If you haven’t gotten your Willard yet, you will soon! It began going out Tuesday morning (that’s today!), so everyone should have it by Friday. There are a few surprises in there, I don’t want to give them away, so in the meantime . . . MUSICA! Let’s travel a bit, shall we? Good old comfy armchair travel. Let’s take our kitty with us.

But first, Oh Dash! Oh Victoria! Oh Lord M!  Prince Albert and his selfish, cruel “Uncle Leopold!”  Tell me no secrets and I’ll tell you no lies.  Sunday night’s Victoria was a teary one.  I did like the puppy though, all was not lost.

A cold and dreary wet day it is out here in the wild Atlantic ocean. But I have my wee cup of Constant Comment in my Castle Cottage cup, the fire is burning, can’t really ask for anything more. I thought I might take us to Scotland today! I hear lots of you are going to Scotland, or might go, or want to go, so if you do, I thought I’d show you a wonderful castle we stayed in, maybe you would like to stay there too.  So off we go to the land of clans, lochs, lairds, lads and lasses, Bonny Prince Charlie, Outlander, and Balmoral, the beloved home of Queen Victoria.

 It was late evening when we went looking for the two rooms that our friend Elizabeth had “found online.”  We were traveling together, Joe and I, Elizabeth and Mike ~ she had no idea what this place would be like and neither did we. But how could we go wrong, we were together and having a great time.

Through tunnels of Scottish trees we went looking for a sign that said “Stravithie” on it. It was out there somewhere, so we were told! We’d traveled up from Edinburgh that day, the long way, along the Fife coast, stopping to eat, walk along the beach, pick up sea glass, go to a fishing museum . . . it’s where the cutest little  fishing villages are, all festively criss-crossed with bunting flapping in the wind ~ now we were stopping overnight on our way to St. Andrews.

I was crazy about Edinburgh, everything I loved about York, there was twice as much of it in Edinburgh . . .  the red line on this map traces the world famous Fife Coast where we’d been that day.

We probably passed it twice, but finally we quit talking and started concentrating, and there it was. What a nice little sign we all thought, very low key, and a cute little guardhouse too. So far, so good!

We turned down the drive . . . the lovely drive . . . Not too fancy, kind of real . . . the suspense is building, what will we find?????

This was our first glimpse of the house . . . ooooh, aaaah . . .

We drove around to the front, and this is when we began to call it a castle. Isn’t it the MOST? Couldn’t Jane Eyre be living in that pointed turret? We were saying to Elizabeth, “Where did you say you found this?” The thrill of discovery! You really never know what you might stumble upon . . . 

 The Laird of the Manor, David Chalmers, with his cute Scottish accent, came out to welcome us. We were already peering into the hall, at the doors, the heads and horns on the walls, the lamps. What mysteries lie ahead?

I thought I would show you a better photo of David. Such a very nice man! And he knows all the best restaurants!

So into the front hall we went. I loved the lamp, I loved the ceiling trim and the little bit of green. I loved the whole thing. This is David’s home, he lives here, on  30 acres of gardens and a river with his wife and two children, so it’s a home they love to share with others, because as you can imagine, it’s fascinating!

I don’t know what they call this long, deep wood-paneled room, but there is the very old head of an alligator up on top of that dresser. The hunt room, perhaps. Leathery and manly, perhaps the smoking room.

I took photos of everything! Pretty lamp, pretty molding.

The dining room was filled with old carved furniture and things from days gone by.

Elegant old china and cut glass and silver . . .

Mrs. Chalmers came in a little later . . . we could hear one of their children practicing the piano somewhere in the house. Made it even more perfect.

Very much a family home. “My parents gave it to me.”  That’s what David said when we asked how he came to live here. Of course they did!

Off we went to our separate wings to see our rooms . . . Joe and I climbed the red stairs in the turret . . .

looking up as we climbed . . . those are stairs. How did they do that? We don’t know. (I take that back, I’m sure Joe knows, but it’s not even light out yet, he would not want me to wake him to get this question answered!) My job is to admire curves and shadows.

Down this hallway-sitting room we went . . . loving the furniture,

Loving the fabric . . .

Loving the lamp . . .

Loving all the lamps!

Into our charming room with a view of the lawn and the river,

. . . framed by the heavy, lined drapes you find everywhere  in the UK.

We came in through the hall on the right, the bathroom is off that hall, and the kitchen is through the door on the left … We each (meaning each couple) had our own kitchen. I’m happy, Joe’s happy, everyone is happy!

Perfectly appointed, all you need, bright and clean. . .

And more . . . they’d left everything we could possibly want for breakfast, Scottish bacon, ham, fresh eggs, sweet rolls, bread, butter, jam, tea, milk, juice, yogurt and cereal, a feast! And the table was set . . .

So pretty in front of the window . . .

And the view . . . How did Elizabeth ever find such a place?! Must hang out with her more!

We unpacked, went out to dinner to a wonderful restaurant David suggested, and toasted Elizabeth, and our friendship, and Scotland, and life and all good things!

And came back to the castle under this beautiful moon . . .


The next morning, of course we had to go for a walk, across the lawn and along the river we could see from our bedroom windows.

On a path through the woods. The perfect antidote to modern times.

Let’s to church! as they said in Shakespeare in Love. Yes, let’s!  A lovely quiet spot out in the middle of nowhere with a beautiful old sleepy graveyard.

I imagine this walled lawn may have been a vegetable garden at one time. But I was most curious about the little rock sitting on the stone. There was something on it.

I came closer . . .a small piece of slate or maybe granite with something scratched into it:

My imagination says it may have been here since 1993. But if I let myself go, maybe 1593. Or maybe, stretching, just plain 93, as in Druids. We don’t know, but we didn’t touch it, left it as it was for other lucky travelers to happen upon. I automatically think very highly of the person who put it there. Little magic-maker. Hope she’s reading this.  Love is the Law. Truly, it should be.

Back through the ancient wood the merrie folk did go.

We climbed a hill and came upon these worn stone steps and, oddly, that hole filled with water (I guess, needless to say, no one tasted it). 😜 Unmarked. No explanation.  A hot tub for fairies? A little last-resort bathtub? (One of our Girlfriends suggested it was a “tail wash for dragons!”😂) But why here when there is a perfectly good river nearby? We had no idea. We saw no hose bib. I know it rains a lot here, but this much?

It’s perched on a kind of ledge, actually, the entire thing is rock. You could step behind those ferns on the left, walk off the edge and fall, maybe 20 feet? (I’m not good at falling distances.) There’s a very old, moss-covered, slippery-looking stone stairway to the bottom of the ravine that no one wanted to go on. But the boys wanted to see how deep the hole was. Nothing pulled Mike in, which was good. I stayed about this far away from it the whole time wishing I had my dangerous mastiff at my side.

And again, an answer from one of our Girlfriends. It’s a Druid’s well! It’s an actual thing. You can read more about it HERE! Fun!

Flowering things grew wild from the rocks. Because it’s Scotland. Did you know the national animal for Scotland is the Unicorn? Oh yes. Magical Scotland, land of legends and ghosts.

It was a wonderful time. If you would like to stay in a castle in Scotland, you can, so easily. Go to  Or write or phone 01334 880251 It’s close to lots of nice things. And tell David we said Hello!

As promised in the new WILLARD, a Giveaway! This England, this green and pleasant land, this cup. For thee. And the book . . . a signed copy of A Fine Romance. That’s one.

And behind door number two, the new Spring cup, and one of my brand new cross stitch kits for Home Sweet Home, because they kind of match, and go together. Also for thee. Two giveaways! They won’t arrive from England until the first of April, so you’ll have to wait for spring. I’ll be away, but Sheri will make sure you get them the moment they arrive. All you need to do to sign up for both giveaways is leave a comment at the bottom of this post, where you see the teeeeeny tiny word that says, “comments,” click there, say anything, and voila, you’re in the drawing! I’ll contact you if you win, but you can come back in a few days to see if Vanna chose your name. Life is good!

Must go now . . . Say Goodbye to my muses, these . . .

And this one. I’m thinking of changing his name to Dash. Beloved puppy of mine. Have a wonderful day dear ones. Keep in touch! There are adventures and more surprises ahead! 

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2,469 Responses to STRAVITHIE CASTLE

  1. Alice says:

    Thank you Susan for sharing this wonderful Scottish adventure and pictures!

  2. Lynn Barlow says:

    Whilst in England (my husband’s country of birth) please dream a little dream for me!❤️🇬🇧🇺🇸

  3. Chris says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventures. Scotland is a dream I hope comes true one day!

  4. Barb Urbank(from Ohio) says:

    I love these pictures from your trip to Scotland! Beautiful castle and accommodations! How lucky to have gotten a couple rooms there, thanks to your friend. I love your new mugs, and have been enjoying the Winter one! Looking forward to your next adventure starting in March and seeing all the lovely places you travel across the pond! Have a good, cozy filled week!

  5. Susan Morgon ( Ohio gal from SoCal ) says:

    I love coming to your blog, Susan! I am really looking forward to traveling with you again soon. 💕

  6. Marie W. says:

    Ah, so lovely. I love getting to follow along on your big adventures. And you go to the part of the world that most calls to me, too! I was travelling in Scotland two summers ago…..LOVED it!

  7. Stefanie says:

    Thank you for “Williard”…and the oh so cute little lambkins bookmark…You have an incredible gift…I just went out to the mailbox…it is dark now – I believe we are one of the last mail routes of the night in our area…and I saw an almost full moon…and I thought of you…it is a Blue Moon in two days…thank you for making me aware of that which is around me!! Blessings!!!

  8. Barbara (Farm Girl) says:

    Aw, Scotland! We were there in 1998. There is something in the air that makes everything feel euphoric, the locals said it was the fumes from the Scotch distilleries. So green, so alive!

  9. Anita Tinlin says:

    Chances of winning 1 in 2,027? Oh, woe.

  10. Delia says:

    I love your walks and talks of what could be. Thank you for sharing such a lovely place. P.S. After seeing Dash, I hugged a bit more my own two fur babies.

  11. Marsha MacLean says:

    Thank you again, Susan. All your posts are wonderful, but this one was close to my heart, as you know my late husband was from Edinburgh, where his family remains. Even though I wrote you about going there last summer with my BFF, and I had been before, I’m already trying to plan the next journey!
    How great to accompany you on this next trip! (I’ll just wiggle into the suitcase!)
    Marsha in Yucaipa

  12. Lyn says:

    Love your stories and drawings; thanks for sharing them with us!

  13. Bridget Bandy says:

    Susan, Love the new blog and the new Willard !! I love the photos from your windows, we haven’t had much snow in my part of Tennessee yet, so I have to enjoy yours…

    Hope the weather cooperates so that we can all enjoy the fabulous moon on Wednesday night!!!!Take care and thanks for the beautiful and inspiring things you send our way. You can see from the comments how much we all appreciate you.

  14. Carisa Iezza says:

    I will wait with baited breath to see all the lovely photos and paintings you will share with us from England, Wales and Ireland. Many of my ancestors came from England, Ireland, and also from the Isle of Man! I do hope to go back to the UK someday, your adventures will fill that longing until I have a chance to go myself! Good luck with the packing…the worst part of traveling, on second thought, the second worst…the worst is the unpacking!

  15. Stephanie Murry says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful travels.You are a blessing to your girlfriend’s! I also love seeing pictures of Jack.Please come to Shreveport Louisiana someday.

  16. Wendy in MN says:

    Hello Susan,

    I was happy to see your photo of the ivy-leaved toadflax. When my husband & I were in Ireland hiking around to ancient sites I took so many photos of it cheering up the historical rock walls & buildings. It was nice to see it again.

    Can’t wait to read more of your adventures. Thanks for sharing so much & for the giveaway chance, too.

    Seek peace,
    Wendy in MN

  17. Carole says:

    Really looking forward to being able to “tag along” on your upcoming trip. I hope you and Joe have a wonderful time and stay safe and healthy.

  18. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    what a delight! have fun, and enjoy every single detail. it’s 12 degrees here in Michigan – after a weekend of near 50 and sunny. YIKES.

  19. Dianne Blauvelt says:

    Oh my gosh! I loved The Crown so much, too! I was absolutely riveted! I came to understand and appreciate Queen Elizabeth ever so much more than I had before. She is so unassuming. I was so proud of her standing up to the Duke of Windsor and also the amazing dancing scene in the “Mrs. Kennedy” episode. And I am over-the-moon enjoying Victoria on PBS. I was swooning over Lord M and then so sad when both darling Dash and he left the show–all in the same episode!
    I will be thinking of you tomorrow morning when I am gazing in wonder at the Super Blue Blood Moon (the best time to see it on the east coast I am told) and thanking you, too, for another “moon” bookmark to print out.
    P.S. I LOVE Edinburgh, too!

  20. Jan says:

    What fun it is to enter your world for a little while! Thanks for taking us along, too, on your travels. I’m really looking forward to this next trip–4 whole months–oh my! I can’t wait!!

  21. AngieTink says:

    Good~Morning Sweet~Sue……I Love #WILLARD & This #BlogPost 🙂 #ThankYou! & All I Can Say Is… LORD~M!!!!!!!! ;-( See You Under #TheBLUEMoon To Make Our #Wishes For #February The Month Of #LOVE Yay! 🙂

  22. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Sweetest Susan, Yea – you have snow! Has Jack ever seen snow? Even if he’s indoor kitty, you could bring some in for him. Grasshopper loves to bat ice cubes!
    Cats are so easily pleased.

    Will it snow while you’re on the ship? That would be weird! Snowman on the Promenade! Snow Angeles on the Quarter Deck!! Instead of Shuffle Board, Joe could have shoveling snow on the courts!

    Can now read myself to sleep with Fairy Tale Girl since I found a floor lamp that’ll fit beside my bed. Studio apt so small a double bed barely fits with Grasshopper’s 4 level scratching post (only the best) but no bedside table or lamp. You’re the best…the book will definitely plant seeds of hope & possibility. Thanks.

    Friend & I taking car load of clothes, dishes, etc. down to Animal Thrift Store in Ventura this am. Thomas Fire devastated Santa Paula & Ventura as well as Santa Barbara. The store proceeds go to Santa Paula Animal Shelter which is a great one! No thrift store for animals in Santa Barbara 🙁

    Preparing myself for ride down 101 from Santa Barbara to Ventura. Don’t know what to expect. Don’t think fire actually burned in Ventura downtown but hillside down to back of Mission 🙁 Devastated residential neighborhoods and apartment buildings

    6:32 am, the almost full Blue Moon was spectacular thru light clouds and I’m going to meditate. Remember I offered to teach you and Joe Deepak Chopra’s Primatial Sound Meditation.

    Much love to all, Sandra

  23. Cindy Johnson says:

    I just ordered my spring mug. If I win the drawing, I have a beautiful gift to give away. My cup of coffee just tastes better in my mugs ! Thank you.

  24. Judi Gaines says:

    Love reading your uplifting and inspiring posts and half-way through Fairy Tale Girl…the last of the trilogy. I am thankful I have your posts to continue to read, and ‘fingers crossed’ a wonderfully prized prize!

  25. Rebecca W says:

    Love the information on Scotland and will definitely include the address for this castle, should I ever find myself again in Scotland. Hope you have a marvelous trip this year (& I will pretend to hide away in the luggage).

    Rebecca – Denver

  26. Sheldon Church says:

    Love, love, love your blog. So excited about the giveaway. Can’t wait until you are off to England and bringing us along for the ride!

  27. Kelly from Walnut Creek, Ca. says:

    Susan and your wonderful staff in San Luis Obispo,
    I came home yesterday after a very stressful day and found a pkg. waiting for me from Susan Tucked carefully inside was a beautiful Girlfriends Tea cup which I fell in love with immediately. Have to say that the photos of this mug don’t do it justice! It is absolutely beautiful and I am delighted with my purchase and even more so by the way in which the transaction was handled from beginning to end. Such care and the mug arrived in perfect condition.

    So at the end of the stressful day, I treated myself to a lovely English Breakfast tea in my new SB mug.

    Thank you Susan. So very happy with this purchase. You should be very proud of the quality of these fine bone china cups. They are just beautiful! And the way that your shipping group handles these transactions is not only expedient but the kind of shipping I wish all merchandise from vendors arrived in.

    Best regards always,

    Kelly 🌻🌷🌻

    • sbranch says:

      I agree, I’m thrilled with this British company that makes such beautiful things. Photos don’t do them justice, oddly enough. I’m proud to put my name on them! Proud to give them as gifts! And proud of my lovely staff in California who do such an amazing job every day. Bringing them to the Picnic in May!! Thank you Kelly!

  28. Lee H. says:

    Today is Tuesday, Jan 30 and I have not received my Willard. Please send it to me. I really enjoy reading it. I have received them since you used to send them by snail mail! I’ve wondered why you don’t just make the Willard letter a blog entry rather than sending them to everyone? Please don’t forget mine!!! I look forward to it.

    Lee H.

    • sbranch says:

      Read either the comment before or the comment after yours, I answered this . . . and it will be in next blog post! Sorry Lee!

  29. Judy Mapston says:

    Love the “Willard’s” and all your posts.. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Nancy McCarty says:

    If I do get to Scotland I would go straight to that castle, lovely!!!

  31. Maggie says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely adventure. Scotland seems to be a wonderful and magical place. I have been wishing to visit for a while, but am even more compelled to do so now after seeing your pictures and reading your story.

  32. Jean from Kentucky says:

    How wonderful!! Someday my husband and I will go to Scotland, the land of our ancestors!! Love your post Susan.

  33. Susan, I had to laugh at the rock with the “Love is The Law” inscription, as there is a Minnesota band that was popular here when I was in college in the 80’s that had a hit song with the same title : ) Take a listen when you need a packing break! (Takes a minute to get to the chorus…but there you’ll find them singing the “rock” lyrics!)

    Love appreciating the world — the little joys and the big ones — with you. I’ve only been to Edinburgh and would love to go back to bonnie Scotland. Enjoy it for all of your fans!

    xo Suzanne

  34. Barbara E. says:

    Dear Susan,
    I just enjoy your writings so much. Such a ray of sunshine on dark winter days. Thank you!

  35. Krista A. says:

    I’m really having such a terrible day, and I took a break to just catch my breath. It was so nice it read this entry, so thank you very much!

  36. Suzanne Capolingua says:

    Oh what a lovely place you found to stay…it was magical and so green. I love the England cup and would love to own one. Please have a safe trip away again…Spring is on its way. 72 degrees in Las Vegas, NV today.

  37. Leeayn says:

    As always, I dream alongside you. Living vicariously through you. Thank you for the grace, charm, and beauty

  38. The Quirky Quaintrelle says:

    Lovely castle! What a stupendous surprise! Between Netflix, Acorn and BritBox I am vicariously living in Britannia these days; watching The Crown, Victoria and re-watching Poirot. So many other good shows lined up and waiting too. A period piece, set in England, I’m there! Thanks for your photos and travelogues to remind me that all of that beauty and history and magic is real and still there waiting for us today.

  39. Toni from Sylvania OH says:

    Can’t believe your trip is coming up so FAST:-))) I know you will LOVE it!!!Toni

  40. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    Dear Susan,
    So many many things remind me of you. Hope you’re having a cozy day or night with love and dreams.


    • Dawn from Minnesota says:

      I was watching “You’ve Got Mail” for the gazillionth time and wished that Nora Ephron was alive to make your books into movies. They would be full of great music, beautiful lighting and witty dialogue. Heather Lind from TURN:Washington Spies could play the part of Susan Branch…YoU. It’s fun to dream yeah?!

    • sbranch says:

      Lovely Dawn! Another good reason to read everyone’s comments, beautiful words and thoughts!

  41. Margie says:

    Susan thank you for sharing in such detail your lovely trip to Scotland. The pictures capture the experience so perfectly. I may never get there but enjoy the trip through your eyes. It is such a wonderful escape from a brutal winter this year here in Ohio. I do love all the beautiful white snow but the cold has been difficult at times. Love the pictures of Jack too our little kitty can be found most days hugging the heat vents when the furnace is running.

  42. Lois Sims says:

    How I would love to go to Scotland! And how I would love to win this contest! Pick me, Vanna! 🙂

  43. Isabel says:

    Hi Susan,

    Can’t wait to see all your pictures and journal of your upcoming trip. Lucky you. Just wanted to ask, I got your blog through an email and through this one. I notice there is a little difference. Are there any major differences between the two? Should I just get one of them?

    It must be hard to leave Jack for a couple of months but when you know your pets are in good hands, it helps.

    • sbranch says:

      Tell me that again? You received the blog through an email, and through “this one.” Tell me what this one is…

  44. OH my GOODNESS! Over 2000 comments already. I’m not feeling very lucky but I would LOVE to win one of these gorgeous cups! Thanks for the chance.

  45. Sandy Craddock says:

    Beautiful! Those pictures make me want to knit a wool yoked sweater to wear while drinking tea in one of your wonderful cups! My great great grandpa was Scottish so maybe that’s why I have such an affinity…

  46. HveHope says:

    Oh my, Susan! Your room at Stravithie Castle was so beautifully appointed with such gorgeous fabrics. Even in winter a ‘garden’ must ‘bloom’ in that room. Lovely!
    Thank you for showing us all the inspiring photos! 🙂

  47. JSG says:

    A lovely look at Scotland. Thank you for discovering such fascinating places for “us” to visit!

  48. Susan Dagley says:

    Loved the mini tour of a piece of Scotland. Planning a trip there this summer!

  49. KayB says:

    Love coming along on your trip with you. One of these days, I will be going (fingers crossed). Also loving the musica.

  50. De Hunold says:

    I hope Vanna picks me!

  51. Edwina says:

    Hello Susan,
    I heard about you via CozyThings blogspot, and here I am, right at the very (current) end of you latest blog spot saying HELLO from a wet and windy Norfolk in the UK. I have just treated myself to your Fine Romance book, the first of yours I have heard about, and am so looking forward to spending a cosy winters afternoon in front of the woodburner, with a mug of hot tea, reading it. I just love your blog and will make sure to visit your website regularly.
    Best wishes.

  52. Lisa Jorgensen says:

    So excited to hear about your next trip, (and stow away in your suitcase). Is Petey all packed and ready to go?
    Jack is adorable sleeping in that drawer!
    You are brave to leave him that long. My kitty wouldn’t let me leave for one day!!

  53. Trudy says:

    Happy memories came up reading your memories of Schotland.
    Memories of our last holiday in Northumberland -Berwick and Holy Island. We will never be there again my husband and I because after that holiday he became ill -leucimia and passed away.
    Have a great time in Ierland and see the fairies and have a wonderful time meeting lovely girlfriends.
    Have a safe yourney.
    Greetings Trudy from Holland

  54. Lori Hamilton says:

    *Sigh* Over 2,000 comments already!!!!! Still, I’m putting mine in in the hopes of getting another cup!
    Hubby and I went to Scotland last year. Loved it even though it rained almost the whole time we were there. The one day we saw the sun for an extended amount of time was at Culloden Battlefield. If you haven’t been it’s an amazing place full of history, tragedy and WEIGHT if that makes sense. And the gift shop is verra nice as well!
    We’ll be in Charleston the weekend you’re there but will be heading home Sunday night, unfortunately. Our younger son – who just made army major (proud!) – went to the Citadel and has been asked to speak and we’re going to hear him. I’d love to see you but dear hubby has to go back to work, so…, darn it!
    Enjoy the trip; we’ll all be thinking of you and waiting with bated breath for your blogs!!

  55. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Yea, Mother Nature set the stage by clearing the clouds – creating a perfect observation of the Moon’s spectacular performance which is in progress as I write. It’s framed by the tree branches and almost close enough to reach up and touch. Enables us to forget for a few minutes the tragedies of the last 2 months. Thanks, Universe! Breathtaking display.

  56. Margot in Sister Bay says:

    I keep looking at the silver toast rack and the sugar shaker. So beautiful! I know a lady in A
    L who imports these things and teapots!

  57. Gail B says:

    Hi Susan, you make armchair traveling easy and fun, love the photos and stories. We are a little bleary eyed here in California as we got up early to watch the super blue blood moon( how’s that for a mouthful) we were not disappointed, clear sky and temps in the 50’s Awesome!

  58. Debbie Boerger says:

    Last night I and my trusty Kindle spent an hour of so on the Queen Victoria Ocean Liner. We were taken on a guided tour of all that’s new from the refitting done last year. I have 2 requests, #1…”Let’s” stay in one of the suites. #2….Please hop up on one of those comfy looking bar chairs in the Gin and Fizz lounge and let the mixologist make “us” one of the special drinks. Afterward, “we’ll” take care walking into dinner.
    So exciting, Sue. Loving it and you!

    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      How fun! Can’t wait! But I don’t think we will stay in a suite, because they cost an arm and a leg! Sometimes they “upgrade” you, but we have a full ship so likely not, but it will still be very wonderful!

      • Debbie Boerger says:

        We’ll be just as happy to have one of those super special Gins and Tonic….or Gin and Tonics? My favorite tonic is Fever Tree, but that bar on the QV has many varieties. Yea!! Can’t wait to hear your takes on The “new” ship.

        Debbie in Sunny Tampa

  59. Penny Harrison from Oceanside, CA says:

    Thank you for another magical adventure – my favorite is the Druid well 🙂
    The Lamb Cup is wonderful – sigh – now I’ll have to save for the Lamb and the Pansy Cups!!!

  60. Laura says:

    I hope it’s not too late to put my name in the drawing!

  61. Leslie Woods says:

    Another wonderful give a way that I hope I am the lucky winner. Love the blog and what a find to stay in that spectacular castle. I loved everything about your room. Thank you for sharing.

  62. Kathy Fletcher says:

    Oh Susan- how i do love your blog and your stories and art and pictures and you just really make my day brighter with your caring and sharing. Please enter me in the drawing to win one of your glorious cups and book or cross-stitch set….would be such a nice present…..thank you my fair lady for all you do to make all us “GIRLFRIENDS” feel so special.

    Have a wonderful trip, i wish i could be a mouse in your pocket to tag along.

  63. Karen Connor says:

    Can’t wait to go along on your next adventure. I hope Petey will make room in the suitcase. I’m loving my Winter mug and looking forward to the Spring one. Thank you for all that you do. You always inspire me to celebrate the different holidays and seasons but don’t forget to make each day a celebration. Stay snug and warm!

  64. Kelly says:

    Lovely blog post, lovely giveaway, thank you. I went to Scotland as a child and can still feel it.

  65. Lida says:

    As always, it’s so delightful to read about your adventures!

  66. What a beautiful and interesting place to stay! Truly exciting. Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait for your trip coming up.
    Hugs, Marie Fluck

  67. Jaimie Ruffner says:

    I love your books, I’ve read them all, and love hearing all about your wonderful travels!

  68. susan says:

    i know you have posted the “Christmas Cranberries” recipe before but i seem to have misplaced my copy. i have looked through my books also but couldn’t find it. could you send it out again sometime as it is so wonderful.
    Love all books, Willards and blog. thanks for brightening our world.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s also on the November page of the 2014 calendar. And in past posts around Thanksgiving. If that helps, until it’s time to post it again.

  69. I’m afraid I am going to echo everyone else. Thank you for the opportunity to visit Scotland, as well as England. I would never get to otherwise and to commune with all the others who write to you Thanks!

  70. Thank you for such a fun post — especially the photo of the Druid’s well. So interesting!

  71. Misty Watkins says:

    Such a perfect post – thank you for sharing!

  72. Holly says:

    Please count me in for your wonderful give-away! I am one of those people who want to go there, actually move there. When I was in my 20’s, for some reason I loved everything Scottish, especially the music. Then about 15 mo. ago I was ill, bed bound — so began working on ancestry. Found I am 85% Scottish, 5% English/Welsh, and the rest is Cherokee I knew about. Scottish line is well documented to King James, R. Bruce, etc…. very cool! Ancestors owned most of the castles. So it must of been something in DNA to have things of Scotland appeal so much . I even bought a weaving loom and learned to spin wool. Sure wish I was going too!

  73. Judy Young says:

    Loved everything about this post! Makes me homesick for England. The Druid’s interesting. Jack is adorable, all cozy in your desk drawer. I love, love, love the English Countryside cup; being from England, you KNOW I will have to have one of those. I am 70 and my husband says “How many cups do you need?”!!! Men just don’t understand. Well, Susan, I guess Joe does. Your art is wonderful and it just keeps coming; please don’t ever stop. Looking forward to your trip and following your antics in Ireland and Wales. I hope I am still in time to be in the drawing.

  74. Cynthia Pfledderer says:

    Thanks for sharing about the Druid’s well, that’s interesting. Beautiful photos too!

  75. Donna Jones says:

    Ooh! I looooove the new cups! My dear sweet husband bought me TWO Winter cups for Christmas, so you’ll have to come & have tea with me one day.
    The Willard made me long for England. My sister & I go every four years, so I hope you’ll be having a Girlfriends Picnic in 2020!

  76. Sue Stoodt says:

    Ah, we love VICTORIA and THE CROWN here, too! (Also, Outlander and precious Jamie and Claire!). Can’t tell you how happy your blog and WILLARD makes me! Especially in the cold and dark of WINTER. Love you, and Joe and Jack, and can’t wait to order the new cups. My prized possessions. I want to order the Mother’s Day cup for every mother I know. But I’ll start with one, for me. Don’t want to be greedy, since they are a numbered lot. Sending you and Joe and Jack all the love in the world. Happy New Year, Happy finishing the 2019 calendars this week, and Happy planning for your trip. Thank goodness you’re taking us with you – we couldn’t bear to be apart for 4 months! xoxoxo

  77. Anne Hegg says:

    I love reading your travel adventures!

  78. Laurie A. says:

    Hi Susan! What a wonderful tour! Thank you! I know you will have a fabulous time on your upcoming trip…Wells are so popular in the British Isles and used to have young maidens tending to them and greeting travelers. I think we girlfriends all have a wee bit of the Maiden of the Well in us!

  79. Kristin Murphy says:

    Scotland is, indeed, a magical place! And the people are absolutely lovely, too. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.Almost married a Glaswegian and made several visits to Scotland and England. Could happily spend the rest of my days exploring all of Britain’s treasures. Go to Scone Palace (near Perth) and Culzean (pronounced ‘cullane] Castle near Ayr on west coast, near Robbie Burns’ old digs. And Plockton on the wast coast is a lovely surprise! Happy travels . . . And thanks for letting us tag along!

  80. Jacqueline Larkin says:

    Love your books! As a former New Englander (Ipswich, Mass.) I enjoy reading about your life and adventures on your blog. I now live in sunny and warm Arizona due to arthritis and retirement, but miss very much my old haunts in the Northeast. Have been to Martha’s Vineyard and congratulate you for choosing a wonderful place to call home! Please keep informing this 84 year old Yankee on your travels and give that handsome Jack a hug for me. Best wishes to you and yours and thank you so much .

  81. Jan Mercer says:

    Ahh. The week became better with a Willard and now a blog post! Always such a pleasure. You take us on the most incredible journeys; we thank you!

  82. Jamie Connors says:

    Thank you for your oh so lovely description of your oh so lovely Scottish adventures.

  83. Susan Webb says:

    I’m Scots-Irish so I’ve always loved learning about Scotland. Loved reading your thoughts on this wonderful country. Thanks for sharing!

  84. Bonnie Hodge says:

    Curious, how deep was that druid well? Didn’t see it on the link… fascinating! Lovely dreamy post.

  85. Marcia says:

    Whoops! As of Thursday, Feb. 1, I haven’t received my Willard! What happened?

    • sbranch says:

      We never know, so sorry Marcia . . . first thing is to check your spam folder, he might be there. If not, I’m putting a link in the new post ~ and then you should go put in your computer address book, so it recognizes willard and let’s him in. Hopefully this will work!

  86. Lynne Burke says:

    Oooooppppsssss, I left my initial witty comment on the last blog.
    You’ll have to go to it for my big news!

    But I’d still love to get the give-away

  87. Mary Webb says:

    Blessings on you Susan for another breath of fresh air in a hectic life.
    You know you are my virtual reality!
    My kindred spirit in all things Beatrix Potter, Ireland, sewing, tea, kitties, lambies, etc etc etc.

  88. Debbie Powell says:

    What a beautiful post, as always. I think I must have ancestors from this beautiful island because I feel such an attraction to it, like it is in my blood. I need to do some research to see if there is history there to back up the fascination for all things British. I can’t wait to travel along on the next adventure, even though mine will be via my computer; thank you for allowing us to share it with you. I love the mugs; they have become an obsession. It would be great to win one.

  89. carolyn mcmurray says:

    You are so kind to post all of these wonderful pictures of Scotland. My husband wants to take me there someday. It was fun seeing what you did and really enjoyed your pictures. It was almost like being there with you.

  90. Lorraine says:

    Hello again – sorry to be a pest. Ignore the above message. I found the spring mug and pre-ordered. Yay!

  91. Chris Power says:

    My mom, Debbie and I visited Scotland so many years ago. We loved it. I remember seeing the castle in Edinburgh and going on a ghost walk. I drove the country roads! Enjoy your spring trip!

  92. Kathie from IL says:

    I love all things Susan Branch. Thank you so much for sharing so much of you life through books, Wilards, blog and everything:))) You are the BEST!!

  93. Teri Hall says:

    I loved the druid’s well too, but then I so enjoy your long walks in the woods no matter where you are. I remember your pictures of you and Joe in the pubs and Joe pouring over maps to mark your next adventure. How exhilarating!

  94. Michelle Meyer says:

    Hello Susan,

    I love that Jack is sleeping in the drawer next to you! What a great idea. And I hope I’m not too late for the drawing! Thank you for offering the giveaway 🙂

  95. Kimberly says:

    Rabbit Rabbit. Happy day to you. Thanks for the dreamy tales of adventure and your fine romance.

  96. ~ Del Gato Gordo Y Descarado ~ says:

    IDEA; your set up of
    Schmincke ~ Horadam Aquarell-
    on the bottom of each paint square, a bit of
    Yaley Tacky Wax Candle wax adhesive.
    Cheap but great.
    PS) thank you for the lamb book mark/badge

  97. Kenna Morris says:

    Ah…Bonnie Scotland and the Lake District near Windermere. Stayed in Ambleside once, enchanting.
    Whilst yer havin’ yer picnic, take great care to not squash any of the wee folk. They’ll be crumb snatchin’ fer certain, but don’t hold that against them, aye?
    And fer yer tolerance of their mischevious ways, they just may leave a wee daisy chain danglin’ on yer bare toe.
    As ye are well aware, the magic gets stronger the closer ye get to Hill Top.

  98. Anita Hunting says:

    Dear Susan,

    I always look forward to reading your posts and for a short time, I am with you, wandering down those dirt pathways to …….who knows where…..getting lost in these wonderful adventures of yours! Thank you so much for sharing these many little pleasures of life and your gifts and creativity with all of us! Blessings to you and yours!

  99. Brenda Kaatman says:

    I always love reading of your adventures! Thanks for sharing them and taking great photos! I love all your paintings, too! Looking forward to reading & seeing your next one!

  100. katherine says:

    I love your cups!! I would love to win the spring one! We live on a small sheep farm in PA. We are in our lambing season right now! So each day there is usually a new lamb or couple in the barn or rather I should say each night, they seem to like to come at night when it is cold and dark. Take Care Susan, love your travel posts so much!!! I get wisped away for a nice computer vacation each time I read them.

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