In Celebration of Home

We’re on our way hme darling Girls . . . and pour vous: MUSICA

In celebration of Home Sweet Home, I’m thinking of all of you cozy in your homes, playing your music, cooking with old movies on TV, planning your Thanksgiving menus, thinking about company, plotting secrets and gifts, counting our many blessings. Aren’t we lucky!

The very long approach . . .

We’re on our way!  We’re in Albuquerque now making our way home to Massachusetts the slow way across this beautiful country.  It’s good we have a light hand on the reins because there’s lots of this on our roads  . . . trucks going 63 mph passing trucks going 62.  La de da, la de da, :-).  My patient guardian angel is still asleep ~ I’m in a good mood this morning, so I thought I’d count my blessings out loud while giving you a few of our views.

The most we drive in a day is about five hours, the clouds and scenery fly by with MUSICA playing and at least two stops for walking around and eating something, so we are not worn out at all and we get lots of sleep in cozy hotels with comforters, refrigerators and microwaves (We love Hampton Inns and they are everywhere).

I’m reading this oddly interesting book called Snobs written by the same man (Julian Fellowes) who writes Downton Abbey. The book was hard to get into, a little bit boring in the beginning, about the British upper class (as he sees them) even inspiring a couple of eye rolls, because really, what is more boring than snobs and this book is loaded with them.  I keep thinking that these characters have too much time on their hands.  But Joe read it and liked it so I’ve kept on.  It has recently taken a turn for the more interesting so now I’m excited to go to the Fitness Room this morning and climb on the bike and read for forty-five minutes.  So blessed to get to do this!

There are hay trucks on the road, affording us lots of extra chances to make wishes. Do you make wishes on hay trucks?  I don’t know where I learned it, but I always have.  Every morning, in our cozy room, I make Earl Grey and Lavender Rose Petal tea in the tea kettle we brought along, and then I bite into a large organic Honeycrisp apple, so juicy there are drips wanting to fall on my chin but I am careful to grab them before they get loose.  Waste not, want not. 

Wherever you are, we’ve been sharing your moon.

Our GPS decided this was a good shortcut, and took us up this curvy road over the top of a rocky mountain in Arizona, but look, what is wrong with this picture?  If I lived in that house, every time I came home I would take notice of that top rock up there.  I’m sure it’s secure.  But still.  Boom!

We’ve had sunrises and sunsets, palm trees, oceans and deserts . . . last night we settled into our room, we didn’t want to go out, so we cooked in.  We made organic iceberg wedge salads with chunks of Swiss cheese, broccoli slaw, and creamy blue cheese dressing and mugs of hot tomato soup and ate it in bed (I brought my red flannel jammies) with our books.  Because outside it was like this . . . . Brrrrr . . .

But we didn’t care.  Coming into Albuquerque it was downpours and threats of snow and the wind howled all night.  The sky is still stormy this morning but not raining or snowing and we’re waking up eating apples, drinking tea with honey and half and half in sweaters and socks and counting our blessings.  Tonight we have a book signing here at Bookworks and I get to go meet some of our Southwestern Girlfriends!  Tomorrow we are off to Oklahoma City where we’ll be at Full Circle Books and after that, we hightail it HME!  We won’t be home for Thanksgiving, but you know how much we love serendipity so don’t worry about us.  We’re grateful for the opportunity.  Life is like a box of chocolates!  If you are an East Coast Girlfriend, we have two more signings coming up in December . . . check out our Itinerary HERE.  Now off to the gym!

I’ll leave you with this . . .

I found this good photo on Twitter this morning . . . .  Reminds me that it’s almost Small Business SaturdayBe an Elf  Girlfriends and make your little hmetowns sing with your attention (and you don’t have to wait until Saturday!).  Wear something cute, smile and bring sunshine into those little stores we wouldn’t want to live without.

Love you! Love having you with us!  XOXO Happy day!

P.S. When we stopped at my Mom’s on our way out of California, Mini Jack met my Mom’s “baby” Simon and they very nicely posed for this photo . . . ♥  

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277 Responses to In Celebration of Home

  1. I’m glad to see that baby Simon has a bear in his pocket to distract him for when Jack was whisked away. You know how babies can be when they don’t get what they want. Can’t wait for you to be home and it’s so close I can almost taste it. Happy trails sweet Sue, Joe, Petey and Mini Jack.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, that baby Simon had to deal with loss way too young in his little life! Because Mini Jack really did not wish to stay there! Thank you Suzanne, I LOVE having you here!

  2. Debs OBrien says:

    Lovely surprise to see an entry today. Safe passage as you cross that great, big, beautiful country, dear Susan and Joe! The East Coast is waiting, and so are Girlfriends at bookstores across your path~~~

    Thank you for sharing some of the history of your home, and I have loved reading this today, as the sun sets here on the west coast of Wales, soon it will be over your east coast home, and quickly on it’s way to you, somewhere in the middle of America, as you keep adding your story to the history of your home.

    Waving from Across The Pond in Wales

  3. Julie Marie says:

    HELLO Susan!!!… oooh, I wish I was in Albuquerque!… my daddy’s side of the family is all from New Mexico and I have tons of relatives there still… my sister and her family are going to Albuquerque over Thanksgiving to spend it with her mother in law… sooo sad it is a week too late for your book signing!… I love New Mexico!… I am sure you and Joe and Petey and Mini Jack are all sooo looking forward to getting back home… today, my 2013 ornament and my Come Sit Stay tea towel just arrived!… and your little “elfs” at your studio tucked in a darling “Be An Elf” bookmark for me… Merci!!!… darling Suzanne from Strawberry Patch and I are now “girlfriends” too and I just ordered some things from her absolutely fabulous Quilt shop to make… I love how YOU put us all in touch!… safe travels to you as you make your way back to Martha’s Vineyard… it will be so good to be back “home” on the island again… I can NOT wait to see what Jack and Girl Kitty do!… much love, xoxoxoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      Ahhh the remarkable Internet! How very lucky we are! Love hearing from you Julie Marie!!

    • I loved, loved LOVED our chat yesterday Julie Marie. My mom always said, “You can tell a mans character by the company he keeps” and Susan’s Girlfriends are simply THE BEST! Looked for extra tiny macaron boxes to tuck into your package this morning but sadly there were none. Your wool felt and ribbon etc are on their way. Have a wonderful tea with your family. xoxo

      • Julie Marie says:

        Thanks so much Suzanne… I was able to order some little boxes from the link you posted… Dear Susan… I am so excited for you to get back home… I was just thinking… wouldn’t it be fun if ALL the girlfriends were waiting for you and Joe at your home on the Vineyard when you arrive back home from your trip???… a BIG welcome home party???… oooh… what do you think about that Susan???… dibs on the Peter Rabbit Room!… tee hee hee!… love you!… xoxoxo Julie Marie

    • Diana - Highland, IL says:

      Oh I am soooo jealous you got one of the ornaments.. am still holding out hope some more come in!!! Sounds like you got a lot of goodies!!! ENJOY!!!

      • Julie Marie says:

        Hi Diana… Susan’s ornaments are sooo beautiful!… I do hope she gets more so you can get one… it’s my favorite!… I hung it on my “treasure board” (some people call them inspiration boards) in my bedroom right next to my mini calendar of Susans… that way, I get to look at it whenever I am at my desk, which is alot!… I plan on leaving it there year round always!… and the tea towel is every bit as beautiful as it looks in her shop!… my early Christmas presents to myself!… xoxo Julie Marie

  4. Becky says:

    You will be in Oklahoma City! Full Circle Bookstore is lovely. I live in Ada, about an hour and a half or so south of there. I hope the weather holds out for you! Welcome to the Sooner State! Becky

  5. Pat Stansel says:

    Good to see you making progress toward home . Love how you bring a touch of home with you. I’m going to get the “snobs” book your reading—–one of my favorite things is the British Arts, in any form , literature, plays, TV sit coms —— Can’t believe the stamina that you & Joe have. The guarding Angels traveling with you must be a big part of it !!

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds like you’d find this book interesting, Pat. It’s a bit more cynical than I like to admit the world might be, but interesting too, and after all, it’s just a novel.

      • Tawni urrutia says:

        This past year I was laid up for NINE months due to failed bunion surgery. I watched every British tv series netflix had to offer. One of them was a series called Monarch of the Glen. A really cute show, and Julian Fellowes plays a vain goofball of a wealthy Scotsman. Fast forward a few months after watching that show, my husband and I are watching Angela Landsbury hosting a Downton Abbey special and she introduces the writter of the show…and we fall off the sofa…that GOOFBALL, Kilwillie, is the writter of Downton Abbey?!!! We laughed about it for days!

  6. Lani nelson says:

    Wonderful to hear from you. I too love my cozy home. I have been lamenting about the trim our Birch trees in the front of our home had yesterday. I know- it had to be done. But Oh…..
    Yes- they will grow and our home has more light. They will sway again in the Spring and make that wonderful sound again.
    My husband and I because of time constraints have traveled by plane to my daughter’s family in North Carolina ( We live on the coast of northern California).
    Now with my retirement from teaching we can drive. See (this is painful to say)
    I traded my 1992 Volvo sedan for a Prius. We are looking forward to a cross country trip. You are an inspiration. Hampton Inns. Got it.
    Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      I understand. Once I saw my ex-husband carve a huge branch off my favorite tree. He couldn’t hear me scream over the noise of the chain saw! I’m better about it now. I have a 1982 Volvo that no matter how irritating the rolling up of the windows sometimes is, I cannot let the old girl go. She has been too good to us. And we only have to fill her up maybe once a month for all the non-driving we do on the island. Happy retirement Lani!

      • Diane from Poulsbo says:

        I feel I must chime in on this conversation…..and tell my sad tale of when my husband sold our old, but very beloved, Volvo to one of his uncles….and gave the money to his mother…and did not tell me until AFTER the fact, and in front of his mom. We are still married..ha ha…but I still don’t understand and long for my “Old Reliable”. It was in the early years of marriage. May I suggest to all of the girlfriends with a Volvo ….keep them if possible! Lol. Happy Retirement!! You will have so much fun driving! 🙂

        • Mary in Phoenix says:

          I had a Volvo station wagon before I had kids! Loved that car! It was part of the family. Now my 21 y/o son talks about wanting one! So wish we still had it. “Old reliable” is right 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Mine has never seen the inside of a garage (I mean at home), and has lived on MV since 1982 and starts right up even after I’ve been gone for three months!!! It’s a miracle car!

  7. Shana says:

    Yay, Susan! I am so excited you are coming to OKC! I wrote Full Circle Bookstore and asked them to try to get you in the spring. It’s a sweet, cozy bookstore that has been around for a long time. I hope you have a great trip!
    I have already finished reading your book – L.O.V.E. – from the pre-order in the spring. It was so sweet of you to take us with you on your trip. I would love to see you! I have many of the old Willards and love reading your posts.
    If you want any restaurant recommendations or anything, I would be glad to make suggestions. Hope you have a great trip!

  8. Lori from Maine says:

    Hi Sue & Joe ~ Don’t we live in a beautiful country? Hubby and I dream about someday driving to Key West in a van, then heading to who-knows-where. There are so many things we’d like to see and do. One thing though, I would miss my little house. It’s old, creaky, projects not quite finished, but it’s ours and I love it. Have a wonderful trip home and don’t forget to take those side roads…you never know where they’ll lead!!

    xoxo from SW Hbr.

  9. Jane F. says:

    So exciting, Susan! You are getting nearer and nearer!!! Been on those roads! What great memories. I was concerned about snow (you just can’t let Weather Channel define your day! They have to make a living!! :-). Then I stepped out this morning and breathed the COLD, FRESH air, and thought. . .oh, who cares!!! This is wake up weather! And a great adventure!!! So looking forward to OKC! Just 3 days. Can’t believe it! Must run and get some things done!! See you soon!! xoxo

    • Debs OBrien says:

      So excited for you Jane! Safe journey to OKC, and, oh, have the most wonderful wonderful time seeing Susan! {I know you will} I am so looking forward to hearing all about it.

      Waving from Across The Pond! xoxo

  10. Cyndee Randall says:

    What a perfect Susan Branch Day! A new post from you AND Hunca Munca arrived today from your studio in California. I have wanted her for ages and have dragged my feet. Seems so silly. She had a short visit in the doll’s house, Posed with “her” (Beatrix Potter) book, and now overlooks the kitchen from the window over the sink. Happy to read you are headed home. Prayers for safety.

    • sbranch says:

      You got Hunca Munca Cyndee! That makes me so happy! 🙂

      • Cyndee Randall says:

        It has always been my favorite of the Beatrix Potter books. book. I love doll houses and have three. One just really needed her. She will be treasured!

        • Lori says:

          What a sweet surprise when I read your blog this am. That road with the boulders in AZ is Black Mountain, which is right across from a resort called The Boulders….I used to live on the other corner and Black Mountain was my view. I hope you turned left because just up the street is the English Rose Tea Room. We are headed west soon – driving to AZ. When you get home I hope you run into my friend Trudy who is spending the winter on the island. She would love to meet you in person. I got that treat in Minnesota when I handed you a journal at the WWC convention. Safe travels.

  11. Oh Goodie a new post. Love the chalkboard, big smile. Yes books are the best. I always have used ones on order, I like the used ones. Today ” The Enchanted April” came. I know you like that one. Anyeeeeeway, love you post, can’t wait for you to get home.
    Nancy Jo

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

    good morning Susan, good morning girlfriends. oh its been busy around here with yard work and leaf raking, and then the wind blows it all over the place and I have to get back out there and do it all again. we now finishing up the Thanksgiving shopping, have my turkey ordered, have most of the items I need for the feast and all I have to is go to Medford to the Cash and Carry and get the last of it. its a restaurant supply house and supplies just about everything to restaurants, food, spices, equipment and meat and they carry the sausage I need for the stuffing, and the bacon for breakfast next week, a slab of bacon which will last us a month or so. anyway we came to a decision with our newest barn cat, Furby, since he is so young and its been freezing here( 20 degrees right now) we just don’t feel its right to keep him an outside cat anymore. I just don’t think he would survive the cold this winter, so we are giving Furby to a good friend who will love him and give him the best home possible. she recently lost her cat, a gray cat and since Furby is a gray cat, we felt she would love him, and she does. we showed her a picture of him and she adores him and would love to give him a good home with her and her 2 black and white kitties that we gave her a couple of years ago.. Spats and Tuxedo. Furby will fit right in with those 2 characters. so Furby is going to a new home, I will miss the little guy, but this is for the best as I know right now I can’t take in another cat, I have 2 that are still battling it out on a daily basis…Tabitha and Miss Kitty, they haven’t gotten along in 2 years, so I have no idea how bringing in another cat will go over. I can honestly say I know it was the right decision to make, but it does hurt as I have grown very attached and very fond of Furby. but he needs to be in a good home and not be a barn cat. he is a good mouser though, caught 3 mice already. other than that with the cold weather settling in here, the chickens are slow to get up and go out, roosters included, they prefer those warm nests to freezing. the ducks zoom out the door, and got a surprise this morning… frozen pool!!! the turkeys went out and went right back in where its warm, can’t blame them… I headed back in as fast as I could. the barn cats were all snuggled deep in their blankets on top of the hay. I left the sunlamps on and I have the woodstove in the barn going to help keep them warm. well I’m off and running to get my chores done, and then off to Medford to shop. you all have a great day today, stay warm everyone and Susan be careful out there on the road, have a safe trip home. have a great weekend everyone. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Hugs….. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too Pat, and new happy home to Furby!

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        just an update on Furby, he is doing very well at hisw new home adores having a brother and sister to keep him company and to play with. and talk about pampered, he has a new bed to sleep in, tons of toys to play with, and lots of love and attention, everything a happy kitty needs. and yes we have visiting rights, we can see Furby whenever we want to and visit with Tuxedo and Spats. have a safe trip home Susan, that weather looks bad out there. its still cold here, barely above 35 degrees here and talk about frosty….. everywhere you look where the sun does not hit, its frosted with ice, looks so pretty. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. hugs….. 🙂

  13. Irene Talaasen says:

    Hi Sweet Susan,
    How fun and wonderful to see your post on Heading Home this morning!! Home is a lovely place, isn’t it? But driving along our beautiful United States is great too; I want to remember to pray for you as you travel……….that is a lot of miles. Enjoy each other and take good care of Petey and Mini Jack. How the real sweet cats will love having you home too.
    Today our beautiful Colorado home is snowy and beautiful. Pikes Peak out our window now is clouded over but it will come peeking through pretty soon.
    Blessings! Irene

  14. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    It’s 25 degrees in Salem, OR this morning, sunny and crisp. My kitty poked her nose out, ran outside and up her favorite tree, looked around a bit, then raced back into the house and onto her favorite quilt. She is still recovering from a 4-day grandkid visit, which turned her usually sedate life completely upside down. My darling granddaughter left me the souvenir of a little sniffle, so today I will put on the soup pot and settle in with a good book. Love the book sign in your post. So true! No matter the season, or what life has in store, a book always makes it better. Wishing you safe and happy travels as you cross this beautiful country of ours.

  15. Mary in Phoenix says:

    What a nice post for a cold, rainy day … counting my blessings along with you! I think that’s the same curvy road that my dad told us to take the first time we drove from Phoenix to Albuquerque. My kids thought those were the Rocky Mountains 🙂 Enjoy the “voyage by land” with your H♥me Sweet H♥me on the horizon. Happy Thanksgiving “Serendipity” … the art of making happy discoveries by chance. XOX

    P.S. Saw the adorable FB pics of you and HRH at the English Rose Tea Room. So happy you were able to stop for a cuppa at our “little bit of England” in the desert among huge saguaro cactus and boulders coming out of mountainsides. I guess if you’ve ever seen the London Bridge (yes, the real London Bridge that was falling down) in little Lake Havasu City you’ll believe anything is possible 🙂 I’m sure you’ll agree that we are blessed to have Jo Gemmill shine her British charm and grace on our Valley of the Sun.

    • sbranch says:

      I definitely agree about Jo…and she has lots to share! That photo with the precarious rock was taken in Carefree. xoxo

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        Haha … thought so! Those boulders in Carefree are astounding … jutting off golf courses, teetering over homes and even coming out of others 🙂 One amazing desert … One amazing country!

  16. Ann says:

    Safe travel home, Sue and Joe. I’m sure Thanksgiving on the road will be an adventure. My husband and I were traveling on Easter Sunday one year from OK to MA. We had the best breakfast in a truck stop. As long as you are with the one you love, you can make a holiday special any where.

  17. Holly says:

    Simon and mini Jack are just too adorable. I have a baby too, she is Isabella. Glad to know I’m not the only one with a baby! Enjoy your trip, watch for antique shops! I’m visiting in AZ right now, but will take the train home soon.

    • sbranch says:

      I gave Simon to my mom for Christmas a few years ago, not knowing for sure if a doll was “right” for her, but she has LOVED him ever since and even has found more clothes for him. She’s the mother of eight, so what is one more.

  18. evangeline says:

    I have checked every morning to see if by chance there was a “new” letter…and yay!!! today was the day.. so happy you are having a blessed trip back “home”…. think of you and your “family” your Joe, petey, mini Jack, every day…you have given us “girlfriends” so much fun thru your trip. Meeting new people and learning so much info…I can read over and over your blog and find something I hadn’t noticed the first time through. Yahoo !!!! We love you guys very much and enjoy all the wonderful stories and your sweet creative take on daily life. One thing I wanted to add since you love England so very much, I also am in love with the wit and humor of that beautiful country. If you love British comedy, you must have watched “Keeping up Appearances”… there is one lovely trait I notice.. when Hyacinth speaks of her sisters, she always says.. our Violet, our Rose, or our Daisy… I have adopted this way of referring to my family… sounds so much more “precious” … time to go tidy and make our home a bit more “cozy” for the weekend… we love you “our Susan” ….evangeline

  19. Sharon Calvert says:

    Dear Susan … quickly adding my thanks for all you share with us girlfriends, as well as my prayers and wishes for your safe return HOME! Excited to have my sister and her family traveling from Kentucky tomorrow to spend all of Thanksgiving week with us along the Gulf coast; may you and Joe have a blessed Thanksgiving wherever serendipity places you 🙂

    Sharon in Alabama

  20. Susan, I don’t usually comment on your blog, but I’m on my second reading of A Fine Romance. I just loved it. Hubby and I are planning our own little trip for next year-to France and England. Your book has been a real treat. I only wish we could spend 2 months there like you and Joe. I look forward to every blog post. Thanks and drive carefully on your Home.

  21. Jeanette says:

    Thanks for the update and the vicarious sojourn we take together!
    May your travels be made on the wings of angels!

    I thought for certain you’d be home by Thanksgiving…however, as we learn from you each and every day, no matter where you are, it’s home! I know you’ll share with us a delightful experience of your Thanksgiving.

    I was thinking when you get home to your ‘real’ Jack, perhaps he’d share one of his hair band with your ‘felted’ Jack to put around his paw to truly mirror the personality?!? It is precious.

    Do know if you’re winding your way through central IL, we have a lovely rest stop for you both! I will leave the light on… 🙂
    Sending you warm, cozy flannelely hugs and oodles of love,

  22. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Now that’s the way to travel Susan! We are always having to drive 8-10 hour days because we are always on a time schedule. But when he retires, this is what we will do! I love how you start your day with tea and apples. Even with your busy life, you show us how to slow down, enjoy and eat healthy! You are an inspiration in so many ways…. Happy travels!

  23. Marianne in Mo. says:

    Good to hear from you today! Wish you could join our family here for Thanksgiving, we are just outside of St. Louis. We will be having canapes at 4pm, dinner follows! Dinner will be at hubby’s sister’s, just south of the city, near Fenton, Mo. Must love dogs though, you never know if there will be just her two, or maybe five, with neighbor pups sometimes coming and going thru her doggy door! : )
    Safe travels, keep an eye on the weather, and if you should be on I-70 eastbound on Sat., you may just see my daughter and family headed here! Wave to them for me! ; )

  24. Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

    Good morning to you Susan and to all girlfriends everywhere ~~~
    So happy was I to open up a new post! I was so into the writing of R. A. Campbell. I thought all along that it was you thinking about your house and the Island. Was very surprised to see it was by someone else. I do the same thing though…. while living in our victorian in Eureka, I often wondered about the ones that lived in the house from the beginning. Were the people rich or poor? Did they have lots of friends and get togethers? I would have loved to know what the house looked like and also the property way back in the day. We were very fortunate to know the owners 2 times past. They let us have quite a few pictures from the early 40s. They were the 3rd generational family to live in the house. What a difference time makes.

    Earlier this week, I bought a turkey and all the trimmings. Looking foward to the leftovers, LOL. Then, out with the Christmas decorations over the weekend. Am looking forward to seeing how I will decorate this new home of ours. I am already missing the activities and people from our CA church. I feel very blessed to have been able to see so many of our friends last weekend when we were down there for the memorial for our dear friend. Never have been to such a grand celebration as Ray’s memorial. Very uplifting!!

    While reading your post, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement in your pictures and words for getting back home to your kitties. I don’t know if you will be putting out another post before Thanksgiving, but if not, you and Joe have a very blessed Thanksgiving!!

    Carol M

    • Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

      Forgot to mention that it was 8 degrees yesterday at the airport. I believe that winter is here to stay. Having to wear a jacket and gloves now. But, it’s sunny outside.


    • sbranch says:

      Just the quote at the very bottom was R.A. Campbell, the rest of it was about my own house and memories. xo Carol.

      • Carol Maurer~~~~ Kennewick, Wa says:

        Glad to hear that, as I thought it was all the information on your home written by you. I was really into picturing everything as I read it.

  25. Nellie says:

    Well, you are just “perking right along!” Your motel room dinner sounds like something we would do. It sounds absolutely perfect!

    It goes without saying that I have a strong desire to be able to meet you and talk with you. It just doesn’t seem that it will happen this time you are crossing the country.:-( I keep hoping you will make a trip south that will give that opportunity.

    My nephew and his family lived in Albuquerque for 8 years, and are now in the midst of a move to Gulfport, MS, so they have missed this wonderful chance to attend your book signing.

    As always, I continue to wish you safe travels and productive sessions in Albuquerque and Oklahoma City. If you need a place for turkey, we are certainly available – not far off I-40, either!:-)

    xo Nellie

  26. Janie Phillips says:

    Hampton Inns are getting it right with their comfortable beds! I used to hate staying in hotels, but those beds are game changers. Plus, all the sharing on the internet has given hotels more incentive to do a good job, and thank goodness for that. We’ll be staying in Hampton Inns next week — maybe our paths will cross 🙂

    We have freezing rain in OKC today, but it’s supposed to be gone by Monday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate and I’ll see you at Full Circle. Yay!! Have a great book signing tonight! xoxo

  27. Christina R says:

    Thank you so much for coming to Albuquerque!!! I’m so excited to come to your book signing tonight and say hello! You really inspire me to create and focus on the love in my life. Thank you 🙂

  28. Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

    OH I was soooo happy to hear from you once again. I knew you were getting ready or already on the road, but this entry was exceptional. The road trip always gets me!!! The fact that you are taking your time and taking in everything that goes by the window is fantastic. And I understand about staying in those wonderful motels along the way. I was going to purchase a trailer and then thought – who am I kidding???? Not the same as that cozy room and I take my own bedding (fluffy down comforter) so I can be truly cozy. Other exciting news for me – I am in the process of purchasing a nice little house in Newport, Washington – one that I have wanted for a very long time and just thought I didn’t deserve it – WRONG! It came back on the market yesterday for $98,000 and I put in an offer!!! Made me feel so powerful!! 🙂 I am awaiting the news and am happy to be moving forward. It will be my “Snow House” because I love snow. Will be with my grandbabies and great-grandbaby for Thanksgiving so I will be happy. Think of you both often. I know you will be happy to see your house and kitties. Go with God…..XXXXOOOO Pat

    • sbranch says:

      Pat, that’s so fantastic! Good for you! You are a role model for living life to its fullest despite challenges … I want to be just like you!

  29. Pat McDonald says:

    Happy Friday Susan,
    This country we live in is so beautiful with lovely people filling the spaces. We were lucky enough to travel to Moose Lake , MN last spring. (We live in So. Ca. and went 9,000 miles) You know we took a lot of back roads….even got lost once.
    Thank you for writing ‘A Fine Romance’. My dad was from Bolton, England. He pasted away last year and it was a sentimental journey seeing England again through your eyes. I cried at certain points of the book….remembering my visit and my dads stories. Is it really that small of a world…..or just that our memories of love and friendships make us feel close and it seems small? Too much heavy thinking for a Friday……..Have a safe trip home. Pat McDonald

  30. Dear Susan,

    You have a lovely old house! We just love old houses and their history! Our farm was settled by the late 1700s by Rhode Island Yankees. Yes, in the old days all of life was centered around the home, with Christenings, weddings and funerals all being held in the parlour.

    The old fashioned sounds that you mentioned are so nice! The things I heard this morning when I went out to the barn to do chores were the creek babbling, the geese in the cornfield and overhead honking, and the birds singing at the feeder. Very nice and comforting, too!

    Love your Mum’s baby Simon and your felted Kitty Jack!

    Have a safe trip home!


    • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

      aren’t those the most comforting sounds, I love hearing the geese fly overhead every day on their way to the river, I love the birds at all the feeders, and the racket from our barnyard bunch, the roosters crowing and the hens squawking and cackling and the ducks quacking. sometimes we hear tom turkeys calling in the trees on our property way in the back, and at night we sometimes hear a lonely train blowing its whistle going on its way somewhere. those are the sounds of home to me. and they are wonderful.

  31. Alison from RI says:

    Ms. Branch,

    What a beautiful post! (As always).
    Keep light on those reins, and keep enjoying the beautiful road you have home!

    – Alison in “Little Rhody”

    PS- What would you prefer me to call you? I have never felt comfortable addressing those older than me (I’m 19) by their first names, but I was just curious what you would prefer.
    Enjoy the trip home! 🙂

  32. Sandy says:

    I know you are having a great time seeing this beautiful country we call “home” and meeting all the girlfriends along the way, but I can’t help but feel a little sadness that you won’t be home for Thanksgiving. I can just imagine the smells that would be coming from your cozy kitchen and the friends gathered around your beautiful table. But, there will be next year, right? I know you’re excited about seeing your kitties and that first smell of home when you walk thru the door. Praying for safe travels for the two of you and a warm homecoming.

  33. Sarah Maldonado says:

    Oh, Susan! You’re coming to Oklahoma! I’m just two hours down the road from OKC, just called the bookstore to find out the particulars and hoping my dear hubby will bring me since I can’t drive at night. Maybe we ‘ll make it an overnighter! I sure hope to make it. We’ve had a terrible time with plumbing, dug up floors, and just general poor luck lately but the plumbers just left and reading your blog perked up my mood. 🙂 At any rate, it’s on my radar and maybe I’ll make it. Safe travels as you wind your way here. Roads might get dicey with weather. Thinking of you and all the Girlfriends.

  34. Jane Mulligan says:

    Love all the pictures! Good to see Mini Jack. I have read your book now and even though I lived in England until I was 28 and have been back many times I have never visited any of the places you went. Your journey is top of my bucket list! Thank you!

  35. Terri says:

    I love that poem! That would make a wonderful print. Susan, I’m more sorry than I can say, that I missed going to one of your signings here in California. I had been so looking forward to going to the one in Pasadena (that was the closest to home), just a day or so after I would be back from visiting family in Washington, but then I ended up bringing home a ‘souvenir’ bug that’s taken all this time to get over. At least I still have your wonderful book signed by you to comfort me ;). Wishing you wonders and blessings as you’re homeward bound. I know you’ll be so happy to see Jack and GirlKitty, again (and they, you!). We just had a miracle walk into our house, last night. My guy kitty Peanut disappeared about a week after I got back from this visit up north. With all the wildlife around here, I thought there was no hope (though I hoped, anyway). Last time I went to Seattle in December, my other guy kitty, Domino, had decided to take off (both are neutered and are inside cats that don’t normally go out – they just each decided on their own to make a run on a whim). Though still no sign of him, his brother Peanut, gone these past two weeks, showed up meowing at the back door at bedtime. I could hardly believe it! I still keep hugging him to make sure he’s really here. Just checked again – yep, it’s really him! Just wanted to share that, in case anyone else here is hoping for a miracle, right now. Miracles happen!
    Happy trails to you, Susan~

    • Terri I had a kitty miracle happen to me when I was eight. I had a beloved kitty, Puff (original name – I know) who disappeared one day. I was absolutely heartbroken. I’d stand at the window with tears in my eyes watching the cars go by praying that my kitty would come home. One afternoon I saw a car go by with a cat riding on the seat behind the driver (same spot Puff would ride in our car). I yelled to my mom that I saw Puff and ran out the door after that car. The woman was parked at the corner grocery store with Puff in the car and when I told her he was mine she gave him back. I never stopped believing (and praying) that he’d return and he did! You’re absolutely right Terri, miracles do happen!

      • sbranch says:

        You saw Puff drive by? You are one single-minded determined girlfriend. Good for you!!!! That really is a miracle!

        • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

          We could use a miracle here. I hate to ask for one when I know so many people need one, also, but one of our beloved schnauzers, Fanny, is very sick. She has been picking at her food for the last 3-4 weeks, only eating a fraction of what she normally would (and should) eat, and some days it comes right back up. We had her to the U of MN vet hospital where they did an ultrasound of her abdomen which showed nothing. They would like us to let them do an endoscopy to look for cancer but it is extremely expensive and we have made the decision not to put her through it as we would not start her on chemo. She is down to 16 lbs from 23 lbs and is starting to look like skin and bones. We are both sick about it and have tried different dog foods, chicken and rice, hamburger and rice, etc. This must be what it is like to be the parent of an anorexic teenage girl. She is on antibiotics and now we are going to try an antinausea and appetite stimulant. I’m starting to think that we are losing her…we NEED a miracle here…

      • Terri says:

        Oh Suzanne, that is so wonderfully amazing! So glad you & your Puff were reunited!

  36. Cyndi in NC says:

    Myh daughter is getting married tomorrow. We will all be together to celebrate then next week they will have Thanksgiving at their home. We had it there last year but this will be their first married Thanksgiving. Talking about all the families that have lived in your house and all the celebrations and that’s what I think about too. My house isn’t as old as yours but we have racked up many holidays and I can smile when I think of them and all the people besides family that have been at our table. The single Marines, the young wives of Marine who’s husbands are in peril, all our friends and family. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and all the birthdays including my surprise 50th 10 years ago January. Good and bad memories but our memories. Safe travels on your way home and I’m sure Thanksgiving will be great wherever you are because you are together. Hugs to all.

  37. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    I love this blog entry for more than one reason. First, I enjoyed reading of your home. I grew up ( and lived in well into my adult years ) in a farmhouse built in the late 1800’s, and it always gave me a special sense of place. It’s gone now, but will always be home. And isn’t road tripping fun? My first one was leaving OH to come to CA when my husband and I were married. ( Today is our 3 1/2 year anniversary!)
    Traveling across the country was amazing – what a beautiful place we live in. ” You’ll still be cold, but you’ll have a book.” Words to live by! I just came home with Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life ( is that right..hmmm) ; I read about it on your previous blog. I was excited to see that the author did one for Emily Dickinson as well . Enjoy the rest of your trip home – wishing you safe travels!

  38. Joan McCusker says:

    Susan Branch, what Joy you bring to all the lives you have touched! I haven’t taken the time to write, since meeting you in San Luis Obispo. My dear, dear friend, Helen (and her husband, Lee) placed me in your company. We experienced the trip of a lifetime. We made many new friends, Theresa (from Lafayette/Castro Valley), and Robin…sorry I can’t remember other names…how dear you all were. We met in line waiting to meet you. We loved every minute…and then meeting you, Susan, the person who brought us all together…you are dearly loved, thank you…and thank Joe too.
    Helen and I live in Northern California and enjoyed our wonderful drive down 101. I will soon be back on the highway (99) South, to spend Thanksgiving with family.
    Safe home, Susan and Joe…until we meet again…..Joan xoxo

    Hi to you, Helen, Theresa and Robin…

  39. Dena says:

    I just about choked on my spiced tea when I read that you are going to be in OKC – immediately looked up the website and saw that you will be there Monday evening. I have a signed copy of a Fine Romance ordered from the bookstore you were at in Kansas but you can always sign a book twice, right??
    If you have the chance, there is a beautiful tea room in Edmond, which is a suburb on the north side of OKC called Inspirations… they carry the best balsalmic vinegars and flavored olive oils, as well as the sweetest tea bar. There is also a place called the Red Door that I would recommend. 🙂 Happy travels – we are having freezing rain and sleet forecast all weekend, so be careful, sweet friend!

  40. CarolK says:

    Great blog! Your musica dropped me into the great internet black hole and I wound up watching Led Zeppelin videos for E-v-e-r right in the middle of your blog too!! Bundle up because baby it’s cold outside here on the East Coast. Love your mom’s choice of baby names — why because I grew up signing all my school papers Carol Ann Simon THEN my brother went and named his cat Simon, then someone in the family named their dog Simon. LOL What a hoot! Be safe and looking forward to more pictures from the road. Hugs from NJ………..

  41. maureen says:

    Safe travels.
    What a darling sign regarding the book.
    So true though but reading can make you forget about what is going on around you. You can have so many different travels.

  42. Patty Lucas says:

    Drive safely and come back to the East Coast for Thanksgiving. I will be using my mother’s yellow bowl to make my stuffing. Funny that is the only time I use that bowl because it is so special to me. Be safe!

  43. Sue says:

    So glad you are finding Hampton Inns to stay. They are the best! We rarely stay anywhere else since we found how fresh & clean — comfy and cozy they are. People who work there have always been wonderful & helpful as well.

    So happy to hear you are on your way back home now. Can’t wait to see what your kitties will do when they see you. 🙂 Oh, and to see Jack and mini Jack together will be so wonderful!!!

    I hope you can find a super good restaurant to have your Thanksgiving Dinner on your way home. Then you can have your own belated one after you are back. 🙂
    Have a safe and blessed ride home!

  44. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Oh the TRUCKS! Nevertheless, your pictures make me want to get in my car and travel – but I guess I’d better be content with seeing your road shots. Getting a bit long in the tooth to attempt a far journey behind the wheel. The wavy road to Carefree is very scenic. Those big rocks on the ridge remind me of the Easter Island heads. Loved the chalk board suggestion. I listened to SNOBS on CD’s and have to agree with you, but I guess the author knows what he’s talking about since he was born into the remnants of that world. I’m envious of your upcoming serendipitous Thanksgiving dining experience. Always wanted to do this myself, but family won’t cooperate! I’d love the adventure of happening on some unknown place. Hope you find a good one and send a report :-). Your post today has been a great antidote to all the TV memories of 50 years ago, which I want to see, but needed a breather :-). So thanks again for being you and sharing it all.

  45. Debbie says:

    Safe travels as you head home! Wishing you & Joe a Happy Thanksgiving as you travel across our beautiful country!

  46. Miz Gala says:

    Ooh! Maybe we’ll meet up on I40 tomorrow! We’re heading north on our way home for Thanksgiving and travel along I40 between Santa Rosa and Tucumcari.
    I’ve never wished on hay trucks, but my sister and I always count hawks when we travel together. This makes for some fun conversations as we’ll throw out numbers in the middle of sentences. “So, I’m thinking about painting the guest bedroom ‘7! or was that 8? blue, but I’m having a hard time ‘9! no wait, 8!’ finding a blue that’s not too blue.” and so forth. We’re used to it, but every now and then will think about how it would sound to others and laugh.
    Safe travels to you and to us all!

  47. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    Hi Susan!
    I am the one whose husband drove my parents up the Mall and around Queen Victoria’s Monument in London! Sadly, I had to miss meeting you at Vroman’s. My father-in-law had unexpected surgery and when family matters come up, sigh – it’s part of the journey, and it’s just gotta take priority (he is doing much better, and will come home from rehab next week)! Maybe I’ll get to meet you in the future (I’ll keep my fingers crossed)!!! “The Art of the Home” has been the center of me since I married 44 years ago – it’s always been what makes me happiest. When I was a young wife and mother in the 70’s and 80’s that wasn’t “PC” – I was on that road less traveled 🙂 and at a spot on the road I became a “grass roots” watercolor artist but went through a long dark period when I didn’t pick up the paint brush. Now you and a special girl friend are inspiring me to begin again!! In so many ways when I was first introduced to you by my special friend a couple of years ago, “you made my heart sing. . .” 😀 Thank you for the beautiful pictures you include each time – I LOVED seeing all of the pictures of your California digs! I am a California Girl since birth! I wish you and Joe continued safe travels and God Speed on your journey home!
    p.s. I’m making the Corn Pudding for dinner tonight with chicken 🙂

    luv ‘n hugs,

  48. Phyllis Blair says:

    I was at a flea market in Salem, Ore on Sunday and Petey’s twin brother was there! I almost got him for you, but figured one Petey was enough! Safe traveling.

  49. Karen R. says:

    We traveled across the country, by car many times, when I was a child and my Mom taught me to wish upon a Hay truck. “Hay, Hay, Make a wish and look away!” Some of my fondest memories are of those trips. I learned how to read a map, Sing “Dinah” with all of the silly verses, appreciate our country’s beauty and enjoy our family’s closeness. It was a wonderful time. Karen R.

  50. Helen says:

    Ah, Susan ! “Wishing on hay trucks” ! I don’t believe it ! When I was a little girl (you and I are the same age) and we were stationed in California (my Dad was in the Air Force), there was an older lady who became friends of my family and SHE told me about “wishing on hay trucks” …. Since then I have always done that, BUT…. I have never found anyone else who knew about it ! Then along comes Susan Branch ! Ha. Ha.

    Hurry home….cozy New England awaits you ! 🙂

    Take care,

  51. Diana - Highland, IL says:

    Thanks for the beautiful post today!! Such as surprise!!! Good to know you are on the road home… as much as I get excited to start a trip, the trip home isjust as exciting.. especially if you take a different route.. but you will be seeing such changes on the way home from when you left!!!…and the closer I get to home the better and more antsy I feel… as soon as we cross over into Illinois, somehow I feel like I can breathe easy! Hope you have a wonderful time going back to the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard… HAPPY THANKSGIVING wherever you are roaming at the time!… My hubs and I spent an “interesting” Thanksgiving in Albequerque many years back… we then began calling it Albe-Turkey…cause we are just that kinda crazy/silly..where the only thing open was a Chinese restaurant for dinner! Tasted pretty good I tell ya!! 🙂

  52. Vickie in Olympia says:

    What a nice surprise, a note from you to let us know you are on your way home!
    I had the Autumn cookbook out today to check on what I needed to get to make your delicious sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and of course got lost in all the beauty of that book so it was noon before I got to the grocery store. Grocery shopping at noon on the Friday before Thanksgiving! What was I thinking? But most people were in pretty good moods (except the woman explaining the difference between ‘light’ and ‘fat free’ ice cream. Really? At Thanksgiving she was worried about the amount of fat in ice cream? By dessert it is too late. LOL Good wishes for a safe journey and we’ll say a little prayer around the table for you and all the others who can’t be home for Thanksgiving. Hugs!

  53. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    I adore that little story about your house. We raised our kids in a 100 year old house and I would wonder all the same things you imagined. Mysteries never to be solved but only imagined in a romantic mind! I have your Prayer for a Little Home print framed and hanging in my kitchen and it makes me grateful for my little home which I love so much! Happy Travels as you make your way home to your sweet haven! We’re with you all the way, honey! xoxo

  54. Nancy Mosley says:

    Have a wonderful trip back home !!! Thanks for sharing photos and when I see the moon this week, I will think of you guys driving through the countrysides. I live in a 1940 year old English Tudor home and I’ve often thought about the previous owners while washing dishes and think of the show If Walls Could Talk and how interesting that would be. Be careful!!! Mini Jack is adorable!!!

  55. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Susan I’ve been reading some of the back issues of Willard and in the May 2011 issue I saw the wonderful little felted Girl Kitty that Kellee made for you. How wonderful that Girl Kitty has her own “mini-me” too. Love to see a photo of all four of your treasures together. Wouldn’t that be fun? Safe trip as you wend your way home. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

  56. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Dear Susan,
    I am grateful for many things, but a big one is your blog. Thank you for taking the time to make the posts so pretty and fun.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Joe…I hope your day is special no matter where you are. I know you two will make it so.

  57. Amy says:

    Can’t wait to hear about your Thanksgiving on the road, Susan! You always make life an adventure and I look forward to hearing about it!

  58. chris (in Florida) says:

    Your posts always come just when we’re ready for news of your journey. Seeing all these other parts of our country thru your words makes it all come alive. But about that rock………..yikes!

    As a born/bred/raised my kiddles in Bahstin and New Hamsha, the story of your house makes me wish we still had our white, two story farm style home (built in 1875). A few years after we sold it was purchased by the phone company next door, torn down and a parking lot grows there now. Everyone we knew from 20 yrs in that town still talks about the house we brought back to life and how sad it was to see it razed. We do have bricks saved by friends that are now part of our lanai steps here.

    On to new and exciting adventures. My list is ready for some small business Christmas shopping tomorrow en route to pick up my lovely granddaughter. Yes, we certainly do need these people and their dreams in our communities. They help us build our dreams.

    Have you told Girl and Jack you’ll soon be home? Little paws must be pacing floors and noses making window smudges. Enjoy your trip and arrive on the Vineyard safe and sound.

  59. LynnMarie says:

    That felted Jack is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen. I bet you were about “beside Yourself” when you were gifted with it!

  60. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan…what a lovely surprise to see your post! So glad you’re on your way home, and pray for safe travels… When I saw your scary road…it made me think of when we went to Phoenix! A friend (I thought!) gave us a shortcut to get there!! We had a RV and were pulling a small pickup. My biggest concern was climbing the mountains…..forgot about going down! We ended up loosing our brakes…eeeks… Tom was able to pull over onto a runoff… Gosh, what is it about Arizona? lol

    Well, enjoy these last couple signings…and drive safely! I know you’ll be glad to get home!!

    Love the cute little baby Simon, along with Mini Jack!

  61. Patti from Pleasanton, CA says:

    Hi Susan,
    So happy you’re taking your time heading home. One never knows when they will pass that way again so you might as well take it all in the first time around.
    Some day when my hubby Paul & I retire, we would love to just get in the car and start driving, with nowhere special in mind and no time restraints. He’s a Jersey Boy so our ultimate destination would be the East coast… stopping to visit all our friends & family, who have moved out of California, as we pass by. I had to chuckle the other day when you showed a beautiful gardenia and said it was your all time favorite flower… just one more thing we have in common. Safe travels with your love… it was so great meeting Joe too at Remnants. One more thing we have in common… hubbies that love and care for us. May your Thanksgiving adventure on the road be wonderful and one that you’ll remember for years to come. Warm Hugs, Patti

  62. Andi M says:

    Honey Crisp apples, yum yum! We have been enjoying them too. Savior the last bit of your trip and safe journey to home.

  63. Jane says:

    This really has been a great trip for all of us! You have such a sunny view on life and gentle disposition…I think we all want to shake off the things that hold us back and just explore the world as you (and Joe) do!!

    Will you be stopping in Chicago at all on your way back for a book signing? If you did on your way to California, I missed it. 🙁

    I’m so excited to see how you spend December preparing for Christmas…you are such an inspiration to all of us!

    Jane From Chicago

  64. Carol D. from Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Hi Susan and all you Girlfriends, So glad you’re finally headed on the road pointed east! You and Joe must both be so happy to see the prize in sight – your home on Martha’s. Wish you could be home for Thanksgiving, but are you going to be with friends or family for the holiday? That would/will make it nice anyway if you could be. Have a beautiful trip home, so many wonderful sights to see headed in that direction, too! I’ll keep you and Joe in my “safe trip” prayers (along with getting my sons home for the holiday!). xo, Carol

  65. Tina Mandeville says:

    Susan and Joe,
    I hope the roads that got you there are just as kind on your return! Thanks so much for sharing your excellent adventures and all the special stops along the way. Once again, it has been a full trip that has made for fuller hearts, not only yours but ours. As wonderful as travels are, there is no place like home and we will be just as elated when you are snuggled back safely in yours… and just in time to usher in the Christmas season! Blessings to you both on this upcoming Thanksgiving week. We count you amongst ours!

  66. Dena says:

    hi Susan , we have been reminiscing around here to lately , my mother in law the snoball queen here in new orleans was 103 yrs on nov, 17 and passed away 2 days later. My 6 children and i have shared every holiday with her since they were born, and has lived in the same house , And i have known her since i was about 15 when i start dating her son ( he passed away 21 yrs ago) when my youngest was one and oldest was 16, Her passing Makes us remember all the good times , We know She lived a full and long life, but she will be missed, I really love Italy and want to go back and see other parts i haven’t seen BUT Your book makes me want to visit the same places you went to in England, Saw that guy Rick that has a travel show on TV and the country side their looks beautiful . Love the pictures , wish you were coming down here. I’d be glad to put you up for the night. Have a Great Thanksgiving

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry, I’m sure you will miss your mother-in-law this holiday … she was the family glue of the years, a connection to your roots. You are lucky to have so many good memories. xoxo

      • Becky Maggio says:

        Hey Dena & Susan. Finally!!! Another girlfriend from S.Louisiana!! I live in Labadieville. Familiar with our area? Prayers for you, Dena, and your family at the loss of your mother in law. What a wonderful, long life! Seems no matter how long we have our loved ones with us it is never long enough. Hope everyone finds comfort in the memories of you all have shared thru the years.

        I was tickled to hear you tell Susan you would put her up for the night if she came our way…I keep telling her the same thing…lol We can’t help it, southern hospitality just comes naturally, right 🙂

        Wishing everyone a happy, blessed Thanksgiving.

  67. Cathy from Golden Co says:

    We took a long road trip this fall and went through Oklahoma City. Such nice people. The night before we were visiting Elvis in Memphis. We stayed across the street at the Heartbreak Hotel. A vintage pink Cadillac picked us up for free and took us up the road for barbecue. We had a wonderful time. If you’ve never been to Graceland, I recommend it. Just wanted to jump in and wish you and Joe a wonderful THANKSGIVING on the road and, also, I just love that mini Jack. It looks almost real! So adorable. Safe travels! :))

  68. Dena says:

    Just wanted to tell you about this, that maybe you can do to a few of you books , its done in Italy . I read about it on a blog if you want to read more on it. You go to book crossing web site, register your book , your book is labeled with a tracking number, you leave the book at a book crossing drop off or any place someone will find it, or to a person, what ever , and after they read it they go on to the web site and write when and where they read the book , and leave it at drop off so someone else can read it and pass it on and track it from place to place and state to state. I think this wood be great to do with a few of your books. Just a thought.

  69. suzanne lee says:

    I live just off I-40 about 120 mi. West of OKC. We have ice tonight. Be careful. Wish I had known you were coming.

  70. Dinahsoar says:

    Oh Susan–these pictures take me back…way back…to the years we lived out west and all the travel on the highways that ensued, to move to our next destination. Daddy worked for Chicago Bridge and Iron building tanks and water towers. Daddy pulled our 45ft mobile home while mom followed behind driving our car with me age 6 and my brother age 1 in tow. TX, AZ, NM, CA, ND, SD ,MT, NV, UT, CO–either lived there on drove through on the way to get there. It still looks the same! But there were no Hamptons…Holiday Inn was fancy then and we mostly stayed in the mom and pop motels. It was all very exciting to me but how mamma and daddy managed it all is something else.TFS!..from the hills of TN.

  71. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan and Joe. By this time you have finished book signing and are safely tucked in at a Hampton Inn. Good to know you like that brand. Thanks. I popped in to Strawberry Patches this afternoon and Suzanne told me you had a new post. Yippee Skippy! Always so much fun to hear from you as you travel. I’m so glad you enjoyed the little taste of Rachel’s Lemon Butter cookies. My hubby really liked the ones I made from your recipe, too; the one that came with the Heart of Home cookie cutter. I will be making both recipes again soon for Christmas. Right now I’m planning my Thanksgiving meal for all the family including DIL’s parents. There will be fourteen of us. I hope my energy holds up for next week!
    Gotta run! Love hearing from you!


  72. Arlinda says:

    H O M E – I love that word.

    Hi Susan,

    I love seeing baby Simon. I love the story behing how he came to your mother. That two part Christmas blog is a favorite of mine and my daughters. I have read it, to my girls, every second week of Advent every year since.

    I pray for you safe travel home. We missed you in the East Coast.


  73. Heidi says:

    I always make wishes on hay trucks! My dad taught us this little poem that you say when you see a hay truck, “Hay, hay, load of hay, make a wish and look away.” The important part after you make your wish is to NOT look at the truck again or else your wish may not come true! Which is hard to do if you’re the one driving and can see it in the rear view mirror. 🙂 I’m making a wish right now that you have safe travels, and that all of your wishes come true!

    • sbranch says:

      Same for me, very important to block that rear view mirror. Thank you Heidi … we’re checking the weather channel this morning before we head out on I40 to Oklahoma City … Brrrrr!

  74. Terri says:

    I’m so excited to see that you’re coming to Oklahoma City next week! I already have my books from the first shipment (one for me and two for friends) but will do my best to be there on Monday. As someone else said, I hope the weather is decent for you! Verrrry cold here right now!

  75. Mary S. says:

    I love reading about how you imagine what was happening in the past because I do that so often!! I’m in love with the past! I would love to be invisible and time travel. I would go back and just watch people to see what it was like, particularly for women.
    “…so juicy there are drips wanting to fall on my chin but I am careful to grab them before they get loose. Waste not, want not.” – ROTFL!!!!!
    Enjoy the rest of your trip – you are in my prayers!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA xoxo

  76. nancy from sun valley, ca says:

    Love the chalk board sign- makes perfect sense in the cold since reading for me always involves a couch and a blanket!

  77. Elizabeth says:

    Dear Susan and Joe,
    Thank you for stopping in Albuquerque on your way home – how lucky we were to have had you here! The autographed books and memories of meeting you will always be treasures. Have a safe trip home and best wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  78. Linda says:

    After reading the top of this post about homes I think you would love to read “Vagabond House” by Don Blanding. I first read it in the early sixties and then luckily found it in the 90’s at a garage sale and rescued it. I read it and reread it all the time. I think you should try to stop at some antique shops so we can selfishly go shopping with you as I told you before there are no antique shops here in Idaho that I have found! Safe journey home for you! Linda in Idaho

  79. Annette McD says:

    You must both be weary, no wonder you were thinking of home and hearth. God bless you and Joe, praying for your safe trip home. Thank you for sharing the beautiful poem by Florence Bone. “God bless thee when the winds blow.” How you must long for your home and all the dear things in it that your hearts treasure.

  80. Kathie says:

    Yes, it’s good to go home. I hope you’ll be there by Thanksgiving. It’s a great country to cross as you are doing it, so God speed….or is it good speed? We are in the deep freeze in the Pacific Northwest. 19 right now. Don’t know how it is at Martha’s Vineyard. But your house will be cozy and the kitties ecstatic to see you in their self-composed ways. We’ve just finished your book and found the list of movies fascinating….most of which, we ordered and put in our que for viewing. And so many other things of interest, as well. A wonderful journey…or, rather, wonderful journeys. Take care, friends.

  81. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    It’s nice to see you are enjoying your journey home. You have everyone’s prayers and good wishes following you all the way there.
    When I was young and we would see a hay truck on the freeway, my dear Dad would always get me by saying “hay” and I would say “what”. I never quite got it. But every time I see a hay truck (which isn’t often in Los Angeles) I think of my Dad and say “hay”! I will now make a wish too!
    Happy Thanksgiving wherever you may spend it.

  82. Debs OBrien says:

    Just nipping in quickly, having already commented above, to say that I’m quivering with excitment having just secured “Sweets To The Sweet” and “Love From The Heart of The Home” as well as a 2014 magnetic calendar for my fridergy~didgery~doo! okay, Amazon is not my favourite way, but these are all via small businesses who trade via Amazon, so it isn’t quite as bad, and besides, it is better than no books at all! The order is already in process, and hopefully will be here by next weekend.

    Waving from Across The Pond! xoxo

  83. anne weadon says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Susan and Joe! Safe travels, and wherever you land, have a wonderful day and a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.

  84. Ann Y in PA says:

    Oh, Susan…your trip sounds just SO COZY ! While we have never gone all the way across the country, it reminds me of our trips ( as far as Kentucky) to see good friends and family. We just love being in the car, with travel mugs of tea, good music, watching the world go by, singing, talking, stopping to see “neat stuff”. And we are with you…Love Hampton Inns ! Thanks for sharing the hay truck wish magic…we are a big “rabbit rabbit” home and have been doing that for years, but did not know about the hay ! Wherever you spend Thanksgiving I am sure you will be blessed, because you know the secret of being happy and making others happy. Thank you for sharing that gift with us !

  85. Rosie (from Illinois) says:

    Lovely post, so enjoyed your sentiments on “Home” – it’s so true, there’s no place like it! ♥

    Love the chalkboard sign, too – being a library director and long-time book lover, it REALLY made me smile. 😀

    Be safe, take care – enjoy the trip, and I’ll be waving as you pass near the Illinois part of the country!

    • Ann Y in PA says:

      I loved it, too, Rosie ! I am a middle school librarian and I kept telling my students this weekend..”it’s going to be cold, stop and grab a good book.”

  86. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am in love with the photos near Albuquerque. New Mexico is a state I hope to see very soon. Such rocks! And strange landscapes from Florida! Given the fast entry of Old Man Winter across the midwest, I wondered if you would be taking the southern route back home. NOthing like trying to outrun the rain and snow alongside massive hay trucks=D!

    It is so very true that there is nothing quite so sweet and comforting as home. It has all of your secrets, special “lovies” tucked here and there, and memories etched on your heart. Enjoy your journey across America and especially enjoy those moments as you round the bend of your road, with your heart beating faster in anticipation of seeing ………..Home Sweet Home!!

  87. Chris Wells in Knickerbocker, W TX says:

    Dear Susan,
    Love the post and I know you are still safe and sound in ABQ this morning. Hope the booksigning was wonderful! The going home quote by Maxine Kumin is one of my favorites. I first read it in your Autumn book and it touched me. Your post has made me glad I am home, and at this moment snuggled in with my morning coffee, with my faithful, graying puppy at my feet, actually on my feet and skidish, flighty Katherine Rose, my autistic cat next to me…..for the moment.
    Our usual Ft Worth family cannot make it for Thanksgiving and we were devastated when we first found out. We have always been together since we built this house 16 years ago. But then as the reality settled in….we were like….hmmmmm….this might be nice too. A quiet downsized Thanksgiving with little stress might be nice for a change. So we will start our morning with mimosas and at some point pop a small turkey in the oven and see how the day turns out! Just Jim and I, and football!
    The weather here is NASTY! Freezing rain and maybe snow…… is cold and a bitter wind is blowing. I love it! I love my warm and toasty little house!
    Please be safe as you make your way to Oklahoma City and then as you hightale it home to MV. You know if on Thursday you can’t find a place to eat, you need only to send out an all points bulletin on social media. And there will be a Girlfriend nearby with a place at her table for you and Joe! You can count on that! That’s how loved you are!
    Be safe and travel prayers for you both!
    With XOXO, Chris

  88. Asha says:

    Hi Susan and Joe! Thank you for the update on your travels home. Stay safe. Looks like the lower half of the U.S. is having quite a huge storm! Happy Thanksgiving to you and all our friends and blog girlfriends. LOVE the picture of Mini Jack and Simon. Let us know that you are safe along your way home. Happy travels! Love you! oxoxox

  89. Mary Anne Helms says:

    Oh I am thinking of you both as I hear the terrible weather forecast for that area. Please take it easy!! The temps in the NE are about to drop below freezing as well and we might get snow on Wednesday!!! Who knew that winter was going to come so early!! I am sure you didn’t when you picked the “southern” route home to MV!! Prayers for your safe journey and for a nice Thanksgiving meal wherever you are. But you will be missed in the NE and especially by your kitties. Happy Thanksgiving. x

  90. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Happy safeTrails dear Susan and Joe! I’m getting in the holiday mood. Made a banana cake for breakfast lol…topped with powdered sugar. (Jerry still had to have cheesy eggs too :>). This time of year I get out my red Susan Branch Christmas book for display and treasured reading. All of my cookbooks get the holiday once (or 10) times look over and yet I always make the same things lol. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you may be…I am thankful for you and us being GIRLFRIENDS. love you! xoxo

  91. Kim says:

    Susan, if you are near central Indiana on Thanksgiving, you and Joe are welcome to join my family for dinner! My mom, a sister and her family and a cousin and her familynwill be here, too. We would be happy to squeeze two more in around the table! We eat at 1:00. I just couldn’t stand it if I had to eat my turkey dinner in a restaurant.

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet Kim…we are looking for a little Thanksgiving adventure and will see what shows up. xoxo

  92. Vicki in Cincy says:

    Happy safe Trails Susan and Joe! I am getting in the holiday mood. Made a banana cake (topped with powdered sugar) for breakfast. (Jerry still had to have cheesy eggs too :>). This time of year I get out my red Susan Branch Christmas book to display and read over and over lol. All of my cookbooks get the once (or 10X) over and I still end up making the same things!. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you may be. I am thankful for you and us being GIRLFRIENDS. love you xoxo.

  93. Oh, our dear Susan… I am so happy that you are almost home! My hubby and I finally made it home after almost three months away. We lost one of our dear Golden Retrievers while we were away, but I made it through. I even have a smile now, because there is truly No Place Like Home! I can’t wait until you are all snug in your adorable house again, with your darling kitties!

    • sbranch says:

      Me either … welcome home to you Michelle. I’m so sorry to hear about your doggie going off to heaven while you were away. xo

  94. mary spring says:

    … good morning dear Susan…thank you for yet another wonderful post from you ! .. I especially loved the photo of the sunrise over the mountains !.. and those seemingly rock sculptures !!… I’ve been following this latest weather event and I’m comforted to know that you have your “map man” and “guardian angel” right besides you !.. please be safe are in our hearts and prayers..with love as always…

  95. What a wonderful surprise to wake up this morning to your latest post! They always make my day. Driving across the country is such a fun and beautiful thing to do. About to head into the kitchen to make your recipe for Gingerbread Cake for the first time. It will be perfect on a dark, rainy day bringing in a cold front. Now to decide which old movie will be perfect to watch…Safe travels!

  96. Beth Keser says:

    Have a safe journey HOME!!! Love the story about your home. Our house is only 113 years old, and has only been in 1 other family and I am friends with the grandaughter, so I get a first hand account of some of the history. I love it!
    Bet your kitties will be so happy to see you. We were just away for a week and the best part was coming home to our kitten, dog and 14 chickens! Even the chickens missed us -they wouldnt leave my son alone 🙂

  97. jill m. says:

    Couldn’t believe when I checked your blog this morning, Susan, and saw you are in ABQ (were in ABQ, I guess by this time!)…our son goes to school there (UNM) and will be flying home on wed. for thanksgiving…every fall and spring we take him down in the truck (w/ all his stuff) and bring him back (w/ all his stuff!)…love that road trip…NM is a beautiful state, very underrated in my opinion…you just don’t hear so much about it. And we live in MT, THE most beautiful state west of the Mississippi, lol, so that’s high praise coming from us! Happy trip and hope the rest of your travels go well and that you are safely home soon.

  98. paulie says:

    His Susan and Jack !
    Watching the weather reports and sounds like you are nearly in the midst of some nasty winter weather or close to it. Thinking of you. That sure is a lot of country to drive through so take it slow, safe and easy ! And don’t chase any wild turkeys !……….Have a nice holiday wherever you be and wishes and prayers for your safe return to the East Coast. When I think of your trip to England and now this trip across the US – I would almost guess you will be so glad to stop moving when you get home and stay put for a long time to come. Blessings and Prayers! Paulie from Vt. (We are watching for a possible noreaster here on Wednesday also !)

  99. jill m. says:

    ALSO…geez, forgot to say how much I LOVE your book. It’s beautiful and I am enjoying every page of it!

  100. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    We ARE very lucky indeed. I saw many a folk at the Food Pantry at our church. I am really enjoying the Autumn. I am being a baking elf today for the church bake sale. Long week and I am T_I_R_E_D!
    My package came and all was OK. Shipping dish-like things makes me nervous. Thank you!
    I must hit up the gym too!

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