HAPPY SEPTEMBER GIRLFRIENDS, Rabbit-Rabbit, one day late, but with heart!  MUSICA


Hello Everyone

fall leaves

 Are we ready for a change of seasons? 

leaf garland

We are so ready!  Did you all see the new fall leaf garland Janie designed for us?  She was inspired by the garland of leaves I put in my window every year ~  but hers is going to last a lot longer than mine do!  They do not curl and will not crumble!♣ 

Books came in!

SO!  This was our big excitement last week.  AUTUMN BOOKS!  Arriving at our Studio in California.  


The first book under our own Spring Street Publishing imprint.  We are so proud. Our first child.  And she is a beauty.  All ribbons and curls, oooh what a girl . . .



For all of you still waiting for yours, they are on the way!  And you are the very first to have them. They aren’t in any bookstores yet, nor are they on Amazon.  JFY.  Just for you. Because we like us best.


leavesHere’s Sheri, Kellee and Robin, with Alfredo behind the camera, getting the books ready to ship, putting a signed bookplate into every copy before they go out.  They’re all gone now, because this is the MOST hard working crew (Thank you Everyone!), so if you haven’t gotten yours yet, look for it today or tomorrow!  

About a half an hour ago an email went out from our Studio to all our favorite Independent Bookstores to tell them about AUTUMN, so hopefully you’ll be able to find copies in your local stores in time for Thanksgiving!  Fingers crossed.  If you want your bookstore to carry my books and calendars, be sure to tell them, they have so many things on their minds these days, they just forget.  I think we know exactly how they feel!


JackThis is my To-Do list this morning: 1. Pack two hundred more pages of my new book to send to  my dad (Blog Daddy) to read and edit. (done!)  2. Pack a thank you gift to Jessica and Bob for watching the kitties when we went to Nantucket. (done!) (Jessica sent this picture  via phone while I was over there.)  3. Sign as many bookplates as I can.  4. Go get my yearly blood test.  ✔5. Sign and send updated contracts for Time Factory for the 2016 calendars and for Publications International for the mailnew Mom Tell Me Your Story and Recipe Books. (done!)  6. Send new 2016 covers for all five calendars to Time Factory for their catalog layouts. (done!)  7. Read over schedule for Rhode Island PBS co-hosting appearance next Tuesday night (not to make total fool of self).  8. Send requested photos and bio to stores for signings in November.    It’s like my Back to School list.  Lots too do, but this time of year makes me WANT to do it.

leaves and p.s. The book girls, the book.  It’s really my thing now, more than anything else. I’m working hard to choose just the right words.

I would have also added #9 to the list: Work in the garden, but I changed my mind because apparently we are going out with a bang here on Martha’s Vineyard, weatherwise, it seems, this is what it looks like outside this morning:

IMG_5443 . . . drippy and dark, but it’s not raining. I wish I could tell you the sprinklers were hitting the door, but that’s not it either. It’s supposed to be 80° here today, we’re luckier than Boston, they have the same humidity we have but it’s 90° up there.  So I am inside for the duration.  With my little cool boxes of air conditioning keeping me happy.


Isn’t this gorgeous?  I can just about smell these flowers, and feel those clouds overhead, and breath that misty air while standing on that bridge. We have a lot to do between now and next Spring, but we are really trying to have everything under control so we can go there  and take you all (virtually, I have to say, not to start any rumors I may have to explain to Joe) to Scotland via England and the Queen Mary 2, in May. Are you ready? The thought just sends a chill through my whole body. I hope we can do it!!  Fingers crossed!


I’ve been doing a little investigation to see what we might be getting ourselves into, and I like what I’m finding, just look how beautiful this place is!


To drive on this road, past that little white house, stopping for sheep to cross, listening to old MUSICA, willy nilly, with no schedule nor rhyme nor reason to the day . . . this is my idea of nirvana.  


This too.  Walk over this bridge?  Please.  Would we not love this?  I think we would.  So we are trying.


My dad is doing the first edit of the book right now (the most important one, he one with the in it ~ you all know how good he is with words).And on September 14, I plan to send the whole thing to the “real” editor to see where we stand. Also on my To-Do list is an educational adventure which I’m doing in the evenings after my day of writing and painting is done. It’s important that I understand the people when I get to Scotland so I can eavesdrop in the pubs and find out what’s on the menu without saying, “huh?” all the time. From what I hear, in some places the accents are quite strong and it’s not always easy.  So I have accepted the additional burden of attuning myself to the Scottish accent and maybe a bit o’ slang while I’m at it. You ken?

OutlanderAye, it’s a heavy burden but I found the perfect way to make it not only bearable, but a pure pleasure.   Have any of you read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon?  I loved the Jamiebook (it goes back in time from the 1940’s to the 1740’s and is wildly romantic) so when I heard they’d made it into a movie for cable TV, I actually had to do the unthinkable (because of those ridiculous “packages” you have to buy), and sign up to get Starz, just so I can watch Outlander.  I had to.  For science.  It’s my back-to-school project.  And, shockingly, it only added $10 to my monthly bill.  So I’m glad I did it ~ for more reasons than one, as I’m sure you can see. #1. It’s working, The movie is filled with people with strong accents, and I’m beginning to understand them ~ can even speak a little of it to my bathroom mirror and whisper into Jack’s pointy ear that he’s my little Sassenach.

Highlands of Scotland

But #2, the movie has been wonderful. A wee bit more violent kissthan I like and there seem to be naked people here and there, but what else is new.  I just look the other way while they bandage up his shoulder, don’t see much of the jousting, and hope for some kissing.  And in the meantime I turn to Joe and say, “what’d he say?” less and less all the time.  So when we get there, maybe we’ll be ready. I love my school and my teachers are never boring.

Oh, we are in for a good time . . . and between now and then we have a lot to look forward to . . .


In late October we go home to California, crossing the country our favorite way, by train, packing up our teapot for our room to all trainswith a view . . . It’s going to a short visit because I have a book to finish, but any visit will be wonderful ~ I’m homesick for my family ~ so we are going.  We’ll have a week at my Dad’s and another at my Mom’s, and one more in San Luis Obispo. And of course, we will bring you along via the Blog, and there will be Twitter from the Twain for those of you who are on Twitter and updates on FOSB Facebook too!

Downton AbbeyAnd then, we’ll be home for the holidays, and then we’re THERE Girlfriends, back to where it all began!  Our little English relatives, to see what they have been up to.

But before we do all of that, how about a few memories of summer?  Because it’s not over yet . . .

clam lightsThere’s still time for a little dinner under the twinkle lights…

June 2010 142

Out in the moonlight in the garden ~ because as much as we love our books and movies, we want some of our memories to be real and star us in lead roles. The following will be our cast and crew . . .


The most wonderful sunsets . . .

August 2010 005

Quiet evenings at the beach . . . watching the sun slip under the waves . . .


Seeing the whole sky try to follow it down . . .


And then it’s us, who follows it home . . .


Or maybe we find someone else’s deck to park ourselves for a while.


Good Night Sunset


and Hello


Moon Rise . . .


I know you’ve been following the moon too this summer . . . what a treat she’s been, eh?  Aye, a freebie beyond compare.


flirtatious too . . .


I found this on someone else’s website and I thought, that’s the truth. I could never in a hundred years get tired of this.

The moon belongs to everyone artwork Susan BranchExcept now.  No . . . kidding, I’m just going to see if I can put a few more check marks on my To-Do list.  BTW, I just opened my back door ~ Martha stopped by to drop off some DELICIOUS vegetarian chili she just made (extra for us) ~ when the door opened my glasses instantly fogged up.  That should tell you something. It’s a wall of wet heat outside my delightfully air conditioned room.  The grocery shopping part of my to-do list will have to wait until some other day!  

Have yourself a wonderful day dearest ones. Do something sweet for yourself and the ones you love. Maybe something cold on ice at the end of the day?  I will too.   XOXO 

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452 Responses to HAPPY SEPTEMBER

  1. marcy gottschall says:

    Susan I am so jealous of your Scotland trip! My husband and I have taken two trips around the British Isles on QM2 with several stops in Scotland. It has become my ver y favorite place.

    For more Scottish accents and scenery check out the delightful series “Monarch of the Glen” (I watch on netflix)absolutely wonderful. Neighbor “Killwillie” is played by Julian Fellows (creator/writer of Downton Abbey). Enjoy!!!

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Hi Marcy! My husband and I watched that series and loved it. Very funny show. When we found out that that goofball Killwillie was the creator of Downton…you could’ve knocked us over with a feather! Enjoy your day!

  2. Rae Ann R...back in Michigan...forever... says:

    Hello Susan~Sad here…my dear mother passed away August 16…luckily I was able to spend her last days with her and tell her everything I ever wanted to say to her…so when you see your mom and dad…cherish every single second with them…it is her very presence I miss so much…the simple fact I can’t be in the same room with her anymore…cherish every second…xoxo…

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Rae Ann that is such sad news. I’m sorry. xoxo Sending love.

    • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

      Dear Rae Ann,
      I am so sorry about your mom. May your memories bring you comfort. And remember……” If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I will stay there forever.” Winnie the Pooh
      Wise words from that Pooh Bear.

    • Carilyn Wolski says:

      My sympathy to you Rae Ann in the loss of your mother. Keep all of the happy memories close to your heart, and they will help you through the days ahead…..

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your dear Mother’s passing. Your time with her is something you will always cherish. Sending you hugs, girlfriend.

    • Diane from Poulsbo says:

      My heart goes out to you Girlfriend! Sending you virtual hugs and comfort……..

    • judi says:

      So sorry. Thoughts of comfort and love to you.

    • Deb '51 says:

      I am so very sorry for the loss of you dear Mother. Be blessed with all of the best memories she created. You will always have a piece of her in your heart. Peace to you and your dreams, Girlfriend.

  3. Michele says:

    SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    I discovered the Outlander books back in 1999 when I was pregnant with my fourth child. I read all four of the books (that’s all there was then) back to back and had the hardest time balancing those big books (about 1,000 pages each) on my belly! Maybe some of that romance seeped through “in utero” because that child is definitely the most romantic of my five; she likes archery, horseback riding, has never cut her hair, and is prone to wearing a long, black flowing cape!

  5. Susan Cohen says:

    I also got Starz just for Outlander. I’m also looking away for blood and gore but loving the show. Every actor has been so well cast…love Mrs. Fitz, Angus, Rupert, Gellis… AND, the best, Jamie and Claire….

  6. Laurie says:

    Loved the Outlander series! I need to go back and read them all from beginning to end. Can’t wait to “travel” with you to Scotland–would love to go someday. My mom and I are hoping your new book will find you at a book signing in Phoenix (or vicinity) since we missed the other one. Thanks for the wonderful books, blog and everything else!

  7. Barbara F. says:

    I just ordered Autumn! My favorite season of all! Looking forward to receiving it! ❤️

  8. Cyndi in NC says:

    WOO HOO I got my book!! I came in the mail several days ago and I love it!! Just in time for fall, and I hope it’s soon. We had 97 degree temps yesterday with 110 heat index and boy I can’t wait for cooler weather. *L* Having a blast looking at all the goodies in it. It was one of the books of yours I didn’t have so it makes it all that much better! Happy almost Fall!

  9. Marcia says:

    I just got my Autumn book yesterday! Reading it slowly and patiently (not really) waiting for autumn – my very favorite season – to arrive here in western NY. My niece and her hubby are in Scotland right now, and I’ve been drooling over her pictures. (There was a chicken at her door this morning :D) I must go, one way or another!

  10. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Ohhh – I’m sooooo looking forward to coming along on the Twain Twip 🙂 Also to seeing Outlander, but I’ll probably wait for the DVD’s unless I win the Lottery and splurge on more cable channels. The picture you show of Jamie and Clair sitting on the rock wall brings to mind the BBC 3-parter called Island at War — about the Channel Islands during WWII. So interesting and a great story. The actor who plays Jamie was a main character in this drama and disguised himself as a wall builder so he could be near his parents whose house the German invaders had occupied. Did you see that one? Great story. He appears to be the Perfect Jamie! Love the plaids.
    Way back in the olden days (1930’s) we had a neighbor lady named Jean who was Scottish and a quilter. Probably the first time I saw those lovely old soft colored prints when she took me up into her sewing room — a very cozy space above the back porch with slanted ceiling — all white in my memory and filled with enticing vibes. She sang to me while she sewed – probably she was minding me for my Mom. So many things connect us all here. It’s amazing.
    Thanks for the lovely Moon shots.

    • sbranch says:

      Sounds wonderful!

      • Jan from Northern CA says:

        My Mom and I visited the Channel Islands “Jersey ” a few years ago. Such brave folks to go through and survive what they did. I missed the BBC show…..will have to see if it comes out on DVD. Jersey Island was wonderful.

        • Sylvia in Seattle says:

          Yes, it is on DVD’s. About 10 years old now, but available in the usual places. I was completely unaware of the Channel Islands and their unique history until this showed up on Masterpiece Theater.

  11. Sara says:

    Oh Scotland, what a lovely place to visit. I have been to the Eilean Donan Castle you have pictured and I tell you that you cannot take a bad picture of it. I took so many pictures there and everyone was calendar worthy. I loved every minute of being there. I too am so ready for Autumn but I don’t think Indiana is going to cooperate for a while but when it does, watch out, it’s quite a colorful show. My favorite season.

  12. Debbie says:

    I received my Autumn book yesterday and have not had much time to take more than a quick look at it. I am hoping for some cooler weather this weekend and look forward to poring over it then. A trip to Scotland! I spent a week in Scotland in 2005 and it was wonderful in so many ways-gorgeous views, friendly people, that special feeling of “northerness” (maybe it is just the light), good food & whisky, & so much more. You will love it!

  13. mary cunningham says:

    Oh Susan….I am so excited about you and Joe going to Scotland…I too ordered Starz just to watch Outlander , ya ken , I discovered the books and read every one , yes , all eight in a month…crazy me…aye….I’m a goner…love Jamie , Dougal , And Rupert….Saturday is Outlander night…..I love your books also and enjoy our special A Fine Romance….so going to Scotland with you will be like visiting my ancestors…I am related on my Dad’s side to George Rogers Clark….he’s from Scotland…..and married a Cunningham……can’t wait to travel with you….thank you for sharing with us!!!

  14. Hi Susan! As always, beautiful pictures!!! Though makes me a little sad as I am starting to close up our house and head back to MI. . . fortunately, I LOVE the fall & it will be good to get home. Just know how much I will miss the island. Hopefully back for the holidays in a few months!!! So excited that Scotland is possibly ‘our’ next trip. I am so eager to get their myself. Because of you and your recommendation, I did read Outlander & was thrilled to find it on TV!!! The locations are beautiful – costuming is fabulous! So glad you discovered it was worth adding on to your cable so you could see it!!
    Think of me closing up my wonderful house. . .and hope the humidity doesn’t return!!

    • sbranch says:

      Gorgeous tonight! Back to this wonderful new normal! I’m sorry you have to go. My girlfriend Elizabeth owns the just renovated little house across from the Stone Church and she was just lamenting that she has to go on Saturday. 🙁 sad to see everyone leaving ~ just when it’s getting so good! Bon Voyage. Keep in touch this winter.

      • your friend is diagonally across fro me and her renovations are just beautiful. I had great plans to knock on her door and to tell her how lovely her house is. . .but the days got away from me. Next year I plan to be here for the fall. . .can’t wait!! And I absolutely will keep in touch as long as you continue to post your beautiful island pictures!! Happy Fall!

        • sbranch says:

          You’ll love her, she is a little bit of heaven. Maybe we can get her to have us to tea next year. Happy fall to you Lee.

  15. Cynthia Avalos says:

    I’m so excited about Scotland! I’ve always wanted to go there too. If you haven’t watched the BBC Scotland TV show, Monarch of the Glenn, you should. Wonderful scenery, wonderful stories, great actors. Love it! I think there’s 7 seasons! I follow someone on Pinterest who “pins” pictures of Scotland almost every day. It’s great seeing it like that, since I can’t really go!

    Thanks for taking us along!

  16. Robyn Brown says:

    Oh I’d love to slip myself in the suitcase and go with you. These pictures are magical.

  17. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    How exciting for you (and us! xo)….those pics that you posted are so breathtakingly beautiful! Especially that castle! I must check out Outlander. Never have read it! It is most likely better to read the book first, then see the series. Always on the lookout for something fun…and romantic is even better! And please….give me those dresses from the Downton Abbey picture! Oh dear! I just love them all, even the servants’ but especially Maggie Smith’s! Your checklist is exhausting to read! You are one busy girl! Just put up my Autumn decorations today and pulled out the Autumn book for its place of honor by my favorite reading chair! I do so LOVE that book! xoxo….Karen P.

  18. Tracy says:

    I read A Fine Romance on a driving trip to Arizona from Colorado. I kept referring to you as “my friend Susan” when mentioning items in the book to my husband as I slapped post-it notes on most of the pages (He already knows I’m a little nuts ;). Well your book spurred us on to plan a trip to England next summer, and then we decided to see parts of Scotland too. I read Outlander for the first time this spring, so I got a little excited when you mentioned it today and also that you are planning a trip to Scotland. Yay! I can’t wait to travel along with you and Joe, virtually, of course.

  19. CJ Love says:

    Hi Susan,
    I received “Autumn” in the mail yesterday and LOVE it. I’ve been a fan of your blog for a couple of years and finally ordered a book. It is so charming — just like your blog!

  20. Deborah Ferguson says:

    Hello Susan, were not too excited yet about Fall here in
    Southern Cali because the weather will be the same “hot” until mid October or so! But I started my Christmas Shopping online already! Last year you shared some beautiful pictures of your lovelyl decorated hutch which held two Brass Angel Chimes. I searched Ebay long and hard to find an old one like your’s with two Actual Bells on each side. I couldn’t find one like that so I settled with a lovely brass one that has the round bell on each side. This year I have searched Ebay and Etsy with no luck, even the oldest of them do not have Real Bells. Do you know the History of your’s such as the approximate year in which that design was available ? Any help would be much appreciated.
    Next on my list is to order the NEW AUTUMN book to go with the original one I have and a few Fall banner’s to put around the house. Are you ever going to carry your hand hooked area rug’s again? Last year I ordered 5 or 6 and have enjoyed them so much, one of my friends just loves the Kitty one and I would love to give her one.


    • sbranch says:

      I licensed my art and design to a rug company for those rugs, but like everything, they only made them for a while, and what we have now is all there will ever be unless I am approached by another rug maker someday. Sorry! I wish we could get more of them too. Remind me later in the season when we bring down our Christmas decorations from the attic and I’ll check out the box of my chimes and see if they have a date.

    • erica says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I would suggest you check out goodwill and thrift stores – you may get lucky!! The particular Swedish Angel Bell which you’re referring to on Susan’s mantle is a very rare one. (one with actual bell shape) Originally the chimes were made in Sweden, but that factory closed down. They are now made in Turkey, with the quality being about the same. Some are made in China, but I don’t think they sound as nice. I know this, because I used to work in a place that sold them for years! Good luck, I hope you find what you’re looking for……so fun to go on a treasure hunt!


  21. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Happy September to you too!!!! Just wanted to tell you how very blessed you are to still have your father here to help you with the first edit of your newest book you are writing!!! That is so special! Aren’t our elderly dad’s the best!!! They sort of turn into “big marshmallows” the older they get…….compared to when they were our disciplinarians when we were youngsters growing up! Don’t you agree! My dad just turned 90 in July, and he is a big teddy bear! I call him every day and chit-chat about the day……priceless……as fathers don’t last forever.So happy for you and Joe in regards to your future travels next Spring 2015, and wishing you cooler/dryer weather sooner than later!!! Take care of yourself and saying a little prayer for your successful PBS spotlight next Tuesday!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I know, in my dad, age is beauty — in his wife Jeanie too, and in my mom. That’s the truth. We are so blessed to have them long enough to know this about them and appreciate the heck out of it. And thank you for that little prayer Carilyn!

  22. Liza Wolfe says:

    Is your new Autumn book the same as the one I already have or are there some changes?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s exactly the same ~ the only difference is the ribbon, which was not available to me in the first publishing, and the fact that we published this one ourselves, which is why we got to have the ribbon. Our own publisher’s mark is on the new edition, Spring Street Publishing and a little ferry boat. I received many letters asking for us to bring it back out, so here it is, but if you already have one, you’re fine.

  23. Paula A. says:

    I love Scottland. I’ve only been to Edinburgh, beautiful city! My husband and I are looking forward to a return trip one day. Another good series to watch from Scottland is “Monarch of the Glen” on Netflix. It was wonderful. So looking forward to your new book!!!

  24. Diana says:

    Still hot and humid here in southern Illinois, but the corn is dry and FALL IS COMING SOON!!!!! I’m so ready. It’s my fav time. September 20th is my 40th wedding anniversary. WHAT!!!! How does that happen. This has been a crazy good year, my hubs and I turned 60, our 40th anniversary, our first trip to Seattle and Victoria with my first official”tea” at the Empress Hotel, our youngest son’s wedding, and we will take a long weekend trip up to Chicago for our anniversary weekend! Wrigley Field is on our list and lots of good eating and sightseeing. So NOW I have SCOTLAND to look forward to! I have always just loved the Scottish accent the best! I wish I could say I was part Scot, but I don’t think so. You are such a busy busy lady and I want to thank you for the continued love and lovelies you give to us!

    Enjoy your Autumn.. Oh, I got my “new” Autumn book. I am giving my original to my sister and keeping the cutie new one for myself. Love the sweet printer picture and that it was printed here is the USA!

    Happy trails and beautiful days ahead to you and all the Girlfriends!

  25. Lynn Winders says:

    I was amazed at how beautiful Scotland was. Wild, rugged and breath-takingly beautiful. Accents are very difficult particularly some of them but watching and reading a bit of Gabaldon a foregone might help. I did have to ask what “cream of rocket soup” was in a hotel in Edinburgh. Cream of articular in my words and a bit bitter for my taste in a soup but a lovely green. Reading your blog is a bit like peeking in what I wish my own Windows were. Lynn

  26. Pom Pom says:

    Oh, I am so excited about that book you are working on, Susan!
    I have my original Autumn book and I love it very much.
    Scotland! Yay! Our son has become a bagpiper in the last two years and he is fascinated by all things Scottish.

  27. Marian from Orange, CA says:

    Enjoyed all the news, and the beautiful photos. Thank you.

  28. Mary Duke says:

    Oh, Susan. You are so going to love Scotland! I went twice when my sister lived there, the first time in the Spring. I do not have the language skills to adequately describe how many daffodils were blooming all over the entire country. It was stunning. The geography is breath-taking, and the people are amazing. Resilient, proud, friendly. Be sure you go to the west coast, and Skye, and so many charming villages. It’s a knitter’s paradise – go to New Lanarkshire and see the historic woolen mill. And if you loved the lambs in England, just wait for Scotland. They are everywhere, including on the roads! Green hills, stone fences, wonderful historic castles and ruins – like I said…you are going to love it. Oh yah – and then there’s all those whiskey distilleries. Wonderful!

  29. Jayne says:

    Try watching Hammish MacBeth, it’s a Scottish TV series. I love British TV, but I had to give up on this one because the Scottish accent was so hard to understand. So maybe it will prepare you for the more rural areas. Great fun.

  30. Nina From England says:

    Good morning Susan! Every time I catch up with a blog update I think “this is my favourite!” I loved the Nantucket ones! They were my favourite’s! O & this one too is my favourite!! (Told ya!)
    Anyhow really looking forward to going on another trip with you & Joe & Petey. When you go you just have to try the haggis,neeps & tatties, you will love it!

    We have just returned from a road trip too. We drove down to Dover over on the ferry to Calais, down through France (via Paris) and finally onto Southern Spain. It was fab & I felt all “Susan Branch” like doing it! It was a very long trip with four of us in the car but fun all the same.
    Now its my fave time of year again I know it is because I replaced your Summer book with your Autumn book on the table, now that one is definitely my favourite book! (and a fine romance of course because as well as the book itself it is signed by your good self.)
    Anyway lots on my to do list today getting ready to go back to school (well work) after almost 7 weeks off and I like to get my house in order before I go back. Downtown Abbey is starting on September 21st here (our wedding anniversary) so looking forward to it!
    There’s a nip in the air here in the mornings & the evenings have started to draw in…love it love it love it! Hope you have a wonderful day! You certainly bring sunshine into ours! xxxx

    • sbranch says:

      Good morning Nina! Lovely post, thank you. You are so lucky, it’s like you live on the inside of Disneyland . . . you have all these lovely nearby “lands” to visit! Happy Almost Anniversary! xoxo

    • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

      Ahhh, Nina, I love your description of our days getting shorter as autumn draws nearer…”the evenings have started to draw in.” What a perfect way of putting it! Autumn is my favorite time of year, too. Happy Anniversary!!

  31. Donna H. says:

    I received my Autumn/Fine Romance Book bundle in the mail on Tuesday Morning. I love them both. I have already read half of A Fine Romance and can hardly put it down to take care of other business, like cook dinner or do the laundry. I took the Autumn Book with me when I went to have my car serviced and had the luxury of 2 hours to gaze at it. Love it! Also, the man sitting next to me couldn’t keep himself from looking over my shoulder. By the time I left he was asking all sorts of questions about you and how you do your books and he will probably be ordering any day now. -Donna H., Jefferson, AR

  32. Joan Ramseyer says:

    Susan….So glad to hear that you and Joe are planning a trip to Scotland. My husband and I are leaving the 13th for a two week trip to England and Scotland. We are renting a car and I am looking at the left hand side of the road driving as an adventure and not something to be feared. Hope I’m right!

    I know two weeks is not enough, but we know we can’t see everything. We have tickets to see Highclere Castle and are even having tea in the Coach House there. So excited about that.

    Have been reading A Fine Romance over again to refresh what I have to see. We’re spending three nights in the Lake District and since I taught American Lit and Brit Lit at the high school level for so many years I am thrilled to finally see where Wordsworth lived. Of course we have to fit in Hill Top as well.

    Your blog is always an inspiration and I wish you a wonderful autumn. It is my favorite time of year and traveling in September has always brought us so many pleasant memories. I’m sure for you too.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s an adventure to be feared. 🙂 You’ll survive, but it is a bit harrowing. Be sure to read the rules of the road in the Appendix for A Fine Romance at the top of the blog under “I love England” — it’s a big help to understand signs and what’s painted on the streets. You’ll have a ball and laugh yourselves silly! Dove Cottage is HEAVEN. Truly. Bon Voyage Joan! Let us know how it was!

  33. Karen Saunders says:

    Good A.M. Susan…it’s 6:30 on the west coast. Already got my book in the mail and I hate to open it because it’s all ‘NEW’ and pretty with the ribbon. But, alas, I will read it again…..with care. Yesterday was a very hard day for my family. My father-in-law….a man we all adored, was buried. He was 95. He flew a B-25 and B-26 in WWII. He had a military burial (they shoot guns!!) but when they played taps…..there was not a dry eye among us. He was so devoted to his wife….they would have been married 70 years on Feb. 14. I have never seen a couple more in love than them. She is in an alzheimer home and when he died they said she yelled his name so loud everyone in the house heard her. She will be 90 this month. We will all miss him. Have a good day Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Karen, that is sad news. I love how you wrote about him and his wife. Very lucky people to have that kind of love.

  34. bobbie calgaro says:

    Just wanted to make sure that you know that Downton Abbey starts on September 22 this season! Don’t want to be caught off guard. Looking forward to your new book. Also have you read Beatrix Potters Gardening Life. It’s lovely with lots of Beatrix’s paintings and photos of her home. I think you would love it.

    • sbranch says:

      Really??? I had no idea. Are you sure? They get it early in England, but we usually have to wait until January. I already am off guard! Thank you for telling me! And yes, I have read Gardening Life too, it’s wonderful. xo

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        The PBS app on my IPad shows Downton Abbey starts Sunday January
        4th, 2015!

        • sbranch says:

          OK, that’s better. I kind of like it as a reward after the holidays, something wonderful to look forward to!

  35. Jeanne Hedin says:

    So many fun and exciting things in this post! I LOVE Scotland! Of the places we have traveled, Scotland is my favorite . . . breathtaking rugged beauty, amazing history and those spunky Scots. 🙂 You will be charmed beyond imagination. Looking forward to this trip with you.

  36. Mamey Brown says:

    I agree with Nina!! Every time I read a new blog post I think it’s my favorite!! So I guess they are ALL my favs. I received my new Autumn BookTuesday! I can’t wait to give it the much deserved attention!! I LOVE all the detail you put in to every picture and the little extra stories here and there make the best cookbook ever! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful talent with all of us Girlfriends!! I’m thrilled that I am apart of the SB community!

  37. Deb from the Jersey Shore says:

    I received “A Fine Romance” for Christmas and had an amazingly delightful trip through England through your eyes! Then I found your blog and became one of the “Girlfriends.” Then I passed my book to family and friends and after reading it they had to have a copy too! Now they have also become “Girlfriends.” Following your blog has been so lovely. I can’t wait for a new entry….so….when I got the September one and saw Eilean Donan Castle I was so excited. My husband and I spent a week in Scotland this summer and I have a picture of that castle (without the yellow flowers) in my camera! There is a picture taking spot off to the side of the road where that picture was taken and we were there. We were not as adventurous as you and your husband, we did a bus trip but it was wonderful. Our favorite place in the Highlands was the area of Glencoe. We stayed at the Isles of Glencoe Hotel Ballachulish Argyll. It is on a loch (lake) and has a meadow that we could take a walk in. The meadow was filled with Fire Weed, a waist high plant with bright pink flowers. It was breath-taking walking through the flowers while viewing the mountains and the lake. We would love to go back to Scotland but if we don’t, I can’t wait to go to Scotland with you in one of your books! Your talent is bringing joy to so many people. Thank you!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s also a joy for me, so we are even Deb! xoxo

    • Brenda says:

      I agree with you about Glencoe. We were there in June and I have beautiful photos of a perfect reflection on the water. We stayed in the little village of Taynuilt in an inn which Wordsworth and Coleridge had also stayed in. Their diaries showed they enjoyed the inn and we did too!

  38. Deanna in Nebraska says:

    Oh Susan, can’t wait to take “our” trip to Scotland! A funny story here….last summer 8 couples celebrated our 50th anniversaries at an exclusive golf course in the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills. The club imports a Scottish bagpiper to entertain the guests in the summer season. After we ate we gathered on the terrace and listened to him play for half an hour as he stood on a nearby green with the sunset in the background..enchanting! When he finished he came over to visit with us and finding out the reason for our gathering he said in his wonderful accent..”What! 50 years! Ye must be a bunch of tee-totalers. In Scotland, ye’d be laid oot by now!”

  39. Bonnie Schoening says:

    Are you seriously going to Scotland after the joy of visiting England?! I am so very jealous . I have never had the opportunity to visit either but I have always felt Scotland is my REAL home. I think it is absolutely beautiful . And also (just because) Autumn is my favorite time of year and I actually have 3 copies of your Autumn because Autumn IS my favorite time of year

  40. Christine C says:

    Hi Susan~
    So glad to hear you are thinking about going to Scotland! I have been there twice. You will love it! Have also read some of the Outlander books and am liking the show on Starz very much! Something else we girls can talk about.

    Did you know that the knitted items Claire is wearing are really popular now and I know you are a knitter, so thought you might be interested in that part of the shows as well. BTW, in a post MANY months ago, you were wearing a knit shrug/sweater in your studio in the wee hours one wintry morning. I liked the shrug then (even more now after watching Outlander, as they wear similar styles) and always wanted to ask if you had knit it yourself (and could direct me to a pattern) or was that maybe a purchase from England?

    Good luck with that “to do” list and especially your writing of the new book on your early years and arrival in MV. I am really looking forward to that book! Can we expect a Scotland book too (*wishful thinking*)?

    • sbranch says:

      I got the idea from the movie Little Women — I think it’s the one with Katherine Hepburn. They had this adorable shrug type thing they were wearing that I really would love to have. But I haven’t had time to make one and I couldn’t find one in the real world, so I just wrapped a scarf in that style. That’s what that was, not the real thing. I’ll keep a diary in Scotland and we’ll see what happens!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Maybe you could copy some of your diary for us….put it together like your book of Willards or something. I know, I’m stretching and wishfully thinking. Don’t you just love how we make plans for you?

  41. Brenda says:

    I’m sure you are planning to visit Birnam, Perthshire in Scotland as Beatrix Potter spent time there in her childhood.

  42. Andi M says:

    Did you ever walk a picket line? I never thought I would but as life goes… So I am currently on strike and the silver lining to all this, is that I have gotten to know three of my co-workers a bit more personally and become, I hope lasting friends. We are two librarians, one spanish teacher and the french teacher and we are now a book club too! I showed them your “A Fine Romance…” and they LOVED it. I think for my recommendation for our next read will be “Outlander” as you have just peaked my interest. Always a pleasure reading your blog!

  43. Jack says:

    They showed a ram they called “Rambro” on TV …if he was mine I’d call him Butt Face

  44. Delores McElmurry says:

    Susan my dear, I’m an 82 year old that just loves reading your blogs. The problem is, my dear friend in CA has to forward them to me because I can’t get on your mailing list for some reason. I used to receive them, then all of a sudden none. I have begged and pleaded with your sweet girls in CA but I get no response. I have purchased many of your items and especially love your book about England because I also was fortunate enough to spend a month there in 1996. What can I do to get your sweet blogs sent directly to me? I really am a fan of yours and feel left out because I can’t get anything emailed to my address above. Please help me. xxoo Delores McElmurry

    • sbranch says:

      I wrote to Sheri and forwarded your comment to see what she can do. I feel like they must have signed you up again, and on our end, after that, we’re not sure what to do. There’s a chance that it’s being sent, but ends up in your spam filter . . . have you checked that? Because you can stop that from happening on your end. I hope this helps Delores! xoxo

    • Tawni urrutia says:

      Good morning Delores!
      Don’t feel left out of this charming community! I don’t get email alerts from Susan…I just check her website, ok I’ll admit it, every morning when I get my coffee! That way I never miss a trick, and am surprised and delighted when I see it’s a new post!
      Enjoy your day!


  45. Annie in IL says:

    Beautiful Musica – I’m listening to ‘Dawn’ right now – gives me goosebumps!! I have the ‘P&P’ soundtrack – loverly. I just went to abebooks.com and ordered several of your books that I don’t have. Beautiful pictures of Scotland; hope to get there one day – maiden name is ‘Ferguson’ – what do you think? I’m Scottish and Irish and have been to Ireland. I dawdled too long and missed out on the autumn leaves banner! Ordered the ‘Autumn’ acorn banner instead. Buyer’s remorse!!! Maybe I’ll make one of my own with tulip poplar, maple and oak leaves??? Loved all the pictures of Nantucket; love the pictures of Martha’s Vineyard. Got my FOGT newsletter the other day with the info about the recent reunion and your visit. I could kick myself all the way to China for not going! A once-in-a-lifetime event. I get teary-eyed just looking at pictures of Stillmeadow; can’t imagine what kind of a scene I would have made to be there in person! Have several Gladys books, having discovered her years ago at a library book sale! She would have been a joy to know.

    • sbranch says:

      It was everything I hoped it would be. Very real, you could feel the life in the house. I was surprised to find myself all teary when I got out of the car. Unexpected. But it’s very touching somehow, to be there.

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        Susan, I sent my annual dues in to FOGT several days ago. Each year they send a special postcard to members who renew early….in past years there have been postcards of Stillmeadow in different seasons and even one taken in the ’50’s of Gladys standing by the picket fence at Stillmeadow. Imagine my delight when I got my postcard today. It’s YOU, taken at the reunion in CT! Such a sweet surprise 🙂 Hugs!

      • Kathi Sanoba says:

        I have a feeling that if I ever get to Martha’s Vineyard and find the Susan and Joe house, that I would feel the same way!

  46. Mary Eva says:

    I have to tell you first that I LOVE MY LEAVES BANNER AND MY ACORN AUTUMN banner. They are so perfect and wonderful. Thank you Janie! Secondly, I have the old Autumn book and it is still my favorite of all of them. Pages worn out, spits of ingredients on the pages, no ribbon, but I love it. Lastly, Oh Scotland. How wonderful would that be? THANKS Susan

  47. joan danaher says:

    Am loving your ” A Fine Romance” and look forward to your next. Can I stowaway to Scotland with you two? It looks wonderful. I do think I like Jamie best of all
    in the Outlander series, which I plan to reread. Is it too late to order Autumn from you or must I wait?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s not to late, and yes, we do want you to stow away with us, and thank you so much for your nice comments! xoxo

  48. Susan you always know when to brighten up a day. I was feeling blue over hearing that Joan Rivers passed today as she was someone who always made me laugh. I loved her glamorous clothing, jewelry and work ethics. One of my wishes in life (like a bucket list of wishes) was to be able to pick one item out of Joan Rivers’ closet. Knowing I needed a pick me up and there was no chocolate in the house (right, girlfriends?), I turned to your blog and there it was. A new blog posting! Happiness in back! And there’s Jack posing so handsomely. I have been enjoying my new book, Autumn. You are helping me ease into the start of Fall, as I love Summer so. I can now find more joy in the seasons all thanks to you! Wow! A trip to Scotland in the Spring. I’ll be ready. In the meantime I’ll clean my quilts and fluff up the house for coziness and await your new up-coming book.

    • sbranch says:

      It is very sad, but I’m so happy she wasn’t sick and didn’t worry, and probably didn’t know. She was one hard worker, her whole life. And she left a big piece of her heart behind. xoxo

  49. Ever since a dear friend’s family spent two different sabbaticals in Scotland, she sparked my interest in that country. I am smitten.

    There is an English writer she introduced me to that writes a lot of stories which take place in Scotland. Her name is D. E. Stevenson. My favorite trilogy begins in England but the next two books are in Scotland.

    They are Vittoria Cottage (that is not a typo), Music in the Hills, and Shoulder the Sky (the American title). Bel Lamington is another book by the author but she ends up visiting the place in Scotland where the second two books of the trilogy occur so you catch up on a few of the characters. Absolutely beautiful stories for those of us who love all thing English (and Scottish, and Welsh, and Irish, etc.).

  50. Mary Ann says:

    Oh my, I have been hearing all about the Outlander books for several years from my friends and now all about the movie. I think I may have to read them after all. i don’t usually like that kind of Romance in the the least bit but everyone including now now say I must. Its lovely here in CA right now. We live in Long Beach and being only a few miles form shore we get the most delicious ocean breeze and no humidity. Tomorrow we head up the coast to Santa Clara and a visit to the sweet granddaughters. I am taking a few fall things for them. And I am thrilled to start the season with Autumn!! I bought a copy for me a copy for a friend, can’t wait to share with her. And a big trip to Scotland to look forward too, lucky girlfriends!!!

    • sbranch says:

      The history you get in Outlander makes the romance sort of a side line, but it helps bring the history alive. I’m so happy to hear about your weather! It’s been so hot and my mom lives next door in Seal Beach.

  51. DebbyMc says:

    Yep, I ordered Starz just for Outlander, too! And I got a super good deal of only 5 extra dollars a month! And just today I finished reading the first book. I can’t believe I never read these books, though I knew of them…so weird because they are right up my alley 🙂 Oh, I can’t wait to see what you get up to in Scotland. It’s one of my favorite places and I yearn to visit again…and again!

  52. Marsha MacLean says:

    Acht, an’ ye’ll be sayin’ why did I ne’er dae this afore?
    I am thrilled that you are taking my advice from Christmas a couple of years ago when I was over there writing to you on your blog about the lovely Christmas candlesticks in everyone’s windows!! (Lol)
    Although I viewed Scotland as a person with family status, I LOVED every minute of my time there, both at Christmas and in The summer of 2005, when I traveled with my late husband and our daughter to visit the botanic gardens of Edinburgh and the Isle of Mull, home to Duart castle, home of the clan MacLean. What fun! I can’t wait to see it through your eyes!
    I, too, am loving the Outlander series, and find the scenery and costumes breathtaking.
    Life is a series of small treats, and BIG ones, too, as you say! So glad you’ll be laying eyes on Blog Daddy and your sweet mama soon.
    Sending love from California, Marsha

    • sbranch says:

      You have the language down pat Marsha, we’ll have to make you our interpreter!

      • Marsha MacLean says:

        Aye, I’ll gladly go in that capacity! Tuck me inta your case an awa eye go!
        You can’t see it all, I know, but whatever you see, it will be glorious. I could give you a long list here, but you’ll see what I mean yourself, or should I say yersel’.
        Dinnae miss Edinburgh, it’s so lovely!

      • Patty in Redlands says:

        I’ve been waiting for Marsha’s comments on Scotland. She’s our expert! And I agree, she should go as translator and all round fun person!

  53. Rosie (from Illinois) says:

    Yay for fall, and also for Scotland coming up, can’t wait! My brother’s wife (now his widow, sad to say) is full-on Scottish from Glasgow, he met her and her little boy while in the Navy, stationed near there. Amazingly I began to understand her pretty soon after meeting her, though for days I was lost, and was happy her son could translate, hahaha! I’m sure it helped to only have one Scottish person to listen to at once – I recall when Chris, the little boy, got married, (much later and MUCH bigger, haha!) dozens of her relatives came over, and it was a hoot listening to them all go on! It’s a lovely dialect, and the slang is wonderful – she used to say, “ooh, Roose, we haven’t seen ye in donkey’s!!” Adorable – she meant she hadn’t seen us in a donkey’s age. I miss hearing from her, will have to give her a call.

  54. Bit late to the party ~ pulled back and codeine are not a happy mix ~ but what a lovely read to cheer me up! I’ve not heard of Outlander, so I have something to discover. Oh, you will love Scotland. Do you think you will go aboard the Hogwart’s Express, or at the very least over the viaduct. I love Scotland ~ fresh, river caught salmon on the menu every night, Arbroath Smokies, proper porridge and kippers for breakfast {here’s a little tip ~ to stop the kippers ~erm, repeating, eat them with a marmalade sauce ~ sounds awful, I know, but was invented by the Victorians as an aide to avoid repeating} My favourite area is definitely the Highlands ~ oh! and I came to enjoy whisky too ~ hic! hic!

    Waving from Across the Pond ~~~ Debs in Wales ~~~ xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      You are killing me Debs, every word makes me want to RUN there this moment! (every word but a couple. 🙂 )Whiskey might be a better bet for your back.

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

      You’re killing me with the talk of fresh Salmon! I only buy Scottish salmon here or Alaskan Sock-eye.
      The bain of a gardener’s existence is a backache. I hope your back will feel better soon!

  55. Joan Lesmeister says:

    After visiting Scotland for a few days in ’89, only got to go about 45 miles over England border, my husband said we’ll have to go back some day & travel further north. Now, I don’t have to wait any longer! I’ll miss him, thanks for the invite to go with you & Joe! Love the pictures of Scotland! And love the rest of the pictures too! I’m keeping an eye on the moon, soon it will be full again! Thx for popping in to visit with us! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      We got close to Scotland last time, and said the same thing. It’s so hard to turn away from wonderful things!

  56. Trisha K says:

    Scotland is my someday dream. I think watching Outlander has really made me impatient to see more of the country, I’m so glad they are actually filming in Scotland. My husband, who hasn’t read the books, feels it isn’t violent enough! I re-read the book, because it seems to me they are adding more um…”love scenes” than necessary. The books are pretty full, isn’t there enough story there without it? I suppose they wanted to establish that Claire really does love Frank. I so look forward to stowing away with you! And I cannot wait for any book that results from your trip. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      OH my, did he see the Pig thing? Yikes. And the way the guys “play” sports? I’m not seeing any love scenes since Frank, but they sure don’t have much respect for women. Which I think we knew.

  57. Marissa says:

    Hi Susan!
    I just had to write to you! (Picture that “had” bold and underlined!) I was visiting a friend at her mother-in-law’s house in West Tisbury about a month ago, and one lazy day I was going through their bookshelf and stumbled upon Heart of the Home. I was immediately in love (!!!!!) with it and looked you up and found your website. My friend and I always joke at how much I’m an “old soul” just like you and, you probably get this a lot, but we have so much in common! (Tea! Nature! Old new england! Cooking! Abigail Adams! The list goes on…) I live in Italy and just ordered the book to take back with me. I plan on creating a little Susan Branch library for myself. 🙂 Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I love your work!
    Your new friend,

  58. Judy says:

    I absolutely LOVE Scotland- the castles, the lochs, the train to Inverness, the road to Ft. William along the lochs, the ruins at Urquhart, Edinburgh, the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow (gotta love Macintosh), and on and on. We first went there when our kids were 19 and 11 and it was the best family trip we ever took. I even made a trip journal, with dozens of drawings of things as insane as the patterns of the carpets in our hotel rooms. Our favorite part of the trip was a rainy night in Edinburgh when we ate traditional food in candlelight in a sub-basement restaurant called Keepers, listening to Enya on the management’s battery powered CD player. It was all rustic stone, wood tables covered in tartans, and candles dripping down wine bottles. Sadly, from what I have read, it has been replaced by a sushi restaurant.
    This year we decided to start our own traditional Burns Night Celebration (with the help of the people at British Emporium I even managed a vegetarian haggis!). My husband, who is a tall, no nonsense Texan, even got a Black Watch kilt.

  59. Beth from San Diego says:

    Susan – not to worry Just googled Masterpiece and saw Downton Abbey Season 5 starts Jan. 5, 2015 in US. The UK gets it in Sept. That’s the way it always happens. We have to wait. It’s interesting too that there are very few spoilers that make it to our shores. Can’t wait!

  60. Cam O'Brien says:

    Hi Susan,
    My husband and I went to Scotland in June and one of the places we visited was Eilean Donan Castle that you have on your blog. It was wonderful. As part of our preparation for our trip we both read “Outlander”. We found out that Castle Leoch was filmed at Doune Castle which is a wee bit north of Sterling. It was worth the time spent going there because as we watch the “Outlander” series, many of the scenes are familiar to us. You may want to watch the “Hamish MacBeth” series on d.v.d.s. It was filmed not too far from Eilean Donan Castle in the town of Plockton. You’ll have a wonderful trip.

  61. Robyn Genau says:

    So glad you were able to share your visit to the Chanticleer Rest. while you were in Nantucket. Now I see where it has been sold. What a shame.

  62. sondra fox says:

    Hi Susan, I know I’ve written to you too much this past week. I’m keeping you busy “keeping up,” but had to let you know………I’ve been reading “Fine Romance,” for the second time. Soooooo enjoyable. Your sense of humor had me laughing until tears were streaming down my face. My cat & dog were looking at me trying to figure out what was wrong with me. There hasn’t been much laughter in our house this past year. I mean, I was laughing from the belly! It felt so good to laugh that hard. I was reading about your first adventure getting out of the airport in your rental car. My husband used to let me know he’d appreciate me being quiet when he’d get into heavy traffic situations, just like Joe asked you to resist talking. The dialog on pages 79 – 82 was hilarious! Joe asking you if you were ready,(to start driving out on the road from the airport) then you squeaking “ready,” had me in stitches. Thanks for the fun afternoon of re reading your marvelous book! (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I’m so glad Sondra, that kind of laughing is so good for you ~ you can’t imagine how it feels to hear you say that. xoxo

    • Carol from PA says:

      I am currently doing the very same thing…reading “A Fine Romance” word for word the second time. You are so right! This book is even better the second time around!! I know there are girlfriends out there who are on their third and fourth go arounds. I can only imagine! It did not start out this way. I only picked the book up this week to “just glance through it’ and before I knew it I was totally absorbed once more from page 1 and can hardly put it down! Thanks, Susan, for creating something that brings so much pleasure to so many over and over again! Not an easy feat in this throw away society of ours. Keep reading and laughing Sandy!

      • sbranch says:

        My pleasure, Carol, a lot of gratitude is wrapped up in that book, both before I wrote it, during, and now this. Thank you!

  63. Pat W. says:

    Hi Susan: Just received my copy of Autumn & it looks lovely; no time to read it now – life is crazy busy, but I hope soon to sit & savor it. Thanks for the beautiful photos & uplifting, pleasant thoughts & words. You are a unique & refreshing soul.

  64. Becky says:

    Oh, how I covet your life, dear Susan! You bring together all the things I love most, and have experiences I dream of having!

    In the meantime, I like to experience some things in a virtual way, just as you are learning about Scotland now. May I be so bold as to recommend, before your train trip, that you watch this lovely video? If you love trains, and you love the impact of women in history, you will be enchanted. harveygirlsdocumentary.com/

    • sbranch says:

      On our train trips to California, we pass an old Harvey House called the Castaneda Hotel, one of the most gorgeous buildings you can imagine, practically on the tracks, and sadly, abandoned. Every time we see it, we lament that nothing is done there, it’s really so beautiful and charming. I can’t wait to see your documentary! Thank you Becky!

      • Becky says:

        Although I was born and raised in southern California, and live there now, I did live in New Mexico for 5 years and that’s where I became enamored of the Harvey Girls. I was sad to learn that the Alvarado in Albuquerque had been torn down, but I did joyfully visit the La Fonda in Santa Fe, and also went to see the Castaneda. I felt sad, as you did, but you will be happy to learn that it has been purchased by the same person that owns the La Posada in Winslow, AZ, and the Casteneda is now being renovated! Oh, I was so pleased to hear that!

        • sbranch says:

          That is truly thrilling . . . I have to go tell Joe, I HOPE they make it a long train stop and do wonderful food there and put in a gift shop! 🙂

      • Marsha MacLean says:

        Dear Susan,
        I had to check it out, as I just toured the old Harvey house restaurant in Los Angeles at the Union Station ( closed at the moment, but it could be refurbished by the right person…)
        I googled it and it appears it will be undergoing renovation!
        I love seeing projects like this…

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        Sounds like your wish is coming true! This piqued my interest because we recently stayed at the La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ (yes, standing on a corner) and I remembered hearing that the people who owned that hotel had bought another Harvey House to renovate. Sure enough, it’s the La Castaneda in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and they have already started working on it! The world needs more heroes like Allan Affeldt and his wife. They purchased the hotel (which has been closed since 1948) for $400,000 and plan to spend 3 million on it. The town will benefit from jobs and pride, and he saved a piece of history from the wrecking ball. This was one of the first Harvey Houses and hosted the reunion of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders in 1899. Maybe you and Joe can stay there on a future trip

  65. Barbara Weaver in Hampton says:

    I received my Autumn book on Tuesday. I’ve really enjoyed it. I think it’s your best book of all! (Except for A Fine Romance, of course!) Love the recipes and can’t wait to start cooking for Fall.

  66. Kathleeen from Philly (in Whitby, GB today) says:

    Hi Susan,
    Belatedly read your latest blog post & had to take a minute to write you. As we speak, we are nearing the end of our British adventure. We toured Highclere & had high tea there. Spent 3 nights, not enough, in the Cotswolds, a day in York, & are now in a coastal town of Whitby. However the best day is tomorrow when we head to Hilltop!!!! I won’t sleep tonight, I’m so excited! Your book has been our companion throughout our trip.
    I have introduced you to several Brits who are SB converts. & hope to buy the book for themselves. Visiting the countryside has been a dream come true for me, so different from London. I will have to report back to you when I come down from my lofty cloud. Our journey continues onto Edinburgh before flying home, so we will have a wee taste of Scotland, too.

  67. Jack says:

    Puget Sound — should be called Puget Place –there is no sound ….

  68. Katherine says:

    Make sure to visit the beautiful town of St. Andrews while you’re in Scotland!

  69. Fan in California says:

    Thanks, Susan — no surprise that your Autumn cookbook is wonderful — I love the colors of the different drawings; hope to have the opportunity to looks past all the lovely artwork to the actual recipes soon!!! 😀

    I have only been able to visit Edinburgh but it was wonderful — I am looking forward to your impressions and photos from your visit next year.

  70. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    So excited!!! I’ve been to Scotland five times, between 1972 ( I was 8) and 1991. Desperately want to go again…my hubby is writing a book set there, and I told him he needs to do some “on the ground” research. My favorite place on Earth…and you MUST go to Iona and stay at least one night. Magical.

  71. Nancy B says:

    Hi, Susan. I just finished reading many of the comments and I can’t think of a thing to say that others have not already said. You have given us a lovely summer of wonderful blogs and this one is no exception. I’ll leave my Summer book out awhile longer as it is just too HOT to be thinking about Autumn. I noticed in the paper today that flooding was expected down where your mom lives due to the high surf activity. I do hope she is able to keep high and dry and safe, as well. Looking forward to the train ride and of course the trip to Scotland in the Spring. I must look into the Outlander books. They sound interesting. I think your way of studying the language is great!

    Thanks for the lovely post.
    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you for asking Nancy, she is high and dry, and far enough away to be safe. Keep in mind, and I should have said this earlier, Outlander is a bit racy, just so you are aware, no surprises from Me!

  72. mary spring says:

    …good morning dear Susan and (girl) friends.. ‘love this post..no matter how busy you are, Susan, you always make time for us !!.. I just had to tell you that I found my very first heart rock (on weekapaug beach) !!.. we’ve been in California with my parents and all my brothers and sisters and now we are in R.I…wow !! it’s so good to be back on beaches..my daughter pointed out over the waters and said”and there is Block Island” !..’so excited !!.. I thought of you all..and also want to wish you well on your upcoming pbs special !!.. when I get back, I want to order the outlander book and your newest autumn book (even tho I already have a well worn copy..)…I’ve already seen traces of Autumn here.. with love, as always..

  73. Jack says:

    Saw a girl wearing a Black Dog tee shirt at the market today — way out here in Arizona !
    And was taken by the fact that Joe Hall was one of the major developers of that Tee shirt
    Logo , that benefits advertising for the Black Dog Restaurant way back there in Martha’s Vineyard …..

  74. erica says:

    Hi Susan!

    Lovely post, thank you. Scotland! You must be so excited – are your toes curling? Outlander, I’ve never heard of it. I’ll need to tune into the series, the book and a few jiggers of Scotch. (But, oh…..already the scenery looks spectacular!)

    Bye for now,

  75. Judy F. Orange County, CA says:

    Once again another wonderful blog from you! If you are able to go to Scotland in the spring, you should take Gerard Butler along with you. He can interpret the language and be your very own tour guide! j/k but I hope you and Joe will go and share your wonderful experiences with the rest of us back home!

  76. Cindy Tuning says:

    You are sooo going to love Scotland! Beauty everywhere you turn. The stone houses,green rolling hills,misty air,daffodils everywhere and St. Andrews! Gorgeous ! Kin what I mean? They say that a lot over there. Since my honey was born there he considers it home and would love to live where most of his family still is. I have my (old) Autumn Book out and never get tired of reading it and getting inspired. Everyone that is getting their first copy is going to love it!

  77. Allison says:

    Can’t wait for the new autumn book to come out. It’s on my wish list of books. Happy September!

  78. Carol Blanchet says:

    2 things:
    You may only go IF AND ONLY IF you write an equally charming book as A Fine Romance – with a Scottish twist. 🙂 I just love that book!

    Your calendars are available at a chain grocery store (Fred Meyer here in WA state, probably Kroger in other states.) BUT they do have your books (though they do sell books.) Is this because you have different distributors for your calendars vs. books? Not sure where to look for your new Autumn book, but would sure love to find it. I know I could probably take the easy route and order from your site, but it would be kind of fun to find it locally. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      The stores CAN get them, it’s just a matter IF they get them. You can order it through any bookstore and they can look it up, and there it will be! The calendars are manufactured by a different company than the books.

  79. Kat from Jersey says:

    Scotland!!!!! I *knew* you’d be watching Outlander somehow! Love Claire, and Sam Heughan is perfect (or “pairfect” in a Scots accent) as Jamie. I just turned my daughter onto the books, and she is whipping through them. I’m about to read book 8 for a second time.

    Your Autumn book is one of my favorites, and I’ll bring it out at the first whiff of fall weather. Here it’s been too humid; Summer is going out with a muggy bang, apparently.

  80. Nancy from Iowa says:

    I’m so excited that you and Joe will be going to Scotland (via England) next May. You will write another beautiful book along the way? Hope Hope
    Gives me something to really look forward to. I relish your adventures!

  81. Denise from Wpg says:

    Thank you for such a Bonny Blog! I just started watching Outlander yesterday my loving husband pvrd it for me as he knew it was my kind of show.
    You will love Scotland As a teen in the late 70s my parents drove us through the country I fell in love with the place.Beautiful Pitlochry knitwear, highland cattle ,heather,amazing scenery. I remember a quaint place called Tongue,the hotel was from another era in time !! For a fun read on the Hebridian life try Lillian Beckwiths books they are humourous but wonderful and timeless.

  82. Joan Lesmeister says:

    “Autumn” arrived here yesterday – bookplate & ribbon! And, wonderful logo for your new publishing company! Love ’em! And, we felt a little autumn weather as well! Had to say hello gorgeous moon shining in our bedroom window at 2:30 a.m. Now, through the lace curtains, I see it’s starting its downward plunge into the Pacific! That’s all the news for now! Happy Day dear ones!

  83. Just wanted You to know I’m still here following and enjoying Your blog…………and would love to follow You through Scotland and Ireland’s countrysides because I love them and will not be going to them.At My husbands age and just His makeup He will not want to travel out of the US.

  84. Samantha says:

    Good evening, dear Susan~

    Just had a chance to catch up on all the Scotland excitement, and am wishing that I could access PBS in Rhode Island to watch this evening while you are sharing your England experiences. Oh, how we all love to journey with you!

    Well… Here’s to wishing I lived on the east coast right now to hear the show…. and looking forward to getting my copy of Autumn!!!

    Happy Tuesday!!

    • sbranch says:

      I put pictures of last night on Twitter a while ago, and sent some to Kellee to put on Facebook later today. It was quite a wonderful evening — as usual, it was the people that made it so much fun!

  85. Sharon Provence says:

    Loved the pic of the girls with the stacks of Autumn books! And to think, 1 of those books was mine and I received it within a few days and just Love it! As always, your blogs are so refreshing to read, always filled with goodness and reminds me of happy simpler times. Thank you Susan for being who you are! I just ordered the Blueberry Jam and Autumn Acorn garland from your website – my house is adorable thanks to all the cute stuff you make. Happy Autumn!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m still in Providence Rhode Island, but going home to start decorating. LOVE that Blueberry Jam . . . xoxo

  86. Faith Rose says:

    At this time of year, the in between time(almost fall doesn’t seem like summer) I like to look back as well on what I did this summer and look forward to what I’ll do this fall.the pictures of Scotland are breath taking! I wish I were there on the bridge next to the castle in a beautiful gown of that time period! Oh if only we could go back in time! I have a suggestion for your calendars, I don’t know if you know this but at the very top of the calender the hole that you hang it by breaks for each month. So we usually end up taping it when it breaks. I don’t know if there is any way you can thicken it or anything but I just thought you might want it brought to your attention. Anyway , thanks for the beautiful music and lovely pictures!

    • sbranch says:

      I appreciate that Faith Rose, I do need to know those things, so thank you. Is this happening for everyone? Mine seems OK, but if it’s happening for lots of people, I would love to know.

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        Mine usually breaks, too. It’s because we take it down so often. If we just turned the month and let it alone it would be fine. We are hard on calendars at this house!

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you Chris! I’ll mention it next time I talk to them, maybe even making the hole a little further from the edge might help.

  87. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    hi Susan!
    Thinking of You and your “House of Inspiration!” (I can’t remember for sure; but, have you called your house that before? And now, you are officially a PBS Star! And you know what that means?! Uh hum…. Our own bit of Downton Abbey … Lady Branch from the House of Hall! And I am bowing and I am bowing! Hehehe ;). I saw the dashing Scottsman, Gerard Butler (mentioned previously) in the movie “Dear Frankie” recently and ….oh my….sweet and tender. Ya know, Life and Autmn have much in common…they both have Bittersweet. But we can always choose to have…carygrant.net/wavs/affairtoremember/affairhppythghts.wav :).
    And so now, my Lady….I will dismiss myself to scrub potatoes for the dinner upstairs tonight! And all the while scrubbing, I will fill my mind with Happy Thoughts of ____ I will just keep that to myself! ;). Lovin’ how you fill your days!! Take care!!! xoxoxDawn

  88. Mary Ann W. says:

    I have been in love with Scotland since I started reading the Outlander books, more than 20 years ago. I want to go so badly. I, also, am watching the series on Starz. It’s making me want to start all over reading the books. I just finished the newest, In My Own Heart’s Blood. Love the series; just wish it wasn’t so long between books.

  89. Kelley S. says:

    Love this post. I’m so excited that you’ve set your sights on Scotland. The best sights are on the B roads: drystack walls, adorable flocks of sheep and castles everywhere. You have to go to Balmoral and see the bridge where Prince Charles proposed to the
    beautiful Diana. The hotel nearby has some of the best sandwiches in the British empire. Can’t believe we’re going to sail in luxury again too. So happy! Btw, your Autumn book is one of my all-time favorites!

  90. Hi Susan! Can you believe that a whole year has passed since you and Joe visited the Girlfriends in Chicagoland? We have so many wonderful memories of your book signing and the tea party. So, we are celebrating YOU today!
    What a great benefit for PBS Rhode Island! So very important!
    Big hugs,

  91. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~ Good Morning ~ I was reading an article that talked about 3 interesting apples to try and was wondering if any of the girlfriends (or guy friends) have tried them?…

    Opal~ Grown only in Washington State~ cross between Golden Delicious & Topaz
    Extra crunchy & sweet & doesn’t brown after cutting

    Sweetango~ Hybrid of Honeycrisp & Zestar~ citrusy~ notes of honey & spice
    Very crisp & juicy

    Sonya~ Grown in New Zealand ~ Gala & Red Delicious cross~ unique aroma & exceptionally sweet

    With Fall just around the corner I’m excited to start making all things apple & pumpkin!!
    Have a great day!

    ~PS ~ Please say a prayer for our country and our people as we remember all those who lost so much on 9/11

  92. Vicki says:

    I am staying in today, under my own ‘cool box,’ because we are so hot here in SoCal; in a weekend+more heatwave, triple-digits expected at peak. Even Ventura/L.A. beaches are supposed to hit 90 degrees; you’re a (former?) ‘local,’ so you know what a rare thing this is for the cool Pacific, true?! I hope when you come here in October that the weather will be better for you THAN THIS! Do be prepared for a dried out, brown world due to severe drought. Of all things, we were pouring new concrete pavers (I would have preferred brick) so the mixing truck/pumper, plus a team of workers, had to get here at 6:15am to begin the work before the morning sun set it up too fast…which of course ired my neverending-complaining neighbor (he was up at 6am letting his dog out so, you know, he just complains to complain…must be a very unhappy person…and we’d politely let him know much in advance; and when would we ever do this again, maybe 50 years from now, so can he take it maybe one time; would it kill him to ever crack a smile or be nice…ugh…). So, starting the day grumpy because I let him get me that way, I cozied up to your blog to decompress and catch up the last few posts I’ve missed and I am so grateful that you transported me to another world. I have so enjoyed your island travelogue…seeing the cottages with their crushed shell paths and hydrangeas, the beautiful old and downright precious house in which you stayed while on your getaway. Have to say, I have often missed the opportunity for even a short trip due to not having anyone to look after my pets; placed them at a kennel once for just four days but never again as it was traumatizing to them (and it was associated with a veterinary clinic, good care, but the dogs just couldn’t take it although the cat was heroic); having relatives or a trusted sitter, wow, THE BEST and better for the pets to remain in their familiar environment. . . ’cause the human DOES need the getaways, to get out there and see new things…R&R…for as much as home is haven. I want so much to see the Northeast; can I make it happen? Until then, you gave me the next-best thing; you’ve got the eye for the sights that matter. Thank you! Your blog is such a treat…and your posts are so generous. I’ve also had some retail therapy this morning…I needed it!!…with your shopping section. Appreciation too for the little freebies you offer which I could download, like a postcard or bookmark; treasures all! Have a good rest-of-the weekend. . . I especially took note of you saying you wore a sweater on a recent morning; sweater envy!!! I can’t recall the last time I wore a pair of jeans or a sweater; it’s too darn hot, for three years here, 12 months of the year!! I live year’round in summer sundresses; seems so anyway. And yesterday my brother-in-law was snowed in, in Wyoming. Crazy climate confusion!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, crazy climate confusion, well-said! I always have to put my mind to it, but I seem to manage to find someone to stay in my house with my kitties when we travel. I really couldn’t go any other way. They need attention and human connection and sometimes we go for so long. I know how you feel!

      • Vicki says:

        Susan, who WOULDN’T want to stay in your gorgeous house! What a treat THAT would be!

        BTW, hoping to see you in Cayucos in November for the book signing!

        Thanx for the reply. Thanx for THE BLOG! From Vicki

  93. Your photos of Scotland take my breath away. Especially poignant as the independence vote is only 2 days away. Here in England, we’re hoping they won’t leave. My husband and I visited these places in the photos–Eilean Donan Castle and Glencoe– many years ago. They are even more ravishing in real life. x

  94. Renee says:

    Dear Susan – As always, I am uplifted and made better when I visit your website. The natural beauty, (including those green eyes) and also created beauty bring joy and goose bumps to my soul. Well, that’s a bit corny, but I mean it! I believe the yellow floral display in the gorgeous Scottish photo, is gorse. Gorse is fun when it is time to release its seeds into the wind. As one walks around gorse in nature, and the sun heats it up, the pods pop open like popcorn – pop, pop, pop! It is not a happy experience to walk through gorse though, it will slice open your legs like razor blades. Beware! It is not a tame plant! Hope you visit Tobermory and the Isle of Mull on your visit, and also Oban. Scotland is magnificent. I have planned a trip to walk with others to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey to most people), but not until next July! I look forward to dropping by here, and also your newest book. Will you do a book on Scotland? Hope so! Thank you. Renee

    • sbranch says:

      How interesting about Gorse. I’m glad you said the part about the razor blades because I was thinking how “fun” it would be to walk through it during the popping. Our wisteria seeds pop and click against our windows in the spring, I love it when they do that. But they aren’t razor blades! I will definitely keep a diary when we’re in Scotland, we’ll just have to see if it turns into a book. Have a wonderful day Renee.

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