Oh Girlfriends, we’re going to have fun with this one. Last month our friends (and neighbors) Lowely and John suggested we all go on a Valentine’s getaway together, up to the big snow country of Vermont! What a good idea! Cozy fires, hot coffee drinks, flannel shirts, lots of barns (love barns, have a collection of barn photos, needed more!), Vermont maple syrup on our pancakes, who could ask for more? But there was more, there was a sleigh ride! And you’re coming along! So, here we goooooo! (It’s very long! Unhook the computer, take it to your sofa, get cozy with a cup of tea, and settle in for a virtual trip to luv-lee Vermont!)

MUSICA. It was, I admit, a wee bit hairy on the way up. There was a huge storm. It never stopped snowing and blowing from the second we hit the state line. Luckily Lowely and I were in the big back seat, sharing a cozy blanket, where we could see nothing, therefore could not comment on any sort of driving anomalies. Best for all involved. Trust being the main item of the day. We were strapped into a monster SUV of safety, which was filled with wonderful music! So there was lots of singing along. We had fun! Our map men did a great job, as I am reporting, now, alive, and back home, safe and sound, so it must be true.

And the snowplows were out in full force.

And when our windshield wiper stopped working, Joe popped out and fixed it! Because he can!

But it was gnarly sometimes. And did we mind? No, we just clicked away with our cameras! Lowely is a pastel artist and takes photographs for inspiration. I think some of our more out-of-focus photos look like paintings already! And I take pictures so I can show you! Look at this! Isn’t it beautiful?

 I’m always in the mood to share the magic when I see it! I think I forgot how BEAUTIFUL Vermont is. Red barns and red brick chimneys with smoke curling into the white sky ~ softly painted clapboard houses, and everything polka-dotted with snow.

Not to mention old covered bridges, 104 of them in Vermont . . . the most in all of New England!

I liked this photo because of the juxtaposition between the rearview mirror, the bridge opening and the GPS screen. Visions and views, old and new.

Most of the buildings had good steep roofs, and here you can see why . . .  the snow slides off in big sheets. Would not like to be under it when it happens!  But, then again, it might be fun (if it doesn’t kill you!).

From right out my car window. Lowely and I were always teasing each other, I thought she had all the “good stuff”  on her side, and she though I had it all! In this case, I was definitely the lucky one. But she probably had something just as good on her side, as you will see…. it’s all beautiful. Beginning to look a lot like Christmas, 🎶everywhere we go!

This homeowner put a pine-tree wind break around his house.  Isn’t it cute? Talk about Christmas! Look at the tiny green building on the right. Snow on roof tops is very pretty! These people would never have to worry about a Christmas with no snow!

Had to be careful though. See that pole in the middle of the church? Didn’t want that in the picture, had to snap it at just the right time! Luckily the icy roads slowed the car down! Look below ⬇️, the graveyards were lovely. My favorite part about anywhere I go is the history, and Vermont is old and wonderful and filled with history of our country, and the people who built it, mostly of course, immigrants! AND, related to us, building America, fighting for our country in wars and buried here. See the little flag? 💝

Even the smaller barns had cupolas and weather vanes on top. Why? Because they can. It’s small-farm country around here, and beauty, little graces, which we see everywhere, seem to matter. I always appreciate efforts of home owners who make the world a more lovely place to be. They have such power and often don’t even realize it, they do it because that’s just who they are.💞

And it’s big-farm country too . . . and pride makes them choose blue and red paint to make the whole world brighter.

So we toodled along, taking pictures of everything. Besides wood, which was plentiful in all the local forests, they also used lots of brick for their buildings.  This New England is as close to Old England as we can get in America!

Almost everyone has traded his wooden roof for one of these slippery metal ones where the snow can cause no water-intrusion problems for the homeowners.

Lots of the pick-up trucks come equipped with their very own snow plow! Smart! Taking no chances!

Sweet little log cabin in the woods. I will always be a lover of houses, all shapes and sizes.

Almost there! Our hotel is in Warren! In the Mad River Valley! Mad River, what a great name!

Just because it’s out of focus, doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful! By the time we got to the hotel, it was around 5 o’clock, and we had fallen madly in love with the whole countryside. MAS MUSICA? Oui! Favorite travel musica!

We’re there!

And this is our hotel. The Pitcher Inn in Warren, Vermont.  Plan ahead if you go there, because their hotel packages give a significant discount if you do! Romantic, perfect for Valentine’s, set in the smallest little town, but right in the middle of everything.❤️

Here’s the parking lot. With this darling little clock building in it, a converted barn we think is probably offices for the hotel.

And there’s our beast-like vehicle that got us here alive.

Here’s the view across the street.

Snowy Warren, Vermont, says, “welcome!”

Quite a cute little store attracting our attention across the street. Lit up with stars and twinkle lights. Looks like a country general store. Probably a good one. Note to selves, go here first thing in morning!

The hallway display on the way to our room.

Here’s the entrance, with a look into the dining room, and the stone fireplace far beyond. Every room had a fireplace of course.

Charming lighting in the hallway . . .

We unloaded our bags and went right down stairs to the cozy pub to drown our driving jitters in hot toddies and cold toddies and all the toddies in between!

Below, is one of the lovely views from our room. Note starry curtains.

And this was the ceiling. Painted with stars . . .

And this frightening thing with wild eagles on the posts, was our very comfortable bed, with ice cube light tables on both sides! You just never know!

And at the foot of the bed, this . . . a crackling fire made with white birch logs . . . Every night, or any time you asked, they would come and make you a real wood fire.

And this bathroom was SO good, I’ve never seen one like this. For anyone thinking about building a house, you might take a look at this! (The reflections from the windows behind me get in the way a bit, try to look past them.) For one thing, the entire floor is heated, including the tile in this glass room, which is totally enclosed, right up to the ceiling, with a glass wall and a glass door. On the left is the whirlpool tub (you see the bathroom counter in the reflection, but that’s the tub) ~ there are two shower heads, a really good drain in the heated non-slip tile floor, a steam control, so you can take a steam bath, and a little wooden seat on the right that folds down in case you are the sitting-steam-bath-shower type.  It’s very possible to spend the day in this room. I couldn’t help but picture my mom, who could only bathe three kids at a time, (all that would fit in tub, with her on her knees getting soaking wet),  putting herself and her babies in here for group shower! Would have been very handy!

From our room, looking across the street . . . colored lights. How could we not love this!

And here it is again, looking from their side back to our hotel . . .

Birch trees are snow art . . .

The dining room where we had breakfast every morning. Breakfast comes with your room: French toast or flapjacks and Vermont Maple Syrup, delicious coffee and ice-cold fresh-squeezed orange juice with all the delicious pulpy parts intact ~ poached eggs, all white and soft and juicy with yolk, and crunchy seedy toast, with jams and honey and every good thing, and so much more. Fruit and yogurt and granola too. . .

We were happy. Nicest guy waited on us. Remembered all our little preferences from day to day.

Then across the street we went through softly drifting snow to the “almost world famous” Warren Store, built in 1839 as a stagecoach stop, which, from all the action, people going in and out, seems like it’s probably the community center, both for locals and for our kind, the not-so-local, but-still-very-appreciative, too.

First thing I noticed, in all the cuteness of this store where they pretty much sell everything from groceries to home goods, clothing to champagne, with worn wooden floors, the fragrance of fresh coffee brewing, was the extremely hygge wood stove that you couldn’t help but cozy up to. (This store reminded me of the one in the wonderful movie Baby Boom, where Diane Keaton sold her Country Baby Food, remember? SUCH a good movie with a darling Vermont house in it, in case you haven’t seen it . . . you’d love it!)

These are my people. Lowely, Joe and John as we go upstairs to the WONDERFUL clothing store, where they also sell home things, like beautiful hooked rugs and pillows! I found a darling little wool vest up there.

Then there was this framed print hanging over the cash register that made me laugh.  So much, I had to go home and show it to Jack, and this is what his face did:

Did someone mention ball? Wait a minute, does someone have my ball?  Where is it …. you took it? You took it to Vermont and gave it to that strange zebra cat???? Jack was very confused.

They had children’s books too…isn’t this book cover adorable? Not to mention the play on words.  Had to take a picture of this!

A label on a box of chocolates. Quite cute. Have I mentioned how much I love barns and lettering?

Then it was into the car, and back on the road for a day of serendipitous meandering. And more adorable red barns (just like the one on the chocolate box!).

If you really want to get in the mood . . . look at this old video. Because on the actual day of Valentine’s Day, this is what we’re going to be doing ourselves… eeek.

Store window in the neighboring, somewhat larger town, of Waitsfield. X’s and O’s for Valentine’s day.❤️

Across from where Joe was walking is this wonderful store, All Things Bright and Beautiful, on Bridge Street. Filled with stuffed animals, and glass and wooden ornaments. Gaelic, the woman who’s owned the shop for 52 years, was there, making her homemade wooden ornaments.

And there were these . . .

And these . . .

And this . . .

And on Gaelic’s art table, was a box, with a cat in it! A word of advice: resist temptation! Do not put your hand in the box with the cat. #wordtothewise

He is waiting for you to try it. He had me so riveted on him, I forgot to take a picture of Gaelic making her wooden ornaments . . . but Lowely took this picture of a wall display . . .

So now we know how she does it . . . Nothing is what you think it is. The work that goes into all the lovely things there are in this world is phenomenal. This just proves it.

Next to Gaelic’s store is this bridge, 2nd oldest in Vermont,  hence “Bridge Street.”

We walked through it and around it, and on the far side, we looked across the snow meadow and there was this huge bonfire.

I know what my girlfriend Diana would say, she would say, “What would you do if you saw that?” Seemed like a pretty safe time to burn though, I could feel the heat from where I was standing. Had to video it!


See the snow coming down? All wonderful.

Perfect photo op.

And more meandering, more town, getting hungry . . .

Lunch started with a toast and four Bloody Mary’s!

Then more meandering . . .

Couldn’t drive past this sign . . .

Because what’s Vermont without cider and syrup, and these . . .


Cider donuts! Yum!

All kinds of goodies here . . .

Beautiful bottles ~ think I’ll get . . .

This! One Bourbon Barrel Aged Pure Vermont Maple Syrup for me, and, one for you!!  Yes! A GiveAway! Just leave a comment at the bottom of this post (if you ever get there), and you’re IN!

Out, munching do-nuts, drinking cups of steaming hot cider, we slip into gallery, then back in the car . . .

for more red barns . . .

And green ones, and floaty snow flakes . . .

And picture-taking from open car windows . . .

It’s a big ski area up there . . . you may have heard of Sugar Bush and Mad River Glen . . .

And apparently golf is popular too! Though we did not see a lot of it going on!

The slopes were packed with brightly colored people!

The mountains are criss-crossed with ski runs and chair lifts . . .

And gondolas . . . to which, I say, thank you, but no thank you. My adventurous spirit, which brings me right to the edge, has its limits . . . I’m best in the lodge. With the cocoa. And the book. I can go, but drop me at the lodge and bring on the whipped cream.

Luckily, Map Man is right there with me . . . a lodge guy.

So, speaking of immigrants, we then arrived at the chalet of the famous singing Von Trapp Family (Yes, from The Sound of Music) who, with their ten children, left Austria just before WWII, and brought their American Dream to this gorgeous mountain top with the long views of Vermont and made it all come true.💞

They built this amazing ski lodge . . .

Always wanted to see this place and here we were.  If you are a skier, I would say this would be a wonderful place to come stay. As you can see, it wasn’t all snow and blizzard while we were there, it was sunshine too!

Now a quick word about stars.  Something about birch stars that the locals adore, because they are lit up and on everything. You may have noticed them on the Warren Store. Here are a few more photos to prove my point.

Upstairs and downstairs . . . I think they know that twinkles in the snow make magic! That’s why they do it!

And they are really everywhere . . . hanging from trees . . .

On barns . . .

All sizes . . . we think they make them from scratch from the trees in the woods . . .

Some more into it than others . . .

They don’t look store-bought, or uniform in size . . .

Little ones too. . . next to the cute blue door . . .

And even, or especially, in front of the wonderful New England churches . . . quite pretty. I could go on with stars, and restaurants and food and everything, but I think NOW is the time for the Main Event, our sleigh ride in the snow which I have been dreaming of doing for years . . . and now we finally did!!!!!! It was everything I hoped it would be for us four Valentines.❤️ And so nice to be able to take you Valentine’s along with us too!


Gentle Giants” in Stowe, Vermont . . . that’s the name of the sleigh people, and there’s their phone number . . . just in cases.❤️

We brought champagne with us, for before we got out of the car, for a pre-sleigh-ride warm-up and toast to Valentine’s and our wonderful friendship. (BTW, want to taste the MOST delicious champagne, that does not give me a headache like all the others do, costs about 7 dollars a bottle and is from Trader Joe’s? It’s called Amour de Paris (good name), is peach flavored, and I tell you, it’s good cheap stuff. Very celebratory! Perfect for brunch! Yum! Write it down! You’ll love it!)

Now we are happy! 💖

Joe goes in to talk about what we do next!

I go toward the horse. Horse sees me!

He’s coming! I’m happy.

SO beautiful

Much friendlier than the kitty in the box! Note feet (mine) in snow. But totally warm. Uggs boots. Oh yeah, only way to go!

We had a bag of apples and we forgot them! Don’t let this happen to you!

Boys… while we’re waiting  . . . (Hay truck, make a wish!)

So you can see. This is the basic lay of the land.  That little red house in the middle, the smallest one, was where Joe was talking to Rochelle our sleigh driver . . . and there’s the horse Lowely was petting off on the left. Isn’t it pure heaven there?

Lots of lovely horses here . . .


So here’s “Jack” (another Jack, they are everywhere these days), our horse, being hooked to his sleigh. See how smart he is, when Rochelle asks him to move he does it in just the right tiny increment she was asking from him. I was thrilled when Rochelle put on the bells. I was so hoping there would be bells.

John is bringing his blanket. It belonged to his grandfather, we’ve had it in the back seat for the whole trip, and it’s definitely coming on the sleigh ride! Right, Lowely? Right!

And here we are, loaded up and ready to go.  They wrapped us in furry red blankets. We are toasty and warm, and just a few small flakes are coming down. It’s perfect. We’re really doing this!


Here we go! Under the covered bridge . . . !

Look at Rochelle. Isn’t she the perfect sleigh driver? Her hair color is wonderful!!!! This is one of my favorite photos of our whole trip! I could paint her!

So into the pristine white woods we go, cold and crisp . . . see all those branches? That’s what you make those stars from!

As we walked along, we noticed there were lanterns hanging from the trees . . .

While watching little blobs of snow fall out of the trees and turn to powder in the breeze, I said to Rochelle, “How fun, do you go out in a sleigh at night?”

(See the lantern?) She laughed, and said, “No, we just put them there so you’ll think we do!” I’m confused. Is she messing with me? I’m a perfect stranger. There were candles in there! I still don’t get it! 😜

We were out there for about a half hour ~ we saw these cross-country skiers go by . . .

And one other sleigh . . . which was fun, because then we could see how cute we looked!

Delightful. You should do this if you can. Must be sleigh rides all over snow country no matter where you are. Imagine, if you are Louisa May Alcott, this is how you travel in the snow, not because you’re a dreamer per se, but because it’s your only choice after walking. And this is how you go to Boston too. And take your book, Little Women to the Publisher to see if they want to print it!  Which of course they do! ❤️ It wasn’t so long ago that everyone traveled like this, so all of Beacon Street would be sleighs and horses in the snow. This is one moment I’d like to slip back in time and take my camera with me.

They understand the value of RED in the snow. ❤️

But way too soon we were heading back for the covered bridge . . . Yes, we were singing Winter Wonderland to go with our sleigh bells ~ even Rochelle was singing with us. She must have heard people do that a thousand times, because you just can’t help but break into song. Never was there a more appropriate time to sing that song!

Time to go! ❤️

But not before a Valentine’s Kiss.😍 This was our 30th Valentine’s Day together. So lucky to be loving him.🎶 Came a long, long way to do it.

And good bye to Rochelle. One of the many things I liked about her, is how good she is with her horses. She takes wonderful care of them.💞

Back in the car once again, with back-row seat view to everything.

More wonderful scenery, colors in the snow…

Stars and frozen roads . . .

and luv-lee graveyards . . .

And road views . . .

Another truly delicious dinner, this time at the Common Man, just FANTASTIC. I have the menu, I took pictures of the food, I could show it all to you and go on (I was going to say “all day” but it’s already been all day!) and I’m afraid you may want to reclaim your life now!

So here’s our last glimpse of the winter sun . . .

Before we hit the road, because the blizzard started right up for our ride home. And the four friends were on the road again.🤞Fingers crossed for safety!

We stopped here at King Arthur Flour on the way home, a place Lowely and I had always wanted to see. Really interesting, they have classes there ~ would love to do that sometime, and lots of good stuff in the gift shop! But, blizzardsville, USA.

This was our boat ride home. The snow had stopped. It had been raining. We looked outside to this really strange sky. Finally went outside after remembering, “No, the windows on this boat aren’t tinted.” It was that under the total cloud cover, somewhere up there, must have been a gorgeous sunset, that made it’s way to earth in a giant, and I don’t get to say this often, Purple Haze!

HOME SWEET HOME, with Jackie cozying up to the heart dishtowel I bought at King Arthur Flour. What a wonderful time we had. Got a lot done in a very short time! We left on Sunday, drove all day, had Monday and Tuesday to Play, and came home on Wednesday.❤️ Perfect! Only 2 pounds heavier! Could be worse!

Hope you enjoyed our trip! Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’re interested in some Vermont Maple Syrup!  Be sure to heat it up before you pour it over your waffles or pancakes or French toast! Hot syrup melts butter, yum, rivulets! And, come again soon . . . next week we leave on the train for a cross-country trip out to California to be with my mom on her Birthday! Very excited. Will “Twitter from the Twain” along the way! Lots to tell you about still, but enough is enough is what I say! Love you! Byeeee!  P.S. Here are some interesting facts about Vermont I’m sure you would love to know!❤️

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  1. Mary Davis says:

    The mugs are adorable ‘

    • jayne bradford peremsky says:

      My heart is lifted to the clouds – Vermont for Valentine’s Day and my forever romantic dream of a sleigh ride in the winter snow!

  2. Mary Ann says:

    As always your post brings a smile to my face!

  3. Patte Elrod says:

    I’ve been floating since the evening with you at Vromans in Pasadena, but it was definitely time for a new Susan Branch injection. Have spent far more time than I should on Willard & your blog. But Oh! What fun to share your joy in Vermont in the snow & at home in your early springtime. Now I need to get some starch! I thought it had disappeared from the face of the earth forever! You always give such a wonderful lift to s person’s day. But I must got – gotta order mugs & things & call my friend to arrange to see you on 3/18!
    Love, from the heart of my home, Patte

  4. Jane Fideler says:

    Oh Susan!! You are a breath of fresh spring air here in the Heartland where many things are making our hearts heavy! Thank you for reminding us of the joy and miracles of every day life! I LOVE your books, blog, pocket calendar, and now your new mugs!! I can’t wait to order several for my very best friends!! Xxoo

    Jane from the Heartland

  5. Second time I’ve noticed the “misspelling” on the paint tube illustration. Is that due to copyright issues? If so, that’s interesting… I wouldn’t think they would care that you were promoting their watercolors!

  6. Gardengoddess42 says:

    The new mugs look delightful. I love that they will have a thin rim. And I am happy you found somewhere in my home country to make them for you.

  7. Sherrill Bruning says:

    Love the mugs–they are so you!!! The pictures make me want to follow in your step the whole trip! Thanks for being an inspiration to so many women.

  8. Becky Daugherty says:

    Oh, what a great blog! My mind is so full of sparkling stars, fresh snow, maple syrup, English bone china mugs and STARCH! Watching you starch your jacket reminded me of starching my crinolines during the 1950’s. Laying them out on our basement floor and hearing my mother coming down the steps to ask me just what was I doing! Ah, memories!

  9. Breta Sisson says:

    Love the mugs and your website and photos

  10. Susan says:

    Such good things! Love reading your blog💕

  11. Arlene Burger says:

    Mugs are too cute!!! The cake recipe is fabulous. Made it many time. Have a great trip!

  12. Patricia Powers says:

    Hi Susan…I LOVED THE NEW MUGS! Bought all three on pre order and I am so excited to see and hold them in person . One huge request dear Susan…must make a teapot! We need a special teapot for our tea!!! Hugs.

  13. Lori Knight-Whitehouse says:

    Love the article on starch–so crisp and clean!

  14. Rita Harp says:

    Love the mugs! The sleigh ride and the beautiful scenery!

  15. Beverley Litwin says:

    After looking at your pics of your Vermont trip it makes me want to go there with my hubby!

  16. LilyAnn Kranking says:

    What a wonderful time traveling with the four of you to VT. We lived in CT. 16 years and went to Vt. once BUT do want to go again after seeing your trip. Loved everything I saw in your pictures and almost reminded me of simpler times. Today’s world always seems so fast paced…..definitely on our bucket list for a winter trip up north from our abode in NC. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Stacy says:

    Your blog and Willard missive are such a wonderful respite from all the NEGATIVITY floating in the ethos these days. Like a sigh. Like a hug. Like the smell of honeysuckle in the summer. Thanks!

  18. Mary Pat Kengmana says:

    Do you know at 58 years of living this is the first time I’ve first time I’ve seen what starching actually is? I thought the only kind was out of a spray can.

    Your mugs are gorgeous and your Willards and posts are pure eye-candy.
    Thank you so much for your generosity.

  19. Lenora Kirby says:

    Susan, I bless the day i found you, inside your books! You made me remember that winter is wonderful, even here in fuh-reezing Albany NY – I may head North! Lenora

  20. Trudy Quigley says:

    Although an avid collector of your books, I am new to your website and blog. Everything is so charming, lovely, and inspiring. I absolutely love your delightful new mugs!

  21. Fancy says:

    Love your new mugs ❤️

  22. Virgi Rodriguez says:

    Just got thru the new Willard…luv’d it! Your new cups are beautiful….I luv them all but my favorite is the Love one.

  23. Jo McCready says:

    Susan, I love they way you have with words as well as the camera. Your trip looks awesome and so glad you had a safe trip. I was so excited to find your “Love” book yesterday while looking for my sketching supplies. How timely!

  24. Sharon Watson says:

    Susan and Joe ❤

    Thank you for the visual tour, it felt like I was with you the entire time.
    What fun!

  25. Emily Draper says:

    Love the new mugs! So cheery!

  26. Courtney Blair says:

    Thanks for all of the great photos! Good luck on your mug launch- they are spectacular.

  27. Maurine Short says:

    Love the designs on your new mugs.

  28. Laurie Alves says:

    Susan – I love the designs on all three of your new mugs and would just love to win one. You will be amazed at how green the hills are on your trip from LA to San Luis Obispo. I am just north in Atascadero and drive into San Luis Obispo for work every day.

  29. Shirley Chmielowiec says:

    Love your blog and would love to win one of your mugs!

  30. Chris Marteinsson says:

    Oooooohhh! I would love to have the” Love “mug. Actually, any of your mugs, they
    are gorgeous. One of those would cheer up our still snowy winter! Love, from Chris in British Columbia

  31. Joan Moore says:

    Love your mugs, Susan! They are beautiful!! I want one. Thanks. ” heart ” Joan

  32. Naomi says:

    ❤love your interesting life, so much fun to follow.
    The mugs are sweet. Love the thin lip, perfect 16 oz.
    Hope to join your book signing here in California.

  33. Julie says:

    A post filled to the brim with lovely things, such snow… such fabulous sleigh ride… and that sleigh bed WOW – that does look comfy and cosy.
    Beautiful mugs you have designed, wonderful they are to be made of bone china here in the UK, nothing nicer than a hot beverage in a beautiful mug to lift the spirits and make the heart sing, delightful images to enhance the experience too.
    Have a safe trip and Happy Birthday wishes to your birthday girl.

  34. Lauri Hyde says:

    Dearest Susan,

    Your incredibly gorgeous blog is the thing I look forward to reading before I curl up in bed for the night. The last entry about your Vermont trip thrilled me to my toes! I felt like I was right there with you! And your newsletter is the icing on the cake of my day! We haven’t been able to do much these days due to financial constraints, so being granted the privilege to go with you in spirit is my greatest joy and has helped keep me from slipping deeper into depression. And your new mugs are incredible! My personal favorite is the one with your sweet little lambie-pie, if that’s her name? I would dearly love to win that one. I hope my favorite mug doesn’t get discontinued too soon? By the way, I am thrilled to hear that your movie deal is becoming more real by the minute! OMG!!! I will be first in line to see that when it comes out and if they make that into a DVD, count me in! I guarantee that movie deal will set you up for the rest of your lives! What the heck, start shopping for your English vacation cottage now! What’s that expression? Why take risks? Eat dessert first! Or something like that. By the way…have you ever heard of a little website called the French General? It’s right out here in the Silverlake area, tiny adorable nest of a store. Take a look at their website. They take shopping and crafting tours to downtown L.A., and oh, let’s see…France? Very inspirational. I can see YOU doing something like that down the line. Doesn’t have to be France, but maybe….England? Or your own backyard? And writing books just about decorating, arts and crafts and antique shopping. Maybe that’s a bit too far afield as of yet, but even if the movie deal doesn’t go anywhere, think about this angle. I know that one just as famous female illustrator opened several retail establishments and ended up closing them down because she became more of a businesswoman/retailer, which took away her time for art, which defeated the purpose, so balance is the watchword at the end of the day. Still…’s a tempting thought, anyhow. So there’s my wish for you and a wish for me, the best of luck to both of us. Thank you again for your gift of art, light and hope in a sometimes dreary world. You make a difference out there. Keep up the spectacular work! No pressure, though…..🙂

  35. Alberta Hickey says:

    So many wonderful remembrances that you bring back, give life to and make new again. I can imagine your lovely mugs filled with deliciousness to enjoy while keeping up with all things enduring! Thank you!

  36. Hi Susan! I loved reading your post and seeing your awesome photos! It was so much fun joining you and Joe and your friends on your trip. So romantic and beautiful!!! Happy 30 years together – to you and Joe! My husband and I will celebrate our 27th anniversary in NYC this weekend!

  37. Claudia says:

    This brought memories of when I was a young girl and we would go to Vermont for Thanksgiving. My mother worked so she sent me to Vermont to my Aunt’s house for summer break. How I loved picking blueberries and blackberries….

    Beautiful trip……….great pictures. Thank you sharing!

  38. Carol Arrowsmith says:

    Love your closing sentiment, “Try and fall in love with as many things as possible…” I’m keeping that one in my heart forever. Thank you!

  39. Robin DuBay says:

    Love the new mugs! I have the one with my name on it! Your beautiful photos of the trip to Vermont make me miss the northeast even more then I already do!
    Congratulations on your 30th Valentine’s Day together, and wishing you success with your upcoming movie trilogy! “Hugs” from sunny Florida!

  40. Janie Dockus says:

    What a beautiful read on a cold winter morning here in Ohio! I collect your books, use your calendars, and have a board on my Pinterest collecting your art and recipes. I enjoy your art, writing and recipes. A cup of tea and some Susan Branch reading is always a joy. Looking forward to enjoying a cup of tea in one of your new mugs, and collecting them in the future!

    Thank you Susan 🙂

  41. Phyllis J Willis says:

    After being housebound with illness for a week, your blog brought me much happiness! My family settled in Poultney, Vermont in the late 1700s and I enjoyed the beautiful scenery – especially the barns. Thank you for making my day, Susan. I loved reading your books and can’t wait to see them made into a movie.

  42. Joan Kovach says:

    Susan, your world of pictures and words are simply a GIFT to so many, including myself….I just want to THANK YOU for all that you share with us.
    Warms hugs, Joan

  43. Fiona Goodyear says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing your journey! Such charm and beauty! God is good!
    Packing my bags for next fall or winter for these sights!! 🙂

  44. Karen Lodolce says:

    Thank you for the great pictures! What a journey.

    Also, love your new mugs. They are beautiful!

    Thank you Susan for your warm comfort in words and pictures.

  45. Fiona Goodyear says:

    The mugs look darling Susan; can’t wait to share my morning coffee with you!!

  46. Regina Pickering says:

    A friend just forwarded me your “Willard has Spring Fever” newsletter, and what fund to read and feast for the eyes with all the lovely photos. Much success with your movie trilogy, and keep up the good fun (work).

    • sbranch says:

      Happy you enjoyed WILLARD, Regina . . . you can click on the link HERE, and sign up for your own to be delivered in your email box in the future. xox

  47. Deb LaFave says:

    Absolutely breathtaking! I live in Georgia now, but miss the northern snow….sometimes!!

    I love everything Susan Branch!!

  48. Linda says:

    Loved your trip. Wish I was there.

  49. Patricia A. Rosa says:

    The mugs are beautiful – it would be a wonderful way to start out my day! Love all of your artwork – it brings such happiness to me!

  50. Cathy Scarsella says:

    Your mugs are so fun and cheer! Can’t help but smile when you see them.

  51. cheryl hubbard says:

    Your willard just reached me in England after storm Doris hit, whilst we were on our narrowboat. Thank you so much for the beautiful sleigh ride pics…what a dream x

  52. Marie Morrissey says:

    The mugs are beautiful. Thoroughly enjoy all of your postings….so positive and so cheerful with all the art.

  53. Valerie Johnson in Weatherford, Texas :) says:

    Loved your Valentine’s post on Vermont! Can’t wait to share the pics with my husband. So many of them look like post cards. “Let’s run away to VERMONT and not come back” I’ll say. This will be one of those posts that I must savor again. Thank you so much for doing what you do, Susan.

  54. carolyn mason says:

    love the new mugs, can’t wait to receive!!

  55. Linda Wattier says:

    Love Vermont. Went there this last fall. Also love your mugs!

  56. Anne Poe, Sherwood, OR says:

    I love the beautiful sentiments and pictures and photographs. Two of my best friends are from England, Eileen Matz (my knitting Mentor) and Frances Newham (my favorite story teller in my Write Your Life Story class). We share and ah over your blog and my friend Theresa Menzies who loves to bake, makes your cookies and cakes. Ah heaven.

    Thank You Thank You. Anne

  57. Ruth Gruchow says:

    I always love your pictures and descriptions about your trips. It makes me want to go there. I love your new mugs and they would make anyone happy to be drinking from them especially me.

  58. Rena Guth says:

    I love those mugs! the sheep is my favorite being a knitter and all!

  59. Linda Arthur says:

    Love reading your blog, I am English and love reading your books and everything English! My late husband was American but a definite Anglophile. I am going to London next week and will enjoy a cuppa and ginger biscuit for you.

    Love the new mugs.

    • sbranch says:

      He would have to be an Anglophile, wouldn’t he? 😃 I love you for having tea in London for me. Thank you. Wish I could join you. xoxo

  60. Linda Latta says:

    Thanks for letting me share the memories of your delightful Valentine’s adventure. I loved all the beautiful pictures. You have inspired me to visit the area soon – only in a warmer month. I am not brave enough to take on those roads! If you ever visit Fraser, Colorado, you must take a sleigh ride with Dashing Through the Snow. Your pictures reminded me of Christmas Eve rides I have taken there. Magical!

  61. Susan Wiste says:

    What a wonderful adventure we are lucky enough to have shared with you through your photos and writing. It is always such a breath of fresh to read your blog. Thank you.

  62. Trisha Watts says:

    I always enjoy your wonderful stories, pictures, recipes and more! Looking forward to the new book, calendar and mugs 🙂

  63. Margaret Hill says:

    Hi Susan,
    enjoy your books, your blog, your pictures.
    would love to sip tea out of one of your new mugs.

  64. Daphne Pickren says:

    Love the mugs (-:

  65. Janet says:

    So excited about the new mugs – how adorable! Like potato chips…or cats…it will be hard to have just one!

  66. Patricia DuMond says:

    Thank you for being the darling person that you are. AND for sharing that special quality with us!!!

  67. Paige H says:

    Love your blog and Willards! Can’t wait to get one of the new mugs!! They are wonderful! Thank you for making them out of high quality bone china, and not taking the easy route. I will treasure drinking my coffee and tea out of a Susan Branch mug!

  68. Lynn Kelly says:

    Here I am reading your blog while I’m supposed to be working. Oh well, the work can wait!

  69. Karen Connor says:

    The mugs are out of this world!! How exciting for you to have one of your dreams come true. Loved your tweets from the train. I wonder if Petey got to go along? Maybe he had to stay home and keep Jack company. Enjoy your time with your Mom and soak up some sunshine. Love you to pieces….

  70. Kimberlee says:

    SO excited! I missed the first round of your Lenox, so won’t pass up this chance. 🙂
    Grateful for SB! Blaze on…
    x’s and o’s from Idaho!!!

  71. Laura Parrish says:

    I love your work!! I am such a huge fan of yours. Please come to Arkansas to meet your fans here! Thank you for sharing your pictures, recipes, artwork & just everything!
    I would love to have a mug and anything else you would like to share.
    Safe travels!

  72. Debbie Wehmeyer says:

    Susan, I love Willard and all the fun ! Love the mugs! Thank you!

  73. Laurie Johnson says:

    I have enjoyed your cookbooks, fabric, and everything for so long. I would love one of your new mugs!! Cheers!!

  74. Susan, …when I open my emails I absolutely have the biggest smile on my face when I see your name pop-up. I felt the same way when Victoria magazine arrived in my mailbox. I loved the feeling of the pages. The slick texture and rich feeling was very inviting and the photography was stunning. Times change, and sometimes people do too!

    One of my favorite things about you is that you are authentic and share your love of life, family, pets, your friends, and the things that are so much a part of your life and make your life so abundant. You allow me to see life in new ways through your sharing. Your creative “newsletters”,blog, lovely books, accessories , “musica” inserts, and sharing the things that make your life…YOUR sweet life. It is all of these things that show me that YOU DO NOT CHANGE…in the most important and dearest ways!

    You are the same Susan Branch who wrote and painted recipe book pages and gave me great recipes (even if all I did was enjoy the writing and illustrations – I spent so much time looking at your artwork that I forgot to leave time to cook) . Your sweet inspiration showing us the abundance in our lives if we will just tune-in to it has not changed over these past many years.

    Gratefull, and God Bless,
    Cherie FitzSimons-Orr
    P.S. We love “A Place to Call Home”, too! Kindred spirits!

  75. Linda says:

    I cannot imagine a more perfect Valentine’s Day getaway. I’ve always wanted to travel to Vermont and if I do, I want to follow every one of your snowy footsteps. Enjoyed your journey from beginning to end. Your beautiful photos made Vermont come to life.

  76. Catherine Sholtis says:

    Such beautiful mugs, Susan! I love each one! And that Valentine’s kiss photo is the best!

  77. Karen Cooke says:

    Absolutely love the mugs. I was so happy to see that you starch your linens. I thought I was the only one. I love to do them and iron them so nice and flat.

  78. Ginger Bitter says:

    Yum yum, I want some!

  79. Anne Mellas says:

    Susan, love your new mugs. Tea always tastes best when served in a China mug or cup. Would love to be sipping from the “It’s The Little Things” mug. I’ve been following you for over 30 years and your drawings and prose make me slow down to appreciate “the little things” even more. Thank you for your creativity and generosity to share it with all of us who adore you.

  80. Jane Dunham says:

    My friend Marilyn, who has been gone 14 years, loved your first cookbook. Have just read Isle of Dreams and knew she was reading it over my shoulder. It was wonderful to get back to my New Hampshire roots and to feel Marilyn near again. We don’t have the New England style houses here in Indiana. Good job, keep it up………..jane

  81. Wonderful post as usual. Love the new mugs!

  82. Marion Cook says:

    Reading my new Willard…then had to come and see what you had been up to. Must say the birds on the page started chirping as I was reading and I just about jumped out of my chair !
    Love the May painting picture of the little girl and her mom….been thinking about my mom all day.
    Thank you !
    I was a May baby !
    Checking on you made my day !

  83. Diana Thielman says:

    Love the new mugs!

  84. Yvonne Jacobson says:

    Love the Valentine’s trip and the snowy photos. Spending the winter in HOT Florida now so cooled off reading about Stowe and Warren. Did you see all of the different rooms in the Pitcher Inn?
    Our next trip will be to England and the Lake District. Booked a flat in Ambleside and bought A Fine Romance for hints on the area. Now I need a new mug! Your artwork inspires me and I am keeping a journal now. Thank you Susan

  85. Rachel Ramos says:

    One of the highlights of my day is to read your blog. It is so uplifting, and it tends to make me daydream. Thank you for always being so inspiring! right now, I am dreaming of my favorite tea in my favorite ” New” mug. 🙂



    I love every word you write. Love the photos of your travels,home, cats.
    I would love to see your books made into a movie. Good luck with the Hollywood producers on a TV show for you, similar to Martha Stewart, or the Pioneer Women

  87. Betty Myers says:

    Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! enter me in the “mug drawing”. Thx!!!!!!

  88. Evelyn McKenna says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed every picture and every bit of delightful commentary. They made me feel like I was there!!! Your “visions and views, old and new” are lovely.

  89. Teresa Gonzales says:

    The mugs are darling! Agree we need a teapot too! Hope your trip across country was restful!

  90. Gail Dunning says:

    Oh to go on a sleigh ride in Vermont! Went on one when I was in third grade with my cousins in PA on their farm! It was glorious. After we ice-skated on the pond with a fire on the edge to warm ourselves while we had hot cocoa! Wouldn’t your new mugs be a special addition to the hot cocoa dreams! Thanks for all the pretty pictures!

  91. Ruthann Martin says:

    Lady Susan, High Priestess of the Hopeless Romantics.
    Thank you for taking us along with you and making the mundane pure sterling.

    • sbranch says:

      This is a true thing. Hopeless romantic is totally me. But to prove the point (of my hopelessness), I believe that’s an oxymoron, for what romantic should ever be called “hopeless!?” You see the conundrum. Thank you Ruthann! xoxo

  92. Janet Duff says:

    Thank you for the “Willard”. The mugs turned out great! Vermont looks beautiful!

  93. Vickie Longino says:

    Loved seeing the beautiful Vermont countryside with you! I live in Texas and we have not had much winter so very refreshing and beautiful!

  94. Janice says:

    Fingers crossed and high hopes of being lucky enough that “Vanna” will select my name for a very pretty little mug! Any beverage could only be better in something so cute!

    • sbranch says:

      So true, things taste better on flowery china dishes and in thin-lipped bone china cups. Why? We don’t know!

  95. Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

    Hello dear Susan,
    My first post got lost, so here’s another one, shorter this time. Just wanted you to know that I’ve pre-ordered a mug, I’m so thrilled with them. And if by chance I win one, I have a very dear friend who will love the mug also. And, I hope to build a little collection of mugs. Your Vermont trip sounded wonderful, I loved traveling with you. As do all your adventures, I so love reading about them. And now you’re in California. Have a fabulous time, be sure to tell us all about it–including the exciting movie news! Thank you for your art and words and pictures, they help keep me centered as I wait for my son to come home from Afghanistan–in time for Mother’s day, the Good Lord willing. Until then, I’ll read your blogs, and Willards, and figure out how to follow your tweets. Bless you for being such a dear friend to so many of us. Safe journey to you and Joe. Best, Rosemary

    • sbranch says:

      I did get your comment, and I answered you with blessings for your hero son, and for you, the loving worriers. And prayers for his safe return. Sending love! xoxo

      • Rosemary Monk--Near Boston says:

        Thank you dear Susan, your support means a lot. My email sometimes gets wonky and loses people. I read all your beautiful blogs, and the Wonderful Willards, sometimes more than once, and find a little peace each day. Please keep writing to us all. Much love,

  96. Hi Susan ~ Absolutely LOVE those new mugs. Have to order them for myself and my pen pal of almost 50 years.

    Also Happy Anniversary. This Valentine’s was our 40th!! (We got engaged on Valentine’s Day)!!! 🙂

    Love your newsletter and all your drawings. Sure wish I could draw like that!! 🙂

    • Alisa McGrath says:

      computer savvy. Ive loved everything that you have come out with. I have all your books. I would love to win a new cup. My favorite is the little things. I will buy some as gifts too. Thank you for this great giveaway. Have a blessed week. Alisa McGrath

  97. Marcia Bollman says:

    Love everything Susan Branch!!

  98. Kathy kennedy says:

    You’re new mugs are so beautiful !! I love them!!

  99. Jane Hulslander Goff says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing a beautiful winter adventure! I live in North Central Florida and it has been a warm winter for us. A good year for the citrus though, lots of ” Meyer Lemons, thus lots of Meyer Lemon juice for Meyer Lemon Pound Cakes! Honey Tangerines weighing down the limbs of the trees! And as always, the raccoons and possums have had a high old time eating fruit and climbing the tree! I have two grandsons now, 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 years old! They are the best fun ever! We keep them quite often and being a, ” Gran, ” is wonderful! I am still designing quilts and making them, love to hand quilt, been busy in 2016 and 2017 is coming along in the same way! Busy! Mike and I have retired also, if I have told you we have retired, it’s my brain falling apart these days. Yet, I remembered the actor, Bill Paxton, doing the calculus, I guess it was calculus, in the movie, Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks. I have become a character, but so did my Grandmother, I loved her so much! Take care Susan, I think of you often and love the, ” Willard,” this year. I got my calendar early this year, on my fridge to jazz up the kitchen! Hugs and Happiness to the family, Sincerely, Jane Hulslander Goff

  100. Caroline says:

    The mugs!! I want them all… I cannot choose a favourite. ❤️ So happy you got to do this. Love all the pictures!

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