I’m just in the mood for seashells this morning.  I have them everywhere in my house so I thought I would write about them.  Come with me, to the sea . . .  Musica (must click today!)

Sea shells are one of nature’s wonders . . . bleached white, scrubbed by salt and sand, or hot pink, or translucent yellow, or baby pink, they are wonderful to look for, find, collect and display ~

Way out there is where Joe and I go clamming, when the tide is low, because what’s inside these seashells is a wonder of nature too!  We stand in salt water to our knees, we dig around with clam forks and bring a bucket of fresh clams home to steam up for dinner.

Here’s where we walk, next to the water, listening to the waves and the gulls, we scan the water’s edge for shells, sea glass, any beautiful thing that comes our way.  It’s how we “busy” ourselves so we don’t hurry home too soon.  I’m sure, even if you don’t live near the ocean, you have been there and know what I’m talking about. 

They are so beautiful it is tempting to bring them all home.

There are so many things to do with them: display them on windowsills, fill glass lamp bases, spread them in baskets, scatter them on the picnic table, line them up on bookshelves . . .

You can use the bigger ones as serving bowls for summer dinner parties . . .

Our porch fountain is much prettier and even seems to gurgle better with a few shells in the water . . .

The perfect place to display tiny shells is in a glass hurricane lamp with  beach sand in the bottom.  And it won’t blow out on breezy summer nights and it brings memories of carefree beach days to the table .

Or just pile them in wild disarray, colors shapes and sizes mixed together in all their natural glory . . . like little miracles, every single one of them.

A small saucer of shells on the porch is a nice way to greet visitors in the summer…

You can make little flower arrangements for your table.

And even write on them . . . with a special memory of a day at the sea or a quote, or . . .

. . . you can do what my girlfriend Siobhan did and dip the edges in glitter and send a dated Christmas message to your friends and family.  This is one of my all time favorite ornaments, it’s got my two favorite things: nature, and people I love.  Perhaps you’d like to make these yourself, but you have no access to clam shells.  I can fix that, I’ll bring the ocean to you!

And if you call Louie, you might need some delicious clam recipes!  This I can do for you too!  These two recipes are from my first book, HEART of the HOME.

You might look at that recipe and say, YUM, but “I can’t open clams.”  If so, but you’re feeling adventurous, you can learn, here’s a video by an expert clam shucker.  But if not, then I need to give you a couple of recipes where the clams open themselves.  You can make this . . . my dad’s favorite, and probably mine too! We love it with garlic bread!

Or make Steamers, from my AUTUMN book,  just wonderful!

If seafood has always “tasted fishy” to you, please try again, life is short, you can’t go through the whole thing believing that seafood doesn’t taste good . . . a hundred million people can’t be wrong.  You know it’s good for you, and I promise, fresh seafood never ever ever tastes fishy.  That’s the hallmark of fresh fish.  And if you don’t need the shells, but still want to try something wonderful . . . choose another of my favorites: fresh Codfish ~ it’s sweet, mild, and delicious, with lemon juice or tartar sauce . . . I promise, you are in for a treat.   And if you already love seafood, but you’re too far inland to find it very fresh, let me remind you . . .  lobster dinners and ice cold oysters on the half shell!  You can get them too. And have a taste of the sea no matter where you are.

 Or, just make cucumber sandwiches and dream a summer day at the beach with your book and your best friend.

Happy Day Girlfriends, xoxo, your pal for life, Susan

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492 Responses to SEASHELLS . . .

  1. maryb says:

    sorry sue! i’m one of those non-fish eaters!! but i love the ocean and shells and seagulls! i have at least 6 mason jars with sand and shells and beach glass from “other places”. since i live in the middle of farm country in illinois i don’t get much beach time! but we have our own “waves” of wheat before the harvest, of corn fields with lightning bugs hovering over, and our blue jays are just as noisy as a seagull! but tomorow is my birthday and if i had a wish it would be to be on a beach hearing the waves mb

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Birthday Mary! I love the waves of wheat and the sounds of blue jays, it’s beautiful no matter where we are . . .

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        “No matter where we are…” So true. A while back I somehow got in the habit of driving around on Sunday afternoons to look at all the farms in our area and now 20 years later, I’m still doing and loving it. Every bit as beautiful as the oceans and beaches, the mountains, the skyscraper cities. The vast rolling fields, the orchards where you can actually smell “apple” as you drive past in the Fall, the lovingly-cared for family farms. Major sigh. I just KNOW I had to have been a farmer’s wife [or who knows, maybe a farmer?] in one of my past lives… :>)

        • sbranch says:

          I love the barns too — we’re about to drive across country, and I can’t wait!

          • Linda says:

            My friend and I went to visit Carnation Dairy Farm in Washington and when we got there she rolled down the window and simultaneously we were Awwwww and Phew!!! One of us was definitely a city girl!!! HA!!! We laughed so hard!!!

          • sbranch says:

            My mom spent her summers on a farm, she thought Awwww, I thought Phew when I was growing up, more awwwwish now.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            So lucky… you’re going to see the real heart of this country. Hmmm… sounds a little like a book title to me… :>)

          • sbranch says:

            SO looking forward to it. Will blog it when I can, and Twitter it too.

          • sondra fox says:

            I wish I’d have made one of my hobbies a collection of barns. We’ve seen so many interesting ones over the years. Just think of what an interesting hobby that would be?
            (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

          • sbranch says:

            Gorgeous barns out there. Someday I’ll put my pictures up so you can see the ones we’ve collected!

          • sondra fox says:

            Oops, I didn’t mean a collection of “barns,” I meant to type a collection of “pictures of barns.”
            (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Penblwydd Hapus
      Happy Birthday for tomorrow Mary! Have a lovely day xo

    • Jeanette says:

      Happy Birthday, Mary!!
      Enjoy your special day, may all your wishes come true!!
      Where in IL are you? I’m in central IL!
      I too love all the fireflies! They’re spectacular this summer..

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        Linda you talk about country and city girls I can tell you a story my mom told me about when my grandpa proposed to my grandma. it was in spring and he was near the orange groves somewhere close to Los Angeles at the time ( way back in the early 1900’s) and he could smell the orange blossoms and thought that would be a perfect place to propose to his girl, Marie my grandma. well he hurried back to town, went over to her house and asked her to go for a drive with him, and they drove right back to the orange grove. then grandpa told grandma to take a deep breath and smell the air, and she did……PHEWWY!!! while he was hurrying back to town the farmer had put fertilizer down around the trees and it smelled something awful. poor grandpa, he still proposed and she said yes, and every spring they went back to the orange grove to smell the orange blossoms…before they got fertilizer on them.. LOL!!!!

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Great story. Pat, you have GOT to put that down somewhere. For posterity. For your grandchildren and your grandchildren’s grandchildren…

          Reminds me of a [non-fiction] book recommendation – “Posterity: Parents’ Letters to Their Children [edited by historian David McCullough’s daughter Dorie McCullough Lawson]. Thomas Jefferson, Woody Guthrie, Oscar Hammerstein, George Patton to name a few. PS – a talented family the McCulloughs. I’m sure you’ve heard of David Sr, the historian to beat all historians [IMHO]. But did you know David Jr was the Wellesley MA HS English teacher whose commencement speech “You’re NOT Special…” went viral last year. Highly recommend this too:

  2. Rae Ann R. from western Minnesota...soon to be back in Michigan... says:

    Good Morning Susan~Can I really be the very first commenter???…I was thinking about you this morning…wondering what you’ve been up to…clicked on your blog and there it was…a new entry from YOU…love fish, clams, shrimp…haven’t cooked anything but fish at home, but always order something from the sea in restaurants…YUM…well, our forever house is almost finished!!!…painters and trim carpenters are working on the “punch list”…little things that need a bit of a touch up here and there…LOVELOVELOVE it…wish you would do a book signing at the Grand Hotel and then you and Joe could come stay with us…there is an open invitation to you…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I am so happy for you Rae Ann! What an accomplishment, and now, nothing has to be fixed, everything is new! Congratulations and thank you for the invitation!

  3. Patty in Redlands says:

    Oooh Susan, how wonderful to be a part of Martha’s Vineyard with you this morning! What beautiful sounds and pictures and recipes! I could smell the salty air and a bit of that Coppertone beachy scent too. Thank you for the trip to the Atlantic and to your seashell adorned summery home!

  4. Barb in MI says:

    Hi Susan, How wonderful to live near the ocean’s bounty! I love shells, too, and look for them and sea glass along the shores of Lake Michigan. I don’t find as many as by the sea, but it’s still fun. If you ever come this way, be sure to have some fresh Lake Superior Whitefish. It’s often serve planked and surrounded by mashed potatoes. Yum! When I get out east, I always have to have lobster rolls. What a treat!

  5. Peggy in TN says:

    There’s nothing like yummy fresh fish! We used to get Halibut all the time in the grocery store when we lived out west. We would grill it and brush it with butter, garlic and lemon while it was cooking. Soooo good! Now I want to go to the ocean….

  6. Angie(Tink!) says:

    ✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨♥*¨`*.✫ Good Morning Sweet Summer Sue! Love The Musica Today The Ocean & The Seagulls Music to Me Ears! Wings all a Flutter 😉 I’ve Been Missing You In Twitterville… & I saw Your Tweet about Your Summer “Willard” Yay! Just wanted to Touch Base & Send You Lots of Summer Pixie~Dust Mixed with Tiny Seashells & a Little Florida Sand to Blend in with Your Magical Island Sand…. Summer Love & Kitty~Kisses too! Have a Scrumptious Weekend! xoxo Poof! 🙂 ✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨♥*¨`*.✫

    • sbranch says:

      I’m back … had to write a new Willard, and because I haven’t sent one in so long, it took me forever! I could not shut up! Happy to see you here Angie! Have a twinkly day!

      • Angie(Tink!) says:

        ✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨♥*¨`*.✫ I Love You Sweet Sue! 🙂 Time to Twirl into This “Twinkly~Day” Yay! xoxo Poof! ✫*¨♥*¨`*.✫*¨*.¸¸.♥*¨♥*¨`*.✫ 🙂

      • Judy says:

        Can’t wait to read Willard!!!!

  7. She Sells Sea Shells on the Sea~Shore ~~~

    yay, been dippin’ in and out today as I felt there would be something new to read, and what a treat, oh! and if anyone has *not* played the Musica then go do it Now!!! Perfect accompaniament to this spe~shell blog . . ooops 😉

    Why, just this very morning, I read this (from The Cottage Journal e~newsletter) by Rachel Carson ~~~
    “In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth”

    Sand is made from seashells, so every seashell holds the story of the earth too! Seashells are special gifts . .

    Have boxes and boxes of shells from all over the Eastern Seaboard, Iceland, and, of course, the UK! Love, Love, L♥ve sea shells (and pine cones too, have those, and feathers a~plenty) The Nature Table displays, with lots of suitable Yankee votives and tealights scattered amongst them in pretty holders . .

    ooooh! the sound of the gulls in the music is bringing the resident Herring Gulls on to my lawn . . they don’t know what to make of it!

    I once designed a Christmas Tree for the National Trust “Captain’s House” in the Village, theme: “Catch the Spirit of the Sea~son” with all sorts of seashell ornaments I made myself, seashell garlands, and such. It was so pretty and very unusual too. Everyone loved it.

    Fresh, local, line~caught Sea Bass was on the menu last night, and sweet cure smoked mackerel tonight . . Daddy was a fisherman, and I love fish fresh from the ocean deep . .

    The sun is shining brightly on my little corner of the world, the air is tempered by gentle breezes off the Atlantic Ocean, the garden is blooming and producing, and Summer is finally arrived Across The Pond!

    Sending sunshine and laughter from a Girlfriend Across The Pond!
    Deb C♥

    • sbranch says:

      Your Christmas tree sounds amazing Deb! Happy to see you this morning!

    • Lina says:

      Deborah, you have seashells from Iceland!! How amazing! My mom was born and raised there, in Reyjavik…I’ve never been (except when I was a baby). What I would give for a shell from Iceland…can I barter with you? Need a shell from California? ~laughing~ ~but kind of serious too~

      • I’d be happy to help! I know I picked them up on the beaches there, but I’m not sure how native they are. They look like pink scallop shells, about 2~3 inches across. At least it would have been collected there! If you want one, I shall post one to you. See if you can send me a pm with your details via my Shire Garden Facebook page, you can find a link on my blog. I lived in Iceland for 4 wonderful, gloriously magical years. Love the place, I feel it is one of my two spiritual homes (I live in the other one!) and miss it dreadfully.

  8. Pat Stansel says:

    Good morning ! Loved seeing your new post. You have a beautiful collection
    of shells .
    It was such a treat to see your picture eating clams on the beach. Funny thing, this
    morning I ‘m wearing a tee shirt just like yours . I have four of them —–they’re
    Comfy & go with anything.

    • Pat Stansel says:

      Oh, almost forgot to ask you about your porch fountain—-I’ve seen it in a
      few other posts, is it an artisan piece. Never saw one like it before. Is it electric
      or solar powered ? Looks like one of a kind.

      • sbranch says:

        I found that on the Cape at Mahoney’s Garden Center a few years ago. It’s electric and was very inexpensive. The perfect size for the porch, and luckily it makes a nice little sound.

  9. Ann says:

    Morning Susan and Girlfriends. I love seashells!! Just finished putting out all the wonderful shells and sand we collected on our Nantucket vacation two weeks ago. One word of advice to those wanting to bring some sand home from your favorite beach–pack the baggie in your checked luggage! I foolishly put it in my carry on and I got caught. She didn’t take it, but did make me feel bad that I was so stupid. (I had a bottle of wine in there, too. The sun must have got to me. She did take that.) I get sand from a different beach each summer and put in a wide mouth mason jar and arrange some shells and stones on top. I make a label tag to tie on with the name of the beach and the year. I have gotten through many a cold February day by picking these jars up and remembering . This year we got lots of scallop shells in all sizes and colors. Nothing like a freshly caught and sauted scallop. I like your basket idea, Susan, so you can see all the shells in their glory. Happy shelling!

    • sbranch says:

      Is sand not allowed on a plane? One more reason not to fly, number 3,279.

      • mary spring says:

        whoops !!… no sand on an airplane ?!? are kidding !!… my dear youngest daughter is visiting her dear sister right now for a mini vacation w/ her… I requested sand and such from Spray Rock beach in Westerly where my older daughter got engaged..better tell her to mail it instead… one of the many reasons that we love this connection you’ve so graciously started, dear Susan !!!… did I ever say “thank you”…’will comment again soon… take care and with love…as always…

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        I thought the same thing just before I read your comment, Susan! 🙂

      • Lisa R (northern Az) says:

        Oh Susan, I am chuckling now. Kindred spirits once again. I will do anything to avoid flying! Everyone always says, “you can get there so much faster.” Well I say, “sit back and enjoy the drive, and our beautiful country along the way.” We just live in a world that wants to hurry everything up. Call me a rebel. Digging my heals in.

        • sbranch says:

          I know, down-time used to be worked into everything. Now the only down-time that shows up is while waiting in the Dr.s office. You have to fit it in on purpose if you want it. That’s what I love the most about the train across country, three glorious days of forced down-time. 🙂

  10. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Good morning, Sue ~
    I just spent the last hour online, doing some more planning for our trip to the cape in August. We haven’t been back for 4 years now so we’re having fun planning; returning to some areas we’re familiar with and some new “explores”.
    This beautiful blog about seashells and seafood just reached off my computer screen and hugged me! I can hardly wait to walk the beaches and fill my pockets with shells! I have a wonderful collection, too and love to display them all over the house, too. I like your idea of putting them in a clay saucer on the porch or in the garden….thanks!
    George and I have always loved seafood but discovered cod (also one of our favorites) one summer while staying in Chatham. We had a simple fish and chips lunch and were amazed at how light and fresh the cod was! Since then, we buy it all the time from our supermarket…they get it 2x a week…and have prepared it many different ways…my favorite is broiled with lemon, butter and a dusting of paprika. I like it more than grilled salmon…and that’s saying a lot coming from me!
    Now that my mouth is sufficiently watering, I think I’ll call my sister and see if she can meet me for lunch…it’s a lovely summer day here. By the way, I’m hoping to get to Sandwich for your book signing. You have touched my heart in so many ways…it will be a dream-come-true to meet you in person.
    Happy Friday!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope you can come Debbie! Bring your sister!

      • Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

        I would love for all of my sisters to meet you….maybe if your travels bring you closer to the Finger Lakes. I’ll have hubby with me on the cape 🙂

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing pictures of your ocean with us! I dearly love the ocean. When I was growing up in California we would put the top down on the car and head to the beach after school or work! Now living here in Idaho its a short 8 hour journey or a two hour trip by plane to Seattle! Before the summer is gone can you share pictures of downtown with us? Loved your picture of your lovely home with the flag! Have a great weekend!!

    • sbranch says:

      I can do that, but every time I go down there to take photos, there are just too many cars in the way. Shall I do it anyway? Otherwise I can do it at night, but it’s just not the same thing.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Cars don’t bother us – love the red bug in front of your home – maybe that was staged? I had a red bug once……

        • sbranch says:

          Not staged, too much traffic for staging, just serendipity. I almost dropped the camera I was so afraid I wouldn’t get it in time! 🙂

          • Elizabeth says:

            Don’t you just love it when you get the perfect picture and then the camera decides to take a break and you are SO afraid you will lose the perfect light? We are so appreciative of the beautiful photos you share with us!

          • sbranch says:

            I’ve taken photos all my life, but digital is what I think I was waiting for. All my old photos are so blurry in comparison.

  12. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan and Joe. What a delightful, summery post. We eat seafood at least once a week, usually salmon or shrimp and I love tuna sandwiches. I just ordered four of your calendars. Kellee was so sweet and helpful. She is going to ship them with your books so it will be one large beautiful box of excitement when it arrives. Off to make devilled eggs for a going away party. Enjoy the weekend. It’s my husband’s birthday tomorrow so will make him a cake or maybe a blueberry pie.
    Oh, and I also ordered the cow pull toy for a new baby gift.

    • sbranch says:

      All the fun stuff! I love deviled eggs, blueberry pie, I’m telling you, this kind of talk must stop! 🙂

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        uh oh now you all did it… my tummy is growling for all those good foods…now i’m really hungry!!!

      • Judy says:

        I have been making devilled eggs today for a big BBQ we are having tomorrow to honor my hubbie’s birthday. He is outside smoking brisket and will put ribs, chicken and sausage on tomorrow. I have already made a to-die-for chocolate cake, brownies and am halfway through making a raspberry cheesecake pie! Tomorrow I still have to make hot German potato salad, baked beans and stuffed jalopenos! Now are you all hungry?!!

  13. Ozark Mountain Mama says:

    Boy does this wonderful outdoorsy post make me want to head to the lake. Just run out to the garden, pick what’s fresh, grab the fishing pole and get on the boat. There is nothing like eating by, or on, the water. Technically it’s housecleaning day, but I’ve been at it since 6 am and should be done by noon…..bye :)….and thanks!

  14. Julia says:

    Oh Susan, Thanks. I’m stuck inland for a while and can’t wait to get
    back to my muddy little island. You brought the seashore to me today.
    I made your linguine and clam sauce for my last supper club along with
    manicotti and it went over really big. I also beach comb and I put a
    lot of my things in glass jars with lids on them and line them up on
    the stairs but they are really everywhere! I’ve heard that there is a
    lot of seaglass in the NE. I find it but not real plentiful. My bucket
    list has a piece of red seaglass on it!

    • sbranch says:

      I think red is almost impossible, although I have a girlfriend who has not only red, but it’s shaped like a heart!!! I’m still not over it.

  15. Lina says:

    Ah, so lovely! I absolutely love the seashell ornament…can I borrow that idea? I do live near the ocean here in Santa Barbara County but my favorite place to beachcomb is Moonstone Beach in Cambria. We have a little getaway to Cambria planned for late August/early September to celebrate 35 years of marriage…I can’t wait to collect even more shells and moonstones (I already have lots!). Have a wonderful day on the Island, friend!

    • sbranch says:

      Love moonstone beach!

      • Lisa Jorgensen says:

        My Mom and Dad used to live across the street from Moonstone Beach in Cambria. We got the best shells, rocks, and driftwood (especially after a storm.) Such happy memories there, I wish we still had that house!!

    • There was a beach in Iceland called Agate Beach ~ covered in agate stones! Sadly, I never managed to find it, and the one person I knew who did find it never shared Moonstone Beach sounds amazing!

    • Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

      Moonstone Beach is my favorite, too! We’ve spent many happy hours finding a lot of jade there and the occasional moonstone. Happy upcoming anniversary, Lina!

  16. Chris & Glenn Perica says:

    You are my pal for life – thank you! I just wish I could give to you and enrich your life the way you do mine. Think I will make Clam Linguine tonight since I am a ways from the ocean in northern New Mexico. So thankful for transportation that brings the gifts of the world to our little corner of it!

    • sbranch says:

      You do enrich my life, you all do, in more ways than you know. I need to feel that kindredness! xoxo

  17. Linda Pintarell says:

    As a youngster growing up, fish was not a part of my eating repertoire (even though born and raised on the coast of California). However, thank the good lord my eating habits changed and now include mostly fish…which I love. I think salmon is my favorite…followed by halibut and swordfish…and on very special occasions LOBSTER. I say I could eat it every day, but I know how rich it is and don’t think (know) my budget could afford it. But it’s so nice to have that very special treat once in a while…just add the butter and I’m a happy camper. I’ve heard of your lobster rolls on the east coast and can’t wait to try some day!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh you will love them — at least here on the island, they positively stuff them so full you can make two meals out of them. Especially the ones they sell on Fridays at the church up the street from me. YUM!

  18. Sharon from AB Canada says:

    What a cool refreshing post for a hot summer day!! Nothing better than being at the beach, looking for sea shells and listening to the ocean waves. I live quite a distance from the ocean but whenever I get a chance to be at the beach, I stock up on seashells and rocks. The ocean is near in my mind.
    Happy Weekend, girlfriends.

  19. Julie Marie says:

    Oh Susan, what a beautiful post!… I love love love seashells!… and anything at all to do with the sea… my bathroom is decorated with my treasures from the ocean for the Summer… and when I am soaking in the tub I pretend I am on a beautiful island somewhere… like Martha’s Vineyard… how blessed you are to have those gorgeous places to walk, talk, gather shells and daydream together with Joe… love all your recipes too… I have those books of yours, so now I want to make something with clams… we eat alot of fish too… and lately have been doing salmon on the grill, yum!… you look adorable in the photo by the sea… I miss the ocean… but felt like I was there listening to the waves with you this morning… oh yes… any more on your friends beautiful “Martha’s Vineyard” beads for a special bracelet?… would love to start a collection… xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      They are coming! I think they will be here by maybe September — I’ll announce it, not just Martha’s Vineyard either.

      • Julie Marie says:

        Oooh September will be such a magical time then… beautiful beads AND your book!… I can hardly wait!… Autumn is my MOST favorite time of year!… xoxo Julie Marie

      • mary spring says:

        hey,dear ladies, yes , this September holds so true to be a magical time but this has been a magical summer as well…lets not speed things up…Life seems already to play fast enough !!…in my world anyway…’love you all…. and how dear is this connection…

      • Georgie says:

        Oh My! Beads!!! (trying to contain excitement) Wheeeee! And “not just Martha’s Vineyard”… Sounds like an early Christmas gift for me 🙂 Wonderful! By September! It will be so hard to wait that long.

        Kellee, get ready for my order!

        Georgie, NJ

        • sbranch says:

          It’s like I get to be a parent putting shiny new bikes under the tree and waiting to see if they like it! Love my “job” so much Georgie! 🙂

    • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

      Was that the surprise “B”?

      • sbranch says:

        It’s in the Willard — I just wanted to make sure it was happening, and it is, so I thought more fun for Willard!

  20. barbara miller says:

    the joy of living on the seashore! my mouth is watering, I can smell the ocean and almost tastes the steamed clams. missing clam cakes ,rhode island chowder and raw quahogs. even “stuffies” sound good. and what I would do for a lobster salad roll right now! enjoy a bite for me.

  21. mari1017 says:

    How I love living by the sea! This is such a wonderful blog post, Susan ♥ It is dark and rainy here in coastal Virginia today and goes perfectly with your ocean sounds 🙂 I have always lived by the water on the east coat – can’t imagine living anywhere else. Your post this morning makes me long to be closer to the Cape and MV; I do get homesick at times for New England – mostly summertime 🙂
    Thank you again – this was a wonderful surprise – and I can’t wait to receive your next Willard ♥♥♥ Can feel your creative juices flowing from here, and it’s very uplifting and inspiring. Have a wonderful afternoon!

  22. Heather says:

    I started my grandchildren looking for shells and sea glass when we are at the beach. It is amazing how excited we get when we find a “treasure.”

  23. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, Just love all the seashells and I’m sure it’s so great living close to the water. We have a couple of lamps that we have filled the bases with seashells from various trips we’ve taken, and I have a large Princess House brandy sniffer filled with sand from Bermuda (pink sand) and some smaller seashells and in the middle I have a little palm tree. Can’t remember where I got that from but it looks so dear. My daughter and family are coming at the end of July and she loves Linquine with White Clam Sauce so your recipe is just perfect for then. (Not sure if my Joe will like it so I’ll have to have something for him too.) I’m already thinking of Christmas and those pretty ornaments I could make. Not only are they pretty but so meaningful and sure to become sentimental to those I love. The Musica was perfect and I’m realizing I’m missing those sounds of the ocean and the seagulls. Love today’s blog and looking forward to the next Williard. Just wanted you to know I do appreciate all the work you put into your blogs which are always wonderful. Hugs to you, Gail

  24. Sreekala says:

    Hi Susan,
    Oh you have me drooling! Here we have all our seafood smothered either in spicy masala or coconut-based sauces. I would love to try seafood this simple some time…! Good to see that you are enjoying your summer. My veggie garden is in full swing here! Long beans already flowering…

  25. Oh, the Musica transported me right to the New England shore (although I’m hearing the bells on my sheep tinkling at the same time here on the farm!) I love, love, love seafood…never met a fishy thing I didn’t like. It’s not easy to find fresh fish in Kentucky, so we’ll be sure to give Louie a call for our next special occasion. (ps-We’re heading to England and Scotland in September and keeping our fingers crossed that your book arrives before we leave!)

  26. carmel says:

    As usual you’ve inspired me to put out my shells today! I especially love the cod when I’m in the New England area. Why does it just taste better there? I loved the sounds of the ocean you gave us today. It also inspires me to plan a short trip to the beach even as late as it is to do that. I kept plans open due to my friend’s breast cancer surgery this week (extended time as needed to support her at home), but feel ready to hit the beach and celebrate whenever because we had wonderful news that the cancer didn’t spread to any nodes! Yea!! She’s now in recovery stage and going to be fine. I hope and pray for this result for any anyone going through this. Anyway, thank you for the renewing trip to MV. I love your porch water fountain. Love you too.

  27. Rhonda D. says:

    Oh my Susan! What a post! You have stolen my heart today. I lived in a place in Nova Scotia that is so much like MV…identical…so beautiful, so clean and fresh, so relaxing, wonderful people, so tranquil, the sea so mesmerizing. I am so homesick that I am in tears. I actually just got back from there, but now I want to go again – very quickly. I found it so healing when I was home. As I see it from my experience, you and Joe have such an awesome lifestyle that you should expect to live forever. There is nothing like it. There is even a beautiful beach in our area that looks just like one in the Caribbean, so beautiful that it is starting to become quite famous now (worldwide). Someday I would love to be able to show you all this. You would not be dissappointed…home away from home.
    It has always been a dream of mine to have a Christmas tree decorated in a seashore theme. I noticed your special shell ornament on your tree, and Deborah, above, mentioned how she had decorated a tree like that. I can’t wait to do that sometime. My sister even made a fabric seashore tree skirt one time. Great ideas.
    Thank you for this awesome post. I will enjoy it many times over and dream about going “home” again soon. xo

    • sbranch says:

      That was a beautiful comment Rhonda, your love for Nova Scotia was wonderful to read about.

      • carmel says:

        Rhonda, you’re description of your home area in Nova Scotia sounds not only beautiful but healing. I think the series “Anne of Green Gables “(PBS) was filmed there. I hope you are able to visit home again very soon.

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Kevin and I honeymooned in Nova Scotia so it holds very special memories for us. We LOVED it!

      We left Bar Harbor on ferry and arrived in Yarmouth. Our “home” was in Port Mouton (a vacation cottage of friends) and each day we went out and discovered something new–lighthouses; beautifully colored homes; a woolen mill in Barrington, biking in Pout Le Tour; eating fresh fish every day; a strawberry festival in Lunenburg; Peggy’s Cove; and Halifax (the farthest north we went). So much beauty, so many friendly people!

      And we had sunny days the whole time we were there!
      Linda (A lover of Nova Scotia!)

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Linda, oh my goodness! I can’t believe what I’m reading. I grew up in Port Mouton. It is one of my favorite places on earth. I probably know the friends you rented the vacation cottage from, or else I know of them. The beach I spoke about above is Carter’s Beach. I’m sure you were there while you were in Nova Scotia. I’m glad you had the sun because sometimes it can be foggy. A friend of mine from there is always asked where he goes on vacation, and his answer is always the same “are you kidding?” I feel so good that a kindred spirit and girlfriend was able to share in the beauty of my bonnie wee Port Mouton. I love it there and my heart will always be there. Enjoy your summer Linda.
        From another lover of Nova Scotia. xo

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Girls… check out the only OTHER online spot I visit every single day: Kodak’S PICTURE OF THE DAY at The KPOD for JULY 1, 2013 is the PEGGY COVE’S LIGHTHOUSE.

          PS – if you love photography, KPOD is a wonderful WONDERFUL place. Not just stunning photos. The thing I like best are the little stories that usually accompany them. I predict you’ll become hooked too. After discovering it I worked my way through the entire archive going back to 2003 and now have over 900 photos saved in my KPOD folder. I love browsing through it and the Fives absolutely FLIP OUT when “KAY-POD” is our computer slideshow in the mornings… :>)

        • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

          Rhonda, wow! How neat! When I began to write to you I almost didn’t write about Port Mouton because I thought, “she probably won’t know about this place!” I am sure glad I did! We were warned about the fog so when we arrived, it was foggy and we thought, well, this is what we expected. But then the next day dawned bright and sunny and all the days after were glorious! We had no agenda so each day we traveled another small road–some were right along the water–and discovered so many lovely places and towns and people. We absolutely went crazy over the fresh fish. And the colorful homes. I have loads of pictures of the homes!

          Where do you live now, Rhonda? And do you ever go back to Nova Scotia?
          Lots of love,

          • Rhonda D. says:

            Thank you for your response…I was hoping you would see mine. I now live in New Brunswick. I am a 4 hour drive from P.M. I go there every chance I get. I absolutely love it there. I even bought a home there that is right next door to my Mom. I usually just rent it out and stay with her. I’d be anxious to know what part of P.M. you stayed in. Just curious.
            Yes, and we buy all our fresh fish from there. If my fish doesn’t come from P.M., I won’t eat it. I’m used to my fish almost still flipping before it goes in the pan. I guess I like to know where it came from. We usually buy a lot of haddock – a deep water and cold water fish. I once chased my fish man down a side road almost in Halifax trying to get some fresh fish from him, but I didn’t catch him. You know it’s bad when…! He said he didn’t mind being chased down the road by a pretty girl. Too funny.
            P.M. is french (for port sheep). And a good friend of mine just bought 3 sheep. She thought someone in P.M. needed to be patriotic. If you’re ever in that area again, let me know. I’ll take you around to meet everyone. If you had a good time before, once you meet the people, the red carpet will be rolled out for you if the timing is right and the right people are around. It’s like the secret “underground.” The people there refer to it as their “secret place.” The people are fabulous and you’ll think the queen has come to town. I can’t get enough of P.M. Such a healing place. My Dad used to say he was hiding there.
            Thanks for connecting Linda. Glad you saw my post. We’ll talk again. Love Rhonda xo

  28. Maureen MacKenzie says:

    Hi Susan,
    My husband will thank you if I take your advice and try some “fishy” food again. He loves all things that come in a shell and lots of fish, but not me….I make a face at the supermarket when I smell it. We live on Long Island so “fishy” food is everywhere. Have a great weekend!

  29. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    good morning Susan, girlfriends. I miss being able to walk down to the beach, we used to live not too far from the beach in Imperial Beach in San Diego, CA but now he is retired from the Navy, we live in the mountains. well we get the storms from the ocean, we see them coming. love fresh clams and oysters, my grandma used to make a rich oyster stew for us at Christmas but since she is gone now, I can’t locate the recipe…. some relative must have snagged it but I have heard who yet. well its a nice cooler morning here, tomorrow the heat cranks up again but for now its cooler, and the barnyard crowd is happy over that. the tractor and lawnmower brigade have passed by on their way to refuel their machines and get their morning coffee from the coffee shack by the gas station. LOL the tractors get refueled and so do the drivers….hehehehe!!! Fall will be here soon, time to start getting ready for that. just saw the summer school buses go by, such glum, sad lil faces… poor kids, I remember summer school…. I must have slept through some of it, hard to study when it warm and sunny outside and the bees are buzzing around. have a great weekend everyone. hugs…. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I went to summer school too, but I took all sewing classes, so I loved it! Happy day Pat!

      • mary spring says:

        Hah !!…I also took morning sewing summer school classes in California… and loved it !!.. (were you in my class , I wonder ?!? )…btw, lots to comment on this especially nice post ( as if all your posts aren’t especially nice !!!…LOL..)… I will be back…take care and with love… as always…

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      It just wouldn’t be summer without hearing about those tractor and lawnmower brigades! Thanks, Pat, for the news from Cave Junction!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        you’re welcome, just got back in from the turkey parade, had to run after my turkeys and get them back in the yard, the firefighters always help me out when those big birds get loose which is often, but they all love it, looks so comical chasing after them and then rounding them up and heading for home, definitely a traffic stopper.. LOL!!!

        • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

          that would be fun to get a picture of! Sounds like you have some great firefighters out your way!

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            I do linda, they are great guys, they see the birds “escaping” my yard and they are right there herding them back, and they let me know they escaped again. sneaky turkeys!!!

    • Joanne says:

      We also lived in Imperial Beach, CA when my husband was in the Navy. We lived across the road from the beach, but — the beach was quarantined and we couldn’t even walk on it! BTW, we’ve been to Cave Junction and the Oregon Caves Nat’l Monument. Really enjoyed visiting your area.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        glad you enjoyed our area Joanne, its fun up there at the caves, if you go by the Chateau you can see where the first picture of Bigfoot was taken, and yes folks around here still believe in him. when were you in Imperial beach??? we lived there from ’99 to 2004. we lived half a mile from the beach.. easy walking distance.

        • Joanne says:

          Oh, Pat, we lived in Imperial Beach years and years before you did! Then we were transferred to Alaska.

          • pat addison ( cave junction,OR) says:

            sorry I missed you then Joanne. Alaska, how marvelous, I would have loved going there. just to see all the critters there, moose, eagles, and such, here all we get are raccoons, tons of skunks(P.U.) and loads of possums. also get some occasional bears, and cougars and lots of deer and turkeys.

  30. Rosemary-N. Calif says:

    How I love the sea and her sounds…it’s Mother Earth’s beating heart and waves that are her arms longingly calling for me to join her. She tickles my toes with sand, washing my feet with the waters of love, teasing me with treasures from the bottom of her heart–shells, rocks, glass. And, how can I forget her bounty, I love, love, love the seas abundance and variety of deliciousness….Thank you for taking me to the sea this morning. -r-

  31. As I was hugging my wonderful Mom and Dad before they left to go on vacation in Rhode Island, my Mom said she was bringing back quahogs for chowdah 🙂 I said “Hurry Back”… In the meantime, your linguine with clam sauce will fit the bill!!! xoxo

  32. Marianne says:

    We love seafood dishes, too! These recipes look yummy, Susan. I have to admit we have only had clam chowders. And never fresh clams. Always canned. It’s wonderful that you can dig up fresh clams! We have also collected shells over the years whenever we have vacationed at the shore and we have them in baskets, jars, shelves, and all around our home – just as you do – and my daughter did beautiful shell collages on pieces of wood – large and small – when she was in high school. Smiles and Happy summer days!

    • sbranch says:

      Probably almost every home has some little bits of the beach in it!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        I did have some beach in my home until my MIL picked up my seashell jar and dropped it. 🙁

      • Marianne says:

        Yes – they’re so special – and sometimes you can hear the ocean in the big ones when you put them up to your ear. Your Dad, Jack, probably has many in his home, too, from the East and the West coast. You, too? Mine are from the East coast, including the Chesapeake Bay. So interesting to read the blog posts and see all the different places people have collected shells. Special memories.

        • Marianne says:

          Yes, Pat. You should collect some more shells. A good excuse to go to the beach – and it’s so much fun. I’ve never been to Oregon. Have you been to the beach on the Oregon coast and collected your shells there?

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            well I guess I can go around Coos Bay or Florence and see what I can find.

  33. Anne Branco says:

    Thank you, thank you Susan! I’m originally from Massachusetts (Somerset) so spent my summers growing up going to the ocean; collecting shells and clamming. Now that I live here in Maine it’s one of the things I miss most about summertime. We have beautiful lakes here where I live but I live inland, so a distance from the ocean. I read this blog during lunch and listened to the musica. What a wonderful way to spend my lunch time! We attended a wedding on Cape Cod in December and even though it was bitterly cold stopping at a beach was a must for us. Collected some shells to save as a memory of the beautiful wedding we attended. ( My brother’s) Thanks so much again for transporting me back home–at least for a little while. Have a wonderful summertime weekend. Anne

    • sbranch says:

      You too Anne!

    • Marianne says:

      About seven years ago my daughters and I took a trip up to Maine and we ended up in Portland while a Harry Potter special event was going on. We saw many children and adults walking in the street dressed as wizards. It was a delight. We also visited Kennebunk and Kennebunkport – two favorite stops on our trip.

  34. peg says:

    Seashells! Seashells! Sue! I can never get enough!!! When Whitney was small (and more tolerant of my beach-walking…), we would scour the shore for special treasures….worm shell, rocks with holes, sand dollars and shells of all sorts. We’d have a picnic lunch on the beach (at 10 a.m. because we got there at 7!)….then, we would carefully tote our treasures to the old Chevy to take home. I have several rather large rocks with holes, too. Charlie can tell you about schlepping THOSE to the car!!! Once home, I would sit on the front porch with a pail of water, and gently wash each shell and rock. We once found a rock that looks just like a slice of pizza!!! Anyhoo, thanks for taking us along on your treasure hunt……it brought back many wonderful memories!!! ♥ peg

  35. Elaine says:

    Beautiful photos and post ! I like some fish but I also like cucumber sandwiches to hehe ! Thanks for sharing a wonderful adventure and recipes ! Have a whale of a day !

  36. Dana Burton says:

    Hi Susan,
    How wonderful it must be to have the ocean right there in your backyard….such a motivator to take that morning walk each day.:) You just never know what may have washed up the night before and you can get fresh seafood year round. We look forward to our beach vacations every Summer for the fresh seafood alone…nothing like it! Thank you for the ocean waves and seagulls this morning as well as all the creative ideas for shells. I’m inspired and I appreciate you.
    Hugs~ Dana

  37. Marysol says:

    You know, I’ve never gone clamming, even when I lived in Cuba, and walked to the beach at every opportunity.

    But I will forever have a love affair with the ocean, so much so, that I’m fluent in 3 languages, Saltwater, Seashells and Susan Branch 🙂

    And congratulations on your new book! Can’t wait to get my paws on a copy.

  38. Fran says:

    When I read your blog this am, I couldn’t help but think what a funny coincidence it was. I just returned from a short road trip from the San Fernando Valley, up the coast stopping in Solvang, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and Cambria to escape the heat of summer and enjoy the salty air and beauty of the coast. Gathering stones and shells at Moonstone beach is one of my favorite things to do. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Your seashell post was wonderful, reminding us of all the things nature provides and to enjoy each and every one of them! Thanks again –

    • sbranch says:

      The perfect coastal trip to all my favorite places!

    • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

      Hello Fran…from a fellow SFValley resident…your vacation route is one of my most favorite! The California coast, the oak trees, and rolling foothills, in all seasons, is beautiful. As I read all the Girlfriends’ comments, from all sections of our country and beyond, I am reminded that beauty abounds everywhere if we keep hearts and eyes open.
      Thank you, Girlfriends, for sharing the beauty surrounding your homes and favorite vacation spots! Thank you, Susan, for this reminder of the Art of Appreciation!

  39. Georgie Bonsanto says:

    Your new artwork on this post is beautiful!!! I can’t wait to find my own MV seashell treasure and fill it with special memories. Your book signing will be wrapped up with such JOY and EXCITEMENT and TOTALLY out of controll heartbeats!

    Thanks for a beautiful post. Can’t wait for Willard next week (or for August 15th)

    XOXO Georgie, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      Won’t be long now Georgie, I love all the plans you are making, you’re not going to miss a thing!

      • Georgie Bonsanto says:

        Note to Self… Go to the church up the street for Lobster Rolls on Thursday 🙂 YUM!!!

        • sbranch says:

          Friday, must go on Friday. 5pm.

          • Georgie says:

            Thanks Susan!

            Pick up Lobster Rolls on Friday, put in cooler, then off to Oaks Bluff for the fireworks! The Calendar is filling up. 🙂

            Note to Self: Pack newly signed “A Fine Romance” to read while waiting for the Fireworks! (wink, wink!)

            Now I’ve got to squeeze in some walks to the beach for some shell gazing!
            xoxo Georgie

          • sbranch says:

            Lobster rolls go Perfectly with fireworks! I love your itinerary! Don’t forget a little “fast food” in Menemsha. Root beer floats and onion rings at the Menemsha Bite.

  40. Susan on Bainbridge Island in Wa. state says:

    Oh Susan! I loved your note today…Sea Shells…my favorites too! and I have them all over my house as well…It is all about living on an island. How lucky we are. The clams, oysters, salmon, cod, mussels are all available to us too! Clam digging is the most fun…we can get butter clams and little necks and manilas here on our beaches as well… So good steamed! and CLAM CHOWDER!!! with garlic bread…THe BEST! We also have an abundance of Dungeness Crab and can get those also, right here! I think that is our Pacific Northwest answer to your Lobster!!!! So delicious! had Crab just the other night with melted butter!!! It was to die for!!!! sweet, tender and delicious! num, num!
    We are so blessed to live in abundance from the sea….and so thankful that we live on an Island in the middle of it all! Bless you for this writing…I love everything about the sea and I can see that you do too! Island living is a way of life…not for everyone, but it is the life for me. (and also you, Joe and the critters!)
    Have a wonderful weekend enjoying it ALL! xoxo

    • Janet [in Rochester] says:

      One of the best clamdiggers I’ve ever seen is my sister’s Golden Retriever! She’s a mad fiend for them. Finds ’em, digs ’em our carefully and drops them gently from her mouth into the wire clam basket! It’s one of the nuttiest things I’ve ever seen. We’re trying to catch her doing it sometime when we have a camera with us so we can make her famous on YouTube! :>)

  41. Cindy says:

    Oh how I love this blog! My husband is retired military, and all of our duty stations were near the ocean. I have shells from the Gulf Coast, Guam, Sicily, Bermuda, as well as the east and west coasts of the USA, and they are in every room of my house! I have them displayed and use them as you do, and now I have a few more ideas. Thanks so much Susan!

  42. Cindy says:

    I am new to your blog and I love it! I have always been a fan and almost always have one of your calendars hanging in my kitchen.
    You are lucky to live near the ocean. We live about 1 1/2 hours from Lake Michigan and get up there several times a summer. I just love the water (though no shells there.) But I have many shells from trips to Florida and you’ve inspired me to get them out and display them.
    Thanks for the wonderful blog and please stop by mine sometime. I think you may like my gardens:)

  43. Linda says:

    As a girlfriend who love the sea this has to be my favorite blog so far….I’ve have a stockpile of your seashore stickers and get such a delight adding them to cards and letters..thank you Susan for making y day…. See you in November

  44. JoAnne Daniels says:

    I admit to being one of those people who is not a “fish eater”. However, after vacationing on Cape Ann and the Maine coast for so many years, I have developed a taste for shrimp, lobster, and scallops. I always think that the dish of mussels brought to neighboring tables looks good but haven’t had the nerve to try them myself. I’ve tried fried clams and even fried calamari but I’m still not a big fan. Everyone says the healthy thing is to eat salmon, but I never like it — even when someone says “what til you try this — you’ll love it”, I never do. I guess it’s canned tuna for me! Also, I can’t pick out my own lobster! Just bring me an anonymous lobster from the kitchen, already cooked. If I had to kill my own meat I would be a vegetarian…I try not to think about that too much…I love a good steak!
    I have a box of shells that I’ve brought back from various vacations and I put them around the house during the summer. I have a lovely, large hurricane that I decorate with sand, shells, and sea glass for color underneath my candle. I envy your ability to go for a beach walk everyday. Even though I live in NJ and we do, indeed, have “the shore”, I live in the rural northwestern part of the state — forests, mountains, farms & fields. I love it here but I could get used to living by the ocean real fast! I think that’s why I love Cape Ann — it’s like home only with salt marshes and the sea thrown in!
    One day, I hope to make it to MV. In the meantime, I enjoy it through your eyes and through your writing. I eagerly await my copy of A Fine Romance. Are you coming to a bookstore in NJ?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we’re coming to Bookends in Ridgewood! Hope that’s close to you.

      • JoAnne Daniels says:

        Yes, I could make Bookends of Ridgewood. What date & time?
        I’d love to be there!

        • sbranch says:

          I think around the 2-4 of Sept, but I have to confirm. If you look under EVENTS in the right hand column, watch there, the date and time will appear shortly. Hope to see you!

  45. Nettie says:

    Seashells and sand how can one go wrong??? Beautiful photos and as usual lovely lovely art work, you are so talented. I can do a lot of things but not paint or even draw very well so I do appreciate your work.
    Walking on the beach picking up shells and sea glass is simply the most wonderful thing to do. When I go to bed at night I often envision myself back on the beautiful beaches of The Cape and Vineyard……lucky lucky you! And I know you know it and have earned it and do so enjoy every moment.

  46. Winnie Nielsen says:

    My Mom was a collector of sea shells and she carefully identified them and placed them in trays of clean sand. She particularly loved to come visit us in Florida and spend time on the beach every morning looking for shells. Seeing all of your various shells reminds me of her so much! What is funny is that she was not a sea food eater at all. But, give her a patch of beach, and she was gone for hours scouring the sands for that unique treasure!!

    Martha’s Vineyard is just so beautiful!!

  47. Gale Puffenberger says:

    My son and his bride were married on the beach in June and the “flower”
    girls carried sand buckets with little shells that they dropped instead of flower petals. We have shells and rocks sitting around everywhere in the house-my “organic brick-a-brack”, as my daughter calls it.

  48. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    Sue, I thought of you and fish this week! Somewhere on TV there was a feature on ceviche – isn’t that one of your very Favorite Things? :>)

    • sbranch says:

      Favorite. I waited for the United States to discover cilantro after I had tasted ceviche in Mexico City. I kept looking for the magic ingredient, but I didn’t know the name of it, I only knew I’d recognize it when I tasted it. I could never find it. It was fifteen years after I first had ceviche when one day, I was in my supermarket here on the island and there was a green herb-looking thing — over it, a sign that said “Clintro.” I tore a piece off, put it in my mouth, and Eureka! Now I could finally make Ceviche!

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Got to try making that sometime. You still don’t see ceviche on many restaurant menus – even the “Tex-Mex” places don’t seem to serve it. I wonder why? But I know there’s a recipe in one of your books – because until you wrote about it I’d never heard of it. The Summer Book probably, huh? Now I gotta go look! :>)

        • sbranch says:

          It’s in my first book, Heart of the Home, on page 58. You can use any kind of fish. You’ll notice that cilantro is “optional” because in those days, lots of people really didn’t like it. But it’s not that optional actually! 🙂

      • Judy says:

        The only time I ate “ceviche” was in Lima, Peru when I was newly married. (I came from England to US then we promptly left for Lima). I believe it was raw fish “marinated” in lemon juice. At any rate it was delicious!

        • sbranch says:

          That’s it — in Mexico they used lime juice. The juice cooks the fish (makes it completely opaque and not raw anymore), so good.

          • Janet [in Rochester] says:

            Peru! Now I remember. “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” did a feature on a small Peruvian restaurant [can’t recall where it is in the US] but the owner is a Peruvian immigrant and uses all family recipes in the restaurant. Everything he made looked so good – and one of them was ceviche. :>)

  49. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Today’s post spoke to the soul of this Midwesterner … I love every thing about the ocean, the beach and shells. I have many memories of many visits to the oceans and the Gulf. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  50. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Hello, Girlfriends! I really needed to hear that ocean “music”! We’re having our unending 100 degree summer in Oklahoma as usual and I was so depressed about it yesterday. I even lamented that is why I don’t long for beach vacations because it just seems like being hot some more. Then, hearing the ocean made me feel cooler! I guess the mountains aren’t the only place for a respite. I do love the shells, the sea glass, the breeze so perhaps a visit to the oceanside would be the ticket! For now, I’ll reread your blog, listen to the sound effects and dream of cooler places. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I’m here, on the island, near the water, and I have played that ocean noise about five times today! It’s nice isn’t it? xoxo

    • sondra fox says:

      I sympathize with you. I’ve never enjoyed So. CA summer/early fall triple digit weather, which is usually from July through sometimes Oct. We usually left So. CA in the summer, going off in our motorhome to places of comfort, getting away from the horrible heat. This is our first summer of being home bodies, as my husband is too ill for us to travel. I have a summer schedule, in that I get up early, do all my housework/baking/grocery shopping, things of that nature, early in the day. I enjoy reading in the afternoon & if the weather permits, right near dusk, I do a bit of gardening. Seems to work, although I do miss our wonderful summer trips. I guess we’re saving on gas, eh? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  51. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    Thank you, I needed that. Since moving from CA to MO, every once in awhile I need an ocean “fix”. Saved the ocean and seagulls for future pick-me-ups.

  52. Dena says:

    Hi susan , what a beautiful relaxing place, so inspirational too. I love fish !!! Any seafood !!! Not a meat eater , just don’t like the taste, maybe a thin burger with plenty stuff on it, or occasional loaded hot dog so i dont taste the meat to much !
    I wanted to share my excitement, i am a mother of 5 boys and 1 girl . Grown now. My daughter has 3 girls, and a son just had his 2nd girl yesterday. Now I’m a proud Grandmother to 5 GIRLS , I cried when i saw her, brought back such memories, and she is perfect and beautiful ! That new baby smell , nothing like it. The shells are so pretty and would like to make a suggestion. I think they would make a great give away for one of your lucky readers!!!

  53. Sara D NW Georgia says:

    Is it weird that I like the beach every season BUT summer? LOL!

  54. Melissa Leathley says:

    Did you find all those seashells? I have a passion for the sea and always have. My favorite place that we can drive to is Monterey, California…well, actually Pacific grove. My great gramma lived there when I was growing up and we visited often. The memories that I hold dear are brought to life when we visit there. We’re going next weekend and I cant’ wait to get my toes in the sand, listen to those majestic waves, smell the fresh. salty air and hear the seagulls calling to each other. I have found many shells but they are mostly small. Every time we go I take a little bag of sand from a certain beach home with me and then I look through it with magnifying glasses. There are the tiniest little seashells, the size of a pin head, that are there. I didn’t know “they” made seashells that tiny. It’s amazing to me how intricate they are and so small. It makes my heart glad to see the creations all around in nature and am so thankful for the beauty that is so abundant. I always take the sand back to the beach after I’ve had a good look. Nothing lives in those tiny shells. They are just waiting for their next inhabitant to make them home. So, I LOVE the sea. I could be a mermaid!
    Thank you for always sharing your joy in where you live.

  55. Debbie says:

    I love seashells and have collected them for years. Every summer I put them out in bowls and dishes around the house. I love seafood too and my mouth is watering for fresh seafood after reading your post! Unfortunately, it is difficult to find here in Illinois…but that means that I enjoy even more when I have it. As much as your post made me long to be near the ocean, I look around as see a gorgeous day here on the IL prairie…the sky is a deep blue, it is about 80 degrees, the birds are singing and my flowers are blooming. My dog is dozing in the sun and I am having a relaxing day sewing, knitting, &reading while sipping iced tea out on my patio! Thanks for your lovely post!

  56. Christine says:

    My mouth is watering after reading your recipes. I love anything from the ocean, especially if it has a shell! I found a snow globe making set but instead of a snow globe I used clean white sand and an assortment of small shells. I love to sit and roll it around so the scene always changes!

    As always thanh you for your Blog! It is a treasure!

  57. SandiInAZ says:

    Hi Susan,

    I adore anything that is ocean related, seashells, etc. Thank you for your wonderful blog! I lost my copy of Heart of the Home a couple of years ago. I was heartbroken. Thank you so much for putting your Clams Casino recipe on here. It is my favorite Clams Casino recipe. Now I can finally make them again. I’m tickled pink.

    Sandi, who lives in the desert but dreams of the ocean.

  58. Jennie says:

    What a lovely collection of shells you have!
    We drive to the Pacific on the Oregon coast once a summer and I always bring back ONE special gift from nature as my souvenir. You can almost always find mussel shells and the occasional clam shell, but any other kind is really unusual. Some of my best beach finds have been beautiful bird feathers and rocks- one rock I found a couple years ago is soft and rounded and has a hole all the way through. It became a pendant for a necklace. And the very best beach memories that have come back home with me have been the few mini canvases I’ve taken with me- along with a set of oil paints- so I can capture a moment in time as my family plays. They’re amateurish, I know- but I remember the feel of the sun, my peaceful mind and the sound of the ocean the minute I see them. Painting on the beach is absolute bliss to me- that and a full cooler of goodies and I am one happy girl!

  59. Rita Baker says:

    When we were on the Island and the Cape in May, I carefully scanned the beaches and filled a plastic water bottle with beautiful shells. At Nauset Beach, I waded into the surf and let a pint glass jar fill with water and a little sand, then carefully capped it and brought this precious bit of the ocean home to the Midwest, where it sits on my vanity in the bathroom, surrounded by other nautical treasures I’ve collected through the years. I dropped 3 perfect little shells into it and capped it, then placed a scallop shell on the top. My reminder of those beautiful days in your corner of the world. Out here, by the shore of Lake Michigan, there are shells, but not like yours. I love the big lakes, but the ocean awes me, and makes me want to paint and write poetry about it. You are so lucky to live where you do. Thanks for the beautiful photos and posting.

    • sbranch says:

      I love to be able to send the ocean on the Internet!

    • Kathie Ferko says:

      Hi Rita,
      Isn’t Nauset lovely? We also returned this week from the Cape…we stayed at the Nauset House Inn… Our fourth visit to the inn. It is wonderful there. The beach is less than one mile away. I wish I never had to return home.

  60. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Ah!! Love seashells! Love your pictures of seashells! Especially the one where you aimed your camera down and took a picture of the shells and stones right in the sand. EVERY time I go to the shore I must gather shells and smooth stones. Not only is it restful to comb the beach, but I also love decorating my home with seashells in the summer.

    Thanks for the pictures of your neighborhood!

    • sbranch says:

      Have you ever heard of a Sailor’s Valentine? It’s a picture made of shells, mosaic style.

      • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

        yes, I have! And my best friend (who I went to Beach Haven with) with collects “oceans” of shells each summer; groups them by types; and then, at home, glues them to table tops, mirrors, and anything her creative heart is moved to do. Her creations remind me of Sailor’s Valentines.

        And, looking back at the picture you took of the shells on the sand, it does look like a sailor’s creation! The everyday beauty in the world is the best art there is!

        • Deb from Dixie says:

          Hi Linda!
          Hope you are having a great summer. Left you a note a few blog posts back…..hope you got it.
          So wonderful to be able to connect and talk about all the things Susan and the girlfriends hold dear. Isn’t the musica relaxing…..all of us landlocked girlfriends can close our eyes and be instantly transported to the beach….or the “shore” as we call it.
          Sending smiles and hugs,

          • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

            Hey there, friend! Yes, I did receive your note! Sooo good to hear from you. Yes, I do love the music of the sea. Come to think of it, I call it the shore, too. As in, “let’s go to the shore this weekend!” And, usually, that means, to me, Ocean City, NJ.
            Hope things are going well with you. Are you still at home with the Bean?

  61. Nancy Mosley says:

    I just came inside from my hot garage and going through boxes to declutter and get ready for moving next month. In one of the boxes was a bag of seashells. I look at them, can’t part with them because in the middle of Missouri, I can’t just hope over to the ocean. But, I’m always at a loss for what to do with them. So, I stand there looking at them and deciding if I keep them or not and I do and close the box. Then I come inside to cool off and read your blog and whallah — you’ve given me inspiration that I can use them somehow. So thank you once again for making my day! I enjoyed the musica sounds of the ocean. Oh how I hope we can take our kids there soon with their grandparents so they can experience it for real. Have a wonderful day!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to go to the ocean with someone who has never seen it! That will be fun Nancy! Glad you kept the shells!

      • Julia says:

        This has happened to me. Last year I invited my husband’s
        sister and cousin to the beach. The cousin was 65 years
        old and had never seen the ocean. They are from WV.
        All she could do was cry. She said it was so wonderful,
        like seeing God. She said that she still cries when she
        looks at the pictures. It was a blessing for me as well.
        I hope she will come back.

  62. Audrianne says:

    Dear Susan,

    Love seashells and seafood. Here in West Michigan we have our own wonder of nature – the Petoskey stone. They aren’t found along all the Lake Michigan shoreline, only the northern portion of the lake up by the Sleeping Bear Dunes. When we have our week-long family reunions the gang can be found walking the shore, heads down searching for these rustic gems. Have you ever see one? I could send you one, or two, if you like? They are covered with little fossilized web designs that appear when the stone is wet.

    Enjoy these bright and sunny days!

    • sbranch says:

      No, I have never heard of it! Treasure abound!

      • Carilyn Wolski says:

        When my son was a youngster he wanted a Petoskey stone so badly, but were never lucky enough to find one on the beach 🙁
        So, we ended up buying him one in the giftshop. It was polished and very shiney! Some people like jewelery made from them, too!!!

  63. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Kindredness, yes ma’m! Just bought cilantro lime marinated shrimp for our salad, to eat with our homegrown tomato, checked your blog & here I sit eating shrimp by the sea! What a treat! Sounds of the sea & all! I’m so glad I wasn’t eating chicken salad!!!! Why though, didn’t I bring home some sand from Crescent City, where I picked up some shells & Don found a ♥ rock (what a guy!). I am content that my destiny is picking up seashells (well, for the most part)! Now, just have to get my other seashells out! Lovely blog & great comments. Thanks so much GFs! xoxo

    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      Joan you weren’t too far from me, we’re just a hop skip and jump from Crescent City, just over the border so to speak on the Redwood Highway 199. I love going there now and then, have they had the crab races yet?? they always have a big crab race and along with a huge crab feast each year.

  64. Ruth from Pennsylvania says:

    Your lovely “sea blog” has me feeling a whole lot better about water in general, Susan. Here in SW Pennsylvania, it has stormed and left behind flooded basements, downed trees, lightning-striken barns and homes, mud-filled streets, uplifted driveways……you name it. And right now, guess what…….it is RAINING!!! I am a “rain person”….I love it. But, enough is enough. Your beautiful artwork and pictures have brought a bit of sunshine our way, and of course, Willard will absolutely brighten the skies over Western Pennsylvania.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve had lots of rain this year too. I love it — if I have a choice of 90 degrees and sunshine or rain? Rain.

      • Rhonda D. says:

        We’ve also had lots of rain here in the maritimes this year. But I’m on board with you Susan…I’ll take the rain anyday. I know for me that comes from growing up in Nova Scotia in the fog and having my family come from Scotland. It becomes part of your soul after a while. It is only July and my mind is already thinking of fall.

        • sbranch says:

          I’m with you. I can’t help it, its just the most delicious amazing time of year. And this year we will be spending the entire fall traveling across the country.

  65. Jean Hensley says:

    Susan, I love, love, love your blog. I always feel so happy when I find it in my in box. Now I want to go to the beach!

  66. Jane F. says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks for the reminder of the sea — sounds and all!! Who cannot like seafood??!!! The first thing I do when I get back to New England is head for the clams! The big ones with the bellies. Now you know you are a real native when you like those!! But all the other seafood is great, too. And of course Lobster, the best of all. But thanks for the clam recipes and another wonderful nostalgic reminder of “home”!!!

    • Jane F. says:

      P.S. Forgot to mention the shells! I have tons of shells all around the house, too. I have a lamp in the living room, with a clear glass base that I filled with shells I gathered myself. It is a lovely reminder of coastal living!

    • sbranch says:

      Happy you could take this virtual trip!

  67. Asha says:

    Oh Susan! Thank you once again for a most beautiful blog! It came at the most appropriate time! Most of all, thank you for the idea of shell ornaments. My family is headed to Dennisport on the Cape tomorrow for a reunion. We will be there for the week with family members coming and going all week. What a wonderful idea for me to collect shells and send each family one for their Christmas tree to commemorate our summer of 2013 family reunion! You are the best! Love ya! oxoxox

  68. Cathleen Lindell says:

    Your love of seafood reminds me so of Galdys Taber. You must be so excited for next June at Stillmeadow. I am.

  69. Barbara I. - Washington State says:

    Susan – Thank you for sharing the R.L. Stevenson quote. Truer words were never spoken. My collection of shells, sea glass, bits of pottery and dishes, beach stones, and driftwood gets larger every time I walk on the beach. My hubby says we need to put an addition on the house just for my shells! I tell myself that this time I won’t bring anything home, but then I find just the perfect shell or stone and HAVE to add it to my collection. I think I have seawater in my veins and salt air in my lungs, and have always been drawn to the ocean. I’m fortunate to have lived on the west coast for the last 30 years, the last 20 in Washington, and we live only 5 minutes from the beach and a sweet little lighthouse (Mukilteo Light). Just recently visited my family in upstate NY and my sister gave me some of her shells from trips to the Cape. I’m planning on making a clear glass jar filled with west coast shells and treasures for her in return (hope she’s not reading this!). Loved your blog today.

  70. Cindy Tuning says:

    WOW! I could have listened to that all day! Thanks for the relaxing interlude.

  71. Sharon of Morro Bay, CA says:

    What a perfect post for a summer’s morning. Here on the Pacific, the salmon are in season and our favorite way of cooking is on the grill. Before returning to California, lived in Austin, TX for a time and fresh fish was flown in on a daily basis to the stores. So…know it is possible to love fish in the middle of the country. Thank you for encouraging people to eat seafood as it is the BEST! Love your shell photos too.

  72. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Afternoon ~
    So lucky here in Wisconsin~ we have it all ~ shells~ beach glass~ barns~ not too much “sea ” food but lots of fish~ perch~ bluegills~ walleye~ I do love lobster and crab ~ one of my favorite dishes is ~crabby chicken ~ yummy~ not so healthy but worth a once~in~awhile~ indulgence ! ~Have a great weekend everyone!~

  73. Ann Y. Adamstown, PA says:

    Thank you, Sue….just back from a trip to NYC to see some shows and then a few days on Long Island – and the beach. LOVED it, and loved walking along the shore and picking up shells. Now I have lots of ideas of what to do with them….because the shells and the pretty rocks were to beautiful to just leave there. And I am with you….love all kinds of fish, and while away had a great cod did in Sag Harbour at the DocksideBar and Grill – Fresh Herb & Crumb Crusted Cod With Lemon Beurre Blanc sauteed spinach & mashed potatoes. Delicious and so nice to eat watching the boats bob in the water…and then the community band playing a concert next door…with old standards and John Phillip Sousa….BLISS ! Going to have to try and re-create that cod here at home in PA. Thanks for the great post….and your encouragement to have a wonderful summer and enjoy the seasons !

  74. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Be still my heart. Stevenson was correct! After missing the Sea Turtle release yesterday on the Chesapeake, because the parking lot was full, I cleaned the beach for a little while and then met the fishing boat to pick up some fresh fish!
    The sign in my family room says, “May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your toes.” (Sand rinses off just in case you gals don’t like that part.)
    I LOVE Sea, Surf, Shells and Sand!!!

  75. Linda says:

    Missing fishing in Alaska after reading this. Nothing better than catching a salmon or halibut and eating it that evening on the beach round a campfire. When first moving to ALaska, I was not a fish eater (except Mahi Mahi and tuna fish) but that all changed after catching my own and that is right what you say about no fishy taste when it is super fresh. For the nonfish eaters they need to at least try Tilapia as it has 0 fish taste and is so tender and good for you!!. After 10 years in Alaska I am sadly land locked now in Idaho and will not eat river fish…….so it is back to tuna, Mahi Mahi from Costco and shrimp!!! BUT this post and the comments has me salivating no end!!! Love seashells too and have a big beautiful mirror in my guest bathroom framed with all kinds of shells. It is also fun to place shells in your garden. Some people even have crushed shell driveways and walkways! Thanks again for a wonderful post. It was 111 here a week ago but has cooled down to high 90’s until the weekend where the 3 digit temps are supposed to return………of course this was the time my car air conditioner broke down (the 111 degree day when I was far away from home running errands) and with the July 4th couldn’t get it in ……not till next Tuesday! Love where you live and hope someday to get to see something East of Idaho!!!! Linda from Idaho…are you coming this way?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m not sure we’ll get up that high … Denver may be as close as we get to the northern states. Not good, but this is one big country!

  76. Kathie Ferko says:

    Just got back from a week long Vacation in Orleans, Mass. Did not get to come to the Vineyard…did a few trips ago, though. I love fresh fish and shellfish and I eat my fill when I travel north…from Lobster to Halibut…from scallops, shrimp, and cod and on and on. I love all the mild fish. Even got to have Wellfleet oysters this time…yum! I love New England esp. Cape Cod. The art, food and the people. We always stay at the same Inn…we meet so many people from different countries. This time we met a great couple from Montreal.

    I collected shells and rocks, but found no sea glass this time….guess I was looking in the wrong places on this trip. Thanks again for a great blog!

    Hope all you girls are having a great summer…The heat is too much this year for me!

    Kathie from Limerick

    • sbranch says:

      We come home many days with no glass, that’s what makes it so special, it’s somewhat hard to find.

  77. Laura says:

    All the pictures make me homesick! I so love the Atlantic…
    I live in Portland, OR now…the Pacific has it’s own mystery and puffins and sea stars…but the Atlantic is full of family memories and home.
    thanks for the taste of the sea,

  78. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Oh, I needed those ocean waves. How did you even know?
    My Mother was a Mainer and always swore by Cold Water Fish. She was right, much better taste. I love the cod and fresh scallops!
    We just went ‘home’ to East coast for a week. It rained almost every darn day. Humidity was awful. Our one day at the shore was a very foggy beach, light rain, then sunshine! Atleast I got to be with my ocean for one day!
    We did visit in Gettysberg on the way out. It’s the 150th Anniversary. That doesn’t really seem that long ago when I consider my own grandfather died two years ago at age 101!!
    I bet your home is so yummy beachy now with all the shells and sea smells. Lucky you!

    • sbranch says:

      Gettysberg was wonderful — especially after we went to the Lincoln Library. Very very touching and sad.

  79. Oh Susan, a friend after my own heart! I grew up in Laguna Beach til I was ten, then moved to Arcadia with my father. I have shells everywhere! I have special ones that my mother found on walks on the beach, they were in a little white box from a shop near the Hotel Laguna where she worked, they were protected on cotton, and little ones in a little vial. I now have them in a jar with some sand I got from Laguna when I went back in 1995. My husband has quite a collection too! His aunt even left him quite a collection from all over the world! Now our love for shells has rubbed off on our dear 4 yr old granddaughter!
    Hugs to you and Joe, and Kitties of course!
    Happy shelling!

  80. Jeanette says:

    What an inspiring, summer-filled post!! Thank you!
    I adore seashells, the beach and everything about it! I collect shells from every beach I visit. And, always keep shells around the house. A hurricane filled with sand and shells from my last visit to the west coast of FL sits in the dining table. Seafood, mmmmm… it! Every time I go back to Florida, a blackened grouper sammie is a must have, I can taste it now. Sweet, flaky, delicious…my mouth is watering!
    Thanks for the delightful, sweet photos.
    Sending warm, breezy summer delights and the magic of fireflies to fill your heart.

  81. Martha Ellen of VA says:

    Lovely post today Susan! I’m from a long line of ocean loving folks. I’ve passed that love on to my children and grandchildren. We all go to the ocean every year for a week together. We have collected so many shells over the years I have shells even in my flower beds! I say every year that I must leave that beauty on the sand, but I can’t resist! Have a wonderful weekend Susan! xoxo ♥

  82. Victoria Miller says:

    Oh, Susan, luved this post! My house, too, is awash with seashells. And a dancing starfish who comes out every summer. A little wind up crab that walks sideways. A capiz shell windchime (something those inland might want to look into for bringing a little ‘beach’ ambiance…I hang mine in a window where I can hear and see it). I know the names of many of the seashells, and I’ve collected a few little ones, at least, from any beach I’ve been to. I have seashells from both great oceans, and also Lake Erie. Also, I have a little ‘sandcastle’ candlelight and a like sized blue glass whale. I love summer when I can put all the wonderful little things around. Even though I can see the Pacific ocean from my window, it’s a bit tricky to get there without a car. Hopefully, before the end of summer, I’ll be able to ride my bike there! (Getting used to riding after all these years is a work in progress.) As for seafood….had my first lobster roll of the season before the 4th! Seafood, bring it on baby, that’s what I say! That reminds me, I have some shrimp in the freezer (none of the ‘farmed’ stuff, either!) Oh, and sand dollars! So wonderful to find a sand dollar! I have one I found, and one I found in a second hand store that someone sprinkled a little fine gold glitter on, like sand, and tied a little gold ribbon through…it was in a box of Christmas ornaments. Love the quotes, particularly the Brooks and Stevenson. And the recipes. As someone once said, “The way to a man is through his hearty stomach.”
    Thank you for sharing your shells with us, accompanied by the ocean sounds. Reading your post today was like a walk at the beach!

  83. Lorna says:

    What a great post! Living in the Adirondacks is nice but looking at all your pictures makes me want to get back to MV this summer! I made a whole Martha’s Vineyard rock & seashell garden here in my flower garden with all the seashore treasures I’ve collected & brought home with me from the past years. Most are from the house’s beach on Vineyard Harbor and the others from Menemsha, picked up while watching the amazing sunsets and eating fresh lobsters, fried clams and lobster rolls. Boy, am I really missing MV now! Thanks for the wonderful post.

  84. Barbara (WA) says:

    Oh, I love seafood and just had cod fish & chips this afternoon at a favorite bayside restaurant! Yup, it does NOT taste fishy but so fresh & light & delicious!

  85. Karen P. - Wisconsin says:

    I love seashells! We never went to the sea when I was a child, though (when you have a family with 6 kids and live in the midwest about as close as you get to the ocean is Lake Michigan! LOL!) . Love your sweet decorating ideas. I followed your blog about the hurricane and love mine! You have such great ideas! Oh, and I am one of those people who hate fishy tasting fish/seafood. Need to get to MV for a taste of the good stuff. Wish I could join Georgie and Erin on their Grand Adventure! xoxo…Karen.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too Karen, but one of these days!

    • Georgie says:

      Mee toooo Karen! At least we will have a Twitter Party! Not to worry! I hope to go shell searching on the MV adventure. When I do I will be sure to slip one from this special place in my pocket for…YOU! xoxo
      Georgie NJ

  86. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan!!! Your sea shells are so beautiful and your flare of decorating ideas are very inspiring! After reading your blog earlier in the day, I rushed downstairs to find my so-so collection of shells from Florida. Sprinkled them around the kitchen and living room. It brought back memories of my childhood vacations in the 1960’s & 1970’s to visit my grandparents in Florida. The beaches were not so built up back then and we would eat cold meatloaf sandwiches my grandmother packed for us. My brother Jimmy decided to take home a jellyfish that was on the shore, hiding it in the well of our Country Squire station wagon. His secret souvenir caused such a stench on our way back to Michigan, it didn’t take long for our parents to figure out little Jimmy had packed “something” from the day at the beach!!! (He always got in trouble, like brothers always do!) It was a very long way home in a very stinky car……never figured out the magic of how my mother ever managed to freshen
    up that car!!! Anyways, thank you Susan for making an ordinary summer day extraordinary!!!!

    day extraordinary!!!! Your “sunny ways are reaching all the way over

    • Carilyn Wolski says:

      Oooooooops! I think my Kindle Fire has a mind of its own!!!! So sorry for the mixed up wording, I think I goofed??? Just wanted to add your “sunny ways” reach all the way to Dearborn, Michigan Susan!!!

    • sbranch says:

      One of those great family memories! Better that he brought it than he didn’t, for the story!

  87. Joann says:

    I’ve always been a collector of shells. Of course, in Colorado they are a little like a ‘shell out of water.’ ha-ha-ha…. but they’re hidden around here somewhere! One of the things we’ve done after a beach vacation is get a cheap frame and glue our shells around it and include one of our favorite vacation photos in the frame….perfect memory!

    I’m so excited about the book coming out sweet friend…. I hope I get to see you at one of your signings….

    Working on b&b details as fast as we can………………..



    • sbranch says:

      Me too Joann, but you have wedding to think about first! Must be getting more excited each day.

  88. sondra fox says:

    Here I am, what some folks call an old lady (I don’t feel old) & I’m still astounded by this world of ours, such as:
    -our backyard Mocking Bird staying awake all night long to sing his/her heart out. How I love to hear him/her sing all the many songs in his/her heart.
    -all of the stars that are up there in our night sky, when I walk our dog Jack, right before we go to bed. Then when we get out in the sticks, there’s even more stars than I’d ever imagined.
    -how all of the snowflakes that fall are each individually different.
    -how each shell out of the vast amount of shells are individually different.
    -just like each person on earth is different & unique.
    These are only a small part of the things that amaze me about this wonderful earth of ours. I’ll never live long enough to answer all the questions in my mind, or to arrive at a point in my life where I’m satisfied with the amount of terrific books I’ve read, there are so many I want to read, or to keep up with all the quilts I want to sew. All because of the vast variety of fabrics that I have to choose from. Our world is so amazing that it takes some people hours on the beach hunting for the exact shell, keeping in mind that they’re all different, & it takes a long while to find just the perfect shell. How can people become bored with so much to do before they pass on? I keep searching & seeking all that the world has to offer. Your shell collection is so beautiful Susan. Each picture you took appears to be a unique design all it’s own, even though you simply scattered them indiscriminately.

    I grew up near Lake Erie PA. As a child, my Gram & my mother used to rent a room in this huge old hotel in Geneva-on-the Lake. The hotel was right on the beach. A wonderful majestic place that had a player piano in the lobby. I used to have to pump the piano with my feet. The hotel had this musty smell that I now associate with that old hotel. Do you remember those little dolls, very small, that were made from shells & pipe cleaners? The dolls hat was a small shell. I loved those dolls & had a collection of them, all from good old Lake Erie shops. The dolls were quite popular, at least with my age group.
    When I became a teenager, my best friend & her family used to rent a cottage there in Geneva-on-the-Lake. Her dad always loved the doughnuts from this one shop in the center of town. He’d give us money to walk over to town & bring back some of those wonderful, soft, glazed doughnuts. We always thought Geneva was sin city, as there was a burlesque in a theatre there, & also a bar that had no doors & when we’d walk by there, we’d get whistles from the guys (who were all much older than we were). I think we actually loved those whistles, because I recall making sure we looked good before traipsing off to get doughnuts. Lake Erie was our ocean. There were waves, often gigantic after a storm. You couldn’t see across the lake it was so huge, so it looked like an ocean to us. Some of the shops sold salt water taffy, just like they did near ocean resorts. The best part of Lake Erie was that it was all fresh water, no salt water. I’ve never gotten used to swimming in the ocean around Los Angeles. I love the ocean in Hawaii though. My husbands family owned a cottage on Lake Erie, with a boat, & we water skied & had so much fun there. When my husband & I got married & moved to Los Angeles, our very first Thanksgiving was spent in a little boat that we got, out there in the big Pacific, thinking that we were well versed in the perils of the ocean because we had lived on good old Lake Erie. There we were in our little boat, going up & down with the waves, eating our turkey sandwiches. I got homesick for our families that day, but the longer we lived in CA, the more friends we made. We never had to be alone again on Thanksgiving Day.

    I remembered all of those days all because you showed us your shell collection Susan. Did you get most of your shells from M.Vineyard? We don’t have shells like that around CA. Love the huge ones.

    In the latest Yankee magazine, there’s a lobster chowder that sounds wonderful. Thanks for the phone number of Louie, where I can have lobster delivered right to my door. I’ll let you know how the chowder tastes.

    My English magazines have arrived. I’m having a great time reading them from cover to cover. Take care, & enjoy your summer. BTW, I love the picture of you outside on a wharf (?) enjoying yourself, with the ocean as a background on a beautiful summer day, eating seafood. Enjoy. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Do let us know about the chowder Sandy! Most of my shells came from the island, but they really come from everywhere. Once I bought a gorgeous basket and the woman gave me the shells that were in it!

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Sandra, thank you for your lovely remembrances! And,yes, I do remember those shell dolls although I am not sure if I ever had any.

      • sondra fox says:

        Must let you know that I made the lobster chowder recipe out of the Yankee magazine. The picture of the chowder showed the chowder as being a red/orange color. Not so with the chowder I made. I’m going to call the Yankee magazine to see if something was unintentionally left out of the recipe in the magazine article. I was surprised that my local market carried frozen lobster, but I’m sure the lobster from Louie (that you told us about, Susan) is much better. I paid an enormous price for three lobster tails that turned out to be a bit mushy. But, the chowder tasted good. I’m going to give it one more try when I find out what the red ingredient (paprika?) is, & Ill order fresh lobster from Louie. Thanks for introducing me, Susan, to a method of getting fresh seafood from your area. That’s just wonderful! Our youngest Grand son (18) loved the chowder, our oldest Grand son doesn’t enjoy seafood. Stay tuned in for the continuing saga of the chowder trial. I’m also wondering if I can provide the recipe to all of you, (who don’t receive Yankee magazine), as isn’t there some sort of infringement law I’d be crossing if I provide a recipe from a magazine to another printed format? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

        • sbranch says:

          No, it would be fine, just as long as you give them credit and you don’t charge for it, you can share recipes with no problem at all. xoxo

  89. Mary S. says:

    Ahhhh….. nothing I love better than the sounds of the ocean and the seagulls!! The seashore is my favorite place to be! Thank you for bringing it to us today!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

  90. mary spring says:

    good Saturday morning , Susan … how nice to hear the ocean again !!..when my oldest son was a baby, he and I lived right on a cliff over looking the ocean..the beach was our front yard !!.. (that was in Crescent City, CA…many years ago..)..two years ago, my second son moved back to the coast..( more specifically, the Seattle area)…and now my youngest daughter is visiting my oldest daughter on the east coast.(actually right across the waters way from you !!!)….are they all trying to tell me something ?!?…and now this post,reminding me of the glories of the sea shore…thank you !! has been a wonderful summer here, tho, the tomatoes are getting big and red, peppers are plentiful, and tonight I’m going with thelittle 4 year old boy that I take care of and his mommy to our local Firefly Fling at our Botanical Gardens…have a great weekend..and take care..with love…..btw..’love the glittered sea shell ornament idea…. it’s beautiful..

  91. pauline says:

    Loved this post. Could actually smell the sea. I grew up in Cape Cod, now living in Wilmington NC, with Wrightsville Beach nearby. The sea is in my blood and even though I am near the sea now, I do miss the rocky beaches and tidal pools of the New England shore. I am a ceramicist and many of the things I make use press molds made from seashells to decorate my boxes, salt cellars, platters, etc.

  92. Rosanna says:

    Loved seeing your ‘subject’ today — the sea and seashells and fish – 🙂

    I am a New England seacoast girl, living somewhat ‘landlocked’ in northern Virginia now – but our house reeks of my ‘seacoast’ heritage with a huge print of Nubble Light in the living room and an oil painting (done by a relative) of a NH lighthouse in my ‘office’…….and seashells in hurricane lamps with sand, etc. – and a small ‘chunk’ of granite from the seawall near a certain ‘point’ in Kennebunkport serving as a paper weight on my desk. 🙂
    I’m so glad you did your little seafood ‘promotion’ with this post – people really need to know and appreciate good seafood – and unless you are allergic to it – there is no reason not to enjoy it! (I’ve always thought that people who claim they didn’t like seafood were just ‘odd’ as my grandmother used to say.)
    We are heading north next month for a family reunion and a few days by the sea in Maine – where I will indulge myself with the freshest of the fresh – and the one thing I can’t get anywhere else – fried clams – WHOLE clams – bellies and all! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  93. Julia says:

    One thing I meant to mention is that I was amazed at all of the beautiful
    rocks on your shore. We don’t have rocks, only rarely do I find one and
    of course I keep it. I’ve heard that the NE is very rocky on the cliffs.
    That’s a trip I’m going to make as soon as the opportunity arrives.
    Also, Girlfriends, do I need a porch fountain? Seems everyone’s got
    one but me!

    • sbranch says:

      You do! A little gurgler. You will want to put your bed on the porch to sleep next to it. In our house in California, it worked out that our little fountain was right outside our bedroom window. Just love the sound of it.

  94. Laurel says:

    All I can say to this is Ahhhhh….. and Mmmmmmm……

  95. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    What a grand way to begin Saturday! Laying in bed with the IPad listening to the ocean waves and the sea gulls. Then back to the pictures and the recipes and the girlfriends. It almost doesn’t get better than this. While Janet thinks she may have been a farmer, surely I lived by the ocean. It calls to me. While it has been decades since I have been to the Gulf and even longer the East Coast, last summers trip to Lake Michigan renewed my soul. A whole week in a cottage by the shore and I brought back sand and shells.
    It is so hot here it is miserable, so I must get outside early and get some work done and then take refuge in the house. One of my barn kitties lost an eye. The little female, BB3. Don’t know how it happened. She had surgery to remove the eye two weeks ago. I have moved her to the house and she is helping me type. Amazingly, my house cat, Katherine Rose, is coming around and accepting this new addition. They have even been on the bed at the same time!
    I will check back in this afternoon as the temps hit triple digits and see what the rest of the girls are doing.
    Have a glorious Saturday.

    • sbranch says:

      Hmmm, interesting to see that you can have two screens at once on an iPad .. is that right? I’m so happy the little kitty is in with you.

      • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        No, not like the computer. I listened to the ocean and then went back to the blog. Sadly, cannot do both.
        Wish you could see BB3, she is the smallest of the 3 feral kitties I took in last November. She is such a lap kitty! If I sit down she is in my lap in minutes. She doesn’t seem to miss outside. I let her brothers in a couple of times, so they don’t forget her.

    • Georgie says:

      Ah! So I am not going crazy.. I tried to have two active screens and listen to the music while I read the blog but I couldn’t. Sigh. I just bought a new iPad Mini for my trip and I’m trying to learn everything I can about it. It’s really something 🙂

      • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        I love the IPad. My next big purchase when I can is a Mac computer. They are so easy to use. Since I don’t have a cell phone, I can text with my son and DIL and FaceTime with the IPad.
        I always listen to the Musica, first thing, then hit the back arrow and read the blog with the music still in my head:)

        • Janet [in Rochester] says:

          Chris, you will LOVE a Mac! I completely ❤ mine! A little hesitant because I’d only had PCs but it was SO EASY! I heard the Mac people were radical about their Macs and now I know why! On Apple’s homepage right now is the opening keynote from their latest developers’ conference in June – you’ll see what’s on the way! Highly recommend it. It will make you want one right away!

  96. Carol (Daisy) says:

    Seashells!! Who’d a thought to put them in a basket to display!! My husband brought back a candy tin full of seashells from Vietnam. I’m a terrible person. . . I wanted to throw them out but he wouldn’t let me so they are stored away in the tin. He will love it if I surprise him and put them out in a basket on display in our main bath. Being a Midwestern girl my whole life, seashells were never really my ‘thing’. Also, the thought of any kind of ‘fish’ but a square ‘filet-o-fish’ (#11 on our local fast food menu) loaded with tarter sauce to hide the taste is as close as I get to eating ‘fresh’ fish. I should add ‘eat fresh fish’ to my dream list shouldn’t I ?

    • sbranch says:

      Be sure to wait until you are somewhere you KNOW the fish is fresh and abundant. And then, you will be in for a treat. I love the thought of you surprising your husband with his Vietnam beach shells! He’s going to love that.

  97. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Susan…..the first time my eyes, and heart, took in the beauty of the ocean (I was an adult) I was awestruck. God, in all His glory. Only He could create such a masterpiece! Still amazed every time we go…. love your candle in the hurricane lamp! Can’t wait to create a beach scene in mine. It’s made from bubble glass. Love it, but any candle placed in there never sits straight, (the imperfection of glass) so the sand will be perfect! Why didn’t I think of that!! So glad you think of everything for us! Thank you for the beautiful post…..

    • sbranch says:

      How fun you saw the ocean for the first time as an adult and remember that amazing moment!

  98. Janet OC says:

    Thank you for bringing us this beautiful reminder of summer at the beach! After I read this post, I put a pillar candle in a big hurricane bowl and surrounded it with shells for my table. I love putting shells in random spots around my house.
    Our wedding anniversary was a couple of weeks ago. When we were deciding where to eat, I mentioned that I wanted to go to the waterfront for dinner. We did and then took a nice walk along the harbor in Scituate, MA and watched the fireworks over the water. Perfect! <3

  99. Rosemary says:

    Susan, I LOVE the pictures of your beautiful sea shells. I know you mentioned your originally from California, is Joe from the East coast?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, he’s from Connecticut, but has been coming to the island for summers since he was a baby.

  100. Judy says:

    Enjoyed your post on those pretty shells. They are so delicate, it’s pretty cool how they hold up to the powerful ocean! Plus they have such a “beachy” aroma. Looking forward to Willard arriving on Tuesday and settling in for a long read with a cup of tea. I was wondering, is it possible to do a post on Gladys Taber books with “excerpts” quoted, etc. Or a post on your favorite books where you talk about them and everyone can comment on their favorites, etc. I know you have a column on your favorite books, but I love your comments and such on the subject as a whole. Reading is dear to all of our hearts. I recently found an old book that I read as a child in England, “Milly, Molly, Mandy Stories. So precious to re-read. Brought back a lot of memories. I hope books never go out of style. I guess digital equipment has it’s place, but I want that lovely book in my hands!

    I recently ordered Stillmeadow Road and Best of Stillmeadow, they have both shipped so I am excited waiting for these to arrive as well as your/our book on England. LOVE LOVE to have things…little special treats….to look forward to!

    • sbranch says:

      When you get them, please come back to the Gladys Taber page here on the blog and leave some of your favorite passages!

      • Elaine in Toronto says:

        Judy, “little special treats to look forward to”. Love that. Oh, the anticipation!

      • Annita says:

        My mom moved to Southbury, Ct. and one day she saw Gladys Taber shopping in the supermarket wearing a large straw sunbonnet and carrying a wicker basket (can’t you just picture it?) My mother wanted to tell her how much she admired her writing, but was afraid to invade her privacy. Too bad, it would have been a good story as we all loved her and so many of us still do.

      • Judy says:

        I will!

    • Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      You are going to love Stillmeadow Road. I was able to get lost in that book 2 years ago as we went through the hottest, driest summer ever. It saved my life! And I would never have known about it, if not for Susan.

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