type stickers on the backs of car, truck and SUV windows and I smile every time I see it as it reminds me that we on the coast do have a different view on life! I went away for a long time and was so glad that my hubby wanted to return here after retiring from the Army. You were a modeling fashion statement! Bet you weren’t trying to be but that is how we are sometimes isn’t it? LOL! And I hear that song alot down here too and older music that is Motown in other parts of the country but we call it “beach music.” And we do the “shag” down here! LOL!! Perspective is a good word for today isn’t it? Smiles!!

  84. Jackie P says:

    I know what you mean about the Vineyard. It is one of my favorite places. From making ferry reservations, boarding the boat, turning the corner and seeing West Chop, looking for familiar roof tops, landing in Vineyard Haven with family waiting– waving– with dog on leash! Then the real magic sets in. Every season has it’s beauty there. Feel so lucky to know the island and feel it’s special pull. Thanks for this blog. Tugs at my heart strings!

  85. Darlene B says:

    Susan, just want you to know that what you share is a gift that I feel so lucky to have recieved <3

  86. Trish K says:

    In your books you have mentioned your move to MV, and I’ve always admired how you picked up and moved so far from home. I remember wanting to move to Washington state so badly in my twenties. I don’t really know why I wanted that place, I started looking for a job and learning about housing etc. I wanted big change and wanted to start over someplace new, but in the end, I never went. Later aft, rI married, I found out my husband had lived in Washington at the time! I didnt know him then. Weird huh?

    • sbranch says:

      Like a plan…if you won’t go to him, he’s coming to you!

      • Trish K says:

        I’m so lucky to have met him, though God gave us a few chances I must say. Anyway, my phone died and wouldn’t let me edit my comment. I just wanted to say that I admire your adventurous spirit. I’m sure that it took courage!

        • sbranch says:

          Lack of actual consciousness prevented true courage! Can’t take too much credit!

          • Perhaps, but the fact that you responded to the “call within” says a lot!

          • sbranch says:

            Oh yes, I really did have no choice about that. It was the staying part that was the hardest, one thing to come here, but not having friends was really hard — I had a little voice that told me I was in the right place. Wouldn’t let me go home.

  87. Jeannine Holmes, SC says:

    The world needs more of your thoughts, dear Susan. How beautiful this particular blog . . . especially the starry sky (and, of course, the sweetest photo ending, even Andrew Wyath would have loved)! As you have visited Beatrix Potter’s home in England, in some remote year far in the future, I can only imagine the home of Susan and Joe there in the vineyard with swarms of onlookers, dreaming of thoughts you have left them with.
    Heartfelt thanks for sharing all that you do . . .

  88. Joan Lesmeister says:

    I am allured! Very charming blog & I love the picture of you darling Susan (& your cute clothes) at the close! Thank you! xoxo

  89. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan I want to come to MV so bad…and thanks to you I can enjoy every little thing there is to see and do on your island….smile….

    Love, love, love the picture of you…. I could see that on the back of one of your books!! smile….


  90. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Morning Sweet Sue…Our Company is Still Here…They are having So Much Fun…Today…Herbster & His Nephew Rocky…Have…”Gone~Fishing” 🙂 It’s Balmy & Gray…But I Packed Them a Yummy Lunch (Fried~Chicken) & “Cold~Beer” Herbster Got “”Live Shiners for Bait…They are Goin’ for a Few Large~Mouth Bass! 😉 & I am Taking a Break…Checking in…”Online”…Your Blog Twitter & Facebook…Then Later Steaks on The Grill & allThe Fixin’s! I Love Summertime! Yay! :-)….& As for This Wonderful Blog…You have Described Your Island Perfectly!…I Actually Dream of Coming to Martha’s Vineyard…& Staying…for Awhile….I Can Imagine All of Us Meeting….On Your Island…Like a Huge “Kindred~Spirits” Reunion/Meeting….Tea~Parties & Laughter & Always Pure Joy!…It Could Happen! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh It’s Good to Have Dreams! Well Wishing You a Dazzling Day! Pixie~Dust Everywhere! xoxo Poof! 😉 ✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫

    • sbranch says:

      From one beach to another, have a wonderful day Angie, hope they have good luck with the fish!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        Thank You Sweet Sue…Herbster’s a Pretty Lucky Fisherman! Let’s Twirl Shall We? 😉 xoxo Poof!✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨`*.✫

  91. If MV needs a PR Campaign you have just given it to them!! Such a magical island full of history and beauty I would love to visit someday. I have read about sea glass and heart shaped rocks for over a year now and I just have got to get me some of that…have you ever seen a place where it can be purchased? I have always loved rocks and have them all around my flowers, my M-I-L had big geods and they were her fathers so they are old and are now in my front yard. I would never break them open to see the beautiful crystals although it is very tempting. We have the gold rocks and some white with a black vein I truly love having them. Please let me know (girls too) if there is a site out there where beach glass/heart shaped rock can be bought I would actually love to stroll the beaches and find them that has got to be neat. Can you find it on ALL beaches or just in certain regions?? Thanks for the lovely blog and I think any of us over the age of 50 have a pic just like yours in a drawer someplace?

    • sbranch says:

      Noooo, it doesn’t count unless you find it on the beach yourself! No buying! Save it for your next coastal trip!

      • I agree….will put that on my to do list. I read up on beach glass and red is a very rare color do you have any?? It also said the East Coast is very blessed with it I didn’t see where FL beaches had any.

        • sbranch says:

          Red eludes me. Yes, I have one piece, but someone gave it to me, which was sweet and I treasure it, but we all know, it really doesn’t count. We went and bought a bottle of RedRum because the bottle is red, broke it up and threw it in the ocean and STILL, it never came back to me. My girlfriend not only has red, she has a red heart!!! Now that was a find! The hunt is so much fun, I hope it’s a long long time until I find one.

          • Such a fun hobby…ENVIOUS….just living by water is a treat and the Oceans hold so many treasures…now, when GOLD starts coming in with the tides get your Peter Rabbit Room ready cause I’m coming for a visit for sure!!! ha

    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      Hi! I wanted You and Susan to be the first to know how GLAD today is!!!
      I just got home and went out to water and say “hi” to “Deborah & Susan”
      and there you both WERE! TWO blooming stalks side by side & you both are lovely and ruffly, and I couldn’t be prouder of my first-ever-in-my-life glads! The bulbs were multi colored so I have no idea what colors may be out there….but, both of these sweet blooms were the same color…
      purple…just like Deborah’s name! You and Susan are the only bloomers so far by the picket fence. I also planted a few more by the house and by the stump of our lost oak tree to cheer him up…..well, I don’t see any glads coming up by the tree stump…..but, I do see a four foot tall cornstalk!!!! …….theeeee TRUTH…..LOL!!!
      I know, I know, I have been calling my glads corn ….but this is
      REAL honest-to-goodness corn-on-the-cob corn!!!
      So, now I’m wondering; back in the suitcase I joked about a charlie-horse
      and then I got a charlie-horse, and I joked about my glads looking like “corn” and now and I have corn…..well, there is something in my yard I’ve been calling the beanstalk…yep, like Jack and the Beanstalk….about six feet tall and still growing onward and upward…thought it was kinda cool….but now…..I’m wondering….should I be nervous???

      • sbranch says:

        Will be fun to see where it goes!!

      • Hello Dawn, been awhile since we chatted and HOORAY that your “corn” finally got a beautiful purple bloom thus making it a GLADIOLUS!!!! I’m noticing them while out on our bike rides popping up everywhere so I knew it was a matter of time before yours and Susan’s were in bloom. I have to say from now on everytime I see a Glad I will always think of you!!! Be well and happy!!!

        • Dawn from Minnesota says:

          You are so sweet, “be well and happy” too!!! I just
          noticed some new buds ready to PoP…wonder if they
          will be my happy color…..yellow!!

          • I’m sure there will be yellow, pinks, oranges, reds you will be surprised now every time you go out to see them. I think of all the summer flowers the Glads give you the most bang for your buck because they have so many blooms and just last so long. Enjoy your GLADS!!!

  92. Diane says:

    I love the picture of you at the end of this post and I love the story of Nancy Luce. Let me tell you a quick story of my mother’s pet chicken:

    Mom grew up in the hills of Wilkes County where her family grew everything they ate except bananas and coffee. So of course there were lots of chickens. Mom had a pet chicken who was smaller than the rest and was picked on…err maybe I should say “pecked on” by the rest of the flock. The poor little thing hardly ever had any feathers and would even bleed sometimes. That upset my mother to no end, and any animal that was bullied would receive special care from Mom. Mom begged her mother to make the little hen something to protect it from all the pecking. Grandma finally gave in and took scraps from a pair of Grandpa’s old overalls (they were always called Wilkes County tuxedos around here) and made Mom’s chicken a little pair of stiff overalls. Needless to say, it was a hard matter to get these overalls on the little hen, but according to Mom, the hen allowed herself to be dressed in them, since she was used to Mom’s petting her. Mom set the hen down in the yard and immediately all the other chickens came running to check out what was going on. It scared Mom’s little hen so much she took off stiffly running and rolled down the hill. Mom cried and took off the little overalls that Grandma had so painstakingly made. She was afraid the other chickens were going to kill her. I wish I could say there was a happy ending to this story, but Mom always told me that the other chickens continued to pick on the little hen, but it did survive nonetheless for a very long time. I guess there is truth to the old adage that you can’t change the pecking order.

    Many times your posts remind me of stories of my mother’s growing up in the country. You don’t know anything about pigs or bulls, do you? I have a couple of doozies to tell you about Mom’s experiences with pigs and bulls.

    Anyhow, thanks for listening to my story and thanks for all your wonderful, wonderful stories and for sharing your life with us.

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

    • sbranch says:

      I hate to laugh, because I did feel sorry for the little thing, but when you said it “rolled down the hill” I couldn’t help the picture of that in my mind!

      • Diane says:

        I know, I laugh too.

        • sbranch says:

          Good, because it’s funny, I just laughed again!

          • Joan Lesmeister says:

            I can see you painting a hen in denim overalls…..such a funny story!

          • sbranch says:

            Poor little rolly polly!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            Me, too–just picturing in my mind a chicken wearing denim overalls…If there was a way to post a photo here, I’d post a picture of one of our schnauzers I took sitting with a little calico ruffled dress on and little wire-rim teddy bear glasses on her nose. If you can imagine that with the eyebrows and beard of a schnauzer face! We are terrible–love taking photos of them dressed in little-kid clothes. They give us very reproachful looks if we laugh at them, so we can’t laugh but then but oh, when we get the photos developed, then we can laugh!!! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Must be hilarious!

  93. Juliene Bramer says:

    How beautifully written Susan. MV is on my bucket list. Have a Wonderful Day!

  94. Linda Petersen says:

    Lovely post~~~lovely picture~~~made me teary eyed too!

    XO, Linda

  95. Sharon from Alberta, Canada says:

    A little taste of Heaven!

  96. Sherry Winchester says:

    Wonderful post! I know exactly what you mean…I live along Lake Michigan, spent years trying to get here, and I could never leave her….except perhaps momentarily to visit Mackinac Island, 5 1/2 hours north of here…Mackinac isn’t a place; it’s a feeling in your heart, and I believe you feel about your beloved Martha’s Vineyard in the same way….Really enjoyed your entry today! It hit a direct home run!…and James wasn’t bad, either……:^)

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Sherry, nice to see you here . . . glad you enjoyed it — Ever since I saw Somewhere in Time I’ve been trying to get to Mackinac island . . . and I’m still lucky to have it as an “anticipation” for the future!

  97. Debbie R from Valencia, CA says:

    sure wish we could all be like “Bewitched”,,,,wiggle our noses and pouf ourselves there. MV is on my bucket list for sure. Thanks for bringing it closer.

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t begin to tell you how often I have wished this same thing . . . when younger I stood in bathroom and tried to make my nose wiggle like that! Didn’t work!!

  98. Kerrie Foley says:

    Dear Susan, I have never commented on your blog before but it is one of the favorite places to go for me. I have been a fan of yours for many many years and I have most of your books. I am transported away many times as I read and re-read all of them quite often. I dearly loved the trip we all took to England and so appreciate all your hard work keeping us informed. I am at a crossroad in my life right now, and as luck would have it I have been, and I am still receiving gifts that seem to drop right down into my lap from Spirit. I have always wanted to live in a little town by the sea and now, after being divorced for 23 years and raising 3 practically perfect (if I do say so myself) children it is time for me. I was very blessed to move to a little town here in RI called Wickford. I’ve seen you post about it so I think you know of it. I live in a house built in 1796 with the original doors and locks and floors (with the square headed nails) and albeit the windows need a lot of help, they too are original 12 over 12. My apartment is perfect for me and I’m almost ready to paint again and hopefully be able to sell some things here in town. The point of this very long post is that through all my hardships as a single parent YOU have been SUCH an inspiration to me. I absolutely ADORE your blog and wish you had more time to write in it but I know how busy you are. I am taking this move to Wickford as a sign that it’s time to be more passionate about my artwork and step out into my little town and show others what I love. Thank you for inspiring me every single time I read your blog and also through reading your books and calendars and keeping your on line store. Thank you for all your wonderful talents and know that I just might be your biggest “silent” fan.

    • sbranch says:

      I am so happy to hear from you, and excited for you for your new life! Congratulations Kerrie!! The apartment sounds wonderful, the windows are my favorite kind! I only have 6 over 6 here, so those must be gorgeous! Sending you lots of light and love, have fun!

  99. Elaine says:

    What a dear “love letter” to your island home- MV has been added to my list now for sure!

  100. April O'Toole says:

    What a Beautiful picture of you Susan….I can see the dreaming in your eyes!

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