Hello Everyone, welcome HOME . . .MUSICAsocomewithme darkness img_6062

As we have discussed before, I’m a house person, I love them ~ I’ve loved them forever.  All sizes, big and little ~ some so little they can fit on the shelf on top of my stove, and some even smaller that light up with votive candles. I even loved the little red houses in our Little house on the stove monopoly game and seeing them all lined up, even if it was just Baltic Avenue, was a feeling of great comfort! I wasn’t even that wild to change them for a hotel. I liked my houses.🏡 So today I think I’ll show you lots and lots of English and Scottish houses and some New England houses too;  houses we walked by, houses we went into, houses we lived in, and houses famous people lived in… and some we just drove by while I scrambled for the camera. Won’t that be fun?  But before I do… We have some unfinished business don’t we Girlfriends? We have some prize winners to announce. I thought we might do this a bit quicker than usual, because, as you know, Vanna can take FOREVER to wake up, she’s such a princess. So when she came in last night, while she was still alert, I got her to draw the two winning names! Brilliant eh?

img_7278  So here we go! Over 3,000 of you left comments to enter the drawing which sounds like a lot (a real lot if you ask me!) until you remember how many millions of people buy lottery tickets ~  you have a MUCH better chance of winning! This is my favorite part of the drawing… the Heart of the Home Dream Charmmoment in time where everyone is still a winner. I do not like announcing the actual winner, no matter how happy I am for them.  I just wish everything would divide itself into loaves and fishes and pass itself around. But let’s be excited, because here we go . . . The first name Vanna drew will receive what you see above, a personalized copy of the 30th Anniversary edition of Heart of the Home, plus, a bird-in-a-gilded-cage ornament (that I found in England), and, in addition, two of our limited edition Dream Charms for your necklace or bracelet: Fireworks in Oak Bluffs“Christmas Joy” and the new “Heart of the Home.”  SO. Are you ready???? Here we go!! Fireworks please!

The First Winner is . . .  Sandra Stephens (who wrote in her comment that she has a “new dream of visiting England”). Congratulations Sandra‼️I hope winning this prize sets you on a path of luckiness that takes you everywhere you want to go!♥️

And now, for Drawing Number Two:


And here’s the second prize, the teapot I bought in an antique store in the Peak District in England in 2012… I painted it for A Fine Romance, and now it’s waiting to hear about its new home ~ that, along with two personalized books, A Fine Romance, and Heart of the Home, and a Last year, island fireworks!“Girlfriends” Dream Charm.

And, the winner IS, eeeek, . . . . . Joy in Alabama‼️

Congratulations to you, Joy💛 ~  hopefully this will bring you even MORE Joy! I’ll write both Sandra and Joy to find out what names they’d like me to write in their books and to get their addresses. Thank fireworksevery one of you for your amazing, wonderful, funny, evocative, sweet comments. It’s you that makes this Blog such a nice place to come to. Thank you for your contributions!! LOVE YOU!♥️

Now. Not really a runner’s-up prize, but still, something quite nice:  Houses.  Shall we?bathing


We’ll start with one of my little top-of-the-stove houses ~ this one only comes out once a year.💛


And now, in no particular order . . . Homes sweet Homes.  Rainy day or sunshine, in focus or not, houses have such sweet allure. Much more than just shelter from the storm, they are havens of hopes, dreams, memories, births and deaths, grief and joy, youth and age, school days, holidays, snowstorms, daffodil lawns, barbecues, careful economy, report cards, grilled cheese sandwiches, energy, creativity, birthday cakes, new shoes; our homemade, everyday lives. All of these houses have one basic thing in common, besides the fact that normal people, like us, just trying to get through this life with everything intact, live there ~ it’s also something about the mystery in each of them that makes me think that I might like to live there too.  One of my favorite things in travel is to see how others live. What home looks like to them.


So many houses in England have names . . . Just like my own Holly Oak, which must have had English roots to have always had a name. A name always makes me wonder. Why? I like to wonder why. I come up with all kinds of plausible and implausible possibilities, and Joe is my victim. He’s trapped in the car with me as I muse out loud. Luckily he doesn’t listen to me, other wise I might drive him crazy. 💛

house ebrington 2 mi from chipping campden

Thatched roofs are not something you see too often in America. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one.  But there are many in England, and in Scotland, some of them are made with heather.


Just like in the USA, different parts of the country use different kinds of building materials…mostly what was available locally and most plentifully.

house ray's mom's

Joe and I stayed in Owl Cottage for three glorious weeks and church bells rang everyday.

Nov 2 home to st. mary's square

Walking home from shopping in town passing church on the right . . .

house bunting

Fairy1Charm is a dime a dozen in the United Kingdom, I think you will agree. This is just a normal house in a normal town on the Fife Coast in Scotland (highly recommended) that just coincidentally shadows word home sweet homehas bunting draped across the street. Perfectly normal. But doesn’t it make you wonder who lives there? I love the putty color, the red door and the step roof.  Scotland, land of  Highlands and Lowlands, lairds and lasses, pipes and lochs, legends and faeries, shepherds and dogs, castles and plaids, bagpipes and unicorns, castles and cottages.

outside of house

This is another house in Scotland. Looks like not too much from the outside,  but it was one we could go in, because it’s part of the Highland Folk Museum ~ 30 historical buildings that show how Highland people lived and worked from the 1700s up to the 1960s. Lots of interesting homes here, and best of all, they are all furnished and you can go in! Here’s what this little house was like inside:


Sweet and simple. The people who decorated these houses for the museum worked hard to collect just the right vintage for each house.img_2227They kept it real so we could get a flavor for the times, running water and everything. This would have been an amazing luxury compared to some of the houses we saw there. wooden-spoon


Like this one, for example. I’ll have to do a whole blog on this Highland museum, because there were some fascinating things there I know you would love. They were re-thatching this 17th  century house in several colors of heather which sheds most, but unfortunately, not all, of the rain which Scotland is somewhat famous for. october-2010-462These stone houses were amazing. Living here was NOT easy. There was an open fire in center of the one big room, smoke was everywhere, but supposed to go straight up through hole in roof. The homeowners and their children would have sat on wooden benches around the fire, cooked either in a pot that hung from chain over the flame, or on a huge hook that hung from another chain. There was no heat or light except the fire, no windows, no running water, and btw, no bathroom. Eeeek. This is precisely why I steered clear of every stone circle we came to. I touched nothing. With my luck I’d go back in time and there would be no Jamie, only motherhood, trying to keep the kids out of the fire, in one of these wet, drafty, dark, dirt-floored houses while hanging naked rabbits on hooks. We have it so made, Girlfriends.

house Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Anne Hathaway married William Shakespeare in 1582. This was her family’s picturesque twelve-room, thatched-roof farmhouse in Stratford-Upon-Avon where Will came a’courting. It’s open to the public, you can wander through it and around the lovely gardens, but watch your head.img_0842

Though the timber-framed 500-year-old rooms were many, they were made for very short people, and rambled from level to level.


We also went to see Shakespeare’s Birthplace ~ when we walked in the door to get our tickets, these three women were already singing the Star Spangled Banner! 🇺🇸I don’t know why! They didn’t even know we were coming!🎵  We immediately joined in and that made us all laugh. So cute! I think they liked their jobs!


There were costumed docents in the house where Shakespeare was born, full of detailed information, bringing history to life, telling the story of the place where William Shakespeare did his childhood dreaming.Dreamers


I loved the bonnet she had made and embroidered and asked for a closeup. She was embroidering a little bag to match when we walked into the room.

img_6159This of course isn’t a house … just something I saw in one of the villages as we were driving by … a luv-lee decoration on the second floor over a bookstore. Wonderful, eh?


Tudor style hotel! Built around 1500! Still standing, loved, used, appreciated.


This is the famous city of Bath (“Bawth”), we stayed in the house with the black door. There was a darling little shop on the ground floor, we had the three stories above where we celebrated Rachel’s 50th Birthday. I’ll have to do a whole blog about that too!


Coming out of a pub driveway, this darling brick house was just in front of us. Good spot. Live there, cross the street for lunch, go for a walk out back.

rebel house Silver Street

And this adorable loaf-of-bread cottage was just around the corner from where we stayed in the tiny village of Chacombe. I could happily live here, wear 1940s aprons, make Hot-Cross Buns and Victoria Sponge for the church, drink tea from a chipped crockery cup, and ride a cock horse to nearby Banbury Cross to celebrate Remembrance Sunday.

In the middle ages, every workman was an artist. Wm. Morris

So true, but William Morris did not have this ⬇️and I know he would have LOVED it:  MUSICA


This traditional oast house was a discovery on one of our walks … first through a field of cows and then past this wonderful place.img_0811

Had to show you these chimneys! Building was a little hit or miss in the old days. Nothing seems to stop anyone, not roof heights, not beams, not levels and they felt perfectly fine building a house with a much bigger top than bottom. The rules were different. You did what you needed to do, even if it meant this.

There ain’t no rules around here, we’re trying to accomplish something! Thomas Edison


Walking to Rachel’s house from town, crookedness at its most charming best. Another Tudor style house on the left.


This is one of the manor houses near Bolton Abbey (some of the most romantic and prettiest walking country there is),  just south of the Yorkshire Dales. . . and owned by the Duke of Devonshire since 1775. (See the duck in the grass?)


I’d be perfectly happy with the little house on the right. Excellent location!


Or this, pure charm, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere in the Lake District. We went here in 2012 ~ it’s the first home of William Wordsworth where he moved in 1799; planted flowers and vegetables, watched birds and butterflies, read, talked and wrote some of his most famous poems. ruralenglandistoobeautiful


Just another example: in England they can put a garden on a postage stamp!  Sometimes less! Climbing roses grow out of cracks between sidewalk and foundations!address word home dreams


Purely pretty. Like the rest of the country, all handmade, no two houses alike. No two windows, or roofs or chimneys are exactly alike because the hand of man is all over this place!home mug



Box of chocolates

Another drive-by. I was thrilled that this wasn’t too out of focus and you can read the name on the garden gate of Buttercups Cottage! I mostly just hung out the window with my camera all the time, because, as everyone who’s traveled through the English Countryside can tell you, this kind of charm isn’t just here and there, it’s EVERYWHERE.domesticity


Luv-lee Lacock, a mostly 18th century village owned by the National Trust.


This was the house I thought perhaps we should have as our clubhouse. What do you think? Knitting lessons every Thursday afternoon? Sunday dinners at 4?

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. William Morris.


One more drive-by shot, look at the fox and ducks on the roofs! Look at that thatch design ~ not a fancy house, just a perfect house . . . had to have a photo…


A nice little neighborhood . . . imagine the road is dirt, now picture the people walking by in 1806, carrying baskets, there are horses and wagons, food comes in pots, tins, boxes, and barrels and no one here ever throws anything away! img_1973

Honey Cottage, home sweet home.tea

Paul Revere's house

Just so you can see how England brought their architectural sensibilities to America, this is where Paul Revere lived during the Revolutionary war. The house was built in 1680 and is the oldest surviving structure in downtown Boston. It’s made of wood, because there was lots of it in the New World and not so much heather or Cotswold stone.



And this is another luv-lee old New England house ~  we have many beautiful historic homes here ~ beautiful in all seasons, but in the fall, they shine.prayer for a little home


In the winter too…. here’s Louisa May Alcott’s “Orchard House” where she lived with her Marmee, father, and sisters in Concord, MA. Open to the public for tours.Staygladys house

And Gladys Taber’s 1690 Stillmeadow Farm  . . .Gladys was born in 1899 and wrote lots of wonderful homey stories about life in her Connecticut house.Gladys Taber


Another Massachusetts Charmer.


Then there’s this one, our house in the snow.beatrix-potterHome sweet home

I’ve always loved painting houses for my books and calendars …


I was even able to send love of houses to the far east via the Chinese edition of A Fine Romance!


Home All my best to you Girlfriends, happy home, happy life!  🏡 Thank you again for your wonderful comments! 💛 Shall we go to Highclere Castle next? 👑 Or maybe to Carrie’s House in Oxford? 🇬🇧 Or, perhaps we go to Bawth and make dinner 🍾and decorate for Rachel’s Birthday?💐 Or, shall I make you some short ribs in a crock pot right here in my own kitchen?🍽  You choose! Bye for now❗️  Hopelessly devoted to you . . .  ❌⭕️


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655 Responses to CELEBRATING HOME

  1. Heidi says:

    I am always so happy to see your posts in my in-box. I have a set very similar to the one at the beginning — your “top-of-the-stove” house. It was a gift from my mother-in-law (now ex- but always a warm spot in my heart for her) after a trip to Germany. I still have the tiny little box in which she gifted it to me. Alas, though, my trees are gone, irresistible cat toys. And now my choir director is missing in action, too. I believe he met the same fate. I also have a little house tea infuser like yours. I can’t recall how I came to have it. Blessings for a wonderful Christmas.

  2. Linda Freeman says:

    Hi Susan – Two books with wonderful photos and descriptions you might consider purchasing: THE PERFECT ENGLISH COUNTRY COTTAGE by Lydia Greeves with photography by John Miller (published in association with The National Trust), ENGLISH COTTAGE INTERIORS by Hugh Lander & Peter Rauter (Hugh is a specialist writer on the history and treatment of old buildings; Peter is a foremost still-life and location photographer.) Both are available on amazon.com.

  3. Holly Y. in Concord,NC says:

    Mmmm, short ribs at your house, and I’ll bring dessert! Your choice, key lime pound cake, pumpkin pie, everything cookies…

    • sbranch says:

      You have to bring your favorite, then I’ll get a new experience! Love it ALL!

      • Margot in Sister Bay says:

        Ribs and key lime pound cake please! I love looking at houses and doors too! Are there bugs in the thatched roofs? What time is knitting guild? Sign me up!

        • sbranch says:

          Knitting starts just after we have lunch. Always with tea and old movie. I imagine in the old days especially, there had to be bugs in there, and nests too, and who knows what else. Like rats in an attic of a regular house, I think there are likely things going on up there!

  4. Allison says:

    Happy holidays from Canada! Love the photos, especially of all the houses in England and New England 🙂 If you could show us Christmas in Martha’s Vineyard, I’m sure many of us would love a ‘virtual visit’. Merry, merry Christmas and a happy new year!

  5. Marilyn Young says:

    WOW! I love houses, aka homes and always love standing in the street and looking into the windows wondering about what goes on in that house! Love the architecture of the homes in different countries, but especially in England. The thatched roofs are a real treat to see and wonder about and photograph as well. Thank you Susan and Joe for taking us on this journey with you, for bringing all to life for us back home! Every town in America has a section of old and lovely homes adapted from ole England, each unique and beautiful whether it be a small cottage or a two-story house. It can be the front door or the windows, the wood or the roof, the furnishings or the teapot on the stove, but whatever it is, savor the moment you get to stare at it and enjoy putting these pictures into your memory bank. Merry Christmas you two!

  6. Jeanne says:

    Oh my…I’m so, so glad I found your blog..and such a wonderful introduction for me…Houses!! I too have loved houses all my life…I always say if I could collect houses (the real ones), I would. A simply charming post. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      I once had two houses. One was a little “shack” at the beach here on the Island, and this one, we’ve lived in since 1989. It turned out to be one house too many! The cream had always gone bad in one or the other, and it was two houses to clean instead of one! So we sold the little shack. I have a house in California, but my studio lives there, so it’s okay. Anyway, that made me know I had to collect very tiny shelf-type houses and not the real things.

  7. Sophie T says:

    New England (and Old England!) have such wonderful houses… Since my mother introduced me to traditional architecture of Quebec (where I live) when I was a young teen and showed me how to appreciate the details of older houses, it has been a passion of mine. I’m always amazed when we go to New-England as see such a concentration of old, magnificient, well preserved old houses! I envy you to be able to see such beauty daily! 🙂 This summer, when we traveled through Maine, Mass. and Vermont, it was a feast for the eyes! DH wouldn’t let me drive because he knew I wouldn’t be paying attention to the road ahead, too busy looking at the houses around us!

    • sbranch says:

      That’s one main reason I was drawn here, these old-fashioned houses with porches and picket fences and gingerbread trim and four seasons, so there could be snow fall and daffodils in April. I had to get myself to the place where this kind of thing was possible. Those little tiny white villages in Vermont are amazing! The graveyards too. Plus the history. It’s a magical place.

  8. Lois Madden says:

    What delightfully charming houses ~ armchair traveling with you is such fun‼️ I could easily see myself resting body, soul and tired feet, in each and every house. Of course, I’d have to be surrounded with my kitties, books, tea and my special little knick knacks that give me joy. What a nice break your blog is from the hectic Holiday madness. Thank you so much for sharing your passion for British Isles, traveling and all things lovely with your blog sisters.

    Congratulations to the blog winners… what a lovely surprise!

    In Love and Light ~ Lois

  9. Dorothy Stapleton says:

    I was so inspired by this blog! I dug out my little Lavenham Tudor house figurine that I picked up when I was visiting there as a young bride in 1973. I live in a beautiful Tudor style house–not that common in California and that trip to aengland with my Englishborn husband has largely influenced the cozy home we have today–it’s definitely NOT cookie cutter! I love all the soulmates who surround lovely Susan!

  10. Melissa Myers says:

    Dearest Susan,

    Thank you so much for the lovely house tour. I could drive around just about anywhere and look at houses. I love to think about the people that have lived in them, past and present, and the stories that they could tell. Is my favorite thing to do. I hope to make it to the UK and spending doing just that. Also, I loved the Jamie reference. He is bonnie. Merry Christmas to you and Joe. And, Kitty too.

  11. Caroline says:

    Oh your beautiful trip.. Sign me up for the club house! Snow flake girl and I thought you and Joe might buy little home over there! We are glad you are home. We want to name our home now… Our coziest red cape with bright school bus yellow doors… My painter kept saying,” Are you sure?” I am so sure:) I love homes lit up at night and imagine all the love and life going on inside… So glad we live in a world where there are Christmas trees!! Wishing everyone the most beautiful Christmas and a new year overflowing with blessings. Caroline

  12. Susan, I am in awe of all of the beautiful pictures you have taken and shared with all of us. Thank you for all you do for us, we feel like we are on a journey with you in your wonderful travels. We all love you and all of the talent you share with us. XO Ginny

  13. Marianne in Hidden Meadows, SoCal says:

    I, too, love houses – the quainter and cozier, the better! I remember as a small child my mother taking me to visit a friend of hers in Carmel. Her friend had a lovely cottage-style home in the heart of town with the most magical garden I had ever seen. It had no lawn, but an english-cottage style garden full of flowers – poppies, hydrangeas, gladiolas, marigolds etc… As we were leaving my mother and her friend asked if I had enjoyed the garden and I (normally a shy, quiet child) exclaimed “OH, YES – IT’S A FAIRY-TALE GARDEN!!!” It is the standard by which I have judged all gardens and homes since. Thank you, Susan, for a lovely post and for bringing back a cherished memory.

  14. Donna Bingham says:

    Thanks so much for all your posts, dear Susan, but this one in particular. It brought back so many memories of my own rambles through the English countryside, where charm is indeed stamped on every nook and cranny. And only yesterday I wore my cranberry-coloured tam, which I bought in Scotland thirty years ago, to a Christmas lunch at Philbrook Museum. The things I purchased in Scotland, Ireland, and England have stood the test of time with regard to Beauty and Craftsmanship. And every week I volunteer in Anne Hathaway’s Herb Garden in our beautiful Woodward Park. Houses and gardens bring so much pleasure and calm to a wounded world. Thank you for all the lovely reminders.

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

    good afternoon Susan and girlfriends, oh I love the houses.. always loved looking at interesting houses and wondering who lived in them. some of my favorites were the house from Christmas in Connecticut, Holiday Inn and White Christmas, The Rose ‘O’ Morn from the Quiet Man, and I love looking through our local houses during the holidays and I really adored the house from When Ladies Meet, I am madly in love with the pool there made with an old cider mill wheel … surely you saw that movie with Joan Crawford and Greer Garson in it??? thank you for the tour of the houses.. sure brightened up my day after doing battle with the post office, they lost the package containing my hubby’s medication. we requested a refill in November, the first week, well they took their sweet time in filling it and finally filled it on November 30th. it was sent out from Chicago on Dec. 3rd, landed in Portland, OR. on Dec 4th and departed Portland Dec 4th for us. it should have arrived by Dec 6th but between Portland and us they managed to lose it and cannot find it. now throw into that mess the fact I received a package from a good friend in Grand Rapids, MI. mailed on Dec 7th and it got to me on Dec 10th, no fuss, no trouble, no problem. but they lost his medicine between us and Portland and can’t find it. so now we get to battle with the VA for a new Prescription to be filled and sent out again and guess where… yep Chicago… here we go again. and now to add insult to injury the post office delivered a Christmas package for me to a wrong house, and had to locate it and redeliver it to me… go figure. I think I am about as fed up with the post office as a person can be, and I am not looking forward to doing battle with the VA over a new prescription. since we did not sign off on the lost package, we are in for a bit of a fight and my hubby needs his medicine, he is out of it and needs it to function daily, its for his thyroid… he had Graves’ disease and had his thyroid radiated so now he takes medicine to do what the thyroid would be doing if it were still working. the reason we sign off on the medication is because years ago they sent it out to us and someone stole it from our mailbox, so now they send it registered mail and we have to sign for it. hopefully we can get this matter resolved and cleared up, so far the post office is not on my list of favorite people right now. well off to go check on the chickens and get the barn warmed up for tonight… we are expecting snow tonight, looks like a white Christmas for us…. you all have a great day today, hugs. 🙂

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

      HOORAY we called the VA and got an understanding person for once…. they are overnighting the medication and it will be here tomorrow…. YIPPEEEEEEEE WOOHOOO!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Good luck Pat, I know how it feels to do business with recordings! xoxo

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

        thank you Susan, we got lucky and a very sympathetic person understood and got the new prescription filled and sent it overnight, we have to sign for it but at this point I do not mind that. the post office is still searching for that missing package and I have every intent that they keep n looking until they find it. I want some answers as to what happened and why. but for once I can breathe a little easier… unless the post office goofs this up… keep your fingers crossed.

        • sbranch says:

          They are!

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

            would you care for a laugh??? the VA just called and they found the missing package, seems the post office sent it to their pharmacy there in Medford… go figure that one!!! medicine will arrive today I can finally breathe again… WOOHOO!!!

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

            WOOHOO it just arrived, I think I can finally breathe normally again, was about to turn blue.. too much holding my breath.

  16. Judy Roper-Smith says:

    I love traveling with you and Joe! Such interesting places. Thank you for all the beautiful pictures and information. I love history and old houses, books and especially all the lovely people you meet. Thank you again for taking us with you.judy

  17. Maureen Graham says:

    Hi Susan,

    Oh my gosh! The picture of the reading goddess at High Petergate! I was standing right there in 2015. I took the same photo, because England is so enchanting, of course they have statues of women on their buildings! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experiences. Did you walk the Shambles and go down Mad Alice Lane? I love York.

  18. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    How about short ribs in a crockpot! It will make my sweet little home smell wonderful & feel warm, cozy & inviting for all that enter our door on these cold winter nights 🙂
    I love all of the houses that you posted because I adore lovely homes of all shapes & sizes, My favorite is: “Orchard House” I can just picture all the little women sitting on the floor around their Marmee.
    Susan, peace, blessings & gratefulness to you & Joe.
    “Merry Christmas”

    • sbranch says:

      I know what you mean, when you go inside you can just see the hustle and bustle of life there. And Louisa’s bedroom is still where it’s always been. Dreamland!

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

        I always loved “orchard house” it was such a busy and homey place to be, but I absolutely adored the house from Holiday Inn and White Christmas, I loved those rooms with all the windows, and of course my big favorite was Rose ‘O’ Morn from the Quiet Man, love that beautiful Irish cottage. wish I had one.

        • sbranch says:

          That’s why we love the magic of motion pictures, right? Takes us places we’ll never be able to go, except in our dreams. xoxo How about the house in Mrs. Miniver!?

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

            I love that house, any idea of exactly where it is??

          • sbranch says:

            I think it was a set…not sure really, probably should Google it.

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            try hooked on houses, that is where I found it, yes it was a set but what a house… absolutely beautiful and everything you could want in a quaint English home, including a white picket fence.

  19. CarolK says:

    I’d LOVE to see Carrie’s house in Oxford. She’s living a dream life too.

  20. Mary says:

    Ooooo! Jamie! When my two sisters, our brother, and I went to the British Isles together (1993) we made a stop at Culloden Field to find Jamie’s clan’s stone and, although he’s a fictional character, the clan is real – the battle was real – and we shed tears and prayed for all whose blood soaked the heather covered ground so many years ago.

  21. Di Word says:

    I adore sharing my love of houses. Aren’t they just the most wonderful of creations. The corgi and I send our love on this lovely chilly afternoon. Thanks for a great post.

  22. Lori says:

    Susan, thanks so much for the cozy-home tour! Like you, I love seeing houses with golden lamplight as I walk around at dusk. My first little home (a tiny craftsman style) was christened “Punkin House” because with it’s door window and two windows on either side, it looked like a little jack-o-lantern every evening. I’ll have to ask my two adult children it they remember that!
    Been meaning to ask you for a long time if you ever look at the blog Attic 24? It is Lucy in England and she is award-winning crochet designer and favorite on Pinterest. She has the same unique love of life, home, art, etc. as do you and you should check her out for that reason! She recently featured the canal boathouses which was neat.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, hearth, and home!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, I think she is a well known knitting expert that lives near where we visited in England. I’ll have to go check it out!

  23. BJR says:

    Helen Allingham’s paintings always makes me drool…(well, almost!!) I love your home with snow or without snow. It is ALWAYS cozy! 😉 I, too, love many homes… but especially England’s cottages. May we always have “home-lovers”…they add charm and love to life. Big or small…make it HOME. 😉

  24. Kathiellen says:

    Dear Susan,
    Seeing all of beautiful cottages, villages, countryside, your charming home, gardens, walks, friends, pets, food and table settings ALWAYS light up my life! I enjoy reading all of the comments as well! Happy Christmas to You, Joe, Jack & All of the Girlfriends!!❌⭕️ Such a big decision….which one of the topics that you mentioned would I choose for you to write about in your next post? Hmmmm……..ALL. of them of course!!! I don’t mean to be greedy, but it is hard to choose! Will you and Joe ever take a journey to Ireland? I would love to see Ireland through your eyes! That would be awesome!!…NO ONE but NO ONE can so beautifully write and describe places like you do! I do not travel but because of you, I have seen so many pretty things and places that I would have never seen, and I thank you for that! Have you ever heard ISLE OF INISFREE sung by Carmel Quinn? ANY Irish song sung by her is enchanting! I love all of your Musica choices so very much. 1930s and 40s top my list.❤️ I hope that Santa will be very good to you and Joe this Christmas! And I hope that the coming New Year will bring you everything that is Happy, Healthy & Good! ❌⭕️ p.s. Have you watched HARDROCK, COCOA & JOE and ( the origional ) SUZY SNOWFLAKE ( on you-tube ) yet?! They are not long. I hope you get a chance to see them and enjoy them ❤️

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we really need to experience Ireland! I went to youtube hear Carmel Quinn, and ended up listening to probably everyone who’s ever sung this gorgeous song. It starts so wonderfully, “I’ve met some folks who say that I’m a dreamer 🎵 and I’ve no doubt there’s truth in what they say.” Perfect. And yes I did watch Hardrock, and Suzy . . . all good, all so 50s! Thank you Kathiellen!

  25. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Loverlee houses, all of them! Thank you so much as always, Susan.
    I hope you’ll have time for a blog post before Christmas of your house. I’ll need it because I won’t be at my house this year.
    Have fun decorating and making it hygge. Best wishes to you and Joe xx

  26. Mary says:

    Love all your stories and pictures Susan. I enjoy reading all the comments too. I think if you are ever in PA you should come and see my house! It’s a converted church! Built in 1869! It has the original wood floors and even has a steeple you can climb up and sign your name in the rafters. 🙂 I LOVE living here. I miss my New England and visit often, but this home is so special. Especially at Christmas time. You would love it and are welcome anytime you are in my neck of the woods. Blessings to you and Joe and Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to have my art studio in a church! It must be wonderful living there, where so many creative hopes and dreams were expressed through prayer. Thank you Mary!

  27. Diane Harris says:

    Thank you dear one for the house tour. I adore house tours almost as much as garden tours. Was your head spinning with sensory overload, so much charm and quaintness can be intoxicating?! Today is my XX birthday so thank you for this treat. While waiting for homemade Roasted Red Pepper soup to cook, I took a few minutes to indulge myself here. A girl gets to do what makes her most happy on her special day; I’m sure all the girlfriends would agree. So I vote yes for the clubhouse! And it matters not where you take us next, just keep it coming. XXOO, Diane Marie

    • sbranch says:

      You said it just right, it IS intoxicating, and only after I’m settled in back home, and review the photos and read the diary and have talks with Joe, am I able to really SEE it all! It’s a little overwhelming. Happy XX Birthday to you Diane!!!

  28. Karen Carpenter says:

    I love seeing and reading about the houses! They are so quaint and sweet in England, and Ireland too. I loved it when I was there. Wish I could live in one. Have a wonderful Christmas being home! Love your posts about your trip.

    Karen from Michigan

  29. Deborah says:

    Oh Susan, this blog was so nice! I love houses too but oh my gosh the thatched roofs and charm of so many on your trip! I have been to the UK but the Lake District is on my bucket list next and I will get there. I remember going to a garden tour and at one house the couple had just returned from a “gardens of the english countryside tour” and the lady of the house said she could now die a happy woman! Their photos were amazing and their enthusiasm catching. Best wishes for the most wonderful of holidays ever and thank you for the overseas visit–it was almost as good as being there.

  30. Starr miller says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe and kitties!
    I have your Christmas book out on display and just received the new Heart of the Home. Can’t wait to read it and try your recipes.
    Thank you for your marvelous blogs. You are always teaching me. I love it !

  31. I am like you concerning houses. I think its because I lived in 15 houses in the 18 years I lived with my parents. They only owned two. The rest were rentals. We’ve lived in this house 35 years and have named it West Highland Ridge because we live on a mountain ridge west of town and have a West Highland Terrier. 😊 We haven’t put up a sign, though. Do you have a name you call your place?

    • sbranch says:

      Just Spring Street. For obvious reasons. But it fits. I like living in a house named after such a wonderful magical season.

  32. Linda says:

    Absolutely LOVED this post! I also love houses! I am so impressed with the thatched roofs as well. I vote for Highclere. I am also in depression mode since Downton ended 🙁 Beautiful photos! as always! Thank you for sharing!
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe!!

    • sbranch says:

      Downton left a hole. So far, unfillable. For me anyway. Other things are nice, but Downton was in a league of its own. xoxo

  33. Mary, St.Louis says:

    your house is my favorite one posted here ! I love it….and it’s just adorable in the snow……great photo !

  34. Kate says:

    I love houses too. Especially when they have lace curtains at the windows. and at night, when we are driving down a street, I like to try to peek in the windows to see what people are doing. My husband calls me a Peeping Tom. There are so many beautiful old houses here in the states in little towns all across our wonderful country. I have taken many pictures of old houses as we have traveled. I hope one day to get the England and see the houses there.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s worth the trip for that alone, but the countryside is what will grab your heart and never ever let it go.

  35. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan – I sent a sample of UK artist, Jacquie Lawson’s Christmas card to your feedback@….hope you get it…..her work is really beautiful and she features snowy, cozy scenes of “home”……

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Regina! I’ll look for it!

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

        if you wish I will send you her advent calendar, of a Victorian seaside village this year, a year or so ago we had a country estate for the calendar, very much like Downton Abbey.

        • sbranch says:

          Oh you are so sweet Pat … But I’m good on that. I’m at the “having enough” stage of things this week! xoxoxo

          • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

            okay, maybe next year, I love her advent calendars, it is like being a kid again and having all the excitement of opening the next window.

  36. Julia says:

    Loved all the pictures… maybe you could make a coffee table book of just houses….never tire of them… I would love a cottage but America is short on them.. I’d love to visit Cornwall.. my favorite English author Roseamund Pilchers books describe the English homes beautifully… your home look SO lovely with all the snow… yours drawings of homes is spectacular! you deserve to cuddle in front of fire and rest… you’ve had a great and tuff year.. MERRY CHRISTMAS SUSAN & JOE… 🎄

    • sbranch says:

      “A great and tuff year” is exactly right. It’s been something, highest highs and lowest lows. And yes, I am enjoying being home and letting it all sink in. Thank you Julia. I was also thinking of a coffee table book. Lots of pictures and ideas for home sweet home.

  37. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan, I just love this blog with all the lovely homes. They’re the type of homes that say “come on in and sit a while and have a cup of tea by the fire”. We have some lovely old homes here on the North Fork of Long Island which are very much like those in New England. A lovely old Victorian has new owners and the house is being restored. It’s the kind of house where the Christmas tree 🎄 sits and n the parlor rather than the living room. I hope you are well and yiurCheistmas preparations are coming along. Best to Joe and be well & b happy! Karen 😊

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t you love people who restore old houses? It’s usually more expensive than building a new one, but what they save for posterity is priceless. Happy Christmas to you too Karen!

  38. Brenda Caldwell says:

    Love this post! I love looking at houses and wondering how they look inside and guessing what kind of people live there. I really take a house tour just by passing by 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Always interesting, big or small, but I like the small houses best, where people take what they have and make lemonade out of it, with house pride.

  39. Rose says:

    I love looking at the houses, and I especially like your house in the snow. Please show us pics of the houses “around you” do you have neighbors, Is there someone across the street?

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, in fact, Joe’s sister lives across the street. We live in a regular, but old, neighborhood with houses on all sides of us. HERE is a bit about walking around our neighborhood on a summer night . . .

  40. Linda Kramer says:

    I do so love to read your blogs: i don’t do much traveling any more but i can go with you all the time. Have you seen the series of walks around england that julia bradbury does? she’s on YouTube and she has walked the lake district, and canal walks and old railway walks. She’s also very knowledgeable about the area. It’s very pleasant to wander Englad with Julia. Hope you can find her. (If you haven’t already.)

    • sbranch says:

      Heavenly. Julia shows the unexpected magic and lovely serendipity that walking in the English countryside can bring you. Thank you Linda!

  41. Christie Levin says:

    Love all the houses, Sue, thank you. Love that you took us along with you, and now are gifting us with more of the photo and story treasures you gathered along the way. I get very attached to some houses, too, and almost never enter one without imagining the lives and seasons lived in it. Thinking of houses reminds me of one of my favorite books ~ “Pat of Silver Bush” by Lucy Maude Montgomery about a girl who lives on a farm on PE Island (of course) who really REALLY loves her home, Silver Bush, and everyone and everything attached to it, more than anything else in the world. I think Pat is my literature twin, if there can be such a thing. Sending you and Joe and Jack happy holiday hugs and wishes for a wonderful Christmas, dear Sue. xo

  42. Jena says:

    Such a sweet post.

  43. Elaine from MN says:

    Dear Susan,
    I only have a moment to send a quick note to you. I just got back from the Mall of America where they have a temporary store (Nov. 4, 2016 – Jan. 31, 2017) – “Dressing Downton – Experience the Costumes & Collection of Downton Abby.” Oh, my gosh, did I ever think of you! I just had to buy a few of their teas …Downton Abbey Christmas Tea, Lady Cora’s Evening Tea and more…wonderful Christmas gifts for my DA kindred spirits. Before I forget…what I wanted to ask you was have you heard about a Downton Abby movie? I watched “I Miss Downton Abby” on TV the other night and “Tom” dropped a hint about a future movie and then I’ve heard Maggie Smith has already signed on. I don’t know the timing. Then when I think about it, I asked myself, did I already know this and have just forgotten. Have you heard anything?
    Gotta run, but a pot of short ribs sounds good right about now. Please do include the recipe in your next book … or … you could favor us with it in your blog … hint hint. 🙂
    Stay warm,

  44. Linda says:

    You warm the soul. Thank-you💓

  45. Linda Hill says:

    Must reading for any “home” lover is Don Blandings’ Vagabond House. It really will resonate for anyone who has had a nomadic life or for someone you just loves anything to do with what a “home” should be.
    Thatched roofs are so wonderful but such a fire hazard Iwould think. Really enjpyed the great pictures. Being a retired Realtor I love nothing better than looking at homes. THanks Susan!
    Linda from Idaho where the snow is on the ground in front of my tall house because the sun can’t melt it. Snow is gone everywhere else so I am the only one who looks ready for Christmas!!

    • sbranch says:

      Lucky YOU! Small space houses, tree houses, vintage trailer houses, doll houses, fairy tale houses, all so interesting and creative!

  46. Sharma J says:

    Thank you! Just, thank you! For each and every moment you share. They always cause my heart to smile.

  47. Penny says:

    Lovely Great Britain 🇬🇧!!!
    I loved the Cotswald’s -STOW OF THE WORLD -with Rick Steve’s! Such charm -like walking into a fairy tale ✨!
    Thanks for sharing Susan ! Hope you have a Merry Christmas 🎄 -and a very Happy & magical 2017 🎉
    ❤️ Penny

  48. Candace Tufo says:

    I love houses! They are my favorite! I live near Lake Geneva Wisconsin and one of the big estates has a garage with a beautiful thatched roof!

  49. Rita Baker says:

    Listening to “Fireside Christmas” CD now, which goes perfectly w/ this blog, one of your best ever! Why? Maybe because I, as well as likely most of your readers, also LOVE houses. Thank you for sharing.

  50. DeLores Johnson says:

    Dear Susan,
    I was so happy to see your letter in my mailbox. I just love them. I pour myself a big cup of coffee with cream, retreat to my own “little reading corner” and lose myself in your blog!!
    I too, love houses. I like all kinds. I love to drive around and look at them in different towns. I like to look at realtor’s listings of houses and see the different styles.
    We live in a Queen Anne that was built in `1829. We have stained glass in some of the windows and we have lots of windows. It is big. This year we painted it and it looks so “proud” to get all spiffed up again. DeLores

    • sbranch says:

      1829! Wow! Where is the house DeLores?

      • DeLores Johnson says:

        Our house is in the small town of Belview, Minnesota. It is mentioned on the Minnesota Historical Society. If I knew where to send it I would send you pictures and information on it. You are welcome to visit.

        DeLores Johnson

        • sbranch says:

          Thank you! You can always send photos to my Facebook page (I think!) Wish they had them here in the comment section!

  51. Cathy Kawalek says:

    Thank you for a lovely blog today! Once an acquaintance visited my house and asked ‘why do you have all these little houses?’ Never being at a loss for words, I found I was speechless and could only think ‘you don’t have any?’ My Dad was fond of houses and left us with so many to display and light at Christmas. So I guess it is an inherited love!

  52. Mary Jane Smith says:

    Susan — we are blessed you are in our lives. You create our dreams, you share, you live them, and they are ‘real.’ I read your apologies about your political stance and I applaud you for not only how you felt, b/c I too felt as you did but you were brave (as a writer) and in the face of adverse positions, but being honest with yourself — so the girlfriends that were offended, I feel they got lost somehow – but hope never wanes. Your blogs are like nothing else — they are filled with not only exceptional quotes, but your beautiful messages. Too simple to just say ‘thank you’ — but thank you. You make a difference in so may lives, I know that, thank you and what a gift you are!

    • sbranch says:

      You are a doll to say that Mary Jane. Fact is that what we have in common outweighs anything else by about a hundred to one! You touched my heart with your lovely words, you make me want to do more, and do better, and I thank you right back.😘 xoxo

  53. Jane Franks says:

    Dear Susan,
    First, Congratulations to Sandra and Joy! Loved, loved, loved the variety and irregularity of all the houses!! My favorite: the fox and ducks on the roof!! I remember the Paul Revere House on a school trip. They always took us by bus to see things in Boston. It was my first awareness of historical importance of our area. Thanks for that memory. And the white “Massachusetts Charmer” is the same style of the house my mother grew up in Maine — only theirs was red brick. This is one of my favorite posts. Houses and architecture — so fascinating. A nice break from Christmas card writing, though I enjoy that, too. Back to work! Love, Jane xoxo

  54. Eleanor K Hunzinger says:

    How nice to get your correspondence. I thoroughly enjoyed it and all the wonderful pictures of homes. Those thached roofs do look like they have been stitched. Also loved the black stitched bonnet. What a lovely piece of work. Would that be called blackwork as we call our red stitching redwork. J ust curious. Hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas. I will look forward to your next post! Kay H.

  55. Sara D says:

    Ohhhhhh I say we all meet at the clubhouse on Thursday for knitting!

  56. Karen Saunders says:

    Did I miss the latest Willard???

    • sbranch says:

      If you did, HERE it is Karen …. Not sure why, but sometimes the WILLARD doesn’t make it through. Especially to AOL accounts (but not all, so it’s always a mystery). Check your spam folder and make sure it’s not there . . . and be sure your settings are allowing WILLARD.

  57. Margaret in AG says:

    Love all the houses.!! I saw on Today on TV this morning that HYGEE is a big trend for 2017!!! You are indeed a trend setter! I had not heard of the trend before the last blog.

  58. Jane Alexander says:

    I think we who love houses, must be a certain sort of people. I have had guests say to me, you surely must love houses, as you have them everywhere. And yes, I do love them. They speak of love, home, safety, relationships. They make me think of baking peach cobbler, or homemade soup. So, I surely enjoyed this blog. I lived almost 18 years in the Northeast of the U.S. around Princeton N.J. We drove around a lot in PA. The cottages, so ministered to me, who was born and raised in Houston Texas. We are back here in Houston TX now, living in a new home, but it has stone and brick on the front, and I love it. I love you too! Bought a bunch of gifts from you this year!

  59. Jennifer Bonynge says:

    My dear girl, I can’t believe the dedication you have to your readers in responding to these comments. I have traveled to England 3 times with a girlfriend renting a car and staying at B & B’s. It is such a dream world. Thank you for the photos….I really felt like I was there again. We plan to go this year again in May and want to explore the Lake District…we love BP!!! Love all that you write…

    • sbranch says:

      May is such a perfect time. Fuzzy yellow ducklings follow you around, lambs frolic, and wildflowers blow in the wind! PLUS, Hill Top and Dove Cottage? Be still my heart!

  60. Delaney Ann Prins says:

    Love the houses and homes – all in one!! I have long loved Gladys Taber ‘s writings from the time I was a teenager and read Stillmeadow Sampler! I have a collection of her lovely writings and she instilled in me my love of daffodils by her descriptions of her daffodils in her garden. Good to see her lovely home. I have a collection of homes, too- wooden , and the old paper mâché Christmas homes, wooden German houses and primitive houses made by artisans and Dutch ceramic houses! Loved your letter! North, South, East, West – Home is Best!!

    • sbranch says:

      Has everyone been reading these comments??? Aren’t we the MOST interesting people? Love it! Love that Gladys inspired your daffodils Delaney! They have a German Christmas Market in Chicago we went to a few years ago…just wonderful for the little houses.

  61. Barbara Jean Miller📖 says:

    I always thought houses should have names. All of our autos did but houses are homes and are to be loved. I thought my little yellow ranch under the seven Douglas firs might be called
    ‘ wind in her sails’ or maybe “woodpecker way’. First one because when the wind blows it sounds like it did when we sailed a little boat to Hawaii. The second because one day I heard a rat tat tat sound. My neighbor called me to say a woodpecker was sharpening his beck on the wood stove pipe. Ever once in awhile he comes back to resharpen!
    I have a collection of little house, too.

  62. Mary Ann in Long Beach CA says:

    Such a sweet and happy post Susan. Thank you for taking the time to drag us along on all your adventures. And I look forward to reading about short ribs in the crock pot, I can’t seem o give up my trust cast iron for hours in the oven.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll probably do it that way … in the oven, it works just as well!

    • Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

      We moved from Long Beach to Ohio last spring ( from Ohio Ave to Ohio! ). With the temps heading for the teens, I am missing SoCal.

      • sbranch says:

        LOL, there are those days, but when you get snow, and cozy up, and cook something wonderful that makes the house smell good, it will all balance out!

  63. Kathy in California says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’m a house lover too. I have dozens of little houses and cottages lining window sills, filling bookcase shelves and in boxes. I’ve been collecting them for about 40 years. Someone make me stop! (-;

    You may have already been alerted, but there is a thatched roof cottage in Carmel just across from the mission. It has been there for as long as I can remember. I would send a photo if the comment format allowed attachments. You can probably “Google” Carmel thatched cottage and see it. Also, I believe there are some in Southern California according to an article in Country Living magazine in the late 80s or early 90s which I’m sure I still have somewhere.

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t look at me for making you stop!😜 Diana, my California girlfriend was just reminding me of some of those cute Carmel cottages!

  64. Becky Ross says:

    WOW! You took me to the top of the mountain AGAIN. My girlfriends are all over me to plan another trip to Jolly ‘Ole England for next year. Now you have me chomping at the bit to travel the glorious English Countryside one more time…maybe 10 more times. I met a fellow traveler once and asked her where she had been. She told me “England”. I asked her if she had been anywhere else and she answered, “No, I have been to England 17 times. When I have seen all of England, I will try somewhere else”. Yep, I now get IT… Didn’t you love William Morris’ home in the countryside? We did not want to leave. Have you been to the Chelsea Flower Show? My friends & I have been lucky enough to attend it twice. I love the climbing vines of clematis and they are shown there beautifully. The Gardeners of England are sensational! When you come to visit me in Kansas City, we will go to the Toy & Dollhouse Museum and visit my very favorite dollhouse: Morningside Cottage. It is a precious English Tudor and Mrs Marple lives in there from the Agatha Christy novels. It is a huge dollhouse, full of English furniture in every darling room. The gardens that surrounds the house take my breathe away. The attention to detail is out of this world. I could stand & look at this house FOREVER. In my opinion, this dollhouse is the “Best of Show” at the museum. I thought the Queen’s Dollhouse was out of this world at Windsor Castle and Morningside Cottage is right in there, too. How can anyone be bored when there is soooo much to see & do. Well, my dear girl, I will stay ta-ta for now. I KNOW we are cut out of the same rug; so refreshing…. Many hugs from Becky.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve wanted to go to that Dollhouse museum for so long! I just asked Joe to put that in his excellent memory bank for the next time we’re there! I haven’t been to the Chelsea Flower Show because I am allergic to crowded places ~ but I watched it on BBC when I was there last time and loved it! And of course, I’ve been to Hidcote a couple of times, which I could do over and over again. Most amazing garden. Adore William Morris, house, person, and all! Love to you Becky, oh yes, kindred spirits!

  65. Jo'L says:

    After a very busy day, out and about; time with a wonderful friend giving me a gift; dinner out at a new place with same friend; now comes the wonders of houses from another friend. Thanks, Susan, the topping on the cake of a great day.

  66. I am happy with whatever you share Susan, but am really keen to see Rachel’s Birthday party. Like you, I fell in love with the charm here in the UK when I first moved here in 2000. We live in a little terraced house now and I love it, but when we lived and worked down in Kent (Brenchley, very near to Tenterden) we lived in a little Tudor Cottage tucked away in the corner on a Manor Estate. I worked for the family who lived in the Manor. What a beautiful environment it was to work in. Their guest house was a converted Oast House. I loved our little cottage. There was a huge pile of lavender growing at the back of it beneath the kitchen window and cottage roses growing around and over the door, wisteria and hollyhocks and all sorts. It was quaint and beautiful and everything you would expect in an English country garden/cottage. The Estate was surrounded by pear and apple orchards and a Public Footpath ran past our front door. We often took our collie for walks through the orchards etc. There was a spot on our walks we could look out over the South Downs. Spectacularly beautiful. It is very different where we live now. Very urban, but a house can be your castle no matter where you park your heart and hang your hat. Congrats to your very lucky winners! How special is that! You are such a dear to share like you do. I hope you and Joe have a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of love and that you build some more lovely memories. Love and joy come to you! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful description, I feel like I was there, and in many respects, since so much of the countryside is like that, I was! I think people who can live with such beauty are so lucky! Their faces must reflect those roses. You were brave to take such a big step to move to another country!

  67. Mrs, Mary Elizabeth Lawrence aka MiMi says:

    So much to see, how wonderful your trip must have been. Have a beautiful and joyful Christmas.

  68. Ginette Wheeler says:

    Too good a post to read just once, I’m on my third and no doubt will not be the last, so many beautiful things to soak up! Then ofcourse I have to read every comment, can’t wait to start on Debby’s suggestion, A Discovery of Witches” the author sounds too good to pass up. I’d been wondering about “The Crown” wasn’t sure I’d watch (so busy this time of year) but now I’m intrigued, you got me hooked on Abbey and I loved it, maybe I’ll save The Crown for January when I’m alittle blue because all the festivities come to a crashing halt. Sounds like many of our girlfriends are hungry for ribs, lol. I would love to hear about dear Rachel’s birthday knowing prefectly well that it doesn’t matter what you choose to write about next, each one will be a gift!! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll love The Crown, it’s real too, so you get to see a much more detailed part of history. Delicious for January. Joe and I are watching it now, but very slowly, unwrapping like gift.

  69. Susan McKenna says:

    Funny! I always felt the same way about those Monopoly houses. I liked seeing those little houses lined up. My husband Jim and I have always had a passion for houses and architecture and furniture styles, too. Over the years we’ve collected several fine books on the above, as well as on barns and “old-soul” books of ways and wisdom. One of my favorite children’s books is “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton. Do pick up a copy and read it if you haven’t already. It’s a ‘Sweetie,’ like you. My best regards to you and Joe (and all you “Branchies” out there) for a spiritual, fun-filled, relatively stress-free holiday shared with friends and loved ones. For those who are mourning the loss of someone, be filled with good memories. They are treasures in our hearts!

  70. Kathleen from Philly says:

    I loved this house post! I’ve been meaning to tell you that I found some Martha Vineyard painted buildings, like Cats Meow village but bigger. And they are of Black Dog bakery and the tavern, painted for Christmas and decked out in snow. They look like you could have made them, so adorable. Dated 1995. I found them at a yard sale and had to buy them as they are probably the only MV real estate I will ever own. They make me smile and think of you. I love that you are gaga over houses as I am, keep the posts coming. We went back to Highclere this year. My husband couldn’t understand why we went a second time but I was so thrilled the first time to go that we completely missed the gardens which are so lovely. I am starting to watch Downton again, just to get through the winter. Ordered the complete new boxed set with all the additions as a special treat. Speaking of treats, I bet Jack is enjoying your presence, I wonder if he will get a black & white kitten buddy for Christmas???

    • sbranch says:

      Love your ownership of Martha’s Vineyard real estate!!!! That is dreams come true without the hassle! No kitten buddy for Jack, he seems so much happier to be an only kitty! Hate to disturb the peace in any way at this point!

  71. Bonnie B says:

    Delightful post! I grew up in PA and loved the old homes there. Even the barn roof on the folks place had a pattern. I learned while back there that insurance companies will not let people replace a roof with shingles after a loss, they have to use the new stuff.

    No longer are they building homes as they used too.

    • sbranch says:

      No, the rules can seem ridiculous sometimes. At least to me. So detailed, they take some of the creativity right out of it!

  72. Carrie says:

    Hi Susan,

    Think I may have made a bit of a blunder with my entry for Donna Klein in your last post. Without going into too much detail (see my weird website explanation) would you mind checking for her comment in moderation…sorry.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t have any comments in moderation for Donna! Not showing up anyway, unless some pac-man gremlin ate it, which can happen, as you know!!

      • Carrie says:

        Ah gee…I screwed the pooch so to speak. I’ll email her and explain my gaffe. Best of intentions and all that…

        • sbranch says:

          Not sure of course what that all means, but know you will handle it wonderfully, as you do all things.

          • Carrie says:

            I entered her into your competition, requiring her email address (we email each other) and then forgot to take her email off my info when I post a comment.

            I think that screwed up her being able to post the comment. Just to muttle the waters a wee bit more for you. I’m going to encourage her to re-post her comment. Thanks SB.

          • sbranch says:

            Just FYI, not to worry, people can comment as often as they like on each post, we don’t have any sort of blocker on this blog. For drawings, our number generator (Vanna) accepts each address only once … so no matter how many times a person comments, they are only entered once. And third, you probably saw, the contest is over now… she was entered on your first comment, but this time her name wasn’t drawn. Is that better?

  73. Dear Susan: I love all your blog posts, as well as reading the comments from all the girlfriends! Who knew there were so many kindred spirits out there? Houses, Hygge, Heart of the Home and more!!
    I’d like to share my blog post with you about Beatrix Potter’s 150th birthday celebration in Brewster, Mass. this summer, where you were the keynote speaker. We had such a great afternoon and you and Joe were incredibly patient, especially with the many book signings! I hope you enjoy reading my post! sandrahutchinson.com/2016/08/12/beatrix-potter-150th-birthday-with-susan-branch/
    P.S. I’ve also written about The Crown! What a long wait it will be until the next season is released….

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sandra, that was wonderful! When does the next season of the Crown begin? We haven’t finished this season, maybe we should drag it out a little longer. xoxo

  74. Sue Lamke says:

    Found this quote and it reminded me of you!
    “Dance creature! Put down your pen, lift up your limbs and dance to greet another golden morning.” Your post was wonderful.

  75. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Congratulations to Sandra & Joy, won’t they just love their mailman/woman delivery soon?!!!! Love this blog my dear, just hit me that I need to order a sign for Don – Camellia Cottage! Golly, “Buttercups” made my heart skip a beat…I need to find some bricks!!! Love pictures of your beautiful home inside and out, and look forward to knitting with Christmas snuggling us, potluck from the GFs, will be a cozy afternoon! Hygees all around! xoxoxo

  76. Kathy R from Iowa says:

    I, too, love houses. Thanks for the wonderful photos.

  77. Joy says:

    Love your blog and especially this post with all your pictures of beautiful houses! I see your collection of vintage Christmas books. I love decorating with vintage books, too! I’ve been trying to see the titles on them but it’s hard…would you mind sharing the titles of some of your favorites? Thanks!

    • sbranch says:

      Are you on Twitter? I can post a photo there . . .

      • Joy says:

        No Twitter … email (-:

        • sbranch says:

          I’ll put it on the blog soon. If I start emailing, I’ll never get to write another book!🙃

          • Joy says:

            Ok – thanks! I have Home for Christmas by Lloyd Douglas, but I’d love to know what the other titles are! And I understand about Jack – I have a male kitty who is “king” around here. As much as I LOVE cats and wish I could have more, I know he wouldn’t like it! )-: Btw, have you ever thought about doing publications of some really old favorite titles with YOUR wonderful illustrations like … The Night Before Christmas??? Or how about The Velveteen Rabbit? That would be so neat. I would definitely buy them! (-:

          • sbranch says:

            I’d likely have to get permission from the authors or even their estates to be able to do that. But it would be fun to illustrate fairy tales or Christmas stories. I may just do one of my own!

    • Joy says:

      P.S. I’ve also been wondering if you’re going to find a new friend for Jack kitty?

      • sbranch says:

        I don’t think so, much as I would like it. Girl and Jack never hit it off, and I would hate to do that to him, he seems so happy now that he’s the only one!

  78. Chris Miller says:

    Thank you for a glorious journey by the most charming houses on earth! Loved all the detail and your wonderful comments that went with each and every one! We are all so lucky to have you to share your travels with us as it allows our imaginations a chance to roam with you!
    Much love and appreciation!

  79. Anne says:

    What a dear post. Thank you Susan for sending these little visual gifts our way. I too love houses and as a girl spent hours drawing them and thinking about how I would decorate them on the inside. Again, thank you, and have a beautiful Christmas and New Year.

  80. scottygrrl says:

    Knitting lessons & Sunday dinner in that charming little house? Sign me up!

  81. Angie Quantrell says:

    Congratulations to the winners! But we are all winners when we get to live vicariously through your travels, books, and art! I will have one of everything, please! Merry Christmas!

  82. Kathy Hughes says:

    What a wonderful blog! Houses upon houses! Charming and happy! Thank you. 🙂
    Merry Christmas and love,

  83. Donna MacDonald says:

    Welcome Home…Susan & Joe
    Thank you for showing a collection, of houses. I too, love houses. Whenever I travel,
    love to take time, and go where people live. Inspires my soul.
    Know your busy, getting ready for Christmas, which is right around the corner!
    Merry Christmas, to you, Joe & Jack
    Sincerely, Donna

  84. Thank you for this wonderful, very creative blog about homes! I loved it. You are so very special and so talented and dedicated! Love all your work! The people who won the prizes are so lucky and I am very happy for them. What lovely gifts!

  85. Debbie Sisk says:

    Dreary, cold day in Memphis. Thanks for the trip today. I love houses and especially in England and Scotland. A most Merry Christmas to you and yours. And by the way, your house was the prettiest because we k ow who lives and loves there!!

  86. C says:

    Hello Susan,
    It sure it good to have you home & posting again! Your blog is always a joy to read!
    I’m an old-house lover too. If they could speak, the tales they would tell.
    What year was your MV House built?

  87. Martha says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing the cottage photos! How beautiful, quaint and cozy they all look. The lifestyle appears to be a slower pace and appreciative of the land. Love your collection of houses. You have a true gift of making a house a home.

  88. Marissa says:

    Oh, how I love love love your blog, Susan! I’m reading and sighing and dreaming and making notes for future travels! You have a kindred spirit in me with everything you delight us with! This post was a little treasure. Thank you, and sign me up for knitting and tea at the Girlfriends’ Clubhouse. 🙂

  89. Pom Pom says:

    Oh, you are the queen of housie, housie, housie land! The yellowish cottage looks like Peppa Pig’s house. I love Peppa even though the grands have moved on. I have an idea for your next book (unasked for – ha!). I love all your recipes, but this book could be strictly a “how to make a house a home” book, with quotes and inspirations, house drawings and photos, cozy tales of daily doings and kitty loving snuggery. I know you’ve already visited a lot of this but I bet a whole lot of “more-ness” would come to you and we really do appreciate the inspiration AND we put our noses into your books when we need a little nudge . . . just saying. Sending heaps of Christmas love and blessings your way, good Sue. Still thinking but I love the concept of everyone having a “dream house” that keeps the homemaker contentedly shaping and reshaping, coddling and fluffing the place she calls home. (BIG HUG!)

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been thinking of that very book ~ lots of photos! Love back to you Pom Pom!

      • Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

        A “Home” book would be an awesome next book, actually! I was lobbying for another travel book about Scotland until I saw you might be heading for Ireland. Now THAT’S the travel book that would get my vote!

  90. Susan,

    Just beautiful, love houses too! Especially in the evening when the curtains are open and the lights on and you get just a little glimpse into the family inside as well as the decor.
    From my house to your house, Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      Summer nights, with screen doors open, and people on their porches, is perfect for this! But snowy-lit-up nights are good too! Merry Christmas Terri…

  91. Susie Carlson says:

    All such wonderful houses that are (or were) homes to so many people. Your photographs are beautiful and quotes lift the heart. At some point I will have to sell my home and go into an apartment, but, I shall just be going into a new “home” since where your heart is -home surrounds you. Have a wonderful Christmas and blessed, healthy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      Most of us have to deal with that in our futures, but there is the thing about getting to decorate a new place that makes it seem okay to me! Blessings on you and yours Susie!

  92. Sandy Bloomer says:

    Dear Susan, I always love seeing your first home on the Vineyard. I love Capes and just happen to live in one now. The quote by Gladys Taber is so wonderful, I always thought we had mice but the sounds come from my furnace sending lovely warm water through our pipes to heat our home in winter. Thanks for your beautiful blog and the many photos from your trip…SB

  93. Shell says:

    The homes are just all lovely and beautifully unique. I think my favorite is Buttercup Cottage. One of my dreams is to have an adorable cottage near the Sea. Tha you for sharing all these cottages and homes with us, Susan.

  94. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Thank you, Susan for all the beautiful photos, quotes and artwork in this post.

    Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack and best wishes for much happiness and good health in the new year to you and all the “girlfriends.”

  95. Daphne Pickren says:

    Thanks for allowing me to be part of your England tour. It makes me long to go there one day! My home is not a mansion but it is mine with all my memories.

  96. Bev Brewer says:

    So enjoyed the houses, too, in another pretty post. When I was a little girl, we lived in Summerdale House on Summerdale Lane in Huyton, near Liverpool while we waited for base housing to become available. My Dad was in the Air Force and this particular house was a large manor house turned into flats for several Air Force families. Our family lived on the top floor and I remember the staircase was like switchbacks zig zagging to the stars! When we were able to move on base, we lived in minimal style Quonset huts, which were like giant tin cans sliced in half. No matter where or what style house all of us live in, it is HOME and it is safe and warm and cozy and we belong.

  97. Lynne Barlow says:

    We’re mending from surgeries here at the Barlows so your blog cheered me right up. Congratulations and Merry Christmas to the winners of the drawings. Just a tidbit to share……..while on a historical walking tour of Stratford Upon Avon, our very talented guide informed us that the reason the second stories were commonly bigger than the ground floor was because their taxes were based on the area of the structure on the ground, so they gained extra footage by making the second story larger, without paying more taxes!
    Joys of the Season to you!
    Lynne Barlow

  98. Cyndi in NC says:

    Too many wonderful things in this blog!! Glad you’re home safe and sound and readying for Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Blessings to all the girlfriends, and of course Susan, Joe and Kitty Girl! Hugs to all.

  99. Rose Utterback says:

    LOVED all the beautiful houses. Have you ever seen a house built into a hillside? There’s one near the town where I grew up in Illinois.
    Merry Christmas to you, Joe and Jack!

    • sbranch says:

      I have seen that … I visited this house once, when Art was still alive, back in the 70s. His house is made from everything the rest of the world didn’t want.

  100. Elaine says:

    It’s been long years since our travels through, England, Scotland and Whales – so it’s lovely to see it all again through your eyes! I look forward to all your upcoming travel posts.
    Just now, however, visiting on the island with you and Joe and the kitties is best as we move into winter weather. Best wishes to you and Joe this Christmas season. Thank you for sharing your home and travels.

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