SPROUTS & BUDS

Finally, I’m here, with our trip to find the sprouts and buds of spring. And we did, and I’ve brought them right on back to you! Settle in, get yourself a cup of something delicious and let me tell you a story! With nice road MUSICA!

 I promised you a little armchair travel, so here we go!  Williamsburg was wonderful! Virginia was great! But there was so MUCH of it, I may have to divide this post in two! (Which I should have but I didn’t!) What a hands-on way to get an education! Say hello to George Washington! Get ready to know him better! 

So, end of March, we drove out of a cold, grey New England rainstorm into a world totally unrecognizable to our first president (honk-honk-beep-beep, honey, you have change for the toll?), and spent our first night on the road in a historic, brick-and-clapboard, Pennsylvania borough called Doylestown ~ which was filled with charming shops, budding trees, and interesting restaurants (we have to go back!) and had a delicious dinner with old friends at a luv-lee restaurant called Domani Star

The next morning, on our way out of town, we investigated the local supermarket, something we love to do when on the road. We like to see what everyone else has! This is Wegmans!! We knew we’d love it the minute we walked in~I stood at the peppers and took this first view.

You can BE a tourist in this supermarket; we were there for almost an hour taking pictures. Disneyworld for cooks and eaters! If I lived there, anyone who came to visit, I would take them to Wegmans. Part of the tour!

First time we’d seen something like this in a year! Lightness of heart occurred!

Bought these . . . Could not resist British Daffodils all the way from Cornwall. 

Then it was back into the van and off, under blue skies, to Mount Vernon, beloved home of George and Martha Washington, a home so appropriate for our first President. Gravitas.

As you can see we were not the only people who had the idea to visit Mount Vernon this day! We had bought our tickets online before we left home, and signed up for a timed tour, so no standing in line for us!

There it was, as it looked since third-generation, American-born, George Washington finished renovating it in 1754, it’s where he brought his bride in 1759 (after their honeymoon in Williamsburg!)

We’ve had this framed print I found in an antique store hanging in our kitchen forever. They were the perfect people, in the perfect place, at the perfect time. Reading Ron Chernow’s biography Washington, you see that from the moment he was born, everything that happened to him was another clean and clear step to him becoming who he became. I’ve never seen a life more on-track for destiny. And Martha! Equally fascinating. Oldest of eight children! Good with horses! She wore a yellow dress with lilac slippers at her wedding to George. 💞 (Married before George, had four children and lost two of them, and then lost her husband.) So interesting to see them as real people, not just figureheads. Because you know, they had to get up in the morning and stretch out, and get clean in their colonial way, and stumble downstairs to get some coffee and pay bills and all the things normal people do. Look how much they got done with no TV, radio, phone, cars, planes, trains, or even a typewriter. Pretty amazing. Says something but I don’t know what!

Here you can get the lay of the land at Mount Vernon because there’s a lot of it, tons of gardens and other buildings you can visit ~ everything that kept a house going had to be produced on the property in those days, they made everything. There’s a museum, a gift shop, and the tomb of Martha and George is there too.

They did not allow photography inside, I’m sorry to say, but the tour was wonderful, so if you can’t get there soon, there are lots websites where you can see the rooms online.  We stood in the front hall where guests were welcomed (they had dinner parties all the time), saw the parlor and dining room, Washington’s beautiful study, and the bedchambers, upstairs and downstairs. The rooms had high ceilings, lots of original furnishings, and walls brightly painted in authentic period colors of turquoise, bright blue, and Kelly green. Above photo is the back of the house ~ with the famous cupola crowned by the “Dove of Peace” weathervane commissioned by the President in 1787, symbolizing his hopes for peace in the new nation.

Sitting here on the piazza (back porch) designed by Washington, with his view of the Potomac, seeing what he saw, is where I felt him most.  The fly in the ointment in all that we observed is slavery. All rosy views take on dark hues because it just doesn’t go away, it was a part of everything, part of history, you can’t rest your eyes anywhere where you don’t feel the ghostly presence, not on a cup, a dish, or a doorknob. You have to be able to hold two opposing things in your mind at once, one very light that makes you feel so much pride and the other brutally dark that makes you feel so bad. The first slaves were brought to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, the year before the Mayflower landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts  ~ and because 2019 is the 400th anniversary of that event, there were exhibitions focused on that history everywhere. I’m glad we don’t try to hide it. But it’s painful, and touching, so be prepared.

As it was getting late, we decided to spend the night in nearby *historic* (you can just put that word in front of every place we go in Virginia!) Fredericksberg, where spring was bursting out all over, sprouting and budding everywhere we looked.

Charming, easily could have spent more time wandering around here, but we let all things historical take second place to the excellent antiquing in this little town!

They sure do! They had every bit of Americana you could ever hope for! I brought home a quilt! You’ll agree I’m sure, it’s irresistable! ⬇️ And every tiny handsewn stitch is visible!

It was off to *Historic* Colonial Williamsburg the next morning, with a stop on the way for a tour of the *historic* Shirley Plantation, dating from 1614 (six years before the Mayflower landed in Plymouth!) The house itself was built on the banks of the James River in 1738 and is still owned by the Hill-Carter family as it has been for eleven generations!

Down the long unpaved “twelve-oaks” driveway, where buggy wheels and horse hooves, a little black 1908 Model A, and a 1947 Chevy sedan presumably traveled, we went ~ to the house, on whose wide lawns wounded Union soldiers were brought from battle to die, and were nursed in their last hours by the Confederate wives and mothers of the Shirley Plantation, who woke up one sad morning to look out their windows to a sea of broken men.

Our first peek at the house . . .

As we drive along, we forget (because we’re on the inside) that we are driving a billboard!  Sometimes people wave or honk and we wonder why! On this trip someone pulled up next to us at a stoplight, rolled down her window, waited for Joe (with his confused face) to roll down his, and then hollered, “Is she writing children’s books now?” Ha ha! Just makes it all more fun.

The whole point of this trip was spring!!! All the first clues were there.

We’re used to seeing trees like this in England . . . not so often here at home. But there were some old and stately beauties on this property. If this doesn’t inspire tree-hugging nothing will!

Again, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the house. Unfortunately, because it was charming with portraits and old sepia photographs, antique furniture and history belonging to the generations that lived there and now I have to write a thousand words to tell you! No, I don’t, you’re saved ~ I found a wonderful interior video.  The Carter family still lives on second and third floors so those spaces were private, but we were invited in to see the ground floor with its famous “flying” staircase. Displays like the one above were in some of the outbuildings ~ above was the kitchen. Again, we learned about the suffering that built this place, while hearing stories of first settlers, the family-loyalty to the American side of the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War. We met adorable three-year-old twins belonging to that newest eleventh generation, out playing with the chickens in the chicken coup. The beat goes on! Just like the person who planted that willow oak 350 years ago, for us, for the future, the Carters have just planted a brand new orchard of Pecan trees, for us, for their children, for the future. It’s what was left behind in everything we saw that was so touching, but also how it was preserved, honored, and brought through the centuries so we could know our history, and grow with the knowledge. Makes me want to plant an oak tree!

Then off to Williamsburg for more! Joe and I were there almost exactly a year ago. We were driving to Florida to board the Queen Victoria for our trip to England, and had only planned to spend one day and overnight in Williamsburg ~ which turned out to be nowhere near enough! We vowed to come back. So here we were. For five glorious days!

We stayed at the Williamsburg Lodge which is within walking distance of everything.

We unpacked, got our Cornwall Daffodils into some water, and out we went to explore. Now I’ll give you a little taste of what it was all about:

First off, we made reservations for the hotel online, and at the same time we bought tickets for our entire stay that would let us see everything in Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown (all day, every day we were there. Very handy, just whip it out and you automatically get into everything). Something else interesting, wherever you eat, whatever you buy in Williamsburg, you can charge to your room, no matter which Williamsburg hotel you choose to stay in!

As you walk around, you’ll notice flags in front of some of the buildings  . . .

Wherever you see one, it means come in, hear a story, take a tour, welcome! Like a big box of chocolates, you never know what you’ll get, but guaranteed, it’s all good!

It was a wonderful flag, combining old world and new!

Most flags are accompanied by a docent in costume.

Despite the delightful fact that no cars are allowed, it’s a real town, with stores and taverns where our patriot ancestors used to plot and plan ~ it’s the largest living history museum in the world where you can experience life in 18th century colonial America while wandering around 300 lovely acres. At one end of the main street (Duke of Gloustershire, shortened by locals to “DoG” Street) is William and Mary College, where Thomas Jefferson went to school . . . the students still hang out on the wide streets. One thing I regret because I didn’t know, you can bring a picnic basket because there are many wide lawns and huge leafy trees to sit under that would be perfect for a picnic, and a luv-lee cheese shop in the Market Place with perfect picnic fixin’s ~ and plenty of people-watching to make it interesting! And you can do that without a ticket. You can walk all over Williamsburg without a ticket. It’s only if you want to go into the flag-marked historic sites, enjoy the guided tours, galleries, museums, see the silversmith, watch the blacksmith, which you do want to do if you have time, that you need a ticket.

Walking through Williamsburg is a feast for the eyes . . . at one time it was the capitol of Virginia. You can easily imagine the tall figure of George Washington trotting down DoG Street on his great white horse with Martha and her two children coming alongside in their coach and six horses. It was a four-day bumpy ride from Mount Vernon for them (a smooth 2 1/2 hour drive for us!).

You can try the ride for yourself . . .

there are lots of colonial conveyances to choose from . . .

Adding all kinds of quiet back-in-time charm to the bucolic neighborhoods. When rebuilding, they put all the utilities underground, no wires, no poles, just tall trees, chimney tops, clouds, skies, and church spires. 💞

And you’re welcome to wander around anywhere on the property,

Open gates everywhere you go say ‘come in’ . . .

Follow the path to serendipity because you don’t know what is around the next picket fence . . .

Except for more picket fences . . . go through that gate on the right, across the bridge, through the garden, out the back gate, and down the path to who knows what ~ to the Gaol (“jail”) where Blackbeard’s Pirates were kept in 1704!

because the whole magical thing is a museum saved for us all to enjoy mostly with the interest and financial backing of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. who began reconstructing a very run-down, almost-ruined Williamsburg in 1930. It’s a huge wonderful story I hope you get the chance to go to Williamsburg to hear one day.

People do live in some of the houses, you see costumed docents going in and out, we met one on her way home who stopped to visit, explaining that if you live there you can’t have anything older than 18th century visible (ladders must be exception, those don’t look like wood to me!) . . .

but there are rules, and one of them is you can’t have an electric lamp in the window ~ some residents use black-out curtains to hide the 21st century from view. Walking around at night, it’s DARK, and rather interesting to see because it wasn’t that long ago when all our cities and towns were dark at night. Very good for star-gazing!

And don’t forget, we’re colonial! No indoor plumbing here, at the Plantation, or at Mount Vernon. Quaint outhouses were a feature everywhere we went.

Each day at noon, they shot the cannon to tell the town it’s lunchtime! Tradition!

Every evening at 5 pm, there are marching fife and drums dressed in colonial costume. Crowds march alongside, keeping time to the drumming. Very Yankee Doodle Dandy. 🇺🇸

This adorable little bluebird was my favorite.

He just sat there, for a long time, looking at me like this, and not flying away.

He hopped around and did a complete 360º that included his backside! Made my day!

The Governor’s Mansion tour was wonderful . . . with detailed displays and a costumed, well-informed docent. You can ask all the questions you want and these people seem to know the answers and love talking about it. The Governor for each colony was appointed by the King of England, which put Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore in a real pickle when the Revolutionary War came to town. In passing, we learned that Lord Dunmore was a Murray who married a Stewart. As was my grandmother, a Murray who married a Stewart. I’m sure, no relation, but I don’t care. Love it anyway. History! Just the most exciting thing! And here, it all comes alive!

There’s an English garden behind the Mansion ~ if you look closely you can see a boy wearing red, and a girl wearing white (barely visible) in the maze. We watched them enter the far back side, go in opposite directions and run like mad to see who could find their way out first. Last we looked they were still running ~ sometimes only inches from each other without knowing!

There were terrific restaurants . . . not just touristy junk food, but the real thing, carefully and freshly prepared.

We loved Cochon! Just delicious, so pretty with candles and peach roses, and the Most AMAZING Potatoes Anna. We also enjoyed The Trellis for lunch where I had a salad I loved so much, we went back again, ate the same thing, wrote it all down, and made it for my girlfriends when we got home! Blue Talon was good too, but I’m not so sure about Fat Canary, which has a really good reputation ~ but not so much the night we were there. We loved the Rockefeller Room at the Williamsburg Inn. The nearby outlet stores are a total crapjob aptly said with a British accent, don’t waste your precious time, but in town, the store called Scotland, don’t miss it. All the coziest Scottish clothing, scarves, sweaters, shawls, kilts, woolens, tams, gloves, and shoes, the real things, wool, cashmere, and PLAID! I bought a Murray tartan scarf in honor of my grandmother!

Then it was time for a lovely 23-mile country drive to Jamestown and Yorktown . . . don’t miss these two. They’re nowhere near as big as Williamsburg, almost look like nothing comparatively, but do not be deceived … they’re SO interesting. Jamestown is the 1607 site of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. We were surprised to learn that we’ve been an immigrant nation from the very start. Many first families trace their roots back, not primarily to England, but to Germany, Poland, and Slovakia . . . The English brought them to work the settlement, in fact, America had its first workers’ strike in 1619, “No vote, no work,” which was settled very quickly when these first citizens got the right to vote. All this before the Mayflower!  Yorktown is where the last land-battle of the Revolutionary War was fought. Needless to say, fascinating!

Along the scenic “colonial parkway” there is no commercial development, only the shoreline (generally) the way it was long ago, but with plaques and memorials, and displays showing the history and how the Continental Army won the war, RIGHT THERE, where General Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington in 1781 and ended the Revolutionary War!!!! Yay! . . . and so tricky of our guys, the way they did it! Stop and read everything! So interesting! Although, how you win a war in Virginia while the entire British Navy still owns New York is beyond me. Communication in those days  s l o w e d  everything d o w n . . . How did Boston even know what was going on in Virginia? Not to mention the King of England and his ilk. Three weeks it took the Continental army to march from New York to Williamsburg when they decided to “surprise” the Redcoats in Yorktown! Good grief! Whole thing hung by a thread! Anyway, it all worked out. If it hadn’t, think, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, would have all been, gulp, hung. Destiny! What a trip!

On top of all that fragility, it may not have happened at all without the French! The names of the French soldiers who made our success in Yorktown possible were memorialized, never to be forgotten. I love France. I love that they are always there when we need them, and that we are there for them. I love them most of all for giving us the Statue of Liberty. And today, right now in fact, because the news is just breaking, we come together again at this heartbreaking moment of profound loss. It’s happening as I write ~ I’m sure there will be national mourning, but this is a loss of great treasure to the entire world. A work of art and heart, a testament to the ingenuity of mankind that was Notre-Dame de Paris, since 1163, had every one of us in its DNA. It signified Hope, as so many historical things do and will be a deeply felt loss. My prayers go to the firefighters, saving what can be saved and then to the rebuilding. Because that is what will happen next. I know America will give as good as she’s got from the French people. 😪   MUSICA

We were touched to see that someone had thought to bring a rose, here, along the side of the road, at the Jamestown memorial.

Note: 1765. Fomenting went on for a long time, one Boston Tea Party did not a Revolution make. First there was a LOT of talk. Wonderful museums in both towns show it all, plus, there are colonial buildings, short movies, interactive displays, all so well-done and impressive.

There’s a special exhibition in Jamestown that will be there until January 2020 that shows what archeologists found when trying to recreate almost the unfindable, the forgotten, barely-recorded lives of the earliest female Virginia colonists. To sum it up, you would NOT want to be one of the earliest female Virginia colonists. OMG. These girls were in a man’s world to the nth degree. Virginia was not settled by poor families, husbands, wives, and children, escaping religious persecution like those on the Mayflower  . . . no, this earliest of American settlements was made up of men only. Wealthy English gentlemen, backed by rich investors, had come to the New World to find their fortune. (Money-money-money, always a problem.🤑) Sadly they quickly discovered something new about themselves: they didn’t know how to do anything. Couldn’t forage or cook, make a garden, build a house, do laundry in a river, sew on a button, make candles, didn’t even think to bring along a tiny jar to put a wildflower in for hope, (probably forgot their pillows too), poor babies, they were used to having servants do such things. It was dark! They were hungry! Took them one miserable year before they sent home for some indentured servants to boss around. Some destitute women in English prisons were given a choice to rot where they were, or go to Virginia to work and possibly accidentally marry one of these men. What would YOU do? In the first few decades of the Jamestown Settlement, men outnumbered women 6 to 1. Thank you. No. Prison for me! The boat trip alone would have killed me! But they did it, they survived outrageous things, and their fragmented, poignant stories are here in Jamestown for us to marvel over.“Our Principal wealth . . . consisted in servants.” John Port, 1619

Here we are at the “Siege of Yorktown” experiential theater, and there it was, a half-circle screen in full-glorious color, of the last battle. And for the first time in my life, I actually understood what was going on! I could not begin to show you everything Colonial Williamsburg has to share ~ it’s huge, so much to do, our five days didn’t even cover it. I think two more may have, or perhaps three, which is nice because going back sounds wonderful. Plus, the neighborhood, Richmond, all the Civil War things, Virginia is a treasure trove. Fabulous antique stores! I was going to leave you here, but there is one more wonderful thing I want to show you! Would be wrong if I didn’t.

Bassett Hall . . . the home of John and Abby Rockefeller, right there in Williamsburg, about two blocks from our hotel.

In 1927 the Rockefellers (both of them born in 1874) bought this colonial house in the falling-apart, left-to-die-on-its-own, but still loved by tourists, town of Williamsburg. The wonderful story of how they got involved, secretly started buying up Williamsburg houses, and saved the town for posterity, I will leave for you to hear when you get there. But their house, furnished and left just as it was when Abby Rockefeller died in 1948 was open for us to visit and so we did.💞 This time we were allowed to bring cameras!

You’ve seen this view of Joe before!

It looks like two houses, but it’s really one. The front house is original pre-Revolutionary War, but behind it is an extension that connects the two buildings, added by the Rockefellers along with the back house. They called this place their “Little Colonial Home.” Extremely wealthy people, his father started Standard Oil ~ but the glitter of all they HAD has almost eclipsed the magic of all they DID. For instance, besides saving Williamsburg, Abby started the Museum of Modern Art in New York, they donated the land for it, and for the United Nations building; they provided crucial funding to Margaret Sanger in her quest to improve  women’s health; contributed to our National Parks, and raised millions for soldiers after WWII. Just for starters. It goes on and on. They were an amazing couple, you can read about their life of philanthropy HERE. All the credit in the world goes to them, figuring out what needed to be done and doing it, making our world a better place in many more ways than one. Generous, not only in gifts, but also in spirit, embracing “enemies” and even helping them. Good people. Heroes, really. Interestingly, they were born when Beatrix Potter was 8 years old, and all of them with the same instinct for preservation and giving back. And boy, did Abby love to decorate. And boy, did she love Americana. There is a wonderful museum in Williamsburg with her name on it, filled with her collections. Your ticket gets you right in. She loved hooked rugs and I love hooked rugs, so there you go, kindred spirits! Want to see her house? Let’s go!

Look how cozy. Cuddle up with a good book in one of the two seating areas in this room, lots of movable chairs for when their six children were with them, charming needlepoint, candles, luvlee lamps, fireplace, and the rugs! I should stop right now and show you the rugs.

And this is just for starters! Whimsical charm!

Add so much color and warmth to the house. There was a collection of smaller, older, hooked rugs in the museum too.

This was my favorite, although it was really hard to choose just one. I was the only one on the house tour with my camera pointed down!

They’re in every room . . . mixed and matched in the hallways . . .

. . . along with flowered slip covers and bits of china . . .

Fresh flowers, silver, and pretty lamps. I love the hat!

Curtained windows, shaded to protect the vibrant colors . . . my photos don’t really do it justice.

Many large chandeliers, seemingly not electrified.

Lots of pink in the house. There’s that whimsical first rug.

This was the formal parlor. Look how deep and tall the fireplace is in their “Little Colonial House.”

It goes on and on, there was big square formal dining room, the table was covered with architectural plans for the renovation of Williamsburg . . . but let’s go into the kitchen, shall we?

Eeeek! I have dishes that look so much like these, only pink  . . . although I do NOT have, like, what is it, two cupboards-full of individual chocolate pots? (You can see how extensive her glass-front cupboards were in the reflection.)

See? Mine are called “Pink Cockatrice,” made in England by Minton. I looked but couldn’t find her pattern, perhaps they were “Rockefeller Only” by Minton.

More in Abby’s wonderful kitchen.

Fridge is still here! Don’t you love that color of green?

The door at the back leads to her flower room . . .

Where the vases were kept and arrangements made.

Abby’s kitchen, with views of the garden from every window. They had servants, a couple, who lived in another part of the house (also in darling rooms) and took care of things when the Rockefellers were away ~ I don’t think Abby did much in the kitchen having been born in a kitchen-free zone.

The kitchen wall-calendar was left turned to March 1948, the year Abby died, when time stopped in this house. This was really her place, her decorating, her baby. The house was bequeathed to Colonial Williamsburg by the family, and so here we are, learning about this couple, in remembrance and gratitude for every good thing they left behind.

Curvy sink and hanging dishtowels, view to forever out there. (Don’t worry, I’ll take you!) 🌳

No matter how many photos I put up, I am not doing it justice, if you haven’t been to Williamsburg, I hope your curiosity-hackles are up and someday you go see it for yourself.

The garden in early spring. When I saw the garden, I looked to see if Abby had any connection or special love for England and found that it was the first foreign country she visited in her life! Of course, look at this  . . . all of Williamsburg is a little cutout-piece of the English Countryside.

Here’s the view of the house from where Joe was sitting in the photo above, taking advantage of the sunshine. 🌞

There are acres and acres to explore if you have time. So civilized! And I do mean civilized! That’s what I loved about this trip. We went from rough, cold, violent and plumbing-free 1607 to 1948 (up to 2019 if you include us!) over 300 years of growing pains . . . and saw the progress, ever-forward, people doing everything they knew how (as Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you DO better”) to make this world a better place, even when they had to fight for it, even against the odds, and never giving up. Remembering the thousands of heroes that took us from the shame of slavery, and zero rights for women and children, to the time of trusting science to cure disease that brought us from the dark ages! People have built and persevered and brought us forward, sometimes kicking and screaming, and found freedom that caught the imagination of not just Americans, but everyone, the world over. Isn’t it wonderful? So far, despite massive opposition, and terrible setbacks, which we still see in places, no one gave up, goodness wins in the end! Faith has triumphed. Because of people like us.💞So there you go. That was our trip, in more than a nutshell. Sorry I kept you so long. I know you have a life!

So yes, we’re home, and once again, reveling in the quiet morning light . . .

My boy was so happy to see us. The quilt is still in the kitchen because I’m not done looking at it yet! Look at them, aren’t they cute together? Black and white is such an excellent kitty color!

It’s a little pillow/doorstop I used a magic marker on to make it match Jack.  A little confusing for him!

I brought home a treasure trove of inspiration!

My new Tea Time Magazine was waiting! I love this magazine. It’s not very thick, but the recipes and pictures are beautiful!

Had a lunch for my girlfriends . . . two of which just got back from Paris!

I fed them my Williamsburg lunch, and for dessert, Siobhan’s Polenta Cake (from A Fine Romance), with strawberries and cream, we exchanged travel stories, drank pink wine from Provence, had tea and lots of laughter and a little show and tell . . .

. . . while the wild turkeys came to visit.

And the daffodils and forsythia began to bloom out back.

Then, Jaime had a Birthday Party for me. Isn’t her table beautiful? This is the true miracle, that I moved here from so far away and found such wonderful kindred spirits to have my birthdays with!

Lowely made the cake! Orange cake, with Orange and Pineapple Filling, Orange icing, and coconut on top! Sooo delicious! (Yes, Vineyard Seasons has it! Here’s the recipe!) 🍊

Margot wasn’t wearing any rings she could put over the candles, she put her earring on the cake so she could have her wish when I blew them out . . . it worked perfectly! Necessity is the mother of invention! (Now you know why it’s taken me so long to do this post! Lots of real life going on around here!)O U R   W O R L D

Driving down Main Street, spring is in the air on Martha’s Vineyard, porches are being swept, windows being washed, the season has begun ~ and first thing’s first, filling the planters with FLOWERS!

This is what happens here in the spring! The worker bees come out. Joe’s been composting the garden! It’s so nice to be home.

Thank you, George, for the world you left. As my dad would say, “You did good work!”I hope you enjoyed that, Girlfriends. Thank you for your great suggestions on where we should go in Virginia, you were a huge help . . . and thank you for being my friends. 💞 Now . . . this just in! Cups are shipping from England tomorrow!!!! If you can today . . .

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509 Responses to SPROUTS & BUDS

  1. Sarah says:

    As if I wasn’t missing living in Virginia enough already, then you had to go and mention Wegmans!!! 🙂 I LOVE that grocery store. I’m so glad you had a wonderful time. We have been to Williamsburg many times and love everything about it. Christmas time is particularly magical. Thanks for sharing your trip!

  2. Treah Pichette says:

    I know those lovely daffodils from England were beautiful, but the carbon emissions emitted in order for them to travel across the ocean when locally-produced ones were probably available seems to be out of character for someone seemingly as aware as you are about the crisis the planet is in. PLEASE don’t encourage this! You have much effect, & I would hope you would use it for good. We ALL must try to help our beautiful Mother Earth. At the same time, I thank you for creating a fun & beautiful blog!

    • Nancy says:

      Oh, Treah – I was so enjoying Susan’s wanderings and writings… your post brought me back to the not-so-pleasant oh-so-critical present. Kindly try to enjoy the pleasant things each day brings. Please don’t admonish Susan when she brings so much simple joy to us!

      May I encourage you to enjoy the moment when someone brings such tender, honest bliss to your day…. they are the ones I want to savor!

      I hope you find peace and joy in every day.

      • sbranch says:

        We are all in this together, everyone doing our best in our own little ways to make a better world. Love us so much! Thank you Nancy . . . and you too Treah, as I know everyone means well. XOXOXOXO

    • carol says:

      oh, my goodness…you seriously had to rain on her parade with that comment?

      • sbranch says:

        Oh Carol thank you, I was a little surprised by Treah’s comment too, but then again, gotta admit, she’s right. And you know how words sound worse when typed than people mean to say them? What she probably doesn’t realize is that Joe and I were in Cornwall exactly one year ago (right when we saw those daffodils), so it just seemed so serendipitous! Special to us. I would do it again I’m afraid, it was the Cornwall that got me! Thanks for sticking up for me! Love all comments here, especially those when heart is right place. xoxoxoxo

        • ~My take on it~ says:

          He blew in with an ice cold gust of sea tanged wind, the kitchen door shut loudly behind him. As she turned, her eyes gazed in shock and wonder upon what he held out to her.
          “Oh, Joe!” she gasped. She clasped her hands to the overflowing rush of her heart. Joe’s boyish grin grew, glowing with pride, knowing what these small daffodils meant to her very soul and the why. It was so much more than the long stemmed bobbing headed little yellow flowers themselves, it was of their true meaning, a life happening and the why of it.

          “Saw them at Wegman’s, couldn’t resist British Daffodils from Cornwall for my girl,” Joe softly replied as her eyes silvered with the beginnings of happy tears. After all these years Susan never stopped being astounded by depth of Joe’s love for her. Tenderly she took the small bouquet, their hands brushing slightly with the jolt of energy sparked just as it had their very first date. He bent, kissing her breathlessly.
          Laughing as he swept her off her feet he turned and started to climb the stairway, upwards…
          as the black and white cat continued to wash its ears contently by the warmth of the crackling fireplace.

  3. Georgeann says:

    Thank you “taking” all of us along on your trip. You have such a heart-warming way of seeing things as if for the first time. I went to Williamsburg as a little girl and the one memory that sticks out was having very loud hiccups in the ticket area and seeing a lady trying to keep from laughing at me 😜. One question, where does the tradition of putting one of your rings around a birthday candle come from? I have heard of that one before!

  4. Judy Quinn says:

    What wonderful writing. I enjoyed it so much, I am going to go back and read it again. In my 80 years I have never listened to every word of The Old Churchyard and Pauline Scanlon’s voice is so pitch perfect and beautiful singing that song. Its a lovely afternoon in North Carolina and we have lots of flowers and trees in bloom and no lack of pollen. Wish you were here having a cup of my Canada tea with me and my dear cat named Emily Dickinson.. Thanks for a wonderful trip. JQ

  5. Susan from the Allegheny Highlands says:

    Susan~~what a wonderful trip to Williamsburg! I lived there for several years while attending The College of William and Mary. My husband and I were married there..it will be 50 years this June. We decided we’d go back to Williamsburg for our anniversary. So this a great refresher course on what we want to do and see again when we go back. Lovely post! thank you!

  6. Sue Ribeiro says:

    Well, welcome home, as they say!
    My home is about 45 minutes from Doylestown, PA , but am reading this from my daughter’s home in Albuquerque NM~ so I get around too 🙂 . I have never been to Williamsburg, and now will place it securely in the top 5 destinations for my continuing pursuit of all things affordable and delightful. Glad you said we could walk around the town without cost-otherwise it seemed too extravagant for my budget! I did adore the little bluebird friend, so thank you for including him!
    Have a great Spring and good choice on that quilt purchase!

  7. Maggie Giltmier says:

    Once again, you warm my heart with all your beautiful pictures and comments that you and Joe share. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!! My husband and I honeymooned in Williamsburg, December 1989, there was such a bad ice storm one could hardly walk, it was beautiful even then. We vowed to always go back, but life happens………because of your delightful blog, we might just do this year. Thank you so, God Bless! Maggie

  8. Charlene Brummitt says:

    Thanks once more for you wonderful blog. I really don’t know how you accomplish so much. It must be all that creativity that just pours out. I wish I had that. I am so envious. I also was in Williamsburg in early March with some ladies and it is truly one of my favorite places. Each time I go I am so inspired by how our forefathers survived and so grateful the Rockefellers had such a vision to recreate this magical place. On another note we are also getting a Wegmans in Chapel Hill this year. Looking forward to seeing this new grocery.
    Thank you for you and all your fun.

  9. Sue in Houston says:

    A very happy birthday, Susan! I was out working in my yard this morning, removing small, dead trees and chopping them up (into the “bite sized” pieces required by our trash folks) when it occurred to me that I felt a Susan Blog coming on! Guess I’m a bit psychic, at least when it comes to the good things in life!

    Your latest brought back great memories. My BFF married a wonderful Virginia boy and another friend and I visited them in Virginia Beach their first summer as married folks. We were all in our early 20s and on shoestring budgets, so we didn’t see Williamsburg, but did visit Yorktown. I lost that BFF in January after her valiant 3-year battle with cancer; she and that sweet Virginia boy would have been married 45 years next month.

    Also, thanks for mentioning Notre Dame. My sweetie and I were in Paris just a few months after 9-11 when everyone was afraid to travel, so very minimal lines and waits anywhere. Notre Dame was magnificent, and I’m thrilled so much was saved. Our hearts and prayers go out to “toute la France.”

    Meanwhile, my black and white furr-ball is demanding his supper, so of course, he must be obeyed…

  10. Kay Bennett says:

    Dear Susan,
    Oh my goodness what a wonderful, beautiful blog. I was in Williamsburg years ago but you have shown me so much that I missed. You brought us on a wonderful journey back to our beginnings and shown us how beautiful and peaceful it was. Having grown up on the west coast we don’t have access to those areas of our history that are so important. Reading your blog was like being there because you have such a wonderful way of describing those times. And, your photography was spot on! I felt like I just had a wonderful history lesson after reading your blog. I’m looking forward to a trip to New England in June and will be looking forward to “soaking up” lots of history.
    Belated Happy Birthday!! We are April birthday buddies. Mine is the 18th.
    Thank you for sharing with us all the wonderful experiences you have had! Happy Spring, Happy Easter to you and Joe and Jack!

  11. Kathy Branch Spicer says:

    What a lovely long post – not too long at all, but just right to see and think and imagine . . . and remember. I was remembering the dear little trips my dear little parents took me on when I was a child. And Fredericksburg, Petersburg, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, Gettysburg were just a few of the towns and burgs that we visited. So much early history of this country, so many sad but also wonderful things to see and learn! The birth of our country, the sad rending of this nation in civil war. To walk where heroes walked and to imagine the sacrifices they endured and the ferocity with which they lived their lives! Ahhh the memories of those trips. Thank you for bringing this back to me. As always, a post when it’s needed most. <3 <3 <3

  12. diana from ancaster says:

    Thanks SO much for taking u!s along

  13. Barb Murphy says:

    Oh, what a wonderful time I had traveling with you and Joe. Brought back so many memories of a trip taken with my parents and youngest sister in 1975, the year I graduated high school in Williamsburg, IA. I would love to go back and take in all I missed the first time.
    So glad you had a wonderful trip not to mention a fun birthday.
    Thank you for sharing.

  14. Cathy from Golden, CO says:

    Wonderful blog and scrumptious pics! Made my day and NEVER too long! Thank you, THANK you!

  15. Isabel says:

    Hi Susan,

    Love your trip to Colonial Williamsburg. I have been to Colonial Williamsburg twice, but not since 2001. Quite a while now. I always hope to be able to go back. I have also been to Mount Vernon 2 or 3 times. I did a counted cross-stitch of Mt. Vernon, which I have framed. I am not sure but I was sure I took pictures of the inside of Mt. Vernon. Maybe not. I will have to look for them. I would LOVE to be able to purchase Vineyard Seasons and get a new copy. Might you consider printing it again since there apparently quite a few people who would like it. Thanks.

  16. Collette says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip photos and all the information. I enjoyed everything, very interesting. It refreshed a memory of when our children were small (now oldest in her 40’s) and we took them to Colonial Williamsburg. We loved it so much we ended up talking my husband/their dad into staying another day. Always said we wanted to go back to see and do things we didn’t have time for. The Jack pillow is amazing!!!

  17. Bonnie Brooks Brown says:

    Dear Susan,
    Tom and I so enjoyed meeting and talking with you and Joe outside the King’s Arms that afternoon. I was so excited to give you a hug and never told you how much you have added to my life. Thank you for being so gracious. We are so glad you enjoyed spring in Virginia.
    Now, you get to experience spring again! Wonderful!
    Love to both of you.
    Bonnie Brooks Brown

  18. Carol K says:

    Thank you for the trip to Va. It’s been so long since we’ve been there. I’ve got great pictures of Colonial Williamsburg in my travel albums too. It’s always neat to see familiar places through the eyes of someone else.

  19. Anita says:

    Wonderful posting! We love Williamsburg, but it’s been a long time since we were there, so thanks for the vicarious visit.
    Our hearts are heavy after seeing the flames engulfing Notre Dame, another one of our favorite places. Good news today–many art objects, relics, and the organ were saved! Susan, you always share the best places and have such a great attitude about life. Thank you for enriching my own life.
    One question: what is the ritual of putting rings on the birthday candles? I’ve never heard of that. And happy birthday to you–mine was April 5, and I celebrate all month!

  20. Jennifer Bontrager says:

    Thanks for taking us along on your trip. Looks like you had a lovely time!

  21. Candy Ritchey says:

    Dear Susan, I love and share every one of your blog/letters, but this was without a doubt my all time favorite. I grew up in Baltimore and have visited many of the places you mentioned long ago…and it was “suggested” I leave many as my 2 year first born talked through most docent tours or colonial demonstrations… However, I loved it all and that period of our history. I think from watching Swamp Fox on the Wonderful World of Disney!
    I would like to suggest a few books that I think you might want to add to your list! Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow and Rise To Rebellion and The Glorious Cause both by Jeff Sahara.
    Fascinating, captivating and hard-to-put-down history.
    And then the beautiful photos and videos of such gorgeous places and SPRING!!!
    You always make me feel warm and happy.
    Happy belated birthday and thank you for sharing so much.

    Bless you!
    You’re a special kind of angel to we Branchites!!!!!

  22. Ann Woleben says:

    Susan, I was thrilled to read your post about the many historical sites in our state of Virginia. We lived in Williamsburg for six years before moving to Suffolk, VA. Whenever we want to return to Williamsburg, we take route 10 to the Surry Ferry and we are there in under an hour. I am so glad that your time here was enjoyable. My favorite place is the home of the Rockefellers, as you stated lovely and cozy. Spring and autumn are the best times to visit; however, we have a tradition of going to Williamsburg with a group of friends during the Christmas holidays – walking DoG Street, admiring the natural decorations, followed by a bit of shopping before dinner. Our son is a graduate of William and Mary, another tie for us to this very special town. Loved your friend’s table for you birthday celebration! You and I are April babies! Easter blessings to you and Joe~

  23. Cyndi in NC says:

    I graduated high school in Quantico, VA. The juniors used to go to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg as we were studying American History. Even that young I love them. I loved the docents in their period clothing. I loved the craftsmen in the different shops. Certainly I loved to go in a building that was a kitchen and see and smell what was cooking there! I bought my copy of the Delectation of Independence among other goodies. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to see all there is to see. But it gave me a good look at the beginnings of our country. Our daughter lives in Virginia Beach and we will be making a trip to see her and go to Williamsburg!! There is just so much that has been saved, as the Rockefeller’s did and thank goodness. Here in eastern North Carolina we have Tryon Palace in New Bern which was the colonial governor’s home. It burned down but was rebuild using the original plans in the 1950’s. Again I love the detached kitchen as they always have something yummy cooking in the huge kitchen fire place. I’d love the have a fire place half its size in my kitchen!At Christmas time the decorate everything as they did originally. There maybe a Union soldier also cooking something over a fire in a cast iron pot. One time it was ketchup!! History is so much fun! New Bern was hit hard by Hurricane Florence but it has been picking itself up and carrying on. Thank goodness too. Again, thank you for taking us along on the trip till we might make it ourselves. Also that darling face. Jack always brings a smile. Your lunch with your friends and your birthday party sounded like so much fun. I love the rings on the cake part. So Happy Birthday, belated, and for another fun adventure. So as Tigger would say, TTFN!

  24. Pat says:

    Williamsburg, ahh, a favorite spot and I believe the Rockefeller’s home was my favorite part! I dreamt through childhood about visiting Williamsburg, and finally was able to visit there with my husband and three daughters. I think I maybe instilled in them some of that romantic love of historic preservation that had been in my heart for so long. I hope so! Thank you for another exquisite job of photo-journaling!!

  25. Rosemary Hambrick says:

    If you should ever return to Virginia, you might enjoy including “Monticello” on your itinerary. Charlottesville is not that far from the Washington,DC area…
    the Tidal Basin in DC is gorgeous in April with the cherry blossoms in bloom, and
    the grounds surrounding “Monticello” are particularly lovely in the Spring.
    Washington, DC and “Monticello” in Charlottesville, VA, are meaningful and special places to visit any time of the year…and are particularly beautiful in the seasons of Spring and Autumn.

  26. Sandy Ewanowski says:

    What a lovely birthday party to come home to! Happy Belated, Susan!

    I have been to Williamsburg, but you did the very best job of describing it that I want to go back!

    Thank you!

  27. Karen R says:

    Thank you for giving us this wonderful glimpse into OUR American History! The stuff of which we are made. You said “It says something but I don’t know what”.
    This is what it says to me.
    It says, ” Look at how it was to survive during the cold winters, the hot summers, the spring plantings and the fall harvest.”

    It says, ” They worked hard, every day, to communicate, shop travel and do everyday household jobs.”

    It says “look how hard our ancestors worked to exist and how ingenious their progress throughout the years to invent more and better ways to accomplish the daily chores.”

    It says, “Our fore-bearers were a strong, determined, ingenious and industrious lot and that is why we are here today enjoying life in the best country in the world!”

  28. Joanne Cinte says:

    Thank you for taking us to Virginia with you. I was there many years ago, and I am now yearning to go back! I love all your book choices especially the Laurie Halse Anderson Chains. If you haven’t read it, her novel Fever 1793 get it!

    Happy belated birthday, friend! That cake looks luscious. I will have to try it. Actually, we are April birthday buddies one day apart. I just had my birthday on the 13th, same as Thomas Jefferson!

    Happy spring, and happy Easter!

  29. jeanie says:

    Well, if I’d never before discovered Williamsburg, I would want to after this post. A number of years I was able to go with one of the curators “behind the scenes” and learned about the detail and effort that goes into preserving this special landmark. Your photos are magnificent, as is the fun commentary. (Yay for the daffodils and quilt, by the way!).

    Such a wonderful trip. And I think I could easily move into the Rockefeller’s home and feel rather cozy! Love the van!

  30. Ann Prins says:

    Fabulous post- love Colonial Williamsburg- I have visited twice – I spent a week there with friends and could go back in a heartbeat! Your post brought back so many memories- I am ready to visit again. Lovely!!

  31. So glad you have FINALLY met Wegman’s! I grew up with Wegman’s in Rochester, NY where the Wegman Brothers began the grocery store known for customer service and kindness to staff and customers. I thought it was the norm until we moved out of Rochester. Whenever we return to Rochester, Wegman’s is our first stop!

  32. JoAnn from California says:

    Oh my goodness! I absolutely MUST go! Thank you so very much, Susan, for all of your intriguing photos and wonderful commentary!

  33. Loved your letter. Ever since our first trip there with our children, I have loved it and all the fun things there is to go. Shop, eat, walks and all the rest. It’s nice to get your letters again. I heard from you for awhile after you visited our wonderful CONNOR PRAIRIE in Noblesville, Indiana. I no longer live in Indiana, but was an active volunteer until I moved to Louisiana 2 years ago.
    Conner Prairie has grown so much-lots of new exhibits both inside the museum and out on the prairie. There is a hot air balloon that guests go up in, a giant tree house about 3 stories high

    And many other fun things to do. Again your letters are most enjoyable! Thank you for keeping us informed of your exciting trips and life.
    Best to you and Joe!
    Diane Singleton

  34. Susan Hebert says:

    Susan,

    Enjoyed reading about youtrip to historic Virginia. Williamsburg is on my bucket list, but I’ve just expanded my dream trip from a day or tow to at least a week, maybe more.

    Please explain why you put rings over the birthday cake candles – I’ve never heard or read of anyone doing that!

    Also, did you publish a recipe for Avocado Toast in one of your books? I thought I’d read it somewhere, but cannot find it, and I so want to enjoy it.

    Thank you,

    • sbranch says:

      First off, I think my girlfriends and I just made the ring thing up organically over the years, been doing this since the 1990s … we put our rings around the candles ~ if your ring is on the cake, when the birthday person makes her wish, you get to make one too. She blows out the candles and everyone gets their wish!

      As for avocado toast. Toast and butter an English Muffin, lay slices of avocado over the top, salt and pepper, yum! OR you can mash the avocado with salt and pepper and spread it on any kind of favorite toast. It’s a match made in heaven!

  35. Martha says:

    Susan, Thank you for the wonderful post about one of my favorite places. I went to Williamsburg for the first time about 50 years ago and still love it. Hopefully your post will reawaken interest in this beautiful place. Attendance has fallen over the years. Sorry I didn’t see your van when you were in Fredericksburg, would have loved to have seen you.
    Like you I hope that the people of the U.S. remember what the French have done for us and donate to the restoration of Notre Dame.

  36. Deb E. in PA says:

    Wegmans, oh yeah, I love Wegmans. (I do love visiting a local grocery store when I travel too.) I found the daffodils from Cornwall when I was in Wegmans last time. I had already finished my shopping and was heading out of the store when I spotted them and their little British flag tag. There was no way that I was leaving without a couple bunches. So I swung the cart around and headed to the self-checkout.
    Thank you for the tour of one of my favorite places, Williamsburg. I hope to see the Rockefeller house next time. Loved the pictures from inside.
    Happy Easter and enjoy the wonderfulness of Spring arriving.

  37. Sheila Collier-George says:

    Okay, sold 😁 planning a trip to Williamsburg for the fall 🍂🌾🌻

  38. Karen Bowerman says:

    My, what an amazing trip you had! I love history and your description was like being there (almost!). And daffodils are my favorite Spring flower. My mama gave me some miniature ones last weekend and I put them in a tiny vase to admire for days.

  39. Julie Eden says:

    I will go back and read the whole post soon but had to chuckle when you found Wegmans. Our little secret. think they started in NY but not sure. I shopped there in NJ. You also need to go to Deerfield Village in MA if you have not been there. A more manageable sized Williamsburg type village.

  40. Pom Pom says:

    Hi Susan! After that trip you’d love the book I’m reading, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer.

  41. Audrianne Hill says:

    Glad you did the triangle and saw the film in Yorktown. Did you recognise a young Philip Seymore Hoffman in the movie as a young patriot? Must have been one of his first films. Jack Lord of Hawaii Five-O fame is in the film at Williamsburg as a young landowner who has decide to stay or go back to England. His son (in the film) decides to fight in the Revolution, so they stay too.

    Love the turkeys!! That would be a grand welcome home indeed.

  42. VirginiaB says:

    Lovely post as always with perfect pictures and prose! I especially enjoyed it as I have loved history passionately since early childhood and have been blessed to visit so many historic sites, including Williamsburg and Paris. Today my screensaver is a photo of me in front of Notre Dame, as a reminder of what was and will be again, I am certain.

    But our country–and everyone’s!–is so full of historic sites that even if a person can’t travel far from home, they only have to walk out the front door and I guarantee that within a short distance they will find so many fascinating historic sites to visit near their own homes. They are waiting for visitors. Start exploring!

    Last, I repeat what an American officer said as our troops came to the aid of France in World War I–“Lafayette, nous voila!”–“Lafayette, we are here”, a reminder of France’s help to us in the Revolution. And Lafayette, we will be there again in the rebuilding of Notre Dame.

  43. Sandra Garber says:

    Loved this post. Williamsburg is one of my favorite places. Next time you come, try to stay in one of the historical buildings. My sister and I stayed in an old tavern on Duke of Gloucester Street. It was so much fun walking out the front door and imagining what it must have been like in Colonial Times.
    Sandra

  44. Dorothy Stapleton from California says:

    Our son lives in Alexandria, Virginia, so we’ve had many opportunities to visit Mount Vernon in every season. Our little granddaughter even trick-or-treated there! I never get tired of driving on the parkway viewing the lovely Potomac River. But we gasped in horror last year when the local gas and electric company was going to open a plant directly across the river from George and Martha’s house!! That real estate has been protected for over 200 years! However, the public outcry was so great that the plan was nixed and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Yes, this is a wonderful country! To gaze across that river and see it as the Washingtons did is indeed a very moving experience that will live on!

  45. Linda says:

    Wonderful post! Isn’t the US history, as displayed in VA, just breathtaking? The heritage is such a blessing. It is so basic to being an American. So inspiring up close. I admit, your post made me just a teensy bit homesick for those wonderful years we spent in VA. I’m so glad you had that wonderful trip. Now I promise I will not use the word ‘wonderful’ again. But I can’t think of a more appropriate word. Your photography is really wond–great. We are having a lovely, blue-sky day here in CA; daffs are gone and poppies reign. Hope you will soon be shedding your coat and enjoying spring days, too. Thank you again for sharing your Williamsburg adventures.

  46. Dorothy says:

    Our family visited Williamsburg about 25 years ago, for our daughter’s 12th birthday. Of course we also went to Busch Gardens with our kids. Imagine being approached at an event and asked if they could use our daughter and son in a skit. With some hesitation we agreed. It was a disappearing act. Well, we did get them back! Wonder thes days if we would allow it.
    Sad of how the times change.

  47. Oh Susan! Thank you so much for taking us along! I have never been to the east coast and would love to visit all of those historical sites I never knew existed! I am so excited to research more about Abby Rockefeller! She seems like a kindred spirit! Also Happy Birthday! You and my husband have the same birthday!

  48. Sally Jenks Roth says:

    Susan, what a feast for the eyes, thank you so much. I love it all, springtime, history and even the pain of Notre Dame de Paris! All of it…
    It’s wonderful to have such a nice change of scenery, and what scenery but so, so nice to get home. We’re so lucky to have enjoyed it with you.
    Sally

  49. blbc says:

    Thank you for taking us along; it is almost as if being right there with you! Having had a love affair with Williamsburg, I was enchanted with your photographs and “hearing” you tell of your adventures. Ah, then you showcased the house with the ladders – my sweet friend is blessed to lease the house from The Foundation. Indeed, the streets of CW are charmed, laced with history and awaiting visitors; I am already making my plans to return. Would have adored seeing you along the colonial streets; perhaps next time.

  50. Elena Stahl says:

    So enjoyed your memories and I will reread them soon. However, I quickly ran to get my copy of Vineyard Seasons to refresh my memory of the Orange Cake! – will try to make it for this Thursday when my son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters come for dinner. I’d love to send you a pic of two of them at Williamsburg in period costumes that the made and wore on their trip. Happy Birthday!

  51. Joan DeRose says:

    Love your description of Wegman’s — and I totally agree! I have not been to Williamsburg for about thirty years. Must go again soon to see that Rockefeller House which I don’t think was available to see when we were there. We had little children in tow then, and now we are grandparents! It’s time to visit again!

  52. Joan DeRose says:

    Love your description of Wegman’s — and I totally agree! I have not been to Williamsburg for about thirty years. Must go again soon to see that Rockefeller House which I don’t think was available to see when we were there. We had little children in tow then, and now we are grandparents! It’s time to visit again!

  53. Marcia from Sewell says:

    is it my computer or this blog post? many many pictures are described but there are no pictures to be seen, yikes

  54. Lynn C Maust says:

    Hi Susan….I was really surprised to read you visited Doylestown….MY hometown! Isn’t it wonderful? So many places to see and go to! Central Bucks is one of the prettiest locales in the world….did you get to the Delaware River, Carversville, Lumberville and the walk bridge over the river? You must see all those places….not to be missed. My mom and stepfather lived in the Carver’s Mill House, circa 1740 fieldstone house on Fleecydale Rd….the whole area is like your favorite place, England. Hope you get to see the area soon!

  55. Bren says:

    Thank you so much….the whole post, amazing… hope, past and future, with lots of love in each and every word and line to remind us LOVE is the answer. Sprouts and buds it is! Roots also, the foundation of it all.

  56. Marsha Sega says:

    Loved this travel blog. I’ve been to Mt. Vernon but as a teacher/chaperone on Washington trips with our 7th and 8th grade. Needless to say, my eyes were mostly on the students! Would love to go back and actually see it again. Have seen all the other things you’ve pictured except the Rockefeller house. Although I’m a math/science teacher, I really love American history, especially colonial times. This past fall we visited Monticello and Montpelier which of course got me interested in Jefferson and Madison. We saw the Sally Hemming exhibit at Monticello and took the tour that talked about slavery. I agree with what you said in the blog about it. Thanks so much for sharing your trip. Know that I think of you every morning when I have coffee in one of my Susan Branch mugs. Great way to start my day.

  57. Sandra Russell says:

    Hi Susan….
    Many thank yous, for all of the fablous photos and comments of the wonderful historical places you visited on your recent trip. Someday soon I will visit these places ,my heart will know the thrill of being there and seeing our country’s history in person.
    You have made this day very special for me,I can’t wait to start planning my trip for 2020.
    Thank you and Joe too!

  58. “You have to be able to hold two opposing things in your mind at once, one very light that makes you feel so much pride and the other brutally dark that makes you feel so bad.” Such a great statement. Truly describes the tension between the greatness of our country and the shadow side. I feel it, too! Enjoyed the post, as always.

  59. Dianne says:

    You, dear lady, have given me the most perfect tour with your wonderful enthusiasm and knowledge. Thank you for making this a trip come true. No more miles of walking for me but this makes it all seem real. I feel that I have been there and learned so much and seen such beauty that I would have missed.
    Thank you again girlfriend.

  60. Bonnie Blayney says:

    A wonderful entry and I found more info on Shirley Plantation that was of interest to me. youtube.com/watch?v=XP_W6pT55I8 even more pictures of the other buildings. I just wish they had said why the bell on top of the Smoke House.

  61. Ruth Klunder says:

    Thank You, Susan, for the wonderful trip to Virginia! It has been many years since we were there. I have to tell you that I have a “Dove of Peace,” but I did not have the information that you mentioned. I found it in an antique shop about five years ago. It is identical (wings, tail feathers,sprig, shape) to the picture that was on your blog except it is a two sided, hollow piece that is made of metal and sprayed a brassy bronze color. It is mounted on a metal rod which is anchored in a small rectangular metal base. I about flew out of my chair when I saw it in your blog, because I really didn’t know about it but have loved it. Many friends have commented on it. It is so neat. Thank you for the information.

    • sbranch says:

      And me too, only mine is painted white, and I didn’t know either! I knew it was the dove of peace, but not that Washington designed it!!! xoxo

  62. Jan Lane says:

    Happy Birthday Susan. Your holiday sounded ever so delightful. It kind of reminds me of the UK on the eastern seaboard. The history of our country is naturally a product of the past, and of course, the anglophile will find much to delight in.
    Years ago, as a young flight attendant with TWA, I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel to the east coast and to discover other places of interest and beauty. I recall visiting all of the tourist destinations. When you mentioned the fact regarding to the Carter family holding residence there in Williamsburg, I thought of my own family connections to old Virginia settlers, including a connection to Robert “King” Carter. I wonder if there was a connection there…….fascinating.
    Spring is so beautiful. It is my favourite time of year. Here in California it is quite green from the rain and snow, it is raining today on the mountain. Trees are flowering, and daffodils are in bloom, and soon we will have lilacs.
    Thank you for the blog which helps pass the time away. Thank you for the Musica as well. It reminds me of my dad.

    • sbranch says:

      YES, King Carter’s son John married Elizabeth Hill and they built the house we toured at the Shirley Plantation! The Carters still live there! The little twin boy we met was named Hill Carter! You can go say hi! How exciting! xoxo

      • jan lane says:

        Thanks for sharing this tidbit about the Carter family. It is interesting to explore our heritage and connections to the past. I really need to take a trip east. Haven’t been there in decades. I love all the pictures you share with us though. Nearest thing to being there!

  63. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, I just googled to see how far Williamsburg is from Toronto and it is over 600 miles or about a ten hour drive, manageable but we would have to get passports. I may not get to Williamsburg but I can certainly make that beautiful Orange Cake. Quick question, do you have to drain the crushed pineapple before adding it? Happy Easter to you and Joe and little Jack. Our darling little Daisy is slowly slipping away from us. She was diagnosed with a tumour in her abdomen and not much can be done for her. So very sad. Daisy was the perfect cat for us and we are heart broken. Hugs, Elaine

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, drain well! SO sorry about Daisy. That’s the worst! Hugs to you both.😥 You’ll know.😪 Hope you get south one of these days, very special!! xoxo

  64. Barbara says:

    Loved this post because it made me see familiar sights thriugh your eyes. Thank you for taking us along on your trip. We live near Doylestown and I taught in that school district for several years. Doylestown and its surroundings in Bucks County are absolutely lovely. We have been to Mount Vernon and to Williamsburg, which is a 6 hour drive for us, 4 times and cannot seem to get enough of it. We went to Williamsburg for the Grand Illumination ceremony in December a few years ago. Unfortunately the main ceremony was rained out but we bought tickets for the Christmas house tour and were able to enter several if the privately owned homes on DoG street and meet and chat with the owners. I loved that!!!

    • sbranch says:

      If I didn’t live here and love it so much, Doylestown would suit me perfectly! You’re perfectly situated between New England and Virginia! Oooh, the meet and greet sounds wonderful. Everyone mentioned Christmas as being a wonderful time in Williamsburg!

  65. Ginny Evans says:

    Thanks for this lovely spring romp through what is definitely a favorite part of our country! Having lived near Doylestown for a year i loved hearing all about it too! Just so good of you to take us with you and share it all. When thinking about the ugliness of slavery, I try to remember that slavery was the way of life for all time before America and was everywhere in the world at the time America was settled and we rose up and finally ended it! Same for those poor desperate women. Life was so hard for EVERYONE back then. But America was the land of opportunity and things improved! We can be proud of these accomplishments. After doing all our family genealogy and seeing how hard life was, I am so glad I didn’t live in those older times! We owe our ancestors SO much! (Maybe my picture will show up this time.)

    • sbranch says:

      Very proud of Massachusetts ~ supreme court of MA abolished slavery in 1783, same year Revolutionary War ended. But of course they had not based their economy on it since day one. Makes me understand to what lengths people will go for money. They. will. do. anything. But, in the weighing of the thing, most touching is the hundreds of thousands of men, most from the north, but southerners too, fought and died in the WORST war to end slavery and hold the Union together. Thank you for your words Ginny, yes, we do owe them so much!!! What they went through! No picture yet! xoxoxo

      • Ginny Evans says:

        Right. No picture. Ha! Back to the drawing board!

        • sbranch says:

          The most confusing drawing board EVER! You know what, I’m looking, and at least on this side of the curtain, NO ONE has a photo! It’s probably not you, it’s probably WordPress, the hosts for this blog . . . there’s a space for a photo next to each comment, just no pictures in them. Interesting!

      • Ginny Evans says:

        Well, I checked and my picture shows up on my Outlook account, so I guess it just isn’t showing up here. You will just have to imagine me–a warm hearted kindred spirit, who like so many other of your friends, feels the same inner connection to you and all you share with us. I love that we can all feel so connected! Thank you for continuing to inspire me to give myself time to create and be that person God created me to be.

  66. Judy Peters says:

    Susan, we are going to Williamsburg April 30 for 3 days. Shall we spend 1 day in each of the triads? Any other good restaurants and/or shops you can recommend?
    Thank you so much for all of the timely information you you wrote about.
    Judy

    • sbranch says:

      I think I covered the restaurants. There are some good Taverns in town, with all kinds of interesting Colonial History and ties to patriots . . . I tried the peanut soup at the Kings Arms and between you and me I thought it tasted like melted peanut butter, Joe suggested a side dish of jelly sandwich which was a BRILLIANT idea as far as I was concerned. But these are other possibilities for you to think about. Three days . . . VERY hard to say. But I would probably do what Joe and I did the first time and just spend all your time in Williamsburg. SO much to see. And then you have to come back! You’ll be happy no matter which way you go! But something about the open-air museum ways of Williamsburg that makes it so evocative and charming. Don’t forget, downtown at 5 pm for Fife and Drums!

  67. Sherry Reis says:

    Oh Susan it was so delightful to see your notification pop up on my iPad. It’s a cold rainy evening in the Pac.NW and being taken on a journey to Williamsburg was absolutely the “dessert” to my work day. It has been 57 years since I’ve been to Williamsburg and I still remember being fascinated by the blacksmiths demonstration, the gardens, the period costumes. Your photographs brought back these precious memories and to get a wonderful history lesson was just “icing on the cake”. You reminded us of it all …including the slavery, the injustice, the wars and yet as a nation we grew. I almost forgot how much the Rockefellers philanthropy was a gift for generations to come and their house … I just wanted to say down with a good book in front of that fireplace. Loved seeing the beautiful table all set for your birthday …and the rings and wishes tradition. So thankful you bring us such beauty and joy….which helped to heal my soul after the Notre Dame Cathedral fire. However the news said over 700 million has been donated for rebuilding so far. Blessings to you and Joe for Easter. I’m making your milk cake tomorrow. Hugs….. Sherry

    • sbranch says:

      We’re up to a billion now, Sherry!!!! Mmmmmm, Milk Cake! I may just have to do that too! So springy! Thank you for all your kind words, for helping me to remember and celebrate the Rockefellers . . . not that many years ago, and not a little thing, all that they have done, INCLUDING rebuilding French buildings after the war. Citizens of the world, just like us! In our own little ways! xoxoxo

  68. Judith Hogan (Heartsdesire) says:

    I loved reading about the historic sites on your trip to Williamsburg and your wonderful photos made everything come alive. We don’t have many historical sites where I live here in British Columbia as it was the last province to be settled only a couple of hundred years ago. Perhaps you will come this way sometime on one of your book signing trips. Would very much like to meet you. Thanks for another great blog post and so glad to hear you enjoyed your birthday with close friends. Happy belated.

  69. Colette File says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. We lived in Arlington, VA for four years and every chance we got we would bike to Mount Vernon using Virginia’s wonderful bike trails. We brought a picnic and dreamed away the day. The place is beautiful in the spring, in the summer, in the fall and in the winter. Just a magical place. We are in France right now and on Monday we all stood in shock while watching Notre-Dame cathedral burn down. What a tragedy for not only the French, but for the whole world.

    Colette

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful way to go to Mount Vernon. Notre-Dame, so overwhelming. I just saw they’ve raised a billion so far for repair. Makes me so happy. People are so good, the world over.

  70. Lee Gordon says:

    What a great post! So beautifully descriptive! Those rugs and that quilt! You certainly found a great piece to bring home as a remembrance of such a lovely trip. I thought of you on your birthday, wishing you all good things in the year to come. I wanted to send a card but got distracted by a chest and sinus cold that took me out for the last 10 days or so. I’m glad your close girlfriends were there to celebrate you on your special day! God’s blessings to you girlfriend!

  71. Sue Larsson says:

    I have loved reading this post! Beautiful pictures and all so interesting to hear about the places you visited. What a beautiful quilt too! Lucky you! I am in the process of hand sewing a Granmothers Garden quilt using some vintage Liberty fabrics I had passed onto me by an elderly lady in my church and the picture of your quilt has certainly inspired me to keep sewing! I have never visited America I am sorry to say. I live in a small village in the South of England. Our village lanes are full of primroses, violets and wood anemones at the moment …..simply lovely!

    • sbranch says:

      Simply Lovely. I have noooo doubt. You are so lucky. Enjoy your springtime Sue! And your Grandmothers Garden!

  72. Deb in Wales says:

    Good Morning Sue!

    Colonial Williamsburg was my weekend stomping ground on oh! so many Autumn and Winter weekends for two years when I lived in Virginia. My Spring and Summer stomping ground was the Outer Banks, especially Ocracoke Island. Well worth a visit!
    I would not mind one jot not being permitted an electric lamp shining from my window, for of a dark evening I much prefer to sit by the quiet serenity offered by candle light.
    Thank you for reviving so many happy memories, one of which was the recollection of being put in the stocks in Williamsburg!

    ~~~Waving~~~From Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

  73. Kim Rose says:

    Aah.. thank you Susan for the spoil today! I have never been to the US so it’s very interesting to see and extra special when through your eyes. It was you and A Fine Romance that got me to the UK and a special holiday in the lake district. I’m still smiling about the quilt in the kitchen, I do the same thing – seems so final to relegate something new and lovely to a drawer or an unseen shelf. We are in Autumn in Africa, enjoy your well deserved Spring. KR

    • sbranch says:

      WONDERFUL to hear from you so far away! xoxoxo Happy Autumn, my favorite time of year (although at this point, Spring is looking mighty good!).

  74. Carla Ludwig says:

    What a beautiful post…..makes me want to go to Virginia NOW!! Not sure if you know, but you have 2 or 3 Wegman’s in Massachusetts…..I refer to it as the grocery store from Heaven. lol Happy Easter to you and Joe!!
    Carla

  75. Dixie Taylor says:

    ‘Oh for a bowl…” of???!

  76. Ginette Wheeler says:

    What a BEAUTIFUL post! It took me nearly a half hour to read since you were so wonderful to include links to more information which I truly enjoyed! You have inspired and reminded me of a promise my husband and I had made several years ago to revisit Williamsburg and the state capital to spend more time enjoying the history and tours. My parents had taken my brothers and I when we where pre-teens and it was my favorite childhood vacation, so much I wanted to take our own son when he was about the same age.

    Funny how parents end up loving the vacation more than the child, poor kid was not cut out for the length of time we adults were willing to spend staring, reading and discussing each little object! So we promised ourselves we’d go back and then, then life happened and important trips accured and money spent elsewhere and we forgot…BUT reading your post brought it all back with a rush of excitement! We MUST go back! I wrote down all the things you spoke of and a few more I remembered and we’re discussing the best dates since we thought it would be fun to include my husband’s sister and hubby! So exciting!

    I so much enjoy your posts, they always inspirer me and I want to thank you for providing so much of your time for us all. Anxiously awaiting your next book, recieved my new cup “Valentine Day”, this was the first drawing that introduced me to your art and I’ve adored it ever since! Also bought your hand hooked star pillow which is just across from me on a favorite chair where I can admire and love!

    I’m currently setting up my very own art studio and have several of your prints up for inspiration. Though my degree was art, life took me on a different path and now that I have more time I’m moved to renew my love for drawing and painting in a room of my very own! Love you girl for so many reasons!!

    • sbranch says:

      You sound so wonderful Ginette, love hearing all your plans! Your double date to Williamsburg is going to be so much fun! And a room of your own!!! You go girl! XOXOXOX

  77. Elain says:

    You got me chuckling with your comment “ total crap job”. I think I will be using that one! As many historic homes as I have visited, I never noticed what was called the flower room – of course there would be a room designated for floral arranging! One can only dream! Thanks for sharing your trip.

    • sbranch says:

      So descriptive. They say it in England all the time, and nowhere did it fit better than with that mall! The flower room had tons of shelves, and a sink! Only thing missing? Windows!

  78. Linda Tondola says:

    I truly enjoyed this post. I’ve wanted to go to Williamsburg for … well, forever, and this makes me want it more! Hopefully I’ll make it there someday. Love the quilt you bought! Grandma’s Flower Garden, I believe it’s called. I have one myself, made by a great aunt many years ago. Long post, as you said, but well worth the wait!

  79. Michele says:

    thank you for this tour…you made it a “someday” for me now! Love your posts and your work…your books, and all you do! Thanks!

  80. Margie says:

    Thank you Susan for the oodles of charm in your photos. We went to Williamsburg in summer, I think Spring and Fall are good times, as it was too hot in summer. Love your post-tour, but clicked her red shoes home. The rugs are gorgeous, a kindred spirit for sure. Happy Birthday, and thanks for your gift to us with your blog.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, they warned us against the summer! I bet right now it’s GORGEOUS. We still had cold and no leaves, despite blooms here and there. But, I imagine, less people, and nothing bad about that! Thank you Margie, for your sweet words!

  81. Joanne Richardson says:

    Dear Susan–
    I love all your blogs but this was one of the BEST! I felt like I was there with you. Your descriptions are magical…
    Thank you!

  82. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan! Thank you for all of the wonderful pictures! Isn’t Williamsburg just the best?! My husband and I were there quite a few years ago and it’s just delightful. The next time you go – I bet you’ll go again soon! – visit the Williamsburg Soap & Candle Company. It’s quite fascinating! Spring has arrived here on Long Island and in Maine were we were a couple of weeks ago-definitely my happy place! We have a cardinal at work who looks in the cafeteria window thinking it’s another male that he has to battle with. It’s so cute to watch him! There are daffodils everywhere. My mom said that when she was a little girl, she and my Aunt Valerie used to call them telephones! If we think of the old-fashioned phones we can see why! Have a lovely day and Happy (belated?) Birthday. Be well and be happy! Love, Karen xoxo

  83. Robyn says:

    Our family visited Mt Vernon and Williamsburg 9 years ago this spring and your post makes me want to go back immediately. Our oldest daughter is now married and living in Alexandria, VA, and I go to see her a couple of times a year, so we’ll need to plan it. Susan, have you ever been to Adamson House in Malibu? Next time you are in CA, look it up and see if it fits into your plans. It is beyond lovely–different from the Colonial homes in your post, but everything about it is right in your wheelhouse. Thank you for the joy and beauty you bring to the world. We need it!

    • sbranch says:

      LOVE the old Mission Style homes. I haven’t been inside . . . didn’t know you could go in! Will have to put it on our list, it looks beautiful! Thank you Robyn!

  84. Phyllis says:

    I’m so glad you got to go on this trip! I was fortunate enough to have a sister who lived about 45 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg. I have been there many times over the years and love everything about it. What a national treasure. Thank you Rockefellers! Like you, one of my favorite experiences was the Rockefeller’s own home. I loved it. My very favorite part of the house, and one I have coveted for many years, is the china pantry! Oh, to have that kind of room and glass cabinets to display beautiful china (which I have a weakness for. ) Thanks for your wonderful tour. You truly captured the spirit of colonial Virginia.

    • sbranch says:

      I have a vase cupboard! Not a room, but at least a cupboard!!! Always imagined I would have one and not a day goes by when I don’t look in there and say, ahhhh. Old vases collected for years from yard sales and antique stores, little jars found in back yard when we dig a hole for a tree! You were so smart to have a relative live near something so wonderful! I try to get my family to spread out! Thank you Phyllis!

  85. debbie says:

    Susan, Thank you for the luvee tour and visit. It is chilly today here in Lancaster, Pa. but sharing this Spring Virginia jaunt with my morning coffee was delightful. Happy Easter and many blessings!

  86. Rene Marie Foust says:

    Everything looks so beautiful through your eyes, thanks for sharing. I took my 8 year old granddaughter to Mount Vernon (per her request ) last year and her new request is to tour Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. She loved everything about Mount Vernon and now after reading this post about Williamsburg I am going to find a way to take her for a visit. I am sure she will love it.
    Yay I am so excited to hear that the cups are being shipped. I have most of them and love them all.

  87. Rene Marie Foust says:

    On another note I am hosting my book club in May and I have chosen your book FairyTale Girl as the book to read. I am planning on having everyone that participates bring some of their pictures and we are going to journal as we discuss the book. Do you have any other ideas or suggestions?

    • sbranch says:

      Pictures of themselves in the way back days?

      • Rene Marie Foust says:

        Thanks for the advice I am looking forward to this book club I really enjoyed your story and I am sure my guests will as well.

        • sbranch says:

          I was just asking if that’s what the pictures are for, for the album? You said pictures, I should have asked pictures of what? Or maybe everyone brings a photo of themselves at 12? You could also serve something evocative to eat from the way back machine… xoxo

          • Rene Marie Foust says:

            I was going to have them bring some of their favorite pictures of themselves and have them start a journal.
            As for the food I was going to use some of your recipes from your cookbooks. Your Christmas cookbook is my favorite of all time and is the cause for my cookbook collecting addiction. I have given that cookbook as a gift many times.
            I like to give a little gift to my guests as a token of my thanks, do you have any suggestions as to what a nice gift would be in keeping with the theme of your Fairytale Girl book would be? Thanks for your help.

          • sbranch says:

            All sounds so good, you’re going to have a wonderful time sparking memories! You could make them a bookmark, print this out on cardstock, you can even get them laminated at Staples or a UPS store. Let me know how it goes!

  88. Sharon Swift says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just read your blog this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it….it was not too long! I’m glad you and Joe had a great time. The pictures you took of Mount Vernon remind me of the pictures my husband and I took when we visited there several years ago. We loved the whole experience. Would love to go to Williamsburg; especially after your pics of it. I hope you never stop exploring places or writing about your experiences. I love reading everything you write. Also want to wish you a belated Happy Birthday…sorry about sending your birthday wishes late! I am glad to hear the cups are shipping from England….I am anxiously awaiting mine. Since I was late on the birthday wishes, I will be on time for the Easter wishes. Hope you have a Happy and Blessed Easter. Thank you for giving so much…..

    • sbranch says:

      Happy Easter, right back, and don’t worry, I celebrate ALL of April! Your birthday wishes were very timely! xoxo

  89. Jen Pen says:

    So why have you not written and illustrated a children’s book? I don’t think you answered properly. The answer to the question, “Are you writing a children’s book?” is, “Not yet.”

    I loved every inch of the blog.

    Martha’s Vineyard in July – here I come!

    • sbranch says:

      I have a Christmas book in me, it’s not just for children, it’s for adults too, especially to read to a child . . . I just haven’t had time. Dang sleep!!! Thank you Jen! xoxo

      • valerie says:

        Dear Susan
        I also think you should write and illustrate a children’s book. I still enjoy a children’s book from my childhood that I now read to my grandkids and a lot of the enjoyment had to do with the illustrations.

  90. I first “met” John Rockefeller Jr. in Acadia last summer where I fell in love with his stone bridges and carriage roads. He oversaw the building of 16 gorgeous stone bridges throughout the woods and mountains of Acadia National Park. As I read your list of all John and Abby did for our country I love him more and more! Because of his and Abby’s generosity our country has so many historic buildings and landscapes preserved for all people to enjoy.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, what a couple. They rebuilt parts of Europe after the war too. They made hay while the sun shined. I’m glad I know about them, what an overlook in the Hero List!

  91. Sylvie from France says:

    Dear Susan,

    I thank you very much for having us travelling with you. It was really interesting for me to know more about American history.
    I also thank you for your kind words about France and French people and for your concern about Notre Dame de Paris.
    I was moved to tears when I heard the news on Monday evening but now I want to be resolutely optimistic. Our cathedral will be rebuilt exactly as it was before. It will perhaps take 10 or 20 years, but we will succeed.
    I am touched by all the expressions of sympathy that France has received from lots of countries in the world. You are right, what is important is that we come together again.

    Best wishes for you and yours.
    Sylvie

    • sbranch says:

      So nice to hear from you Sylvie! Yes, might and really SHOULD take time to rebuild, even in honor of your first builders who did it all by hand, but when you think of the hearts filled with love that have come zooming into Paris from all over the world, the infusion has got to feel wonderful. I think the sound of nails being pounded will be the new music of Paris. Sending love! xoxoxo

  92. Penny Cooper says:

    Thank you for taking me back to Williamsburg ❤️. I loved our travels there in 2007 – like stepping back in time ! It was a business trip for my husband the organization offered a high tea for the wives in attendance-with a docent that gave us history of the home it was held in & was in character preparing for her wedding 🎩 👰🏻 . It was very sweet 💕!
    Hope you had a lovely birthday 🎂-all day he best for you girlfriend today & always 💫
    Penny on Mt.Rose 🌹

  93. Inez Schlueter says:

    Happy Birthday. Great trip. I really enjoyed the Rockefellers home tour, Abby was a girl with my kind of homey, warm, living. And Teatime is one of my favorites, get great ideas, for when the girl (s) come over. Who wouldn’t love small sandwhiches, scones, and dessert.

  94. Marianne from Peoria says:

    Wonderful Virginia!! Thank you for this!! Spent many days there and was married in 1980 at Wren Chapel. Husband and I plan on going back next year to celebrate our 40th anniversary! Had our reception at The Lodge…. just a wonderful place to see and visit…..

  95. Donna Fleishman says:

    Happy Birthday Susan! I’m an April baby too…April 8, 1951. I’m so happy you had a wonderful vacation. Thank you for all the pictures and your wonderful blog. I would love to visit Martha’s Vineyard…only have been to this enchanted island once. School vacation this week but I don’t know if Edgartown’s stores are open yet. I can’t wait for your new book. I have your latest three books on my coffee table between pink vintage bookends which happen to have birds on the sides. Take care and keep doing what you do and know that I appreciate you, Joe, and Jack. Best always, Donna

  96. Carol says:

    I had such a delightful time reading about your trip. So much to see and learn from these trips! You always make me feel as though I’m traveling with you and Joe. Love the daffodils and the quilt – oh my, it’s luv-lee!

  97. Anneliese Ingham says:

    Hello Susan!! I’m so glad your trip went well. We just got back from a trip to DC with my youngest son’s 5th gr class. We enjoyed the architecture and history, and learned so much. I love that you had so many pictures of the rugs! My husband laughs at how many pictures from our trips here and abroad are of upholstery, drapes, and the huge tassels tying back the drapes. Old embroidered fabric is so fascinating!!! Also, you can get real Devonshire clotted cream at Wegmans. It’s the only place near me that has the real thing. It’s amazing 😍

  98. Sandra L Barton says:

    Happy Spring Susan! Happy Belated Birthday! Happy Easter!
    Thank you for sharing your trip. Brought back many fun memories. We were in Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown several years ago and enjoyed many of the same sites you posted. I loved the picket fences and open gates, still brings smiles to me. Your blog always brightens my days. Have a lovely day! Sandi 🙂

  99. Elizabeth says:

    So thrilling to me to read this…coming back later when I have time to SAVOR it more…we lived in Providence Forge, a few miles away from Williamsburg, for 5 magical months!!! We went often to Williamsburg and we also made it to Mt Vernon and Montecello and now I am even more glad we went when we did…hubby is too frail now to walk like that anymore…so it was good we had so much fun with one of our daughter’s seeing all these wonderous sites!! Glad you were able to go too!!

  100. Marisa from Florida says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your lovely post could not have come at a more perfect time. We are planning to visit Colonial Williamsburg and Mount Vernon and I plan on taking a copy of your post with us as a “Travel Guide”. With so many great suggestions and valuable first hand information, how can we go wrong…thanks!
    P.S. I also bought the lovely daffodils from Cornwall here in Florida at our Winn-Dixie Supermarket. (I almost emptied their vases!) 🙂

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