How We Spent Black Friday

Hi Girls, thought I’d show you how we spent Black Friday . . .

People keep asking, are we home yet?  No, we are much too easily destracted. We know that winter will be long, and have decided that we must make hay while the sun shines.  And yesterday, oh yes, the sun was shining.

So our Black Friday was not spent inside a Target or a Walmart, but wandering the back roads of Kentucky, stopping to breathe the fresh clean air at the Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill outside of Lexington where it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

We did shop in the gift shop, which I think counts.  And got some fun homemade little things.  While I was there I heard a little girl exclaim, “Mommy, this is the best day EVER.” Then we went for a wagon ride.  Clip-clopped under horse power around this beautiful little village.

It’s just gorgeous in this part of the country.  We’ve never been to Kentucky before!  It’s like a Sunday drive, the kind you dream about.  Red roofed barns, horse farms and white fences for miles.

Little houses and big ones.  Fields and fountain, moor and mountain . . .

And now for December Girlfriends, it’s rabbit-rabbit tomorrow.  How are you going to spend December?  The TV was so filled with Buy! Buy! Buy! ads last night; the news showed fighting amongst mobs of customers inside stores and some of them had their children with them!  It made me a little nervous for the actual spirit of Christmas.  It’s good, makes me know how much peace is my spirit of Christmas, and makes me think better how to spend ours. Like this.  You give me a book, I give you a tie, and Oh, zee crackling fires vee vill make!

I see it perfectly in these cozy little houses, even without a Christmas light in sight.  Looks like the valley people are all dug in for winter. I hope they have their Honeycrisp apple supply stored in their cellars.  As for us getting home, first we thought Saturday, then Sunday, now we’re looking at Monday as a possibility.  But I’m not putting any money on it.  On our way through Maryland this morning!  Byeee!  xoxo

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355 Responses to How We Spent Black Friday

  1. Kathy L says:

    I am so glad you and Joe are in my life. Whenever I feel down, depressed and tired of hearing and seeing all the awful stuff that’s going on in our world today, I just “tune in” to your blog and my whole attitude changes! I loved reading all about your cross country trip and enjoyed all the great photos but it’s your outlook on life and appreciation of nature that really touches my heart. Your book “A Fine Romance” arrived last week and today I received the monthly notepads – December’s is already on my fridge. I hope you have a safe trip back to your beautiful home and that Jack and Girl Kitty are waiting at the door with lots of kitty kisses! Looking forward to getting ready for Christmas with you.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy to have you here Kathy xoxo

    • Gail Grant says:

      Kathy, that’s exactly how I feel. I savor every word of this lovely blog, as I’m savoring “A Fine Romance” allowing myself to read just a few pages (but it’s hard to stop at a few) at a time so it will last. That’s why I’m “behind” on the blog. I always want to have a few posts waiting for me.

      Susan, thank you so much for sharing your talent, your trips…and Joe(!) with us!


  2. Sue in Fl. says:

    You all sure know how to have fun! Glad you are getting to see that part of the country. We are from West Virginia originally which is very similar to some parts of Kentucky. Do those rolling hills remind you of England? Both my husband’s and my grandparents were from Wales. Many people from there settled in West Virginia and Pennsylvania because the terrain was similar to Wales and of course the coal mines in the area too. Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip and arrive home safely. I told my husband that I wanted your calendar again this year for Christmas so I am looking forward to it.

    Sue in Fl.

  3. Anna from Camano Island,WA says:

    Kentucky looks very pretty indeed, I love back roads and take them at every opportunity. It always makes my world feel so beautiful and relaxed, I love seeing the different homes and thinking about the lives lived therein. And all the other scenery too, there are so many pretty routes to take near my home, I am always grateful for all the beauty I get to enjoy as I meander along. – I have really enjoyed following you to all these charming towns across America, it has been really interesting, so many good people, so many nice towns and you bring them to us via this most enjoyable blog of yours. Bye for now, enjoy your home sweet home

  4. Cindy says:

    Well, Susan, my dear! I live in Lexington, Ky, and my family and I ALWAYS go to Shaker Village the day after Thanksgiving, (it’s only 30 minutes from my home), so we can enjoy the peace and quiet and tranquility that beautiful place provides on a day when America goes a little crazy! HOW on earth did I miss you? If I would have run into you I would have wanted to just hug you and tell you how much I love you! So, consider yourself hugged! We must have just missed each other! So glad you got to see Kentucky! I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and my name is Stewart! You are a kindred spirit, soul sister, for sure! *Oh how I would have loved to have met you* 🙂

  5. Rebecca Walsh says:

    Hurray, the Willard’ Cookie Jar email has come in, time to head to the kitchen for baking. Hope you arrive safely back on the island soon.

  6. karen says:

    we have visited and stayed overnight many times in Shaker Village. it is a lovely place to visit and eat. the food is wonderful and the atmosphere is so quiet and peaceful. we began visiting there when our children were very young, and they loved the wagon rides. we have visited in every season. i hope you bought their cookbooks. some of my favorite recipes are within those pages.

  7. Arlene says:

    Now that’s MY kind of Black Friday! I spent Friday nestled inside, away from all the madness. It was the day after my birthday (yup, Thanksgiving; and I was born on Thanksgiving). I agree about the consumerism brainwashing about buy, buy buy; as if that’s the real road to happiness. Haven’t we learned that what is truly precious is what money can’t buy?

    • sbranch says:

      We have, I think, we the normal ones, there are many of us (I would venture to say, most of us), but that would mean we were thinking on our own, and many entities these days would prefer we don’t do that. 🙂

  8. Pam Fortune says:

    Hi Susan
    Another lovely blog to read and pictures to look at as you continue your journey home. I have only heard of Black Friday this year as I saw it on the news programme showing stores in the U.K of people fighting for goods. How sad, I couldn’t believe it.

    • sbranch says:

      I heard that we might be trying to import it over to you, please watch out for it, I think nipping in the bud is important!

  9. Jody says:

    We’re buried in snow so there’s no going out to shop just now. Instead I’m putting candles and greens around and draping a few battery operated lights in the windows. Love those red-roofed houses and beautiful countryside.

    Just got the Willard Cookie Jar and smiled when I read all those treats because I’ve made so many of them. Thank you for the happy memories of my family gobbling those goodies!

  10. Sharon Hinkle says:

    Dear Susan, I want to thank you for following me on twitter. it is a real honor. I am glad to hear that you had a pleasant Thanksgiving, and hope the rest of the holiday season goes well. I always enjoy getting a newsletter and hope to hear from you again soon.

  11. Debra says:

    I am new to your blog, but having just read ” A Fine Romance”, I see that we have much in common. For example, I, too, discovered the art of Beatrix Potter in my twenties, and I have long been a great fan of Gladys Taber. Oh, and I caught “The Bishop’s Wife” reference in this post. I am so happy to have made your acquaintance, and I plan to be a regular visitor.

  12. Susan says:

    So glad you finally visited us in Kentucky!!!!!!!! Hope you come back soon! It really is a little piece of heaven on earth! Love living here. Maybe we could get you here for a book signing. Come back soon!

    • sbranch says:

      It sure is. Someone at a party asked me last night, what was the most surprising or interesting, and Kentucky came rolling off my tongue. Of course we barely touched it, but what we saw made us wish for more.

  13. tanya says:

    always fun i come across someone else who remembers to say ‘rabbit’ 3x first thing on the beginning of the month!!!

    btw i have a podcast on iTunes called The Sampler Girl Podcast and episode 2 has a Gladys Taber passage if you’re interested – love her!!

  14. Irene Talaasen says:

    Hi Sweet Susan,
    Yes, your blog and you are like a breath of fresh air. And all the comments of girlfriends………keeping Christmas as Christmas with its warmth and message of Hope for all of us.
    Glad you are home or almost home!!! We have beautiful snow today in Colorado and a fire in the fireplace and looking forward to the Blessings of Christmas.
    Hugs to you and thankfulness for your warmth and love that you share with so many. Loved the Cookie Jar today!
    Irene in Colorado

    • Therese Ertzaas says:

      I’m sorry to “interrupt”, but I’m searching the Internett to find my american family:-) My name is Therese Ertzaas and I live in Norway with my husband and three children. If I’m correct, your husbands grandfather (Bertel?) was my great grandfathers brother. I believe Bertil was born in Trysil, Norway in 1880 and later emmigrated to the US? He married Laura(?) and they had three children (Lenny, Palmer and Blanche). My great grandfathers name was Alfred Julius. He was born in 1886.

      Me and my sister are seeking information about our american relatives and would be very greatful for any information you might have:-)

      Best wishes for the holidays!

    • Therese Ertzaas says:

      I forgot to write your name, Irene:-)

  15. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Happy St. Nicholas Eve ~ Hang your stocking or put out your shoe tonight! ~

  16. Oh Susan, a much better way to have spent black Friday. Most importantly, Welcome Home! There’s no place like home! It’s true, there is truly no place like home!

  17. Jeri Landers says:

    Shaker Village is one of my favorite places in the country, we live about 3 hours from there and visit often. It is so peaceful and serene and I am always thrilled at the miles and miles of stone walls… all built by the Irish who were paid only $1000 per mile! The weaving house is my favorite. I did a LONG post on the Village it a few years back.I’ve never been there at Christmas time, perhaps we should. A ride around the village would be delightful!

  18. Jeannie Admire says:

    Can’t believe the synchronicity of your post and my life! Watched The Bishop’s Wife last night – beginning the holiday schmalz season (that’s how my boyfriend describes it, but he delighted in Loretta’s glow as much as I did Cary’s). And honeycrisps are my absolute favorite apples! So much in common, even though we’ve never met. I love that about you, your art, your commentaries on a life well lived. Aren’t we lucky?!?

  19. Pigeon's Mom says:

    I am not a fan of crowded stores/shopping anyway, so I don’t “do” Black Friday, but I noticed this year especially how overwhelmed and anxious I felt buying gifts and constantly checking online sale prices to see if I could save a little $–which isn’t a bad thing, to save, especially when one is starting with just a little money–but gift giving shouldn’t be stressful but fun, right? I think next year I am going to try to be done with bought gifts before Thanksgiving, ignore the ads that follow, and just chalk up the $10 I might have saved looking for Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals to a decent price paid for an extra week or two of peace 🙂

    Also, I need to take my Dad to Kentucky! He is a Shaker-wannabe and makes Shaker furniture, or used to when he had more free time. Didn’t know this existed. Lovely!

  20. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Dear Susan and Joe…I think you just snuck into home between storms. We are right on the edge in NW Ohio and watching all the YUCK on the weather map. It’s only a matter on time ’til we get ours:-((( Hope you are all cozy and tucked in tight, enjoying your beautiful fire, lovely kitties, and just being HOME:-))))) (It’s where the HEART is, ya know)
    ps…we NEED a new note from YOU:-)))

  21. nina from Maryland says:

    I am sure that after all this traveling you will be so happy to be finally home and in your own bed happy holidays nina

  22. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    My husband insisted on going to Best Buy on Thanksgiving night because we need a new dishwasher and they were dangling free installation as an incentive. We had words about it, since it was not only Thanksgiving, but our wedding anniversary. 🙁 I think this nonsense will slowly die a natural death, at least I hope so.

  23. Anna from Camano Island,WA says:

    I commented earlier,and this isn’t really related, but I was so happy to see that a list of blog archives has been added to the side bar! thank you! Now we can look at Christmas posts from years past or anything else, often you can kind of tell where what you are looking for might be, by the month it was written in. Plus its just fun to re-read once in a while (I forget things rather quickly these days) , soo, anyway , just thanks.

  24. ElFe says:

    Dearest Susan,
    I am so glad you stopped at Pleasant Hill. My husband and I have been honored to visit it twice in our travels and even stayed the night there in one of their tall serenely simple houses. It is where I first tasted “spiced grape juice” and fell in love with it enough to get their recipe. It is one of the first things I taught my grand-daughter to make and she’s been taking it to class events for years. Now that I’m not doing as much traveling as I once did I am especially thankful to you for sharing YOUR travels with us. You give not only new experiences, but also, old and treasured memories.

  25. merry says:

    I am new here too Susan but have enjoyed your blog for about a year. Also your beautiful new book which is charming. I lost my wonderful husband 7 weeks ago. We were married 72 years! I have so much to be thankful for and I am glad that you are safely back in your lovely home.

    • Dawn (Elmhurst, IL) says:

      Heartfelt sympathy, Merry. I am keeping you in my thoughts. It’s so wonderful to have nice memories of 72 happy years of marriage. You have such a sweet name, Merry! Sending hugs and prayers to you! ♡♡ Dawn

  26. Lucia says:

    Welcome home, Susan and Joe! It was great reading your blog during the book signing trip. I’m sorry I missed your book signing while you were in California, as I was traveling for the first time in Australia and New Zealand. Both beautiful countries. I gave my daughter who lives in Australia a copy of A Fine Romance, and she loved it!
    Thank you for the joy you bring!

  27. Millie Ray says:

    Susan, so glad you visited a wonderful part of Kentucky. We live in the Lexington area, and love Shaker Town. We were to have a Christmas Tea there last week, but the Winter Storm warning caused us to cancel going. We have been for Winter Tea, and will try to go again this January. Love your blog, and your love of Kitties, Gladys Tabor, all things domestic and loving your husband so. Enjoy your time at home, decorating for Christmas and just being there.

  28. Julia says:

    Enjoy the snow Girlfriends. Enjoy it for me. I’m sitting here
    watching the Weather Station so I can see snow. It’s better
    than nothing!

  29. Mary Ann says:

    Are you planning on visiting Oregon anytime soon? You are such an inspiration to me and I would love to meet you! Every time I open your latest post, I want to open my antique cupboards, sort through my treasures, and redecorate. I’m ordering “A Fine Romance” this evening as a Christmas gift to myself. Can’t wait until it arrives. Thank you for being you!

  30. Janet Elizabeth Dickey says:

    Love your website and FaceBook Postings! Merry Christmas!

  31. Renee says:

    I recently received your new book, A Fine Romance, from a dear friend of mine as a Christmas gift. Despite the hustle and bustle of the season, I finished it yesterday. I didn’t want it to end! I took your advice and made the hot Milk Cake (recipe in the book) for a gathering of loved ones the other night. They all enjoyed it. The vanilla bean made the sauce! So delicious! Thanks for your creativity and imagination! Happy Noel and Merry Christmas!

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  33. Cheryl Palmer says:

    Therese Ertzaas, I found you and can get you connected to Irene! I will email you! Cheryl

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