One of my favorite simple pleasures?  MUSICA!

Just thought you might like to see how I’m holding up.  Me and Petey, we are having a wonderful time.   Joe too — he’s taking lots of photos at every book signing.  We’ve crossed Massachusetts into upstate New York, passing through Pennsylvania, into Ohio, then Michigan and Indiana and now we’re in Illinois, seeing America! Everywhere we go it feels like we’re meeting old friends for the very first time.  At each book signing, we talk and laugh like we’ve never been apart, about our picket fence gardens, our families, favorite recipes, trips to England, Beatrix Potter, Willard, tea parties, Martha’s Vineyard, how much we love dishes, GoodreadsGladys Taber, the Beatles, quilts, art, decorating, old movies, our Peter Rabbit rooms, polenta cake, getting our colors done; we exchange kitty stories and talk about favorite books . . . regular Girltalk, about all the little and best things in life.  Some of us have “known each other” for many years, since my first book.  I get to meet moms and granddaughters, husbands and sisters and best friends.  It’s been such a treat.  We’re getting as close to as many of you as we can, you are doing your part too and we meet in the middle and it’s been loverly!

 I’ve updated our EVENTS page almost daily with a couple of photos from each book signing, and even with a new book signing event in Bakersfield California, so don’t forget to check back there for updates.  Also, in case of book emergency, you can, for the moment anyway, probably still find signed first editions of our book at the last two bookstores we went to . . .  Anderson’s Bookstore (630/963-2665) and Better World Books (574-534-1984) ~ I think they’d be happy to send one to you.  (If they run out, you can still pre-order a signed copy from our web store ~ the second printing is due to arrive at the end of October.)

Our Fine Romance Van has gotten very popular!  A  TV station in Kansas City has asked that we park it on their lawn when we get there so they can show it on their Morning Show — oh yes, and incidentally, I get to come too!  You’ll note that the modus operandi for our traveling life, the “bring everything” mantra, still holds. (That’s only the stuff that comes in at night in the photo, you should see what’s in the van!)

Tomorrow, Sept. 12, there’s going to be a Tea Party/Book Signing at a gorgeous Country Club in Wilmette, IL … you can learn more about that on the EVENTS page.  Then it’s off to Iowa City, which made me think you might like this recipe for Iowa Corn Bread.  It’s getting to be that time of year . . . by Friday, I think Fall will actually begin!

Just thought you’d like this ~ Motel life is always fun!  Like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get!  Here is what was waiting for us in the bathroom last night!  They are so formal here! 🙂

The computer is working very slowly today . . . it’s taking forever for a photo to come up, but I wanted to say hello!  Off we go to the laundromat.  Home looks really good from here, but we would not miss this for the world!  Thank you for all your encouragement and LO-V-E, love.  Hope to see you along the way!  XOXO

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465 Responses to SIMPLE PLEASURES

  1. Patricia Wehner says:

    Loving the trip across the U.S. and all the wonderful places!!! Take care of yourself and get some rest! Can’t wait to see what’s next!! Hugs, Patricia

  2. Maureen says:

    My mother and I are scheduled to be at Westmoreland tomorrow.
    Thrilled and excited.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll see you there Maureen!

      • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

        So will I, Maureen, mom and Susan! xo

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          I wish I could meet you Karen. Where in WI are you from??

          • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

            Originially southern WI but now the Green Bay area, Margot! How about you?

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            I am from Jackson, and I graduated from West Bend West HS. I spent all, but the last 13 years of my adult life in NE Wisconsin. We moved to NH in ’99 and in 2004 I moved to VA Beach.
            NH is a lot like Eastern Wisconsin, plus some mountains. Being Swiss-German heritage, I liked hiking in NH. Someday I will hike some of the Blue Ridge here.
            My fine romance is a farm boy from Merrill, WI. I found him here at church, and he has been on Navy ships for 36 years and counting.

  3. Victoria Miller says:

    What super troopers you and Joe and Petey are! It cheered me today to see your joyous smiling face at the book signing! It’s quite a hike you folks are taking cross country! Wishing you every joy and the most wonderful time, and it seems like that’s what you’re having!

  4. Barb in MI says:

    Hi Susan, It sounds like your book tour is a great success! Of course, we all knew it would be as you are beloved by all who have come to know you through your books and your blog. My hubby and I are on our own tour of Martha’s Vineyard. We have been so many places that I learned about through your blog. We watched the sunset at Menemsha beach and got lobster bisque at the fish market there – just like you pictured! We had lunch today at the Black Dog Bakery Cafe. We’ve shopped, walked the beach, found lighthouses, and admired so many beautiful homes and cottages…speaking of which, I had my hubby take my picture on the front step of your beautiful home! It was so wonderful to see it in person and crane my neck from the street to see your picket-fence garden! Didn’t want to get arrested for stalking or anything! I wish I had your book along for the picture, but had left it at home for safekeeping. The weather has been great and we are enjoying this lovely island. I can see why you chose to live on this little piece of heaven! Be safe on the rest of your trip and thanks for sharing the pictures as you go.

    • Shelly says:

      Oh wow Barb! My mouth dropped open when I read you stood on Susans steps but then I thought I bet she is used to that and would be happy to know one of the girlfriends stopped by. This made me think of her taking the stick from Norman Rockwells yard. I think maybe Susan and Joe should put sticks from their yard in a basket for visitors…with a marker tied to a string of course so we can “Susan Branch Sticks”. 😉 What a fun trip!!!

      • sbranch says:

        A basket of sticks! LOL I am not sure that would count. Better find a piece of Beach Glass on the Vineyard beaches!

    • Georgie says:

      Barb! Isn’t Susan’s Isle of Dreams simply wonderful! Her blog of things she’s experienced bring the places to life, and when we finally get a chance to do them ourselves we find… it’s really as like she wrote it!

      How I wish we had gotten to Menemsha beach to watch the sunset over a steaming bowl of lobster bisque from the fish market! I’m hoping you took a taste for me 😉 If you can get to The Scottish Bake House, do go! Sweets and sandwiches are mouthwatering delicious.

      Georgie, NJ

    • sbranch says:

      Such a nice time of year to be on the island, Barb! Enjoy!

      • Barb in MI says:

        We just left this morning and it was a wonderful trip! I took so many pictures of the beautiful island and all of Susan’s blogs about places on the island were the best tour guide for us to follow. I think I’m going to have lobster bisque and lobster roll withdrawal! It was a perfect time of year to be on the island.

    • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

      Kind of like your own little trip to Hilltop except Susan rather than Beatrix! “Hilltop West!” 😉

  5. peg says:

    Can’t wait for you to get here to your west coast home!!! Safe travels!
    xoxo peg

  6. Ann says:

    Please, please post a link to your Kansas morning show appearance. We lived there for 5 years (in Leavenworth, town – not prison) and loved it. I just love all the stuff you carry around when you and Joe travel. And how I wish I could be at that lovely tea tomorrow instead of here in 90 degree Maryland. Have fun everyone!

  7. Debs OBrien says:

    Susan~~you are positively glowing with all that Girlfriends Love~~how wonderful and uplifting it must be, to be so graciously and warmly {scorchingly} welcomed each and every place on your tour! Oh! look at Petey smiling up at you so adoringly <3

    I am so thrilled you are able to keep sharing this incredible experience. It is wonderful to see all the Girlfriends flocking to the venues and I'm so happy for all of them.

    Much Ado Books has an offer this weekend, a book bag {books are my bag logo} and I was cheeky enough to ask them if they will kindly put one in my order when my signed copy is mailed {of course, I already have one copy, unsigned, but had to get a signed copy when I found out they were available in the UK} Anyway, they kindly agreed, saying it was a most fitting bag for one of your books! I would so love if they would stock more {nay ~~ ALL ~~ of your books} Hint Hint Hint 😉

    I must try that Iowa Corn Bread, the orange zest sounds like an intruiging addition. I've been filling my freezer today with my own special braised red cabbage recipe. I think it would be just splendid with some of that Iowa Corn Bread on the side to mop up all the juices. ah! Gert is from Iowa! Yay!

    Waving from Across the Pond
    Debs xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      You make my day when you talk about Much Ado Books, Debs … makes me happy to have connected with them and now them with you!! You’ll love that Corn Bread, I have no doubt, especially with that delicious way you intend to eat it!

  8. Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

    So happy that you are both taking a little break today! Just thinking about last night’s book signing makes my heart smile. ♡ Susan, I have always wished we could be “neighbors.” Today we are! You are just five minutes away from Elmhurst! It just makes me smile…
    Can’t wait for the Tea Party tomorrow!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, it was fun! See you tomorrow Dawn!

    • Melissa from Hoffman Estates, IL says:

      I hope you both have fun at the tea party tomorrow! It was wonderful to meet both of you (and Joe…and Jo) at the Downers Grove book signing last night. I told my husband after I got home, “It was so much fun. Everyone was just so HAPPY!”

      Enjoy the rest of your travels, Susan! Loved the van! I think you should have a special horn sound installed in the van (do they do things like that?), if it doesn’t have a cute horn already!


      • sbranch says:

        We thought about the sound the ice cream truck used to make! Or a loud speaker on the roof playing the song A Fine Romance! Great minds think alike!

        • Cindy in South Carolina says:

          Or, my-toe-hurts-Betty! Not continuous, just every once in awhile!

        • Cindy in South Carolina says:

          This is a little story for all the kitty-cat lovers: my black and white girl cat is terrified of large trucks – she slinks up the stairs and hides behind my dresser for hours after one leaves my curb, just to be on the safe side. (We theorize that she was picked up by animal control and associates the sound – I got her from a shelter.) Anyway, she hides from the UPS truck, the cable truck, the ice cream van… One day I brought home some things my sister and had cleaned out from my mom’s house – one of the items was a jewelry box that played tinkly music when the lid was opened and we realized the cat thought it was the ice cream man and she ran up the stairs to hide. Poor baby. 🙂

      • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

        Hi Melissa! It was wonderful to meet you at Anderson’s Bookshop. So glad that you joined the front row Girlfriends that evening! It’s really exciting that you have just discovered Susan’s books. They will touch your life in so many ways! I think I was about your age when I first became enchanted with Susan’s first book, so many years ago! Happy Autumn Days! We are so happy to have a new Girlfriend here!
        Warm hugs,

    • Cathy McC. says:

      Wonderful meeting, you, Dawn, at the Westmoreland signing. Wasn’t it absolutely charming? Look at all the new friends we made in one day! I promise I’ll keep Lucy on the correct retirement road!!! Hugs, Ethel

      • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

        Hi Ethel,
        It was so great to spot you and Lucy at the table near us. I was planning to look for you both… and there you were! Wish we had more time to visit at the Tea Party. You and Lucy will have lots more time for fun adventures now. I know you will have such fun! Happy Autumn Days!!
        Warm hugs,

  9. sondra fox says:

    I know, I know, I read your comment about home & know what you’re feeling about now. You’re loving the excitement of your trip, but there’s a small voice inside you saying how much you love “HOME.” I first felt that feeling of loving home, when I was ten years old & was at a summer camp with jillions (not in the dictionary, but means “lots”) of other kids. I stopped eating, barely slept & wanted to go “HOME.” From that day forward, no matter where we were, Europe, wonderful places in the USA, or walking through Disneyland on a hot, hot day, my mind would wander to “HOME.” HOME was where my pets were, HOME was where my Gram’s good cooking was, HOME was where the woods were, HOME was where the best people in the entire world lived, HOME was where my whole, entire world was the BEST. I’m still the same. A real homebody, that’s me. My friends tell me about their fabulous trips here & there. I’m really happy for them, really I am (my Kathryn Hepburn impression). My husband (deceased as of July 29th) & I enjoyed our motorhome tremendously, but, I’m very content to be at HOME. When we’d return from a long trip, I’d go through our home & say hello to each room, hugging HOME. Having a motorhome made it easy to take our cat & dog (Jack) with us, which made it easier on me, as I hated being away from my pets. Happy Trails to you both. Oh, by the way, my mom had to rescue me from summer camp way back when. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Home is where my paintbrushes are and then of course Jackie and Girl, our walk to the ocean, and where I bake Corn Pudding when the leaves begin to fall. But California is where my mom is and Arizona is where my dad is, and my best friend Diana is in San Luis Obispo. Home is where the heart is! xoxo

      • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

        Sandy, I know exactly what you mean. I know some people are more adventuresome and less connected to “home”, but I’m a homebody and “armchair travel” is the best to me. I do go on trips (and our schnauzers go with us) but it doesn’t take long before I am wishing I was Home… 🙂

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Sondra, I think most women have a strong home instinct, but are you a Cancer [June 22-July 22] by any chance? I’ve felt the same as you – all my life as well. And Cancers are the zodiac’s Homebody Deluxe. It’s just born in us. It’s in the Stars!! ⭐

        • sondra fox says:

          Hi There Janet, No, I’m a Libra, one who always attempts to balance things. But, I’m sure I have a lot in common with other signs, as I have a great love of life & am always busy with all the many things I enjoy in life. Some days aren’t long enough for me. I’m a bit off balance with the passing of my husband, but I’ll make the adjustment I’m sure, always keeping him close to my heart forever, just like our vows were made, some 54 years ago. Thanks for your interest. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Kathy Fletcher says:

      i have to ask- where is Chihuahua Flats? would love to know. I am sorry about your husband’s passing too by the way. Sounds like you and him had a great time traveling in your motorhome. I would love to try that too sometime- and yes- its because i can take the animals along. haha…
      have a wonderful day.
      Kathy in Kentucky

      • sondra fox says:

        Hi There Kathy! Chihuahua Flats was so named because I live on a street with nine houses on it, with families who all care for one another, with one particular family having three Chihuahuas. There’s lots of space between the houses, so if we want to see our neighbors, we can, & if we don’t want to see them that’s OK as well. We all used to get together to have an annual street party each summer. My husband & I were in charge of making the homemade ice cream & my special chocolate cake. One family has always had Chihuahuas, so we all decided to call our street Chihuahua Flats. So, that’s the scoop on that. We live in the northern part of the San Fernando Valley, almost out of Los Angeles, in horse property. We don’t have horses, although many people around us do have horses. We bought our home brand new way back in ’82.
        My husband & I were in Kentucky in 2012. Visited Churchill Downs & enjoyed the history of that place, also enjoyed all the green pastures of Kentucky & the beautiful horses. We love the country music that comes from there as well. Do you play a musical instrument? Seems like lots of folks from Kentucky are just born musicians.

    • Susan (in VA) says:

      Oh, Sandy, I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds as if you have a lot of great memories of shared travels and HOME. Stay strong.

      • sondra fox says:

        Susan, Thanks for your concerns. I’m getting better each day. My husband & I didn’t sit around much. We didn’t waste time on doing nothing. Saw many sites in the USA, some many times over. For all of that I’m grateful. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

      Oh dear, Sandra, you too? I got sooo homesick at my one and only week at camp that my mom had to come and rescue me too. I just missed HOME!

      • sondra fox says:

        Linda, Humiliating isn’t it, being taken home from camp with swollen eyes & a growling stomach? My mom didn’t waste money on camp anymore. Hey, I was trying to save her money, right? (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • I’m away from home right now, for medical treatments for my husband. I miss everything about HOME, but most especially my dogs! I’m counting the days (who am I kidding? I’m counting half days). There’s no place like home…

      • sondra fox says:

        Hi Michelle, Many blessings to you & your husband. May good health abound in your household & may you go home soon to your wonderful HOME. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • carmel says:

      I’m also so sorry about your loss. May peace of heart and sweet, comforting memories abound.

      • sondra fox says:

        Carmel, What a kind message. You’ll be happy to know that I’m doing better each day. I was so blessed to have such a great husband for all of those years. For these blessings, I’m thankful. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Judy from Maine says:

      I know exactly what you mean about summer camp. I went to sleep away Girl Scout camp and was so homesick, the counselers made me blinders so I couldn’t see the birch trees! The trees reminded me of home…and of course the blinders had little pin prick holes so I could see where I was going. So while I really could see the birches…it was such a sweet kind effort on my counselers that I remember it still…some 52 years later…I also remember that feeling of just wanting to be home. I stuck it out in camp all those years ago, but I never got past feeling homesick whenever I have to travel without my family.

      • sondra fox says:

        Judy, When you have a home filled with loving people who care a great deal for you, what’s not to like? No wonder we loved home “then” & “now.” (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • Carol Maurer, formally Eureka, Ca.... now Kennewick, WA says:

      So sorry to hear about your husband!! The memories that you shared will see you through the tough weeks and months ahead.

      • sondra fox says:

        Hi Carol, I really do agree with you on how memories can pull you through the rough times dealing with a loss. I still can’t look at pictures as yet though. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  10. Connie B says:

    The guest towel folds are wonderful…will do that when I have business guests!!! Have a good trip, sweetie!

  11. Lina says:

    What an undertaking this book tour is for someone so obviously a homebody! Just proves how much you love us…and we love you back!

  12. shirley burt says:

    Happy Travels to all of you. Rest and drink plenty of liquids. You look radiant. Tell Joe, he is doing a great job with the photo’s. He is definitely a keeper.
    Love and bunny hugs,

  13. Lori says:

    Dear Susan, It was such a pleasure to meet you and Joe in Grand Rapids! You are so sweet and genuine … everything I could hope for and more. I am reading the book again. I have also scrapbooked my photos from that day (in a Susan Branch scrapbook, but of course.) I still need to pinch myself that it really happened! Thank you Susu Applegate from a starstruck teacher in Indiana. Safe travels and I hope you are enjoying it as much as all the Girlfriends.

    • sbranch says:

      Not too many people know my nickname Lori 🙂 xoxo

      • sandy says:

        I think we will need the story behind Susu Applegate….

        • sbranch says:

          My best friend started calling me that after we watched an old movie starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland called “The Major and the Minor” … such a darling movie. She was “Natasha” (we were 20 and had an apartment together) and I was “Su-Su Applegate.”

  14. Janet [in Rochester] says:

    What I wouldn’t give to be a little bird along on this trip! A little bird with an iPhone so the AFR book tour could be streamed LIVE! Book TV for Girlfriends. Are you listening, C-SPAN? PS-Sue, how do you usually plan your travel route? AAA? GPS? Or the old-fashioned way? Joe + paper maps? Thanks and keep being safe.

    • sbranch says:

      A little bit of map, but these days, a whole lot of GPS. Miracle thing, guides us to each bookstore in every small town, flawlessly.

  15. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Oh, my goodness…don’t quite know what to say about the “formal” towel and wash cloth. Mercy. Maybe bringing everything on your trip includes your own towels, too? An emergency set might not be a bad idea ! 🙂 Anyway, you look happy and radiant! You go, girl…Joe too! Already have the digital version of Yankee magazine downloaded on my excited for the Nov/Dec issue! Hugs

    • sbranch says:

      No no, we didn’t do that! That’s what was in our hotel room! I’m bad, but not that bad! Cute to find! I can’t wait to see YANKEE either, I have NO IDEA what to expect.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        🙂 🙂 🙂 Just read your reply, then went back and re-read my comment! It does sound like I’m thinking that you bundled up little stacks of “formal” towels for your trip…funny!!! What I meant was that the towels in the hotel appeared to be a little, umm, shop worn from the looks of the pic on my iPad…sometimes bringing a towel or two from home is not a bad idea! Beautiful fall afternoon here in south central PA. The farmers market had local Honey Crisp apples yesterday, and today’s lunch was apples and cheddar cheese and crackers. Hope you’ve found some Honey Crisp for the cooler! Also got my stash of Pumpkin Spice coffee from the market and had two cups this morning in my favorite Emma mug. The trip to market was our reward after getting our flu shots!

  16. Doreen Strain (Florida) says:

    Hi Sue, happy to hear you are having so much fun! I’m sooooooo excited for our “girlfriends” Karen & Francine….they have never met each other face to face only online…but tomorrow…they are going to met each other and head on over to the country club for you very special tea party book signing. I’m so excited that not only are they going to get a change to meet you…they are meeting each other for the first time too! I’m sooooo excited. Have fun and know I am with you all in spirit! FOSB 4~Ever! ~ Doreen ~

    • sbranch says:

      And I got to see them together! You should hear the happy voices in the line talking and connecting. It’s quite something — makes my day, although I also wish I could leave the signing table and go get in the line too!

      • Karen P - Wisconsin says:

        It was all very wonderful, Doreen, to hear the chitter-chatter in the line and smiles and happy faces of everyone who was there for the same connecting reason! Wish you could have been there, too! Susan, I love how you have impacted all our lives in the same and so many different ways! I mean, really, to find someone else who collects heart shaped stones….and hangs Autumn leaves in the windows. Kindred spirits and it was really felt at the tea party (and ALL the venues, I’m sure) xo

        • sbranch says:

          Thank goodness for the Internet so we could find all us leaf hangers and stone collectors!

        • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

          People who collect heart shaped stones and leaves…that would be me too!
          Funny how I always thought I was the ONLY one. My sons found my heart shaped beach stones(and wilted dandylions),

          • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

            Ahhh…Kindred Spirits.

            I hope that you are out of the rain belt Susan and Joe. If you see two goofy young men in AZ, tell them Mom says hello. They look like Mutt and Jeff, but they were the Katzenjammer Kids. LOL

  17. Debbie says:

    Here in East-Central IL, I am sending you best wishes as you make your way across Northern IL and into Iowa! I love reading about your travels!

  18. Martha says:

    Hi Susan and Joe,
    Over the years with your books, Willard, your products, and now the fun blog, I want to thank you for so much friendship from afar and enjoyment. I brought A Fine Romance to Maine on a working vacation for my husband but a fun tag-a-long for me and our Westie Katie. Darn… my husband would have a long conference call… so I would grab my book and sit on our porch and feel so so happy enjoying your adventure. I read it in a day and wrote a review on Amazon ~ I had to do something to “sort of ” thank you! Now, with this cross-country trip we fans are treated again to your van trip ~ thank you for that too!
    You are very generous to take the time to write and share your trek with us!
    ❤Safe travels & loads of thanks!!!

    • sbranch says:

      That was a HUGE way to thank me, Martha, although just you liking the book is enough …but it’s that kind of thing that makes people who are unfamiliar with our blog or book curious and want to see what it’s about. So thank you Martha from the bottom of my heart. Glad you are coming along!

  19. Jeanette says:

    Hi Susan!!!!
    It was wonderful to see you in Goshen on Monday evening!!!! We had such fun and I’m still floating through the days, filled with gratitude, inspiration and joy as I chatted with an old friend!!! (yes, you)!!!

    You were so incredibly gracious to each and every one of us; taking time to chat, sign a variety of books and calendars and share your “happy gene” with all of us!!!

    Sending you safe travels and oodles of love!

    P.S. If you remember the name of the pen you used for the book, please let me know. If not, I’ll remind you in November when you’re home! 🙂

      • Jeanette says:

        Thank yoooouuuuuu!!!! I can’t wait to order mine. I’ll share with my friend, Jo who was with me in Goshen!!!
        I hope you can still feel the love from a most glorious evening!! I do believe you can float on a cloud of it all the way out west!!
        Hugs & Love,

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Hi Jeanette, Your visit with Susan in Goshen sounded just perfect! It’s so nice that you were able to drive through beautiful Amish country along the way to the book signing. We are all feeling the exactly the same way… “floating through the days, filled with gratitude, inspiration and joy.” ♡
      What a special start to our Autumn days!

  20. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan,
    I don’t have a bookstore any longer in my area but as soon as I am able to get a copy of A Fine Romance it’s coming aboard QM2 with me in October! It’s going to visit Canada/New England with me and go to one of my favorite places, Quebec City! My mother-in-law was from England, Buckinghamshire County, so we have a love of England in my house. We had 8 kitties and now are down to 4. I found out I’m allergic but I love my babies so I take medication. I love Maine Coon cats and we had one – 25 lbs.! – his name was Murphy and he was 21 years old. A happy, safe journey around this beautiful country to you and Joe!

    • sbranch says:

      I heard there was something harmless your vet can tell you about you can put into your kitty’s food which makes them stop producing whatever it is that makes people allergic to them. You could just ask and see if this is true! Maine Coon cats are amazing! Have a wonderful trip Karen!!

  21. Pam G says:

    I remember my drive across country from San Diego to MD. a few years back-I LOVED it! Enjoy every sight, every minute, every girlfriend, etc. etc. etc. I so hoped my Finger Lakes area of NYS would be on your route but you didn’t have anything going in our state, did you? What a shame on us!

    • sbranch says:

      We really do love it. Gorgeous corn fields, blue skies and cooler temps today across Illinois to Iowa. Just beautiful.

  22. Susan says:

    It looks as if Colorado is not on your itinerary. I’m going to try to get my husband to drive me from Woodland Park to your Wichita signing. Hope, hope, hope to see you there!:-)

    • sbranch says:

      It was, until we sold out of books!!! Shocking set of circumstances we did not plan for! Hope to see you in Wichita!

  23. sandy says:

    hi Susan! I’m so glad and grateful you keep us updated–taking us along on this wonderful tour. Hey, maybe there’s another book here! The corn bread recipe looks so good; I just copied it down and will make for dinner one of these days. And that will be the whole dinner, with the bee butter of course…xox

  24. Valerie says:

    Thanks for taking the time to blog while on the road, Susan! Love it!

  25. Kathy Fletcher says:

    still so bummed that you didn’t get to come down to Kentucky- or that i didn’t get to come up to Ohio to see you….but just wanted to let you know- still love you- and your books and your art- and your blogs and stories- all of it….haha=-)
    Hope your tour goes well- love the van……and if i see you driving down the road- i will wave you down…hahah so i can get pictures…..and to get to meet you too.
    I would absolutely LOVE to be able to come out to San Luis Obispo in November… of these years maybe i will make it. Have safe travels-be careful…..tell Joe he is doing a great job as navigator-conductor and driver….and photographer too……should i add bellboy in there? don’t want to hurt his feelings…..
    hugs, Kathy

  26. carol b. says:

    What a fun memory for all the girlfriends along the way. The girlfriends in WA want a chance at the fun too…any hope you can make a quick trip up here before you head on home?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m afraid, with the books being gone, our window of opportunity got kind of tiny… we will have to go home via the south in November I’m afraid, or run the risk of not getting through the snow! Joe has never been up there, it’s truly on our list to get there as soon as we can!

  27. Susan (in VA) says:

    Thanks so much for taking us along with you on yet another excursion. It’s been fun. I hope we get a link to the television appearance, too.

    I just placed my annual calendar order (3 sizes) to be shipped to my sister. It’s been my present to her for as long as I can remember. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the calendars. I included a book in the order, too–it’ll arrive later after the new batch gets printed up, I guess, but that’s ok since she’s getting the calendars early this year. She’ll still have something to look forward to.

    I plan to order a few more books as gifts, too, so get ready to add some new girlfriends to your list. (And, I know, I should have ordered the gift books when I ordered mine, but that would have required more forethought than I was capable of at the time! 🙂 ) And now I’m thinking I probably need to order a second copy for myself, too–one I can guiltlessly batter up with repeated readings, and one to “save” (my preciousss).

    Can’t wait ’til the next stop down the road. Stay safe!

  28. Judy Dow says:

    Ethel (Cathy) and I had lunch today and went through all of our post- it spots in our books to prepare for tomorrow’s tea and book talk. We feel so lucky to be able to see you in person. Have a good nights sleep. We will see you tomorrow. Love Lucy

    • sbranch says:

      See you then Lucy!

      • Cathy McC. says:

        OOOH — can hardly stand the anticipation of tomorrow’s signing. You certainly have stamina, Susan. I’m hoping my daughter can meet you in Kansas City — she only lives 2 blocks from Rainy Day Books — it is so darn charming — so I hope she can jog over! Judy and I got teary-eyed all over again today as we read the closing pages of your book — pulled at our heartstrings and we just didn’t want it to end. See you tomorrow — I feel like I’m being reunited with a long, lost friend. Hugs, Ethel

    • Gloria Dotzler says:

      Cathy, lucky you to be able to go to the tea party book signing. I’ve had my book for a while now but read it oh so slowly, didn’t want to come to the end. Have fun tomorrow!!! Gloria

      • Cathy McC. says:

        Gloria, it was marvelous! Sure wish you and Sue could have met us there. I was the same as you as I approached the end of the book. Actually cried as I read the last pages — they were so, so meaningful and insightful. And now that I’ve met Susan, I simply have to reread — with a whole new perspective! I know my hearth will feel even more warmth. Wishing you well as fall approaches, friend. (And Sue’s book is soon on its way!)

  29. Joann says:

    It’s like a cruise!!!!!!!!! A tie-towel!!! so different!! I wish I could be in a side car….I’d throw out invitations to your events, like flower girls at a wedding….

    Here comes the Susan….. all dressed in the cutest things……la-da-da-da-……I haven’t come up with the rest of the words yet!!!

    My blog is up with all the wedding pictures…………..and it’s a Fine Romance!!!

    Love you lots…………enjoy that gorgeous country club!!!



  30. susie says:

    Susan, You are having a great time. Joe’s taking good photos:):) I wish I could have met you while you were here in Indiana. Blessings to you, Joe and Petey. xoxo,Susie

  31. Julie (Omaha) says:

    YIPEEEEE!!!! I get to come see you when you’re in Wichita next week!!!
    I’m so exicited!!!
    Do you know I haven’t finished the book yet, even though i got mine in the first shipment?! I don’t want it to end!!! “It” being the experience of seeing
    on paper, in writing, YOUR words of appreciation, awe, and gratitude expressing exactly how i feel! Practically every page could be framed too by the way!!
    That’s also why i love your blog, it makes me reassured that with you and the girlfriends, that there’s this community of us, who appreciate the more “simpler” things such as the sight of wooly lambs in a pasture, a tea pot ready for a gathering of friends, any thing Beatrix Potter, and on and on. That in 2013, there is still a place for these simple, good and wondrous gifts to be acknowledged and appreciated.
    Anyway getting too wordy, just know i appreciate you!!
    AND i’ll see you soon!
    Safe travels!

  32. Jennie says:

    Susan- you are so beautiful! What a great shot of you overflowing with joy- and we get to share it! 🙂

    Speaking of joy- my family and I LOVE your Iowa Cornbread- with the Bee Butter of course! Actually, my youngest tends to have it the other way with a little cornbread on his butter- you understand 😉 We traditionally have that with your Touchdown Chili on the opening football game of the season- and it’s good luck because we had it on Sunday and we won! My men are much obliged to you for the recipe 😉

    Lots of love from my little corner of the country (Vancouver, Wa)

  33. Mary Lou Smith says:

    It was a joy to meet you at Better World Books in Goshen, Indiana. I mailed my cousin’s signed book to her today – boy, will she be surprised. I am still overwhelmed 🙂 Thank you sooooo much for all that you do for us ‘girlfriends’. Traveling mercies for the rest of the journey . Ta, Ta, Cheerio, and all that jazz.

  34. Kathy Korb says:

    How Wonderful and so fun!! The journey and the book! It has been a pleasure to read and learn my way through ‘A Fine Romance’! Absolutely loved the QM2 video and told my hubby what I wanted to do for our next milestone anniversary! He chuckled!! Your work is so inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

    Kathy in WI

  35. I enjoyed looking back with the links you provided….especially of Jack as a kitten! I’m enjoying your trip vicariously through the many Girlfriend Blogs and postings on F.O.S.B. as well as what you’ve posted! It seems you’ve started a precedent of 2+ months of travel with you every year! When and where are we off to next year?? I don’t want to plan any travel until I know what we’re doing with you next year. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I think possibly, the fall, to Scotland. Unless we are tripped out by then! We should start exercising and getting into shape!

      • Weeeeeee……… I can’t wait!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Scotland! Be still my heart. Please do start exercising Susan. Aye, you’ll need to be in shape to do those “bonnie banks.” That would be an amazing trip. Good to see that everything is going well on your trip across the country.

      • Judy from Maine says:

        Scotland …oh my…that is on the tippy top of my husbands and my bucket list…problem is that homesick thing…leaving our doggy daughters…I’m not sure we can. So if you and Joe go…I can sneak along in your suitcase…perfect solution. My husband tells me he has located a ancient castle…parts of which still stand that he can trace his roots to. He has found a picture of what remains but not any information about it. Maybe when we… I mean you and Joe…go we can track it down.

  36. Reneelynn says:

    Could not make it out on Sat. to see you in Grand Rapids but, I stopped at Schuler Books yesterday and they still had some copies of your book. Signed!!!!! I was so happy about that. Started reading it last night and it’s great!!! Today I’m playing with my 2 yr. old grand daughter and tonight will read some more. Hope you have safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      So glad Reneelynn, but sorry to miss you! I’ve been trying to leave a few signed copies where ever we’ve gone … glad you found one!

  37. Suzanne says:

    Hi Susan! This is so exciting, I’m so happy for you! Do you every pinch yourself just to be sure this isn’t all a dream? Well it’s awesome that you are living the dream, it couldn’t happen to anyone nicer, and we are all part of it too! You and Joe are becoming quite the celebrities! I wish I could have made the book signing on the island as I would so love to meet you. Well enjoy the ride Sue, and stay safe driving across the country, we miss you here in MA. ~ East Longmeadow, MA.

    • sbranch says:

      Are you kidding? I’m black and blue! 🙂 We’ll be home sooner than we think, and we’re doing another signing on December 7, again at Titcombs! Maybe then! Thank you Suzanne!

  38. Christine Perica says:

    Fare thee well dear Susan and Joe! Love hearing about all your signings and the travels and photos from the darling van. It is quite fun to think of all the places you are seeing, all the necessities that have to accompany you two and the very fortunate friends who are visiting with you at the book signings. Enjoy! Raising a mug (Emma, of course) of tea to you both!

  39. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Susan, I am loving sharing your adventures on here…It’s the next best thing to being there! Hummm….Your packing looks a lot like mine, Lol!

  40. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    Oh Susan,
    I love you! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry…you can out pack me…you win!!!

  41. Ann Y. says:

    Hello Susan…what a wonderful road trip you are having ! Love it ! But, I didn’t like the “through Pennsylvania” part….so wished one of the bookstores near here would have made plans for you to visit ! Loved the mention of “old friends” and your earlier books. We had a group of “old friends” ( actually, three of my husband’s high school band mates and wives) her for a mini 42nd reunion. Perfect weekend for the screen porch and yard…and I turned to my “old friend” Vineyard Seasons to get the recipe for Stuffed Eggs – they were a huge hit !!! Thank you for ALL your wonderful books – travel safe and have fun !

  42. Nellie says:

    Hi, Susan! I would gladly come along and take care of the laundry for you.:-)

    I baked cornbread today, the southern way – no flour or sugar – how my husband likes it.

    Cute towel presentation. There are lots of clever people out there!:-)

    Tomorrow’s tea party sounds delightful! Can’t wait to see pictures from that one.

    Wish I could have TV reception from Kansas City. I’d certainly tune in then!

    Wishing you safe travels as you continue spreading cheerfulness!

    xo Nellie

    • sbranch says:

      What is your recipe for cornbread? Inquiring minds would like to know! ♥

      • Nellie says:


        This recipe comes from Southern Living from back in the early eighties.

        1/4 cup canola oil
        2 cups plain cornmeal, white or yellow, or both
        1 tsp. salt
        1 tsp. baking soda
        2 eggs, slightly beaten
        2 cups buttermilk

        Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
        Pour oil into iron skillet; heat in oven while proceeding with following.
        Place cornmeal into mixing bowl, add salt and baking soda. Stir to mix. Make well in center. Add eggs and buttermilk and mix, removing any lumps that might be present.
        Remove skillet carefully from oven and pour heated oil into cornbread batter, swirling pan around in order to coat the sides slightly.
        Stir well, add batter to skillet, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

        Happy to share it with you!

        I’ve just checked your progress on Twitter, and I’d certainly like a Butter Burger and onion rings!:-) Enjoy!

        xo Nellie

        • sbranch says:

          That looks delicious Nellie, I can’t wait to be in a place to try it! Thank you so much for sending it.

          Joe could have a bumper sticker on the Fine Romance Van, “We brake for Butter Burgers!”

  43. Lisa says:

    Susan–I was scrolling through your blog and saw the line for The Learned Owl in Hudson. I cannot believe I missed you coming to my town!! I was so disappointed. Hope you had a warm welcome in Hudson and enjoyed the book store; it really is a lovely place to wander and they do great things in town.

  44. Carol Heach says:

    Loving all of ‘the Road’ posts! Wanted to see you at Better World Books, but it was parents night at my daughter’s school. Darn parenting–lol. It’s ok though, feel like I’m part of the tour via your blog. Enjoy and don’t wear yourself out!

  45. Jerri says:

    Which television station?…..When? Monday morning?? I want to watch and I don’t want to miss you!!

    I am driving to Kansas City, from St. Louis, MO on Sunday, to see you at Rainy Day Books, on Monday night, the 16th. It is a dream come true for me to meet you!! I am so excited and really looking forward to it. I have been a huge fan since I found you in the Autumn of 2002. I have the “snail mail ” copies of Willard 8 and 9 in my collection of Newsletters and I have saved all the little hand written notes from you. I absolutely love your book “A Fine Romance”. I keep re-reading it, I love it so much!!

    See you on Monday.


    • sbranch says:

      There’s supposedly a little segment between 8 and 9, and another between 9 and 10. I think it’s on Fox Morning Show (which I’ve never seen so I don’t know the real name of it). I don’t have much info on it yet, sorry!

      Looking forward to meeting you Jerri! Thank you for coming, it’s going to be fun!

  46. Hello, my traveling friend….
    Your happy face says it all! Hitting the road by way of the happy van,
    is agreeing with you:)
    I went to the Events page, andthe photo of you and Georgie is just precious!
    She is a dear….and so is Erin…. and Lori, who we joined at the ice cream shop around the corner after the Bunch of Grapes event.
    So now I have 3 girlfriends I’ve been able to meet in person…
    Oh, and then there’s D’Anne and her momma, Bonnie.
    So what I’m here to say is this…I don’t know how you do it!
    You are the momma, big sister, little sister, grandma hen
    who pulls us all up under your wings and hugs…
    …even from afar.
    When we meet you…we know you know us…and you do….
    Just standing back, in awe,
    and thanking you for being exactly who you are.
    Incredibly, approachably…real.
    Your Christie from Franklin, TN

    • sbranch says:

      You sweetheart. It does feel like going to see old friends xoxo

      • Christie Ray says:

        …and even now…as I scrolled through to find my comment, and saw your sweet reply…I passed twitter girlfriends, that I am able to meet through their photos they’ve taken with you:) You are the common denominator, my dear!
        So it feels like Autumn, here in Franklin, TN, and the pink front door is open…I’ve mopped the old pine floors and swished around the furniture with a lemon pledge filled towel…and Phia has gone to play at Aunt Trish’s house (God bless Aunt Trish) …and I still wear a smile on my face and carry treasured memories in my heart:)
        Thankful for you and your Joe…stay safe …stay rested…stay smiling,
        Christie Ray

  47. marion mack says:

    Dear Susan,
    I’m really excited to see you here in Palo Alto the last part of October!!
    We’re making big plans for the book signing and sale in the back garden-no rain, I hope, although we sure need some!
    I adored the book–brought back so many memories of the gardens in England which were so special. Your descriptions made me want to return to them all!
    Can’t wait for the big event.
    Marion Mack

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Marion! How fun to see you here! I’m so happy you enjoyed the book. Can’t wait to see everyone in Palo Alto, such a good idea for an event. Must check with Elizabeth for the details so I can put it up on the EVENTS page.

  48. Starr miller says:

    Hi Susan,

    I saw you last night – what a thrill for me. You look marvelous and I loved hearing your voice–pretty much what I had imagined. I have been a girl friend for years and years. Your books, travels and blogs have kept my spirits up when my health took a few bumps last year. During the dark days, I would read your blogs about getting up early and drawing and writing–yes–you were an inspiration. I know I am not the only gal out there who looks forward to your photos and humor. Thank you and thank you — may you continue to enjoy your ‘victory ride’ with your loved one, Joe.
    Happy trails-
    Starr from Naperville

  49. Marilyn says:

    loving following along vicariously and wishing Portland, Oregon was on the agenda.

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

    hello Susan, hello girlfriends, sorry I haven’t been on much lately been busy around the place trying to get things settled in for the Fall. have to run over to the grange tomorrow and get my copy of the almanac, I love the Old Farmer’s Almanac, makes for fun reading during the winter months. and although Fall officially arrives sept 22, the way the dry leaves are coming down around here one would think it was Fall already!! been busy trying to keep up with the leaves and raking them up, and trying to get in the watering needed for the yard… its been busy around here. plus I had a little visitor yesterday in the henhouse… a baby possum. he was tangled up in the chicken wire on the wall in the henhouse, poor lil baby and he looked so helpless and adorable. I went across the road and got a firefighter to help me untangle the lil hamburger from the wire, then I put him in a box and put him out in the back area away from the barnyard and the chickens and left him for mama to find, which she did find him. and yes I call him a lil hamburger, he just looked so cute and so sleepy and after he ate a small piece of hamburger I gave him, I just took to calling him a lil hamburger. I know possums are ugly as adults, but boy are they adorable as lil babies. but he is better off with mama and glad that she found him. no visitors today, just squirrels out front chowing down on their food and madly storing food for winter wherever they store it. off for a glass of iced tea and a break and then back to work. have a safe trip Susan, and a great day everyone. hugs…. 🙂

  51. CarolK (The Garden State) says:

    My Gosh! You’re half way across the country all ready! Sounds like you’re having great fun and we’re all so glad we get to go along and share in it. Tell Joe to keep those pictures coming because, don’t you know, we love to see your smiling face too. It’s sweltering back here in NJ. My outdoor thermometer was pointing at 100 and it feels every degree of it outside! Hope you have clear sailing, err driving, all the way to the coast. Hugs and safe travels…….

  52. Linda from Lancaster Co. PA says:

    Dear Susan and Girlfriends,
    I have been following you in your travels even though I have not said much. I’ve been busy with the start of school. Even though I only teach two days, it still demands a lot of time and thought.

    I’m loving all the pictures of the girlfriends. I just wish we all could meet in ONE SPOT–wouldn’t that be a fun, amazing time?? We’d need a whole weekend to see each other and for you to see each of us. But boy, would it be a party.

    I’m trying to be a patient as I can be (operative word being “trying”) for your return trip when you hopefully swing through PA and I get to see you!

    We are having a heat wave here in the East. I hope you are traveling toward fall wherever you may be. One more thing, you look adorable in all of your pictures!!

  53. What a lovely picture of you, Susan!
    Thanks for sharing yourself with America!
    You are so sweet to call it “our book”, in your blog post. What a dear you are!

  54. Wendy Louise says:

    You are glowing ! What a great picture ! We are so lucky to have you in our lives ! You keep going girl there is so much LOVE for YOU ! Sending lots of energy your way. OxoxoxO

  55. Sheryl Baker says:

    I tagged along with you to England, so it’s only fitting and proper that I stow away on this cross-country tour of the good ol’ US of A! That folded towel you pictured reminded me of a motel in Arizona many years ago on one of our first family vacations. There was a little banner stretched across the toilet that read “Sparkling Clean for your Protection!” My oldest son, who was only five or six at that time, thought that was just a wonderful thing. He didn’t want us to remove it. Hmmm, you can envision the problem with that. Well, when we got home, I brought adding machine tape from work and made a replica banner for his bathroom. I think he nominated me for Mother-of-the-Year for that. Safe travels to you, Joe, and Petey! Enjoy our hot heartland!

  56. Rosinda says:

    Hello dear Sue! I am happy to learn that you, Joe and Petey are doing well. I am still in a state of disbelief after having met you in Grand Rapids this past weekend. Meeting you was a wish come true for me. And Joe! Oh, boy! I had no idea he was such a sweetheart! Nuno and my girls were so taken by him as well. It certainly wouldn’t be a Fine Romance without Joe! How fun to see our picture on your events page…thank you so much for posting it! Continued safe and happy travels through the United States. I am having so much “following” you along! Love you! xo

    • sbranch says:

      No, it sure wouldn’t be a fine romance without Joe! Thank you Rosinda. Hello to Nuno with the sparkling eyes and your two beautiful girls!

  57. Mary says:

    I couldn’t believe it when I opened your blog tonight and saw the Iowa cornbread recipe. I made it for dinner tonight for the first time, having recorded it some months ago when you published it on your blog. It was delicious! We will have it again soon! Have fun on your cross country travels. We have lived in MN, WI, TX, IL, KS, HI, CA, UT and now NC! I hope you get to see all of those states!

    • sbranch says:

      We just had a River Boat sighting! Driving along, heading for Iowa, maybe crossing a big river soon. We’ve actually been in all those states at different times — you have lived in some very beautiful places!

  58. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    oh Patty! look at you! you and your family made the Events page!!! 🙂

  59. Mindy says:

    Will you do a book signing in arizona?

  60. Michele says:

    Susan, looks like so much fun!

    TOTALLY UNDERSTAND the packing everything, ‘thing’! I always pack way too much :0)

    We were so hoping to see you at the tea tomorrow, but it doesn’t look like it will work out :0( So sad. BUT, will send out a letter for you, (when you get home ;0) of all the things I wanted to tell you when I ‘met’ you.

    Hope all of you have a blast tomorrow! :0)

  61. Tracy Jones says:

    Dear Sue,
    I am so happy that your trip is going well! I was not able to make the Cape visit but am enjoying your book, only reading a few pages at a time. I don’t want to miss a thing! Safe travels and have fun!

  62. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Susan … my daughter, Sarah, and I were thrilled to meet you at Anderson’s last night. It was great fun and you are such a interesting person. As thrilled as we were with you … we were just as thrilled at meeting Joe, seeing the van, and taking lots of pictures of Joe, ourselves, and the van 🙂 Have a safe and comfortable trip 🙂 Can hardly wait for you future books

  63. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    You look like you are having a great time Susan! Thank you to Joe for taking photos so we can share in the fun. You really see and experience a lot more driving through the country instead of flying. Are you seeing any signs of Fall anywhere?
    That cute Petey looks like he is charming the ladies!
    Have fun!

    • sbranch says:

      Not a lot of fall yet, although we woke up this morning to much lower temps in Chicago, but now,going south, the temperature has risen a bit. Clear blue day along what we think might be the Mississippi River. Fun to type that word!

  64. Jean Shaffer says:

    How exciting that you are crossing America and meeting so many friends-you must be running on adrenalin. Thanks for all the updates on your book signing events, it is fun hearing of so many like minded sisters! Thank you, Susan (and Joe).

  65. Laura says:

    I had such a fun time meeting you last night. Wishing you safe travels and some well deserved rest.


  66. Stephanie says:

    My mom, Nancy, sister, Nicole and Baby girl, Celeste are thrilled to be making the trip from Eau Claire, WI, to Wilmette tomorrow to meet you and Joe! Safe travels to all and hooray for a girls day out! We are loving this trip across the country sandwiched between the teapot and slippers in the Fine Romance van!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m honored you would do that, makes my day! I think it’s going to be a wonderful afternoon!

      • Stephanie says:

        Hello, Susan! We had the most wonderful time meeting you at Westmoreland! Thank you for giving your talk-it was truly a pleasure to hear you speak about your trip to England, writing, inspiration and the Heart of your Home on Martha’s Vineyard. You bring joy to so many! We all thought “gracious” was the perfect word to describe you!

  67. Thank you for keeping us posted. Love all the photos Joe, keep up the great work. It is fun to see all the Girlfriends and Susan. 🙂

    xx oo

  68. carmel says:

    I admit to feeling sad (self-pity, I’m sure!) when I read about all the excitement and great anticipation of those girlfriends that can attend a book signing. However, I’m also really enjoying this wondrous ride and happy to be onboard via this blog. Living vicariously! So wishing everyone fun and friendship. And Sue, all the very best for continued success and joy! Joe too!

  69. Marybeth Ferrie says:

    Dear Susan,
    Just wanted to thank you for giving us something happy to think about today and let you know that we are praying for you and Joe on your journey. I must tell you though that the weather on the Cape was especially fine today and that we spent the afternoon on the beach in Dennis and it felt like being on an island somewhere…we are so blessed!!
    Anyway…Cape and Islands await your return for a gorgeous Fall/Thanksgiving season! xoxo Marybeth, Sinead and the other four clan members

  70. Christine says:

    Looking forward to when you are in California!! November is such a long way away! see you then. Love the road trip!

  71. Sandy says:

    Well, I didn’t find you until recently, but I’ve done my best to “catch up” with you and your blog. I’ve gone back and read every blog post and all of the headers on your blog. My legs are numb. Must remind myself to get up and walk around more often. And to top it all off, my copy of your signed book came in the mail today!! I’m in heaven. Hope you have a wonderful time tomorrow and only wish you would stop by South Carolina on your way home!!! Would love to hug your neck. You’ve put a spark back in my life that I was afraid would never come back. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I actually look forward to waking up in the mornings, thanks to you. Be safe and have a grand time on your journey.

  72. Francine Werlinger says:

    Hi Susan! I will see you in Wilmette tomorrow!!!! And I’m coming with a woman I have never met! I met her on Facebook! Actually she was a friend of a friend (who I’ve never met either), but we are all your fans! She was kind enough to ask if I’d Like to met her at a park and ride and go to the tea with her! We’re both very excited!

  73. Jane F. says:

    Love this photo of you, Susan! Looks just like one I saw in one of your blogs of you when you were about 5 years old! Full of joyful life! It’s a “Breezin’ Along with the Breeze” kind of smile!! Sharing all the adventures is such fun, and with Gene recuperating from his broken arm, it is like being on a little vacation every day!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Tell him I’m thinking about him! Get well soon!

      • Jane F. says:

        I will! And thank you! Your concern is so very much appreciated; with all you have to do you would remember him!! xoxo

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        Jane is spot on!! The look on your face in the first photo of this posting is the EXACT SAME expression as in the photo from this year’s Mother’s Day post – the one with 2 of your little brothers and your uncle in matching outfits – exactly the same! Happy Gene is right!!

  74. Cindy says:

    What a gift you are, Susan Branch! To us and to the world! Just lovely. Absolutely lovely! Can’t wait to order your tea! *squealing with glee* 🙂

  75. Debbie P ~ Weedsport, NY says:

    Hi, Sue~
    Just popping in to say Hi and to wish you and Joe well. You’re making a lot of people so happy as you stop to meet and spend time with us. Wish I could teleport myself to wherever you are now and prepare you a good, home-cooked meal and fluff your pillows while you put your feet up. Ahhh, the comforts of home…but you’ll be “home” soon…to see your Mom and your Dad and hopefully, to catch your breath before you start back east.
    I’m loving the updates and the photos…there are so many on the FOSB site…just great! Good luck with the tv spot…I expect there’ll be more in your future.
    Well, that’s all for now….sending you a big hug full of energy and good wishes!

  76. Cathy of Golden, CO says:

    I’m so disappointed you won’t be coming to Colorado BUT I’m so thrilled for you that you get a 3rd printing of your fabulous book AND you get to see your Daddy. We are leaving for 3 weeks Oct. 1st to visit family in NY city area. I’m homesick already and I haven’t even packed! I’m thinking of decorating for Halloween next week so Halloween will be ready and waiting for me when I get home! I want to travel BUT I want to stay home too! What’s a girl to do?
    I love seeing all the pictures of you and the girlfriends. Looks like great FUN!

  77. Danella on the West Coast says:

    Dear Susan, Just a note to add my wishes for your safe travels and to thank you for taking us along with you. Wonderful photos from Joe too! Such eloquent comments from all the girlfriends! They are so much fun to read. Enjoy your trip and know that you will be home again before too long.

  78. M J Smith says:

    Looks like so much fun! I really hope you make it to Northern California!!! Would love to see you!!!

  79. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan. I was so excited to finally see Strawberry Patches listed in your Coming Events page. And to think that all it took was “a bug in her ear”. Suzanne’s ear, that is. I know you two have really worked at making this stop possible and I couldn’t be more delighted! I just know it will be one of your favorite events. 🙂
    I am enjoying your trip so much. Thank you for sharing.

    Happy Travels!
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it already is one of my favorites! See you there!

      • Suzanne says:

        That’s so sweet of you Susan. Thank you. Thank you too to Nancy who suggested it. My first thought was no way, she wouldn’t want to come to a quilt shop, but after talking with you I knew it was right and we are busy making “things” to make it special. I can’t wait for our girlfriends party and since you posted it on your Events page the phone has been ringing off the hook for information. One girlfriend is coming all the way from Sacramento! Be prepared for craziness. We’re going to just welcome anyone who wants to come – no tickets, no charge. Just one big girlfriend party to welcome our lovely girlfriend and her honey.

  80. Holly says:

    Hello! It looks like you’re having a blast as you cruise across the country! Have you ever had so much excitement for one of your books/tours before? You’re going to be on TV tomorrow!! So fun! The best part for us (girlfriends) is that you’ve taken us on a wonderful ride for the last year & a half, so Thank You!!
    I do hope you’ve scheduled in a rest day once in awhile, and sleeping in too. Be Safe!

  81. Laure says:

    Susan, I shared your fabulous grassroots digital promotion efforts for “A Fine Romance” at work today as an example of someone who is taking marketing communications to the next level using social media — an example that the company I work for, Intuit, Inc., can use as inspiration!
    Everyone loved hearing about you, your Amazon-ranking-Rick Steve’s crushing-#1 Best Seller, General Great Britain Travel Guides book (which I brought for show and tell!), and your dedication to tweeting, blogging, you-tubing, and facebooking to keep us girlfriends informed along your book tour! I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more books flew off the shelves! Wahooooooo!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s all been sort of an accident, I was just loving the connection with people I feel like I’ve “known” for years, but look at what’s happening because of the love we all share! It’s AMAZING, making me giggle out loud at each new thrilling development! Now our FINE ROMANCE VAN is in demand, and having it’s television debut next Monday on a Kansas City local TV morning show! Isn’t that amazing? It means that no one really has to wait for corporate to recognize them anymore! The playing field has leveled! At least a little bit. I always feel if I can do something, pretty much anyone can!

      • Laure says:

        I love it and that’s why I wanted to share it with my co-workers! So inspiring!

      • Julia says:

        This just proves that when you do things for the right
        reasons – it turns out PERFECT! You’ve been so
        generous with your time by keeping the blog going and
        making so many people happy, especially ones who don’t
        get out much. It is something to look forward to.

  82. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow, the beat goes on and you look so happy and relaxed in the photo at the book signing! What a trip you and Joe are having and what a ride in the back seat I am having amidst the bags of necessities! There is always a peek spot at the window so all is good. I had forgotten about your Iowa Cornbread and bee butter. Next weekend is a home game and we are having some guys my husband grew up with here. Me thinks that cornbread recipe is going to be just perfect along with our favorite Virginia Brunswick Stew! We were all raised in Virginia where Brunswick Stew reigns at all the local fall festivals and the state fair.

    Thanks for checking in with all of the stories and photos. It is such fun reading all of the comments and following along the journey in the van!

    Westward Ho!

    • Julia says:

      I’m having a supper club dinner at my house the end of Sept. and
      would love to know what is different about VA Brunswick Stew.
      My menu is going to be BBQ, buns, Brun. St., cole slaw, etc. Also,
      we’ll be having Susan’s Skip and G N !!! I’m going to place a note
      in front of the pitcher: Skip and Go Naked, it is the name of the
      drink – not a suggestion! Sometimes you have to spell it out!

  83. Karen P - Wisconsin says:

    Susan, do you remember a couple years ago when those young girls wrote you? They had a girls’ club and they were big fans of yours. I think of them often because they reminded me so much of myself when I was young and you were so sweet to them. Have you gotten to meet them? I don’t remember where they were from?

  84. Shawnee in Naples~ says:

    Thank you so very much for bringing us all along on your travels. It is so much fun so see where you’ve been, and where you are going. I was fortunate enough to meet you in Meredith, NH! I hope when you get on the Morning News, that you can get a link for us to all watch the spot. Safe travels to you…..

    Shawnee <3

  85. Cecelia says:

    Susan, you are so cute. I love that pic of you. Sounds like a good time, thanks for doing this for us–all the driving and staying in hotels, eating out, signing books, talking to us, meeting new friends. You have an envious job but, I’m sure glad you’re doing it. Can’t wait to see more…

  86. Janice says:

    I am enjoying your travels…quite an adventure you are having. I wish I could be at one of your book signings; it would be such fun to meet you in person. Meanwhile, happy trails to you.

  87. Gail says:

    Hi Sue!
    Just a quick note to let you know how much I enjoyed “A Fine Romance”. I laughed so much and cried a little. What an absolutely beautiful book. I really felt as though I was on the trip with you. I didn’t want it to be over!!

    Thank you for always inspiring!!!

  88. Linda g says:

    Loved loved loved your book. Knew I would!!! My husband is reading it now and we are planning our own crossing in 5 years! But first practice run to Martha’s Vineyard next year Roadtrip to somewhere we have never been. (He just retired)
    What’s the best time of year to travel there. We will be excited to meet you in San Luis. Cannot wait !!!!! Stay safe and thank you for all the inspiration!

    • Linda g says:

      Ps. Because of you I was inspired to enter some photos I took of my kitty in the Santa Cruz Count Fair. Guess what bin won first place!!!meowza. Kitty got extra treats ! You are my inspiration!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Try either early June for Martha’s Vineyard, or anytime in September or first of October, but definitely after labor day weekend. How exciting. Five years is a wonderful amount of time to prepare and look forward!

  89. Vickie in Olympia says:

    You say you brought everything in the van and then show us a cornbread recipe. Is there a stove in there, too?!! or are you baking on top the engine? LOL So glad you are enjoying this adventure as much as the girlfriends are.
    You look gorgeous and happy.

  90. Jack says:

    Well my Dear ! To be singled out as an example of enterpenurial expertise in using current
    social technicalities for Personal Marketing by no less a representative of a 4,15 Billion
    Dollar Company such as The Intuit Corp, with over 8000 employees–is no small potatoes either — Congratulations ! Dad

  91. Marva says:

    Looking forward to seeing you on the morning new in Kansas City as well as the book signing on Monday night. It looks like you are having a grand time on your book tour and I hope that Kansas City treats you well.

  92. nancy says:

    Susan & Joe…..thank you for sharing your cross-country trip with us….I am enjoying it almost as much as being there. I have to admit that I put my book aside when it came….sort of savoring the anticipation….well, when I did open it and start reading I found I cannot put it down without regret! This is the most entertaining and informative book! I love the “asides” and antedotes…turning the book this way and that to be sure to read every pen stroke. I know that I will immediately read it again once I reach the end….which I really don’t want to happen anytime soon! 😉

  93. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    It is very fun traveling along on your book tour – or should I say Rock Star tour?! Little did Joe know that when he became “smitten” with that cute girl at the oyster bar on MV that she would make him famous.;) So happy you are heading out to see your wonderful Dad. I am headed to Phoenix next week to meet our new grandson!!! It’s also hard for me to leave home, especially since I leave my dear husband’s care to a family friend who is a caregiver, and my kitty’s care to my son, and I’m also not fond of flying – but all of that said, the heart magnets, as you call them, of my beautiful daughter, her adorable hubby, and the two perfect grandchildren are calling to me. Baby Jake is 3 weeks old, and he needs to meet his Grammy. I have all kinds of secrets to whisper in his sweet ear.;) Meanwhile, practicing my lullaby singing. Happy travels!

  94. Barb from Ohio says:

    I love seeing the pictures from each new book signing so keep them coming. I can see where you are getting a bit homesick but are meeting wonderful people at each signing and getting to see America as you cross the country. Home will be all the more welcome to you when you finally come back in November. Glad you are enjoying yourself so much, but must be fun, if tiring moving to a new hotel, packing and unpacking every other day. Hope you are both getting plenty of rest when you can. Safe travels and thanks for continuing to take all of us along for the ride!

  95. Toni says:

    Hi Susan and Joe…what FUN we had on Monday night in Goshen IN:-)) It was so KIND of you to take time with EACH one of us. We sure didn’t feel rushed at all. So sweet of you…I was in my LA dress(if you know what I mean:-)) It would be great if anyone has their old LA dresses, etc, and would wear them again. It’s so great to feel truly feminine. My husband Jim enjoyed talking with Joe. Must be hard for him with not many ‘men folk’ around.
    Take care…sending sweet thoughts and dreams to you . God’s speed, Toni and Jim

    • sbranch says:

      You looked adorable in your Laura Ashley dress and pearls. Thank you, it was wonderful to see it! We get a good sprinkling of men folk at the signings. He’s not too alone, plus the women folk really like him too! 🙂 Lovely meeting you and Jim!

  96. Michele Perkins says:

    Hi Susan!

    What fun to read your latest update on your travels across the United States!Sounds like everything is going along smoothly and everyone is delighted to meet you (and Joe).
    Back in New England, we encountered severe thunderstorms last night and lost our power for over 30 hours! This morning while waiting for the power to return, I reread several old magazines including The Country Living Gardener from June, 1997. Guess who was featured in that issue? It was fun to read about you and your kitchen garden again and see all the lovely photos. What is interesting is that when Gray and I owned our country store, I used sell your greeting cards and have several of your “kitchen garden” card along with others that I have kept because I loved them so much. Only special people receive one! Your small “kitchen stove” gift tag I used several years ago when I gave my mother a new stove! She kept that card and I found it hidden in her box of special mementos after she passed away!! Even my mother in her 90’s was a fan of yours!!
    Happy Travels and stay safe.
    Michele in Vermont

  97. LindaH (northern IN) says:

    Hi Susan,

    I met you & Joe at your Goshen signing, and thoroughly enjoyed the event! You are as gracious and warm in person as I expected. It was such an amazing time with many lovely women (and a few men!). How do you keep up your stamina for all the traveling? I guess your exercise routine and healthy eating must help alot! Thanks for coming our way, and hope you’re able to again in the future some day,


  98. Irene Talaasen says:

    Hi Susan,
    You are so dear to take us along on your travels 🙂 So disappointed that you won’t be in Colorado…….yet, anyway. Maybe with the second or third printing!! Love seeing the pictures Joe is taking and your warm and welcoming smile. Your book is awesome and glad so very many are getting it and getting to see you!!
    Be safe! Loved the valet rack with all your stuff; it is so familiar when I think of our travels. Blessings and love as you travel in the Fine Romance Van.

    • sbranch says:

      We’re disappointed too, Irene. We really had it all planned, but forgot the little detail of running out of books!

  99. Debra Gibbs says:

    Hi Susan…every week I check your Events to see if any new places have been added. I live in Orange County, CA, and my friend and I are so hoping you’ll be in the area before you head back east. At one point she thought she saw where you were going to be at Vromans Bookstore in Pasadena, but when I looked on their site I didn’t see it. Needless to say, we are groupies and so hope we get to see you! I saw where you are going to be visiting your Dad and waiting for more books….enjoy your break!

  100. Julia says:

    I have a question for Joe? Do you feel a little bit like
    Colonel Tom Parker? of Elvis fame! Just kidding -you
    are a star too!

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