Hello everyone! From sunny, lovely, mellow, quiet, small-town, Central Coast of California, above Santa Barbara, below Big Sur, near San Luis Obispo, where I spent my concert-going formative years, age 21 to age 32. 💞 MUSICA. Dawn rising here, kitties sleeping, tea hot, making mashed avocado (they fall from trees here in la-la land) on Trader Joe’s toast for breakfast.  Life, she is good. How is everyone???? Missing you! Have had terrible computer connection until we finally landed here. So we have a lot to catch up on. 😘

Breakfast: Chewy buttered toast, peppery, salted, ripe, avocado. Yum!

This little floral item is giving my nose heart palpitations right now. I picked it from the bush just outside our Studio door and put it a vase next to my computer. Heavenly California. Very nice to be back…

Our first night, after a long drive north, listening to the Joni Mitchell Court and Spark album, we went to dinner at the Pacific Ocean . . . with the most wonderful October sunset. Wanted to share with you deep breath of salt air and gentle breeze off the water. Although, do not get me wrong, I can’t wait to get home and see what the leaves are doing on Martha’s Vineyard! But, right now, we’re blooming where we are planted . . . and it’s really not been very difficult!

We traveled across the country the long, old-fashioned, S L O W  way, as always, by train. Above is the view from our table in the dining car. We crossed the Mississippi just in time for a lovely sunset sky, working our way west.

We always know when we reach New Mexico because it turns red outside our windows. We live in a beautiful country and it’s a privilege to see it up close and personal.

We make the most of it, bringing our books, tea cups and tea, the kettle, apples, cheese and crackers. (Yes, I have my Apple cup with me, and yours are on the way, more at the bottom of this post!)

See the plastic spoon? There was a rattle, but Mr. Fixit solved it instantaneously! It’s so nice to have a man around the train car. Yes, sheep socks. The only way to fly!

Totally spoiled. Stopped at train station in Albany, Joe got himself a coffee shake! I brought everything with me but the kitchen sink.

We’re there, time to load up the car and hit the road!

Heading east across LA toward the desert . . .

First to Palm Springs area to see my sister Shelly (who loaned us her ice chest) and to see her darling twins, who grew up since we last saw them, they turned 15! (You’ll see later!)

Then out to Arizona . . . to see my dad’s wife Jeanie and her sister Mary who still live in the house where my dad lived.

Again, we went the long way, up and over the mountains, through gorgeous Prescott, then to edge of the mountain, old mining town of Jerome, named for a cousin of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother (yes, he’s half American), who we are related to through my Dad’s mom, my grandmother Murray, because this is a nutty world, and down, along the precipice of the world where we were hailed upon, big ice-balls festively splotching onto the windshield, followed our car into the valley below.

We went that way both times, traveling in, and traveling back out. Slower but so much prettier,

. . . with lovely views, piles of billion-year-old rocks, and no trucks! (See the tree at the top of this?!)

Our first morning in Cottonwood, I was getting ready to do some laundry at the motel ~ we were going to visit my Dad’s grave after the laundry was done. I was digging in the bottom of my purse for money for the washer and dryer ~ and pulled a handful of change out of my bag and onto the motel dresser top to sort it. I saw this very old dime, and thought, let me look closer. And there it was, 1923, the year my dad was born. What are the chances? I said, “Hi Dad.” It was wonderful. I’m still not over it. I’m going to put that dime on my charm bracelet because my dad said hello the day I got to his town!We took our darling girls, my dad’s wife Jeanie on the left (91, I know, shocking!), and Mary (86, both of them full of love), sisters who take care of each other (Jeanie is my “other mother”) out to dinner to my Dad and Jeanie’s favorite spot in Cottonwood, Nic’s. It was wonderful to see them so well and healthy. Nicest midwest girls, Jeanie and Mary White, grew up near Chicago. Aren’t they adorable?

We stayed in Cottonwood visiting for three days, then back out to LA to see my Uncle Dick, my mom’s brother, then up Pacific Coast Highway . . .

. . . and finally, down the driveway to our Studio here, near San Luis Obispo, where Kellee and Sheri come every day . . . where we’re now parked for the duration.

This is where the gardenias bloom, and where our Studio Kitties, sweet, shy, Sasha, and

handsome, beauty-marked, Sammy, run the show. We are staying here now, and get these guys to ourselves at nights and on the weekends. Shhhh, don’t tell Jack.

We came out to California to see family, and also for a book talk and signing at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo, which took place last Saturday the 13th . . . these were the name tags Kellee made . . . everyone got one!

The moment we walked in the door Kellee and Sheri put us to work, tying ribbons onto these little books they’d made. Joe and I got home from our trip to England in July, and since then, as you know, I have been working on our new book ~ E N C H A N T E D. 💞  Before we left the island, I was writing and painting at my art table, and as time came closer for us to go to the Apple Farm, I thought, How can I make this book-talk extra nice? What can I bring that will make it fun for everyone?  I thought, Well, I could read the first chapter of the new book, they might like that. I asked Joe what he thought, and he said it was a good idea, except, he said,  “Wouldn’t it be better if everyone could see the photos you’re putting in?” And I thought, Oh dear, right, because as Lewis Carroll said, “What is the use of a book without pictures?”  So, then I thought, Why don’t we make little books of the first chapter, include the photos, and hand them out to everyone who comes to the signing? So I called Kellee and Sheri to see what they thought ~ they loved the idea, so that’s exactly what we did!

So the big day came and we were ready! Kellee and Sheri kept the secret better than me, because I told Twitter what we were doing, due to large uncontrollable mouth and secret-keeper-failure.

Look at me, I’m ecstatic. Not everyone is on Twitter, so we were able to surprise lots of our Girlfriends, look at this happy group! We had such a wonderful time, spent most of it laughing!

It was a tent full of girlfriends!

Apple farm made it so nice for everyone! Lemon water, hot apple cider, fall decorations, it was a beautiful day.

They put a box of treats on every single chair. Treats, believe it or not, all made from recipes in my Autumn Book, all my favorites, including apple crisp, pumpkin cheesecake, and my Grandma’s maple cookies! Bless that Apple Farm’s little heart. 💝 And you are probably asking “Wenches? Why does it say wenches?” My Girlfriend Elizabeth, who I met when she bought Holly Oak from me (she doesn’t own it anymore), now lives in Palo Alto. I was texting her while she was driving (she was a passenger!) down the coast with her three best girlfriends on their way to the talk, and they were calling themselves, the Wenches (for reasons unknown, probably having to do with festive road trip!). I had lots of friends and family coming, and several dear old friends you would recognize as characters in my books, so sweet and helpful Apple Farm set a group of chairs off to the side and labeled it Reserved for the Wenches. And a thing was born.

Here are some of the Wenches . . . top row is Diana (Elizabeth’s cousin), then Teri, and Kathy ~ bottom row, the “original” Diana (best friend from my books), and then Elizabeth. (Perhaps “wenches” had something to do with those Hats!)

So then it was time, and here I am shaking in my boots, because that’s what I do when I have to speak in front of people. Rachael, my sidekick from the Apple Farm, is introducing me, Joe is pointing the camera and saying, “Look at me!” And all is chaos! But only I know, to everyone else, everything looks perfectly normal. My heart was beating like a squirrel’s crossing the LA Freeway.

I started talking, thanking the Apple Farm in quavering voice, tongue totally in the way, thanking Joe, who received a huge spontaneous round of applause!!! It was so cute!!! He turned six colors of pink. (It probably had a lot to do with the teabag caper he allowed me to photograph! Plus the other things, like painting the dining room pink, stopping creaks in train compartments, putting pumpkins over the front door, and general guardian-angel duties, like driving on the wrong side of the road in quest of beauty while wearing darling beret!) Then I introduced the Wenches, which, by that time, included my sister Shelly (above) and her twins. 💞

And then it was time! I’d signed all the little books the night before and the girls began passing them out.

Everyone promised to keep them a secret so it will still be a surprise for all of you when ENCHANTED is published. But perhaps I do need to give a couple more of them away beforehand, right?  So I will do that the moment I get home ~ we’ll have a Girlfriends Giveaway when I am more connected to the computer again! 

I read out loud, a little test run for Enchantment, and everyone read along . . .

Joe went around taking pictures while we weren’t looking . . .

Shelly was reading and the twins put down their phones long enough to read along. (Huge honor, will likely never happen again!)

The twins brought their dog Lucy in a baby stroller which actually got her into many restaurants too!

Afterwards, there was a long question and answer period, about art, and book writing, hand writing and love stories, cooking, England, ex-husbands, and Anglophiles, Scotland, Highclere, dreams-come-true, and every other thing we could think of. Then I signed everyone’s books and calendars. First in line was Oma, 96 years young, who tried to steal Joe from me with her charm and it almost worked! I was forced to give her my evil eye👀. Oma was born in Rotterdam, Holland, but has lived here forever,  and came to the event with her daughter Annelies. 💞 Lucky me. MUSICA.

Sheri brought her mom, Donna, too . . . we had lots of moms and daughters, sisters, cousins and best friends, it was definitely a family affair.

The next day it was my turn with my mom, who lives with my sister Paula. We drove up to see them ~ it was wonderful to be with her and everyone again!  Mom doesn’t have much memory left, but she still has the happy gene and she is well loved and cared for. Sometimes she remembers who I am, but not always. Once she asked me “Who are you?” And I gave her the whole thing, “Susan Anne Stewart.” And her eyes lit up ~ I knew she knew, and she gave me a big hug. Counting my blessings, I’m so lucky, I still have my mom. She’s 88 now.Mom, me, and Dad . . . doesn’t seem so long ago . . .

We all went out to breakfast and then stayed together at my sister’s all day. Later, for dinner, Paula made us a beautiful lasagna, we made a giant salad, the kids made my dad’s recipe for garlic bread, and Shelly made coffee ice-cream shakes . . . here is a family photo sampling from breakfast above: my niece Karis on the left, her husband, Henry, in back ~ my niece Tricia and her girlfriend Matisse. The two little ones belong to Karis and Henry ~ they are just a few of my mom’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All as sweet as they look. My beautiful family. The beat goes on. So fun to be “home.”The next day we said goodbye to Shelly and the boys ~ they headed home, back to work and back to school. But we’ll be here for another week. I’ll have several more visits to my mom, and lots of dinners with friends. I went to the movies with Diana yesterday, we cried through A Star is Born, and I’m going to see Colette this weekend with Elaine. It’s ALL, ALL, ALL good.

HAVE to show you this. Saturday night, after the Apple Farm, we went out to dinner with the wenches, had the BEST time talking about the concerts we saw in our youth, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffet, Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the Beatles, and on and on, each better than the other, the Santa Barbara Bowl, Esalen in Big Sur, the Cow Palace, the Hollywood Bowl and the Troubadour . . . and  then, THIS ⬆️ was in the bathroom of the restaurant! Note light at faucet, and then where water touches down. When you put your hand under it, your hand turns blue where the water runs on you, and yet, the water itself is not blue. It’s all just light! Had to show you, out came the phone, click! What will they think of next?

So what else is new? . . . Love that I get to spend time face to face with Kellee, concocting new things!

I was plotting our days here on the calendar, and noticed Kellee had hung the new calendar for 2019 behind the old one. Then I noticed the DARLING calendar wall hook. So cute! Called out, “Hey, do we sell these?” And the answer I love, “Yes we do,” came back. Into my bag she went. And I took a photo to put here in case you want one too!

And look what just arrived!  As lots of you knew, we ran out a while back, but due to popular demand, they’re back! The little card that comes with the “I Love Autumn” dream-charm says, “Summer’s loss means little, dear, on days like these.” For those who love this wonderful season.😘🍁

And, let’s see, what else is new . . .This. There was a request from our Girlfriends on Twitter for this art to be made into a print. You need nerves of steel for Twitter these days and this is your antidote for modern times ~ a healthy reminder of how to survive and thrive is always a good thing in this crazy world . . . put it where you can see it every morning!

This new book just arrived . . . it’s a book for a mom to fill out about her daughter . . .

I call it Beyond the Baby Book, because it’s so much more.

Once you’re done with it, it will be a special keepsake book of memories, done in your own hand for someone you love, for forever.💝

Every question you can imagine from childhood to when your first grandchild shows up! Called To My Daughter with Love.

And here they come, los cups! . . . soon to a mailbox near you . . . shipped last week from England, limited editions . . .

We hope to see them here in California first of next week if all goes well in customs! I was just testing to see how the new Christmas cup looks with the old one. ❤️

We’ll ship to you immediately, first come first serve, in the way the orders came in . . . but you know Kellee and Sheri, they waste no time! A perfect celebration for the season. Hot chocolate, spiced cider, hot soup, Irish coffee and milky tea, here we come!

We’ll be heading back to the Island next week, by Twain, hoping to cheer Twitter up with Twain Talk . . . so watch for my new photos from the room with a view. I think we should be seeing lots of fall views like this one above on our way home!  The train pulls out of the station about 6 pm on October 25 . . . for three luv-lee days crossing the country until . . .Soooooo looking forward to it. Hope a few leaves hold on for us. It will almost be Halloween, windy and wild, and the kids will soon be coming to our door.

And, you know.💞 There’s more than one little piece of my heart back home.

Jack’s babysitter writes me almost every day to tell me of his most recent antics. She loves him, he is in good hands, but I miss him. I’m so glad I get to stay home all winter!

We will have such a good time! Light the fire, bring me that rubber band, and let the snow fall!

Always a beautiful sight to me.

We’ll be going off-island for just one day, November 10th, for our 1:30 talk and signing at the West Falmouth Library. You can get tickets HERE if you haven’t already. And I was told by a girlfriend on Twitter that the website said, “sold out,” but when you call, it isn’t! Be sure to check.  I’ll be there to sign your books, calendars, and things for Christmas giving. When I get back to the island, I’ll give you the link for this bookmark/nametag (above) so you can print it out to wear to the event. See you there!

It’s good to go away, it makes coming home better than ever.

Happy fall Girlfriends. I’ll see you soon! Thank you for being here! Here’s a wonderful, healthy, light, and deliciously colorful salad for you to try ~ Until we meet again!🍁


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548 Responses to ON THE ROAD AGAIN . . .

  1. Betty Townsend says:

    We love Cottonwood! My husband’s oldest sister lived there until she passed away this past May…her daughter still lives there. We always stayed at The View Motel…an older motel, yet clean and comfortable and the best views of the mountains of Sedona. We’ve done the road from Jerome to Cottonwood…once was enough for me. On one of our visits, my husband’s nephew wanted to take us to a restaurant in Jerome for lunch…I said no thanks…we went to a Pizza place in Sedona instead. Loved visiting Sedona…the day we were there was the Columbus Day holiday and it was crazy crowded with people. I also had a chance to visit two quilt shops, one in Cottonwood, just up the road from sister’s mobile home park and one in Sedona. Will always have fond memories of our trips to Cottonwood and Sedona.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a beautiful place, oddly beautiful to me, because it’s so very different from where we live, but I love it, and learn more about it with every visit.

    • Linda Pintarell says:

      My friend of 60+ years and I discovered The View Motel a couple of years ago. We had always stayed in Sedona before, but decided to try Cottonwood. Old, but very nice, very clean and the most beautiful view of the mountains. Just sat out in front of our room and gazed. Of course, made the trip to Jerome as my dad worked in mines in the 30’s. His aunt and uncle are buried in the Clarksdale cemetery – they lived in Cottonwood. Visited their grave site.

  2. Valerie B says:

    I think you’ll still catch some color next week. Many of the trees are still green back here in MA. Thanks for the nice catch up. I’ve missed your blog posts. This will be a much cozier winter with you back home. 💞

  3. Marty Koehn says:

    I was wishing the other day that you would be writing a blog soon . They was make my day when it pops up. My youngest daughter passed away a number of years ago. She was disabled and had bought a cute little yellow house . We were at her house the day after and a beautiful blue butterfly cake floating down in front of my other daughter and granddaughter and me. I just knew she was telling us she was just fine. Think of her every time I see one. I needed your happy pictures and hearing about your adventures. I’m having surgery tomorrow. You always make me happy. Can’t wait till next your book come. I keep the other three by my chair and look at them often. Thank you for being you .

    • sbranch says:

      What a beautiful image, the blue butterfly. Blessings on you for tomorrow, over soon, on to recovery, with all our love behind you.xoxo Thank you for your beautiful story of your daughter. Yellow house, blue butterfly.

  4. Annelies says:

    Oh my darling Susan….and Joe too!!! The memory of sharing that day with my sweet Mom will never leave my heart. Oma floated on air the entire trip. She was hugged by many, greeted with Happy Birthday by all, and has not stopped talking about you and Joe since that afternoon. Oh how I wish we could have shared tea. I could have told you how brave my Mom was to have helped to hide Jewish families during the war. How she had the courage to move to a new country along with my sweet Dad. They came owing for their passage, but worked hard to give my brother and I a joyful childhood. Our home was blessed with 13 foster brothers and sisters because love needed to be shared. She has never stopped missing my dad who passed away at 46, but has lived her life with courage and joy. Yes, I could write a book…..if I had your talent. All of this to say I can never thank you enough for making Oma and I feel so special. Love you and Joe very much. We hope our paths cross again. Safe journey home. 😘😘

    • sbranch says:

      She DID????? HOW AMAZING. I love her even more. What a story. Aren’t we so blessed? It’s astounding to me the bravery and strength in everyday folks doing absolutely amazing things. Please give her a hug from me, and even better, a kiss from Joe. I know he would approve. Lovely to see you both. Let’s do it again! xoxoxo

      • Annelies says:

        My Mom has always been my hero. So grateful for her…..and always my deepest thanks to you for making her feel so special ❤️

    • Marilyn Ghere says:

      Annelies, Thank you for telling us a little bit about your wonderful Mom !! I loved seeing the photo of the two of you in Susan’s blog.

  5. Mary M Simmons says:

    Hello Susan. Many thanks for taking the time to send such a wonderful, interesting blog. Your warm and caring ways come through with each sentence. I turn to your books when I need to settle my thoughts. I imagine your lovely home and feel peaceful. Always feel that you are a caring neighbor that I can visit with for a cuppa. Safe home.

    • sbranch says:

      Makes me happy to hear that Mary. It’s a wild world, we find solace in our Girlfriends, Families, and home sweet home.

  6. Lin says:

    Simply wonderful!!! Timing is perfect. I am so ready for my pumpkin cup!! My sisters got it for me for my birthday. Happy trip to you and yours🎃🍁🍂🤗. Lin

  7. Cindy B. says:

    Sometimes we seem to be living parallel lives with others and we don’t even realize how much we share. I was surprised when I found out Gladys Taber wasn’t my own personal find, that Mrs. Miniver was delighting you as well as me, but today I did get prickles down my arms when I read that your dad was born on the VERY SAME DAY as mine…..though the Army Air Corps was his military branch of choice and your dad’s was the Navy. I know we both look forward to seeing them “on the other side”. We were both blessed in that department, weren’t we?

    • sbranch says:

      We were SO blessed! My grandfather was also born on August 5! Joe is August 14th. I love those August boys!

  8. Kimberlee in Idaho says:

    Wenches! Oh my goodness…I am dying!!!

    My two best girlfriends and I used to call ourselves The Three Traveling Wenches (wenches prounounced hoo-when-ches–like Misses Hoo-Wig-gins). Many times we were simply “traveling” across town, but joined arms and declared it to anyone within earshot. I have no idea where we got it…perhaps Saturday Night Live??? I had completely forgotten about it until I read your beautiful blog today.

    Thank you for making me laugh aloud to my computer screen—and consequently frightening my un-suspecting children—similar to frightening the un-suspecting passers by years ago. :)))

    Happy Fall Y’all!!
    Twavel home safe on the Twain.

  9. Debbie R says:

    Hi Susan, what a great blog. So amazing that you received a sign from your dad. I love the idea about making a charm out of that very special dime. A treasure for sure. My husband and I get signs from our parents all the time and they have been gone more than 16 years. Such an incredible feeling and comfort. May you receive many more. ❤️😇

    Safe travels back to your home sweet home. Happy Fall.

    Debbie R from Valencia, CA

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful to hear that … I’ve been waiting for my signs, this was a definite!!! Thank you Debbie!

  10. Debbie Clardy says:

    Dear Susan,
    Your post brings such joy as I recover from knee replacement surgery last Monday.
    Thank you for sharing your many talents🦋

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Recovery, Debbie, you’re over the scary part, onward and upward. I hope the pain isn’t too bad. xoxoxo

  11. anne luther says:

    Susan I was in Ireland and England the last few weeks and of course thought of you. I saw an exhibition at the V&A in London on Thomas Chippendale’s furniture and was amazed to see Beatrice Potter included in the exhibition. It said Potter was fascinated by furniture and illustrated some of Chippendales pieces in her book. I have photos for you but no idea how to get them to you. If your interested please let me know where to send them. Best.

    • sbranch says:

      I think you may have written me before, I believe I answered with where you can send the photos and mentioned how wonderful it was to see the old pieces I read about at Hill Top, including her four poster bed. She was quite a collector. I’ll be able to see your photos if you send them to feedback@ … hope you get this Anne, thank you!

  12. Delores says:

    Thoroughly enjoy your blog, Susan.! Thank you for the smiles, the calmness, the feeling that the little things are really the big things! So many things are changing in our world, but your recipe for living each day to the fullest, doing the things you love with family, friends, and beloved pets, is an antidote for all of us. God bless you and Joe!

  13. Judith says:

    You had me at “Welcome to the hotel California!” Such a lovely post, such a lovely host (sing along to the tune!) Agree with all the GFs comments and one more to add….it looks like you will always see your mom’s beautiful face in those of the twins. Checking out now for more Eagles and then my all time favorite artist Joni. Thanks for the “nice surprise”.

  14. Margaret R Harke says:

    Thank you for your visit to Apple Farm. Missed last year because of back surgery, but not this year! Lucky me got to sit in the second row! Loved seeing your family and old friends there and the 96 year old fan who we all saw kissing Joe! Such a delightful time. Loved your sharing your new book and Apple Farm making the sweet fall treat box.

    • sbranch says:

      She sure did. It wasn’t my imagination. I tried to give her the evil eye, but she was just too cute! Thank you for coming Margaret! xoxoxo

  15. Karen Baron says:

    This blog is full of such beautiful pictures and quotes!! I love following your travels everywhere! I loved meeting you most of all even for just a few minutes! Thank you for the first chapter of Enchanted! My husband was one of a few men in the audience! I married a Cliff and then a Joe too (not their real names😂)! Thanks for being a kindred spirit! Blessings for you and yours!🍂🍁🌻🍎 Karen Baron

  16. Bonnie Crawford says:

    Hi Sue B!!
    It was wonderful seeing the pictures of you and Joe, Sheri, and Kellee at one of my favorite places, the Apple Farm!! I missed seeing you, but can feel like I’m right back there with you all! 🤗😍😘. I hope you have a fun stay in our old stomping grounds. Hug those sweet Studio kitties for me!! I miss you all, and love you too! ♥️ Have a great train ride home!! 🚂 xoxo 😘

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful group of people Bonnie! No wonder you loved working there so much. It’s my second time speaking at the Apple Farm and I can’t wait to come back again! We missed you… I’ll tell the girls you’re saying hello xoxoxo

  17. DeLores Johnson says:

    Susan, I don’t know why I have been taken off your blog for the last few times & I hope this will go through. Could you please check it out for me? My husband passed away a couple months ago & I am alone now in our big house. I sent pictures to you through the mail when you were on your trip to England but I don’t know if you received them. I am almost out of my mind with grief. Nov. 3 we would have been married for 62 years. Always were together. Was introduced to him when I was 16, married at 19, he was 22. We have 4 grown children. We did everything together. Please fix so I can reply to your blogs.
    DeLores E Johnson(Minnesota)

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so very sorry DeLores. I think I wrote you back in the last post, writing about grief and loneliness. It’s so difficult, and feels so unfair. Sending love. I hope you get this! XOXOX

  18. Sarah says:

    I think my post disappeared, please forgive me if it shows up twice. I loved the story about your dad and the dime. My dad passed away suddenly in August, three weeks from diagnosis to his passing. He was always so healthy that I think I’m still in disbelief that he is gone. I keep waiting to “hear” from him and your story about the dime gives me hope that I will. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Awful. Just not enough time. I felt like that, still waiting to hear from him. It was so hard, really the worst, the first time I went to his house and he wasn’t there. I’m so sorry Sarah. Time does help at least a little. Everyone told me I would hear from my dad, and I did, so I think you will too. xoxoxo

  19. Debra Sewell says:

    Yay. I have been checking email every day so longing for new Willard. Knowing it would be so wonderful. Love the knitted white cape and edp your brown oxfords. This was a fabulous Willard. I read it fast then went back and savored every word and photo and tidbits!! Thank you a million times. I hear New England is all alit with breath taking leaves. My family lives in Maine, NH and MA and have seen pics of brilliant glowing trees of leaves like lit from within. Have a great time on this cross country journey. Be safe, have good tea and lots of coziesness. Thank you


    • sbranch says:

      Can’t wait to see it for myself. We’re thinking our train ride home might be very pretty and fall like! Thank you Debra!!

  20. Jeannie Ramirez says:

    So glad to see your post Susan,
    Did it make you sad that your mom did not recognize you? My mom is ninty years old ,and every week when I go to see her she askes which of her four daughters I am. I always say number 2 , and then we laugh.It makes me a little sad inside. But it makes me happy that she is still around.
    Arroyo Grande is my old stomping grounds. And we stay at the Apple Farm as often as we can. Sorry I missed your visit.

    • sbranch says:

      It doesn’t make me sad, because I recognize HER! She’s talky and happy, and seemed comfortable with me, like she did know me, but not my name, except for a couple of times. I know how you feel, just happy to see her! I’ll be back, maybe next time Jeannie!

  21. Charlene Scholey says:

    Thank you for the beautiful long blog.Wonderful to hear about all your travels and visits and seeing friends.Last time in Monticito I went with my daughter to se you and Joe. This time my daughter took her mother in law and they had a great time. I loved having my picture taken with Joe. Take good care of him!! Safe travels home. Love, Charlene

  22. Marilyn Ghere says:

    What a good idea to share the first chapter of your new book. Your guests at the Apple Farm must have been charmed to receive it, and hear you read some. Very special. I’m looking forward to reading “Enchanted” someday soon. And I sure do enjoy that you share special life events with all of us girlfriends, along with many, many fabulous photos. Each blog is a mini-vacation—as always, thank you !

  23. Sherry Coleman says:

    What a wonderful surprise this evening to see you had a blog post up! Sure have missed you! Had to leave Twitter….wow…crabby people over there. Would love to see you on Instagram more!! Anyway, love hearing about all you’re doing! Thanks for all the love and cheer! Very refreshing!💗 Happy Fall!🍁🍂🍁🍂

    • sbranch says:

      There’s some crabby stuff going on for sure! I need to sit with someone to teach me more about Instagram. The thing that’s hard for me, you have to use photos from your phone, and most of mine are on my computer. The other thing, no way to “retweet” what others do, which I also love. But maybe I just don’t understand it yet!

  24. Pat Harmon says:

    We just came home from AZ. My husband, daughter, and grandson hiked down and up the Grand Canyon. Fabulous, strenuous effort. It took them 13.5 hrs! I’m proud of them. We also went to Sedona which I enjoy very much. But the best is Oak Creek Canyon, between Sedona and Flagstaff. The switchbacks decending into the canyon are awesome. I opened the window and Christmas entered! The aroma of ponderosa pines and wood smoke was heaven on earth! After all the desert this was nirvana. The mountains, canyons, Vermillion Cliffs, Painted Desert and Rainbow Petrified Forest are wonders of Creation for sure. I hope the next time we get to Cottonwood and Jerome. I wonder why Betty doesn’t like the road between the 2? I bet I find out! Always love seeing your blogs pop up. They are happy time. Can’t wait to get your new book! I read Fairy Tale Girl on a chaise in a condo on the Gulf Coast. That! was Enchanting! Love all of them. Have loved your art ever since I saw Christmas Joy in a bookstore. And I love your house all frosted with snow too❣🍂💛🍁May you and Joe and Jack have a cozy winter.

    • sbranch says:

      Wow, that is a heck of a walk! Now they can probably go out and eat everything they want for the next two weeks! Yes, my Dad loved Oak Creek Canyon too. Was always talking about it, driving us there. The road to Jerome is pretty much straight up, off the cliff kind of thing, all the way to Prescott. It’s GORGEOUS, but not everyone’s cup of tea because of the steep inclines and sheer drop offs. Thank you for all the kind words Pat . . . love hearing about your trip, the pine smell, the beauty of it all!

  25. joann says:

    Oh Susan,
    That was just a delightful read, but also bittersweet- I lost my mom in 2017, age 90. No, I’m not over it either. I lost my Dad when I was 20. Not over that either. I had no idea that your mom was losing memory; that was such a horrible thing; I’m so very sorry.

    You are a blessing in the lives of so many- that happy gene; just keep it going!
    I’m glad you’re getting some sunshine and some flowers and some girlfriends.

    Sending you lots of hugs and love,
    Joann in Colorado xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Nope, no getting over anything, and who would really want to, right? Thank you Joann, it’s wonderful to see everyone. This afternoon we have a group going to see Colette together (Kiera Knightly). Popcorn! Yay! xoxoxo

  26. VickeyB says:

    Oh Susan! I got teary-eyed over the dime. Your Dad is still watching over you!

  27. Marge says:

    Your MUSICA picks were enjoyable to me. Your blog is always so interesting and full of fun topics and things! Hugs to you and Joe.

  28. Barb says:

    Your entire train trip and road trip so far is magic. I have good memories of many years in California and now New Mexico. Thank you for the photos. Hope you and Joe have a wonderful trip home. Photos of Jack made me smile.

  29. Debby Suovanen says:

    It sounds like your visit to the Apple Farm turned out very nice. I planned on being there but waited too long to get tickets; it was sold out. I’m so disappointed! But I’m really glad you’re getting to visit your family, especially your darling mama! My mom just turned 92 and she’s healthy and still sharp in her mind, for which I’m very grateful! Lovely to see your California kitties and I know how you miss Jack while you’re away from him but at least you have some substitute furries to help. Have a great trip home!

  30. Sherry Coleman says:

    Loved hearing about The Apple Farm, girlfriends, and your wonderful family. I am going through the memory loss thing with my younger sister. It’s sad, but just gotta stay cheerful and spend as much time with her as I can. As long as she is happy, I’m happy and I know you feel the same. Music was wonderful! Love listening to it! I have always heard that when you see a Cardinal it’s a visit from a family member in Heaven. It’s funny because when I see one I know just exactly which family member it is because I’ve been thinking of them that very day or wishing I had my mom to talk to about something. It’s a great comfort. Love you and thanks for all your cheerful words.💓💖💕

  31. Carol in Sierra Madre, CA says:

    Hi Susan, I have had so many things happen since my parents have died that remind me of your dime. My dad died in 2004 (on my parent’s wedding anniversary, BTW). But I happened to be on my treadmill the first year after my dad died, and happened to look up at the clock on the wall. For some reason it reminded me that it was my Dad’s birthday. I said out loud, “Happy Birthday, Dad!” and looked down at the treadmill. At that exact moment, I had been walking on it for 19 minutes and 19 seconds. It said 19:19. My dad was born in 1919. I was so taken aback! I hadn’t been aware of how long I had been on the treadmill at all, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was my dad telling me that he had heard me! Something that I will never forget. I’m sure that was your dad, too. They are out there, and they reach out to us at times to reassure us that we will be together again. (That’s my take anyway, but I truly do believe that.) I’m happy for you that your dad touched you so clearly.
    xoxo, Carol
    P.S. If you and Joe are going to be around at all before you leave and you have any time, let me know!

    • sbranch says:

      That is amazing. I love it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’m a total believer too and LOVE it and can’t wait for my next one! Did you get my text when we were down south? We went to our favorite restaurant right near your condo and hoped maybe you were nearby, but it was way too last minute and I’m not even sure you have the same number. Thank you for the lovely story Carol!

      • Carol in Sierra Madre, CA says:

        Yes, Sue, I saw it, but like, a week later. I don’t know if you can still see my replies on Twitter, but I hope so. I think you posted on the 10th. I was sick with the flu and we also had to put down my precious kitty, Fiona on the 8th. Excruciatingly sad for me. So I’ve been pretty down. It has been the toughest two and a half months probably since losing either of my parents. A lot has gone on, but I won’t bore you with all that. I would have loved to see you and Joe, but I wouldn’t have been good company. Things will get better. It’ll just take some time.
        I’m so glad that you’re having such a good, happy California adventure once again! My number is still the same. Sue, you’re always welcome to stay any time!! xoxo, Carol

        • sbranch says:

          Oh no Carol. I’m so sorry. Heartbreaking to lose a kitty. Things will get better, I know you know, but I wish I could have given you a hug. Take care, thank you, and keep in touch! xoxoxo

          • Carol in Sierra Madre, CA says:

            Thank you, Sue. xo

          • Carol D. in Sierra Madre, CA says:

            Oh, and one more thing. It makes me so happy that you still love California so much! I have loved New England since the first time I visited back in 1985. Michael’s brother used to live in Cambridge, MA for years, and now he and his wife have retired to Mid-coast Maine. We have visited them often and also spent time on the Cape and Nantucket, M.V. and Block Island. So, when I get home to California I actually feel “homesick” for New England, if that’s possible. I almost feel like I have lived there and need to be there. But I also feel happy to be back to CA because, of course, it’s my cozy place, my home.
            So, I think that’s probably similar to how you feel, in reverse! But you obviously have an even stronger tie to California!

  32. Sherri Dill Fabbri says:

    Hi Susan! I feel so blessed that I was able to see you at the Apple Farm and actually stay there also! I have wanted to do both of those things for a long time! My parents live in SLO so I usually stay with them. But this time my wonderful brother wanted me to have a more comfortable bed, since my back is getting on in age, so he treated me to my stay! I was able to combine my trip with a wonderful family birthday dinner for my father who just turned 90 years old. I thoroughly enjoyed your talk and you reading your chapter! You are very entertaining! It was also very nice to meet you and get a picture of with you! Thank you for the book preview and special first chapter. I’m glad you were able to see your family also! Have a safe and enjoyable trip home! Happy autumn! Love, Sherri

    • sbranch says:

      WHAT a fun trip for you. Sweet brother, that birthday was a wonderful reason to be there, 90 years for your dad, congratulations! Thank you for coming to the talk! I’m still living in the glow, it was a wonderful day!

  33. Elaine Woodford says:

    Your blogs always make me smile and/or chuckle or ooohh and ahhhh. And pictures of your beautiful kitties warm my heart (especially Jack) ! Thank you for your stories and your pictures. I can’t afford your darling mugs, but I LOVE seeing them and your creativity. BTW, I’m excitedly looking forward to your new dining room draperies. How much longer? You would think I ordered them for my house!! Until the next blog, you, Joe and Jack be well.

  34. Karen Saunders says:

    Your Mom looks so good. My Mom had Alzheimer’s as well. I put 50,000 miles on a new bug to drive an hour down to take care of her every week for two years. My dad was able to keep her till he couldn’t anymore. She didn’t know who I was but when I would do her hair she would always say “thank you kind friend”…… just once after she went in the assisted care home did she say my name and it was the most wonderful moment in the whole world for me. I miss her so much. I’m glad you still have your Mom Susan.

  35. How very lucky are those gals to be at the apple farm. I can’t wait for your new book to come out. Looks a lovely trip you have been having, visiting with old friends and loved ones. I have been following on Twitter mostly, and enjoying every step of the way and the other posts also. You are a wise woman. I teared up reading about your mom. My mom is 86 and has Vascular Dementia. She is happy most of the time so that is good. I call her several times a week to talk on the phone (She is in Nova Scotia and my sister lives with her.). So far she knows who I am when I call, but I am never quite sure if its because my sister has just told her who I am, or if she has actually remembered. I am happy that she is content, but my heart aches as I feel/watch/hear her slipping away from us a bit at a time. My favourite words of the conversations are when she says “I love you” when it is time to say goodbye. I hope you enjoy the rest of your visit/trip. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      It’s hard Marie, but the wonderful part is that she is still here with you and you get to hear those all important words of love. We are very lucky!

  36. Judy Lincicum says:

    Hi Susan, as this is my favorite time of the year, and I grew up in San Luis Obispo (went to Sinsheimer Elementary) your blog was so special and I was really missing hearing from you! So sad I was not there. As kids, my parents used to take us to See’s Canyon to buy crates of apples to bring home. We would get two or three different varieties and buy the apple cider in jugs which my Dad would put on the floor next to the warm refrigerator coils until it fermented! He said it tasted much better! LOL I had braces on my teeth at the time, but I could still chew through those delicious apples in my room upstairs while I read book after book. That was my childhood and I loved it! Looking forward to your next blog!

  37. Susan…I started reading your latest post this morning (still not done…I just had to stop and comment on the part about the dime and your dad’s “hello”! Oh geez, I got goosebumps…how wonderful. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t stop and see the little “signs from the Universe” or “gifts from God and our loved ones who’ve passed to the blissful place”. My dad has been saying “hello MaryLou” to me (in his own way) since he left back in 2003. Such a great feeling…anyway, I am going to continue reading about California now. Safe travels! xoxoxoxoxoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Aren’t we lucky MaryLou? And don’t you LOVE it when Ricky Nelson sings to you? xoxo

      • Heehee…yes! My dad sang Ricky Nelson’s song to me every time he brought out his guitar…as a kid I would go running…”No, not that again!!”. Now, on the rare occasion I should hear that wonderful song, I see it as an actual “Hello” from dad 🙂

  38. Hillaire Gallagher says:

    Thanks for the lovely post….you are so funny (the Wenches bit), I am so excited about the new books….that was a great idea having the first bits to share.
    It is so good of you to share your family with us. I hope you are having a safe journey home. Are you having any other book signings..maybe in the NYC area again? Would love to see you and Joe again
    Best wishes xxoo

    • sbranch says:

      After the new book is done, in a year or so, we’ll travel the country again and visit bookstores. Hope I get close to you!

  39. Sandy says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip on the blog (I’ve been following along on twitter but appreciate the blogging!)–lovely! And looking forward to your new book! My husband and I lived in SLO town while he attended Cal Poly for his Masters in Architecture–what a lovely place to live! We’ve been back to visit friends who still live there.
    I would love to know if I can find a pillow case like yours with the rows of hearts — so cute and adorable!!!
    I’m purchasing 2 daughter baby books; I hope you will make one for a son too!!
    Thank you for all you do and all you are! xxooxx

    • sbranch says:

      It’s an old pillowcase, not sure where I got it, the sheets it matched are long gone now. Sorry! Cal Poly does put out the best architects!

  40. Sally Deliberato says:

    Loved your blog, I am coming to your talk on the cape. Will u be talking about ur new book.
    Hope so! You have the best day!

  41. Amy from Wisconsin says:

    Good Morning Susan,
    Thank you for your beautiful, uplifting new blog. It is much needed in this “bad news” filled world of late.
    I was blessed this past February to go on a spur of the moment”Girlfriend Trip” out to Arizona. What an amazing part of the country, one which surprised every fiber of my being! I am a Midwest girl that is drawn to the east, north, vintage and history. What a wonderful surprise. We went kayaking in Prescott and had lunch in Jerome (@ the Haunted Hamburger- FUN!), then traveled back to Sedona where we were staying.
    You have inspired my husband and I to plan an Anniversary(36 yrs.) trip-a VERY DELAYED Honeymoon- to the East coast next Autumn, hopefully which includes Martha’s Vineyard, and definitely taking the train back Home.
    Cannot wait for your next book!
    Much love to you and Joe,

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful, romantic, interesting historical, vintage east-coast honeymoon you are planning. I know you will love it! Go to John Adams House, Louisa May Alcott’s, see the Mayflower and Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, maybe Salem for the story of the Salem Witches. There’s so much to see there. Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston and see Paul Revere’s House and Old North Church.

  42. Dolores’ Cottage says:

    Thanks again for taking us along with you on your adventures. I adore all the pictures of places I may never get to see in person. What a wonderfully lucky group of ladies at The Apple Farm, getting to see the beginning of your new book. What a lovely “surprise” for them all. Your family is so precious and seem a little like part of mine now, always have. Thanks so much for sharing. You helped brighten up my day.

    • sbranch says:

      Love to hear that Dolores! Honored! I always feel like my best friends didn’t really become my BEST friends until their mother’s phone numbers were in my address book!

  43. rebecca sulcer says:

    Thought I had missed your blog it’s been so long!! Yes! Apple season is here and almost gone so I think I will make a pie!! Hoping the leaves will hurry up and show us their beautiful colors,,Love Fall!!

  44. Laura Ann in Vermont says:

    Just listened to Court and Spark yesterday! What a masterpiece. Also, went on my first date with my husband 35 years ago at the Cow Palace. (Didn’t go to a concert, though, but to Barnum and Bailey’s Circus!) Enjoy the trip back home. It’s turned cold in New England since you left–we have snow here in northern Vermont!

  45. Amanda says:

    The `Hello` from your Dad……..just magical……the one`s you love are never truly gone from you, they are just a thought away. X

  46. Sharon Smith says:

    Sweet Jack! I don’t know how you can stand to leave him! I feel the same about my pair of sweeties (but we do still travel! :)) The homecomings are always wonderful & we fall right back into our beloved routines! Thanks for another lovely blog! All the best to you & “tea-bag Joe”!

    • sbranch says:

      Well, I really can’t stand to leave him. It’s what I HAVE to do in order to have him, AND be able to travel. It’s a trade off! He’ll be waiting when I get home! xoxo

  47. Lori Hamilton says:

    I’ve been waiting for a blog…..makes my heart happy! I reread your first two books (third time so far) and saved the last to look forward to. You turned me on to Gladys Taber and now my sister and I have several of her books. I bought “Stillmeadow and Sugarbridge” and loved Barbara Webster’s writing also so found “Creatures and Comforts” and got that one. I’d love to have more but can’t find them so far.
    Anyway, thank you for the blog – you make me want to take a train somewhere. Maybe to Boston and then come over and see some of Martha’s Vineyard. A friend, a sister and I are actually thinking about it.
    Happy travels and God bless!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been antiquing on this trip, and found a couple, I think Kellee will be putting up soon. Her writing is just so wonderful. Love that people are discovering her again. Thank you Lori! xoxo

  48. Ridgely Hoyt-Whitaker says:

    Avocados falling on the ground, gardenias in the yard, family…..what could be better!? Gardenias are my favorite flower, their scent is heavenly and they remind me of my Dad who bought us girls a gardenia courage every Easter. I bemoaned the fact that I lived in a place too cold to grow them. But when we moved to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I discovered that there is a hardy version here….I bought one and although it’s still in its pot, it gave me 4 blossoms this past summer….such bliss! Happy travels back home!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s like the bushes, when they bloom, bloom diamond rings that smell good. That’s how good they are!

  49. Pat H says:

    Oh Susan, my mom had dementia in her final years. One visit I remember so clearly and will treasure always. My children and I were visiting her in the nursing home and, out of the blue, she took my face in her hands, looked right into my eyes and said “I love you”. It was the best, knowing that for one brief moment she recognized me and wanted to let me know that she was still in there somewhere and, even though she couldn’t show it, she stilled knew and loved me. Enjoy the lucid moments. They are the best!

  50. Jean Rohde says:

    Now I know why I found your column, Susan. I am also related to Winston Churchill through the Jerome family. And, his mother, Jennie Jerome once stayed at Lindenwald, the home of Pres. Martin Van Buren in Kinderhook, NY – where I grew up. Love your work, especially the watercolors.

    • sbranch says:

      Isn’t it just the most fantastic thing, how we are all related!? Thank you Jean!

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Hi Jean, I loved Kinderhook, especially touring the Van Buren home. In fact, we love driving up and down the Hudson Valley. So much history, so much beauty. Debbie in Maine

  51. Cathy Britvich says:

    Loved traveling with you today. Try Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning mix on your next avocado toast. Perfection. For more perfection, add Nueskes applewood smoked bacon, and thinly sliced end of season tomatoes. Ymmm.

  52. Oh Susan, so good to hear from you again… this spring and summer I was treated to your trilogy autobiographical books and savored every syllable…they saw me through a pretty rough season of healing from facial skin graft surgery for skin cancer on my nose… all is well now and I reeling with Christmas fever for what to pick for my Christmas list this year. I love your train travelogue… So cosy and great to plan all the comforts to take with you.. I cant believe Jeanie is 91.. She is beautiful!!! What a glorious visit you had out west… Our daughter lives in Holliston MA with her two tots and I am sending her the info regarding the Falmouth event.. I wonder if tickets are still
    available… she is just an hour away but may truly not be able to get away with her wee girls… but oh what a chance to get to meet you!! Well God bless you .. hope you found a bit of Autumn back at home for winter is fast approaching!!!

  53. Becky Ross says:

    Ode to Susan, wonderful Susan… when you come to Kansas City, like I have invited you many times before, you will have a MARVELOUS time staying with me in my English Manor House. My Beatrix Potter bedroom is waiting for YOU. Right now I am very close. I am in Acton, MA enjoying autumn (out of this world) for the next week with my darling brother and family. My brother, Bill Ryan, knows how much I love the “ Wee Forest Folk “ mice that are made here and the blue & white Dedham Pottery with all the bunny designs. Yes, I am in heaven in your part of the world. Do not be surprised when I come to Vineyard Haven with my niece, Shannon, to eye-spy your precious White House. You see, we love all the same things forever & ever. Just returned from escorting 34 to England, Scotland & Wales. I loved the Highlands and looking for Jamie Frazier… I heard he loves 72 year old women.
    All my love,
    Becky Ryan Ross

  54. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    I’ll never, ever, EVER know how you do it, but as I’ve commented before, your blog shows up exactly when I need it most! Wednesday was a VERY tough day, and at one point, while sitting at my desk that has the entire top covered in things that need to be done right NOW, I sighed and thought I NEED A SUSAN BRANCH BLOG to read. It’s not the first time I’ve called upon the calming influence of your words and art! And LO! And BEHOLD! Thursday, in my inbox . . . there it was. And, as always, it did not disappoint. Thank you sharing your trip with us, your family, your friends, and beauty, kindness, and peace. All of this was much needed this week. LOVE.

  55. Elizabeth says:

    WOW, so many interesting things…as usual. I am curious, how do you find a good deal on train travel? Or do you just go and not worry about that aspect? We live on the West Coast and the majority of our kids and grandkids on the East Coast…we usually fly, but have been talking of maybe taking the train this time. So as in such things, one must plan ahead. I am kind of worried about the food issues as I have a lot of food allergies…and also as to how long it takes to cross. I do think it would be interesting. It has been years since we took a fairly long train trip. Thanks for your ideas and information!

    • sbranch says:

      We found out they have an Amtrak credit card (MasterCard) which we got and use for our business. It gives points for train travel, so now we rarely ever have to pay for our trips. It’s a great benefit because train rooms are not cheap and otherwise I don’t think we could do it. It’s 3 days to cross the country LA to Boston. When you call Amtrak, first thing to say after the recording is “Agent” … that way you you’ll get a real person. Talk to them about the food and allergies .. the menu is kind of set, but they do have salads, and you can bring things along.

  56. Margaret W says:

    Another great fun blog! I was sorry to miss the event at Apple Farm. I had a conflict with a very large quilt show in Santa Clara. 400 quilts and 125 vendors…beautiful work!! Is Apple Farm going to carry the calendars? Enjoy your train ride home!

  57. Barb Murphy says:

    Thanks for taking us with you and Joe once again. We do love tagging along on your adventures.
    Seeing the photos from your talk at the Apple Farm reminded me of the talk you gave in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in May of 2016. What a fun evening it was. My daughter and I had a great time.
    Have a safe trip back home. Hope you get to see lots of autumn color. Barb

  58. Odette says:

    I have a feeling that Jack is a little cheekier than the little watercolor picture of him would leave you to believe ! …Thoroughly enjoyed your post!

  59. Oh my word! I have goose bumps from the blog beauty and also the beauty of all the girlfriend comments and your responses… pure love and joy, magic and fairies and everything good in this beautiful world. How I wish I could come, with daughters or girlfriends, to the Cape on Nov 10 but snow flake girl (otherwise known as Anna) is irish step dancing at Villanova that day. She is 19 years old; she and her girlfriends want me to come along, so I am going! On Amtrak:) Will kick up my heels, and hope to see you on a book tour in the Spring. Enchanting!

  60. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your travels by train to California have given you a much needed family reunion! How very blessed you are to have wonderful family that you are so proud of! The mother-daughter photo is extra special Susan, does she allow you to give hugs, even with her memory loss of who you are? I know your father is peeking down at you through the clouds from heaven, and may that special heaven-sent dime be a keeper for your heart! Wow…..you actually look like you are glowing Susan, as you begin your talk to all of those special Girlfriends……no signs of stage fright is evident!!! Your shawl is beautiful! How lucky for all in attendance to receive the first chapter of your new book! A keepsake for sure! I wanted to ask you Susan, if you went to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum when in England? I read the article in the September 2018 issue of Victoria magazine, and I am so intrigued by the pictures. My local library has me on hold for the DVD of the PBS Masterpiece drama To Walk Invisible: The Lives of the Bronte Sisters. (Actually, it was the first time I ever bought a Victoria Magazine, just because YOU were featured in it!!!) You look stunning in the long skirt and hat! Beatrix would be jealous!!! Oooooops, my buzzer went off, and I have to walk around the house for 10 minutes each hour, as I had a laser procedure performed on my right leg for a nasty varicose vein. (The gifts of approaching my sixth decade in a January!) Anyways, praying for you and Joe to return safe and sound to your precious Jack next week. Take care of yourself! God Bless You Both! Byebye, from Dearborn, Michigan!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, she gives and takes huge hugs. She seems to mostly know who I am even if she can’t quite remember my name sometimes. We did go to the Brontes, loved it of course. The town too, absolutely adorable. They were having WWII reenactment when we were there, the whole town was decked in bunting, flags, 40s jeeps, people in uniform! Love that you are setting the buzzer to take your walks, taking good care of yourself. Thank you dear! Love hearing from you!

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

    Hello Susan, and Girlfriends. the weather here is a bit crazy, warm during the day and chilly to cold at night, and the mornings are chilly and frosty. we are seeing lots of beautiful color here and its just getting better each day. our new neighbors have 2 adorable black and white tuxedo cats ( Cassie and Juliene) and they are a delight. each morning they come over to visit when “mom” leaves for work and big brother, Sir Prince, does not want to play with them. they are kittens about 4-5 months old and full of mischief. they love chasing the acorns in the yard, they swat at them, toss them around and just tumble after them. of course my babies have to get into the act and watch them or play with them….. Tabitha and Miss Kitty watch and Midnight plays and pounces with them. Furby gets into the fun by pouncing on Midnight. then its time to get in for breakfast and off the twins go back home to get their breakfast and play with big brother. sometimes the blue jays attract their attention and they have to sit on the fence to watch the birds at the feeders. life is good here, the chickens are settling in for the Autumn and the of course the fire (Klondike) is still burning, been over 3 months now, and it keeps on going… poor firefighters, they must be tired of this. we saw a coyote in the back part of the property, must have been driven down by the fires and looking for food, had to chase it out and keep it away from the chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese here I do not need a repeat of last October when that dog massacred half of my chickens. we are making preps for Halloween, the pumpkins are all out on the front porch, the steps and the rail and we have the decorations up for Halloween. soon it will be time for little ghouls and goblins to come visiting. can’t wait. off to go check on the barnyard crowd and get the laundry done… curtains need cleaning. have a great day and a safe trip home. Autumn hugs…… 😀

  62. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Thank you for yet another dee-lightful post, Susan. Happy times!

  63. Denise Walker says:

    Oh my! The 1923 dime story and your dad brought tears to my eyes. Surely, it was a sign. Love the idea of adding the dime to your charm bracelet! Keep watching for those clues and signs. Thanks for sharing. ❤️

  64. Bridget B. in Tn. says:

    Susan, Wonderful blog!! Love the pictures of your friends and family. Thanks for sharing the story of the dime. I lost my precious husband eleven years ago. He was 54 and our daughter was 16. There was a day a couple of years later when I was very concerned about our daughter. I was in my car when a song came on the radio that was very meaningful to me. It was followed by 2 more such songs ! I realized then that our daughter was not really alone that day after all. I love these little comforting events that happen from time to time.

    Thanks for the sweetness you add to our lives. Love, BB

  65. Donna Fleishman says:

    Thanks for the wonderful blog! I love reading about all of your adventures. I can’t wait for your new book to come out. Please let us know when it will be available. Have a safe trip back to Martha’s Vineyard. Give Jack a big kiss from me. He is so cute! Best wishes, Donna from Framingham, Ma

  66. Patty says:

    Hi Susan, My son and I had the opportunity to explore Martha’s Vineyard the last week of September and we had a great time and enjoyed the beauty of the island! We saw you and Joe pulling out of your driveway in your lovely van! I clapped my hands because, I was happy and I knew it!! I was thrilled to drive past your beautiful home and see some of the places that you write about!! I adore the gingerbread houses and Aquinnah, Edgartown, the rock walls everywhere, the quaint shops and on and on I could go! I will return someday! Wishing you and Joe safe travels as you head home!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think I saw you too Patty . . . I think I waved! So happy you enjoyed the island, it’s pretty wonderful. Thank you!

  67. Loretta Silva says:

    Hi Susan…loved reading all about your trip…and special moments with family and friends. Nice to hear u r n my neck of the woods…Calif.! How nice to spend time with ur Mom….omg and the dime u found…ur Dad was right with you! Take care…have a wonderful time here and a safe trip back home. Loretta/Calif.

  68. Deborah Baxter says:

    Great blog. I visited Jerome and Cottonwood several yrs back. My husband lived in Cottonwood as a child. His dad worked in the mines around Jerome. He loved driving me up Mingus Mountain….EEEEKKKK. The Verde Valley ..I think….He had so many stories and memories. Then to the Grand Canyon…so many places. We walked around Jerome. I admire their parking ability in that town. We went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas in Sept….I also admire Their parking ability. I do believe I wandered about in my comment. I really enjoy your blog. The updates on your mom… and your other very lovely mother. So glad you have them. Ta Ta for now.

  69. Genie says:

    Oh Susan,
    I’m so happy and sad at the same time.
    We had tickets for the Apple Farm talk but then couldn’t attend because I had a class on 10/13. Look at all the loveliness I missed.

  70. Judi says:

    So good to see/hear from you. Your Mom looks great and nice to see your family and friends. Ah, yes, that dime was from your Dad💕👍❣️. Hugs, judi

  71. Stephanie C. says:

    Hello Susan! Loved this blog. Starting with the Eagles (love them), the dime story, and then the picture of you and your mom. Made me cry. Memory loss is so sad, but cherish the moments with her anyway. I worked with geriatric patients and love them! They have so much to offer if we just take the time to listen. I am loving my favorite season FALL! Heading to southern Indiana to stay in a cabin in the woods for a week to sew and quilt!! Love the pumpkinhead cup must have one. You and Joe are darling, love and hugs to you both. Have a safe trip back to MV

    • sbranch says:

      How delightful, a week of creativity … in a cabin in the woods. Heavenly. We’re heading home on Thursday, I’m getting excited. xoxo

  72. Margot in Sister Bay says:

    I left about the same time as you to head to Mobile, AL. I am missing the gorgeous leaves in WI, but I missed Arnie more. I am helping with Greek Fest down here. Good food, good fun! Love that print and have thought of the Vanderbilt saying, I think Jane Austin said that too. We must teach our daughters and granddaughters!

  73. Jennifer Bontrager says:

    When something makes me happy I say it makes my heart sing. Well your blog posts make my heart sing. Thanks for always taking us along on your journeys.

  74. Terry says:

    Hi Susan,

    My husband and I spent 4 wonderful days in Martha’s Vineyard the first week of October. As we were driving around Vineyard Haven looking for a parking spot I said to my husband, “Oh, look at that house. They put pumpkins over the door just like Susan Branch.” We passed the house again while still looking for a parking spot, and I said, “There’s that house again with the pumpkins over the door.” They say third times a charm, and it was. As we passed the house a third time, while still looking for a parking spot, I spotted the ghost in the upstairs window. I had read your Twitter post the night before about the ghost. I yelled, “That is Susan Branch’s house!” I made my husband pull over so I could take a picture. I was so happy! I wasn’t even looking for your house, but it made my entire trip that we stumbled upon it. We did eventually find a parking spot, and we went into all your favorite shops. It was our first time in Martha’s Vineyard, but it won’t be our last. We loved every minute we were there!

    I love the calendar hook! Time to order my calendars and the hook.

    Have a wonderful time on the rest of your trip! Safe and peaceful travels home!


    • sbranch says:

      What a fun story. Sorry we’re not more generous with our parking spaces! I’m so glad you enjoyed yourselves. It’s a magical place! Thank you Terry!

    • Tawni Urrutia says:

      Oh Terry, I know exactly how you felt! I was on MV in September. Our very funny taxi driver drove past Susan’s house on the way to our rented vacation house. I was, well I’ll just say “very excited” to spare myself embarrassment.
      When he was helping us bring our suitcases to the door he teasingly said to me, “This is a small island. BUT, we do have a jail. I hope I won’t need to pick you up there!” I am happy to report he did not! 😉

  75. I think your train trip sounds lovely. We’ve taken the train from Minot, ND to Seattle, WA. It was hard to sleep, but we had to sleep in our seats near the train car door between cars. That door was active all night with people passing through. Does getting a sleeper car make sleeping more of a reality while traveling on a train with multiple station stops all night? I’m inspired to try a long one again after reading about yours. Any other tips on sleeping well in motion?

    • sbranch says:

      It’s much easier to sleep in the room without the door opening all night and people all around, coming and going. You hear nothing in your room. Bring your own pillow. Be cozy. We sleep pretty well. It’s a train and it’s moving, but the room makes it a hundred times better.

  76. Jamie says:

    What your avocado toast really needs to make it perfect is Trader Joe’s “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning! Yum!!

  77. Carol K says:

    So good to get a nice long blog from you. I don’t check in on Twitter much any more. Too much negativity and I want to be happy in my old age. Talking about visiting family and friends in far away places makes me realize I need to plan a visit to the West Coast to visit family on that side of the world. It’s gotten chilly back here on the East Coast and I heard they had flakes falling around Squam Lake, NH already. Be prepared! hehehehe Looking forward to seeing pictures on the train trip home. Those should be interesting. Jersey Hugs

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, it can be very negative, I agree, and I probably don’t help much. But I just can’t stay quiet anymore. I do better here on the blog, save it for Twitter, so I’m glad you’re here. I brought a hat, a jacket and a scarf. I hope that’ll be enough!

  78. Janet K. Hellmann says:

    Hi Susan,
    Welcome to a group of ladies called Wenches. I am lucky to be one of the founding members of a group known as “Waterfront Wenches” consisting of ladies involved in the maritime industry in the Port of New York. We have been in existence for over 10 years and although we don’t meet as often as we used to, it is still an honor to be a member. We have many happy memories of our group events and even had hats made up with “WW” engraved on the front. I hope your group has as much fun as we have over the years and thanks so much for all your postings. You never fail to put a smile on my face.

  79. Carol K says:

    Your blog is like receiving a welcome letter from an old friend. Always interesting with the bonus of photos to put us right there. I’m like you, always getting squirrels jumping around inside if I have to speak in front of a group of people. Keep this in mind, they are here to see and hear me so they wouldn’t be throwing rotten eggs at me. So relax and enjoy this time together. You see, I’m good at giving advise but do I listen to myself. Nope! Those squirrels drive me nuts. Jersey Hugs Kiddo. We all love you.

  80. Old Christine says:

    You mentioned going to concerts at Esalen. Did you mean the Big Sur Folk Festivals? I used to attend those wonderful concerts. Sometimes my friend and I would hitchhike there. Thank goodness our mothers never found out about that!
    Thank you for that blast from the past! Old memories can be lovely.

    • sbranch says:

      Some of the others went to those, but my only one at Esalen concert was beyond heaven with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raite, and Joan Baez. The things our mother’s never knew! xoxo

  81. Donna says:

    I always enjoy your posts. You have a way of making them sound like a letter to a dear friend. I feel as though I’m taken along on an adventure! How wonderful to have your mother and seeing her and your family and friends. Such a nice trip. I was wondering how you plan and schedule your time? Analogue or digitally? What do you use to plan? With much love and until I “hear” from you again….

  82. mari1017 says:

    What a wonderful blog post to read, Susan! Looks like a fabulous travel & time with family and friends ♥ Especially touching to me was you and your mom ~ “Give me a moment because I like to cry for joy. It’s so delicious, to cry for joy.” Missing my mom this Autumn for the first time. Love how you cherish yours ♥♥♥ Dickens’ quote says it all.
    Back to packing…moving to North Carolina in 6 days…pack, pack, pack & pitch, pitch, pitch all the way to the finish line. Donations already done ♥ Back to the coast for me, moving near family, even with the weather. A whole new adventure for my 65th year! Here we go!!! Enjoy your train ride home & all that Autumn has to offer on the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard. Blessings! mari

  83. Kathy Goblirsch says:

    What a wonderful post. I love your California cat and of Course Jack. As a volunteer with a local cat/dog rescue in Chino Hills, I have helped socialize thousands of cats. When ones as cute as yours come through, I imagine if I just had a mansion!!!
    As for the light in the bathroom, in the food industry they use black lights to teach employees to wash their hands. That light could have double duty. Pretty and for a purpose!
    I went to school at a local community college for Gerontology. I volunteered with seniors then worked for a company that moved seniors to senior living communities. Your mom reminded me of so many of our clients. Worked there for nearly 7 years, I also learned first hand that there are resources filled with people who delight and love those with memory issues. As for your sweet Mom, well, I bet she is delighted when the moment of recognition happens and she realizes you are you! My Mom passed 2 years ago at 86. I delight and send prayers that Mom’s like yours remain healthy and stable for as long as possible.
    Love love the holiday season posts.

    • sbranch says:

      Ohhhh, the light. How interesting. Will have to go back and see! THANK YOU for all the kitty love! And thank you for your sweet prayer. Taking it to heart. xoxoxo

  84. Kathy Goblirsch says:

    I try posting and it never stays. I enjoyed the entire post. Thank you

  85. Stacey says:

    I’ve been to Jerome a couple of times, what a magical mountain top place that is!
    Enjoy your visit with family and friends and safe travels to you back to the Island.
    I just love Jack…the rubberband pic 🤣

  86. Terry Ventura says:

    What a fun weekend. We drove from San Diego to San Luis Obispo the friday before the talk at Apple Farm. So exciting. Love road trips up the California coast. The weather was perfect. We missed the one rain shower to hit San Diego that Friday😫 and there was lightening too. We have never been to San Luis Obispo but how lovely to walk into town from our little motel next to Apple Farm. Your book talk, chapter read from Enchanted, the treats on the seat, seeing your family, friends, and Joe…everything just lovely. I wonder if you have ever been to Nepenthe in Big Sur? Gosh, is that ever a lovely place. I discovered it because of my quiltmaking. Follow what makes you happy. Hence Apple Farm and Nepenthe.💗 Enjoy the warm weather before heading back home. Thank you again for a wonderful time. And, we must remember to VOTE this November! Look forward to your blog, twitter, Facebook, and your next book. (Now to find the Autumn charm😀) 🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁

  87. Karen says:

    Susan Anne, Loved every beautiful word, photo and MUSICA…sometimes I feel like my heart is breaking, it’s like you reach out and touch such tender, sweet memories of my own life….love that you found the ’23 dime (heart skips a beat) I love that you and Diana cried through a Star is Born (haven’t seen it yet) can’t wait to see Colette,(love me some Keira Knightly, esp. Pride & Prejudice). Last Saturday I watched Terms of Endearment (get this: VHS tape) and cried all the way through…love the story about you seeing your Mom, and your other Mom and her sister, they are all so cute, and all the good food you’ve enjoyed – I gotta try your Dad’s garlic bread! Loved everything else in your blog…I could go on & on. You’re the coolest girlfriend I know. #SBBooktoScreen xoxo

  88. Stephanie C says:

    Hello Susan, I posted early this morning but don’t see it, i will try again.

    I love this blog! Love the Eagles ( one of my favs), the dime story and the picture of you and your mom made me cry. Memory loss is very sad, but cherish the moments with her anyway. I used to work with geriatric patients and love them! They have so much to offer if we just take time to listen. I love the pumpkinhead mug, must have one. Loving my favorite time of year. Going to southern Indiana for the week and staying in a cabin in the woods to sew and quilt!!! You and Joe are darling! Have a safe trip back to MV. Happy Fall,

  89. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Sweetest Susan,
    Can’t believe you’re here – so close but yet so far! Wanted so much go to come up to SLO for booking signing 🙁

    80 to 90 degree weather with avocados falling off the trees for your breakfast is specially ordered just for you…..our Indian Summer at its best!

    Love all your incredible pictures which you expertly take and share with us. A
    “Treat” to live vicariously thru you. Thanks.

    I do for Halloween what you do for Valentines Day….having such fun and trying to cover every square inch of home and windows. Buy candy at last minute so I don’t eat it all before. Have Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Dog Cookies for 4 legged Trick or Treaters! Grasshopper sits on table by door supervising and greeting his friends.

    Halloween dinner is going to be Italian Pizza – Cornmeal crust with bolognese sauce, sweet Italian pork sausage, 2 kinds of Italian cheese, olives creating a carved pumpkin face, dry Italian wine….TREAT: pumpkin ice cream with home made hot fudge sauce.

    If I don’t see you, much love to you, Joe & Jack with love from Grasshopper & me.

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Sunday Sandra! I’m getting your comments, but the blog-master has changed his tune and no longer says “waiting for moderation” when you post. But here you are! We’ve been running around like crazy here, so much to do in so little time, everyday like a date book, the 100% opposite of what it’s like at home so we’re enjoying it while it lasts! We have to finish all our responsibilities here by Thursday when our train leaves for home. Sounds like you and Grasshopper are doing well and planning all sorts of fun for the season. Love to hear it Sandra. Have a wonderful day, the weather could not be better!

  90. Paula says:

    Dearest Susan,
    My goodness so wonderful hearing from you , just when thinking where is SUSAN?! you were definitely missed by all your girlfriends ! 🙂
    Happy for you having a special trip out west seeing your mom and your family, and the 1923 dime was so thrilling! I love those moments from love ones that are no longer with us , but we still feel them near.
    I bet you are missing your home and your Jack ! No place like home , and this time of year Martha Vineyard must be beautiful ! I would love to spend Christmas there once in a life time, I bet must be like a winter story!?!
    Looking forward to your new book, and I will be hopefully for a book signing close to northeast Indiana , hint hint wink wink 🙂
    Have safe travels home, where Jack is waiting with open paws !

  91. barbara lassiter says:

    Lovely, lovely post and it made me teary eyed at times! Well, most of it is from your beautiful stories, but some might be from ragweed very prevalent here now! LOL! Anyway thank you and thank you for the recipe for the pear salad! I love pears and this has to be so delicious! And for you and Joe a safe journey home!

  92. Sandra in santa barbara says:

    My posts never stay either🙀😿

    • sbranch says:

      I think they do Sandra, at least I hope so . . . they just changed the format a bit and now it seems for some that it looks like posts aren’t posting, but they really are. xoxoxoxoxo

      • Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

        Got it….many thanks and much love!

      • ~Del gato gordo y descarado~ says:

        I do not believe so
        not these comments on this one blog-
        I posted 3 separate times, none of my posts days later…. Noted date/time to check- no show.

        • sbranch says:

          I found this one on the 27th … still looking . . .

          I went to read your blog and wandered to the online newspaper.
          Read the Vineyard Gaz/Commentary about Trina…wow, what a life!
          And a cat lady, down to the matching bedroom furniture they had.

          Meanwhile thank you for a good helping of your Food for The Soul!

          • ~Del gato gordo y descarado~ says:

            nope that was old
            this were this month- just saying that’s all… one was wishing happy birthday to Mozart’s girl, etc…

          • sbranch says:

            All the travel left me lost in space. So sorry, but here I am, Home at last!

  93. Carla Herkner says:

    Thank you for another delightful blog entry! It’s such a treat each time it appears!

  94. Glenda S says:

    Many thanks to you and The Apple Farm for a lovely afternoon last weekend. I enjoyed meeting you and so many other “girlfriends” from across the state. Your gift of the first chapter was a surprise and more so having you read to us. So you can put a face to this post, I am in your group photo on the right, maroon sweater with the ridiculously huge grin. Can you tell I’m excited??? Enjoy the remainder of your trip visiting family and friends. It is always such a special time, however difficult it may be at times. Thank you again and safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Glenda, I see you! It’s all been wonderful. I’m almost hugged out, if there could ever be such a thing. We head for home this coming Thursday, by then, for sure, my hug cup will runneth over. I’m enjoying every moment. Thank you for coming to the Apple Farm. I’m still living in the glow of that terrific day! xoxoxo

  95. Ginette Wheeler says:

    Girl! Another wonderful post. I always save them for Sundays which is my day off so I can relax, sip my tea and savor each word and every beautiful picture, it’s such a gift! I’m so looking forward to your new book and feel a little jealous of the lucky girlfriends who got a sneak preview, I hope you’ll include a book signing tour in Florida, I’d love to meet you in person! Have a wonderfully delicious trip home, fall is waiting!

  96. Cindy K says:

    Your book signing looks like it was so much fun! My girlfriends and I had the pleasure of visiting your island in September and our trip was wonderful! Perfect weather, kind people, beautiful scenery everywhere, we had a wonderful time. Hearing the ferry horn from early morning and then continuing throughout the day just made me smile and want to clap my hands, I really missed that when I got home. I tried to convince myself that a nearby train whistle was the ferry but it really didn’t work! It is easy to see why you love your island so much. Thank you for sharing.

  97. Marisa says:

    Oh! My heart! The dime, your dad, the absolute MAGIC in our universe!!!!!! This gave me chills and I am a true believer that was a delivery direct from your father <3 Thank you for sharing. My mom's 4 year deathiversary is this Tuesday the 23rd, and through the years I've had a number of moments like yours and I carry those moments around in my pocket and pull them out when my heart needs tending to – which it does especially at this time of year. “Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity.” ~Terri Guillemets . . . . . . . and sometimes by dimes . . . . <3

    • sbranch says:

      So true, the magic in our universe, I find it all the time, but when it’s from my dad, direct line from above, that’s like too unbelievable for words! Hope you get a magical moment of your own tomorrow. They don’t seem to come when expected though, but that’s okay, we just wait patiently and love until they do. xoxo

  98. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Wave when you pass Laguna St/Garden St exit on 101 in Santa Barbara….I’m only 10 blocks up from there….

  99. ~Del gato gordo y descarado~ says:

    You are a saint, many thanks!

  100. Deborah from Odessa says:

    I know I commented the other day…..but I disappeared. Probably something I did. Enjoyed this post…I wont go back to my original. Thanks

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