Escapism R Us

Hello Everyone! Look at us! Over 4,600 comments to the last post!!! Impressive, wouldn’t you agree? 💌 So much to celebrate today . . . First off, it’s time for our drawing!🎊 Vanna is shuffling around the kitchen, putting Hershey’s chocolate syrup in her coffee (coffee-coffee-buzz-buzz-buzz), I hear the whip cream can fizzing. That girl knows how to start the day! So here we go! Enjoy these last moments of everyone being a winner. My favorite time! MUSICA🎧  So first let’s do my Pumpkinhead china cup and the Inspiration Notecards! ‘Tis the season! Eeeek. I’m probably more excited than you! Quiver stomach! Heart-throb! Wishing everyone GOOD LUCK!🍀Vanna is UP, perched on side of my art table, bedroom slippers kicked off, pink-painted toes curled over the edge, lime-green rubber body-suit gleaming like snake skin, yellow, daisy-covered swim-cap keeping her red hair in check, she does a high dive into the thousands of names, scissor-kicks to the bottom, round and round, vortex forming, little papers with names spinning up and out, floating and swirling around the room like confetti (and btw, you still have a much better chance of winning than if you played the lottery! Plus no ticket investment. Already a win-win!)👏

So here we go . . . I just pulled a name out of the air, floating right toward me, saying, “Choose Me!” And the lucky winner of this Pumpkinhead cup (and notecards too) is, 

PAM LANE❗❗ (the one with the red hair!)

Congratulations Pam! 🎉 I’ll email you so you can send me your address ~ but, as you’ll see later in this blog, we’re going away for a week, (we put FUN on the calendar a few months ago, and here it comes!) ~ I’ll send your cup and notecards first thing when we return.💖

So who will be next? Here we go, this time it’s for the four seasons of cups . . . four English mugs for one lucky winner!

Reaching, reading, and here we go! It’s

KAREN HORRIGAN, a second grade teacher, 

Our next winner! Congratulations Karen❗️🍎 I hope you enjoy your cups! I’ll send them in about a week! Say hi to the kids!💓And next, it’s time to meet the lucky winner of the Martha’s Vineyard cup!

Her name? Another flittering wisp of paper that says:

MARNIE‼️ The Marnie that lives in the Canadian Rockies❗️🇨🇦 (Did you notice how many people commented from foreign countries? Another reason to love the Internet.🌍 We get to connect!)

Congratulations Marnie, I hope you and your girls love it! ❓❓❓❓❓
How about this for planned spontaneity? We celebrated National Read a Book Day on Twitter last week, inspiring me to add just one more giveaway . . .

A book of your choice, signed to either you, or to the person of your choice . . . one of these, or . . .

Or, any of these that I still have! You can choose! I have some hidden away, but not all, so I promise to do my best. You can tell me which one when I email you! And decide who gets it!

PAMELA WELTER❗️❗️ . . . carrot and onion chopper extraordinaire❗️ (I like to clarify WHICH Pamela Welter, just in cases!).

So let’s run away! More escapism! Easiest time of year to do it! We are starting to see colorful leaves in the trees on our morning walk!

Well, we did it, we put fun on our calendar months ago, made plans, got tickets, set dates . . . we’ve been anticipating and TOMORROW is the day!Tomorrow we leave on the 7 am ferry to go to Boston where we’ll pick up our English friends Rachel and Paul, and off we’ll go for a meandering week falling in love with the NEW England countryside! To undisclosed locations none of us have ever been to! A rented house in a small town we’ve never seen. An Adventure! In the fall!

Old houses, drive-by photography, roadside stands, and perhaps leaves just beginning to turn and drift into the roads . . . crisp air, windows open, music up . . . morning tea around the kitchen table with the newspaper . . . 

Staying off the main roads . . .

Finding roots . . .And filling in the blanks of American history . . . stopping everywhere we want, lunches out, art galleries, a night at the movies with popcorn and Downty! None of us have seen it yet! Seeing this movie with actual English People! You go see it too . . . then we can talk about it next time! Fingers-crossed we love it!

With our dear, long-time, too-far-away friends (in this photo, years back, we’re in Maine), a miracle, when you think of this big earth, that we found each other, thanks to a letter Rachel wrote me when she stumbled on one of my books in England! And yes, I’ll bring home lots of pictures to show you! Running away from normal! This is when I try to slow down time!

If I HAD to break my wrist, I could not have done it at a more perfect time. Monday was exactly eight weeks, the optimum healing time, completed in the nick of time for travel freedom. Although, yes, as you can see, I will be bringing the instrument of torture (brace) with me on this trip. I don’t have to wear it, but just in case we decide to climb a mountain, the doctor suggested I bring it along. I’ve been doing my physical therapy and my wrist, and everything connected to it, is SO much better. Every day I can do something I couldn’t before. Like cut an apple in half! I’ve typed all of this so far, and so far, my hand isn’t hurting! Your best-of-luck and prayers did the trick!

On the way home from the doctor, this luv-lee scene was waiting for us at the harbor. Yes, island fairies running ahead, preparing little scenes of beauty! Before I met Joe he was the cook on that schooner. Made forty delicious meals, three times a day, on a wood stove!

Last Friday we had a dinner party for my girlfriend Jaimie . . . it was also the 30th Anniversary of the very day we began moving into our beloved house in 1989.

Here’s the kitchen as it was that first quiet winter, before computers, before blogs . . . with the old fridge that required defrosting! Which I loved and held onto until death us did part. And the old blue linoleum floor (you can barely see, for good reason), which we changed to wood. Other than getting a new stove, and changing the hinges, handles, and drawer pulls on cupboards and drawers, it’s all exactly the way we found it! We already had the bird feeders hanging outside those windows, and you can see one of my Beatrix Potter people on the little shelf, Jemima Puddleduck. Making tea in my old heart cup.

This was the dining room as found. My friend Carlton took one look at the house, looked right through that crazy turquoise paint and said, “Good bones.” My thoughts exactly. Girl Kitty (the first, from Holly Oak!) was helping me set the table for our first dinner party. Despite the wallpaper. Which clearly (to me) had to go. Thank goodness for candlelight, everything is bearable in candlelight. Anyway . . . one day at a time. . . this was the BEFORE picture . . .

And now, the AFTER. The next people to have this house will probably come in and paint the cupboards turquoise again!

Hello handsome.

Dinner party after dinner party . . . If this dining table could talk! Because this old table was also here when we moved in, and it will stay when we go. Now you know why I love all this old MUSICA I play. This house was made for it. It speaks its language.🎵 This house was built in 1849, only 23 years after John Adams died. It was here before the Civil War. Before Teddy Roosevelt, before cars, before two world wars. Before phones. During the time of letters and the clip clop of horse hooves.

And in between our dinner parties, thirty years of care-taking, we did our job, brought her through the years, all the holidays, filling her with LOVE DNA so she will be wonderful for the next lucky family. Our House of Creativity has become a person.

Only thirty Autumns, seems too few! And look at all the wonderful ways we’ve celebrated it:

Lighting candles on the fireplace mantle for our dinner party . . . flowers from the garden . . .

S L O W   D O W N

Don’t forget to put some escapism on YOUR calendar.🍂 The littlest thing keeps us looking forward!🍁 Hope you all have a wonderful day!💞 

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461 Responses to Escapism R Us

  1. Sandra Garber says:

    Loved your blog today. I love thinking about New England in the fall. It must be beautiful.

  2. Angela Burrett says:

    I do so enjoy your blogs. We are going to see Downton next week but have just watched the whole series again which I enjoyed even more THIRD time round! Your home looks so inviting and full of memories. We are going to downsize next year after 22 years in our Devon home: which gives us plenty of time to sort and clear and declutter! Auction/Charity Shop/Recycling tip! 😂😂. I have my early morning cup of tea in your Autumn mug. Love it. Congratulations to the lucky winners, your mugs are so special! Take care Susan, don’t overdo the wrist and enjoy time with your English friends. Xx

  3. Carolyn Rector says:

    Love waking up to a new blog post! Have a wonderful time on your getaway. With friends even makes it better. Love the story of your home, you have blessed that house with lots of love and laughter. Thanks for sharing. Best to you always, and congrats to the winners of your drawing. You are too kind.

  4. JoAnn Petersen says:

    Just had a sewing retreat with my bestest friend and never sewed a stitch, we just needed to recharge our lives and continue to be happy in the place the Lord has placed us,
    In a few days I am off to. San Francisco to my 60th high school reunion. Who knew life could go bye so fast. Love your blogs look forward to them.thanks for sharing your life and time with so many. Always JoAnn

  5. Sarah Gracie says:

    Not much compares with the beauty of fall in New England! Enjoy your getaway

  6. Deb in Wales says:

    Congratulations to the lucky winners! I am not giving up, one day I will somehow complete my Four Seasons set!

    More winners ~ You, Rachel, Joe and Paul! They will be there by now. I have some English friends currently touring the fall sights and colours in your general area as I type! So thankful your wrist is healed, just in time for the merriment to commence!

    Have a wonderfully splendiferous week, far too short a time really, and come home refreshed, restored and inspired by the stunning fall magic.

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

  7. Karen Mikell says:


  8. Brenda says:

    Have a wonderful time in Maine. We took a trip there a few years ago and fell in love with the whole atmosphere of the state. Enjoy!

  9. Carolyn J. Collins-Hunt says:

    Have a wonderful fun and safe trip! We have our FUN scheduled for 9 days from now. Getting excited. We also are going somewhere we have never been and one of those places is Martha’s Vineyard. YAY! 😍😍😍

  10. Paula says:

    You are always such an encouraging sweetheart. All your photos and quotes, I cherish. One of my favorite photos, among all, is of the roots of the trees— root systems are gorgeous! They keep us alive and healthy. When I was single 37 years ago, making my own living as a dental hygienist and decorating my little apartment, I painted a root system of a big oak tree on burlap that my dad stretched for a large canvas for me. That hung over my sofa for years. We may be kindred spirits! You are so with many. Sweet travels and fellowship for you!

  11. Chris H says:

    I truly thought your words in this blog were softening us all up for the big announcement that you and Joe were selling your beautiful home!!! I’m so glad that that’s not the case….we all love seeing and hearing of your doings in that special place. Enjoy your FUN trip with such precious friends. And congratulations to the girlfriends who are the winners of your generosity

  12. Terrie Trebilcock says:

    Glad to hear you’re on the mend! Celebrate recovery on your wonderful trip! Bon voyage!

  13. Chris H says:

    I was so sure as I was reading this post that you were softening us up for the big announcement that you were selling your beautiful home!! I’m so glad that that’s not the case…..we all love hearing and seeing the ‘doings’ at your special place. Enjoy your FUN trip with your precious friends and congratulations to the winners of your amazing generosity.

  14. Lorie Hartsig says:

    We, too, are headed to New England after some lovely, fresh-aired days in Lake Placid. Yes, September IS the get-away month. Perhaps our paths will cross.
    Cannot wait until Downty!

  15. Nancy Scofield says:

    Can it be that Vanna lost her magical, graceful touch as she caught the fluttering name papers without MY name? I must believe her rubber suit hindered her usual precision. So I shall focus on happiness that your wrist has healed PLUS you and hubby will be savoring the best Fall New England tour with your extraordinary English companions. And thanks to your inspiring words and actions, I’ve already scheduled FUN on my Fall calendar. Cheerio!
    Nancy Scofield

  16. Karen Horrigan says:

    Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! It took 56 years, but I’ve finally won something and oh, was it worth the wait. When those 4 Seasons mugs arrive, I will fill them w/tea, crank up the Vivaldi, and make a toast (pinky out) to YOU, dear Susan!

    If only you could have been in our living room, when my husband said, “Honey, you got an email from Susan Branch! And I said, “Oh my gosh! Did I win the mugs?!”…”YES! You won! You really won!!” Screaming, fist pumps, tears streaming, happy dancing…it was crrrrazy!! I had to call my mom!! Never give up Blog girlfriends! It can happen to you!!

  17. Joan Rosenberg says:

    Inspired by your writing about your beloved Martha’s Vineyard, we visited 1 year ago today. It was on my East coast bucket list, as our retirement plans are to move to Washington state. It was a wonderful FUN visit, so much history, so many beautiful front gardens, I loved being surrounded by the sea!!!

    Our moving truck comes in 5 days, I am leaving NJ and wonderful friends…BUT…my new next door neighbor in WA walked into my house, saw my Susan Branch Vineyard Seasons on the counter and exclaimed, ” Susan Branch, I LOVE her!!” Soon, we will be having tea in my SB mugs.

    I believe the 1st thing I will do when we arrive in WA as “real” residents, rather than the temporary residents we have been for the last 3 years, is have a dinner party to get to know our new neighbors.

    As always thanks for the inspiration!!

  18. Dotty Reehling says:

    As always a delight to see and read. Happy that you are mending and enjoying your English friends. Just returned from two weeks (not long enough) in England and Scotland with our English friends. Went to Hill Top.
    Enjoy fall!

  19. Beth from Iowa says:

    Hi Susan – so glad you’re doing better!!! Have a wonderful trip – still HOT in Iowa also parts flooding – again – we will be growing corn hydroponically soon if this keeps up. Oh well forging forward with decorating for our annual Halloween party – the 16th one! Soon the weather will cooperate – and we will have cooler weather – hopefully not snow on the pumpkins! Have as much fun as is humanly possible and don’t stress about answering comments save the wrist for FUN Stuff.

  20. Ann Y. says:

    Good Morning, Susan – What a wonderful post. So glad your wrist is on the mend and you are much better in time for your trip! So much of your post hit me this morning….what a wonderful time you are going to have on your getaway. We are planning a little mini trip next month…to Bedford, VA and the site of the D-Day Memorial. Always wanted to see it, never got there…ROAD TRIP. No plans, stop when we are tired, see what else is there…enjoy it all. I stopped at the computer to check email to see what time to expect guests coming tomorrow for lunch. We met them on a cruise to Russia and struck up a friendship…they live not too far away, just a few hours, so we are getting together. As I set the table I was struck by what you said about SO many parties around your table. Unlike you and your beloved and beautiful home, we have moved several times over the years. But…back in 1979, when we finally moved to a place with a dining room, I was eager to buy what I called “a dining room set”. We found one we loved…and through a stroke of luck my husband worked with someone who had an “in” with the furniture company. All we had to do was order it, and then pick it up at the airport…in a rented van. What could go wrong??? Well, we did it…and because the cost was low we were able to get a table, two leaves, 6 side chairs, 2 arm chairs, a “china closet” and a server!!! I was THRILLED! It was kind of a straight line table and cane back chairs…warm oak. That dining room moved with us through 3 homes…in the 1980’s I thought I wanted something more colonial looking but it never happened…we just loved that table and chairs. Through the years we changed the pulls 3 times to match new decor, covered the seat cushions a few times, and when we moved to our retirement apartment we had the table top refinished…and added new pulls to match the kitchen and our “open concept” dining area. Long story short…(too late!!)…we LOVE that table. We often talk about all the dinner parties we gave and the good times and wonderful people who sat around and enjoyed a great time. Some are gone now…but how happy our memories are! And…new friends coming tomorrow! Same table, setting it now, making it “nice”, (people say not to fuss…I love to fuss….fussing is my hobby!), making an apple crisp so our home smells like Fall, getting out the Fall napkins, and ready to make more memories around that wonderful table. Wishing you and Joe and your friends a wonderful trip…safe travels, happy leaf peeping, and hope you find some treasures along the way. Thank you, as always, for all your posts!

  21. DARLENE says:

    Have a wonderful time with your friends and Joe!

  22. Yvonne miller says:

    Hi Susan,
    Have a wonderful fall trip!!!
    My husband and I just (9/18) returned from a two week trip to England!!!!
    It was wonderful, we rented a car in London and drove throughout England.
    I took your book, A Fine Romance , along!!!!Loved it !!!!!
    There is so much we didn’t see-hope to visit again

  23. Karen says:

    Thank you for this hopeful and happy post today. I woke up to the dark, feeling all schlubby and flat and now 30 minutes later I feel inspired to do something really great today, instead of just “getting through and getting home”. Savouring the days is an art form that you teach and model well. It’s in the little things. I’m a new reader and so happy I am. Congratulations on your new high in readers’ comments and I add mine, as unnecessary as it is. Enjoy your well-deserved downtime. xo Karen

  24. Sharon Byars says:

    Happy to see your healing in progress. My GNO (girls night out group) are going to Downton on Monday. Exciting. Our friend in Martha’s Vineyard saw it already on a sneak preview and said it is wonderful!!!
    Have a great time in NE doing all the perfect things, antique shopping and touring.

  25. Carla Ludwig says:

    Oh Susan, I just know you will ENJOY your getaway with your treasured friends! My husband and I moved to New England in May and purchased our dream house (1769) and we’ve had fun making it ours…..if these walls could talk! Yesterday I purchased my little pumpkins to put above the door the way you do…..I can’t wait! It’s the little things! 🙂 Have a beautiful trip, sooo much to see.


  26. Karen B. says:

    Your blog posts are always so enjoyable. Like your books, I feel as though I’m sitting down with a friend for a long visit.
    Safe travels on your sure to be a fun-filled vacation.

  27. charlotte m. says:

    So happy to hear your wrist is healing. I hope you enjoy your fun adventure. It sounds divine to me. I am leaving Saturday to go to North Carolina to visit the children and grandchildren. One thing I love about these visits is how good it feels to return to sunny San Diego afterwards. I do love NC, though. I lived there for 23 years. It will be good to see my babies too. I know there will be lots of unscheduled fun happening. I hope to hear from you again soon, after we both return from our autumn fun adventures.

  28. Another lovely blog…thank you! Love September and the fall too!

  29. Karen Williams says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’m really hoping this email flies over to you as the others seem to disappear into the ether!
    Thank you for yet another beautiful blog with Jack, swoon, and your amazing house in all its glory over the years.
    So thankful you are well on the mend and healing nicely. And how lishus that Rachel and Paul have joined you and Joe. Look forward to seeing your next blog with fabulous pictures of New England.
    Karen Williams xxx

  30. Lynn says:

    A warm Welcome to Rachel and Paul, as they travel the backroads of New England with you and Joe. How wonderful to share memories and experiences with good friends. My best friend, Cathy, and I will be escorted to the Downton movie by our wonderful husbands, hopefully before the end of September. I am a native California girl, and we had a heat spell last week, but you can feel a change in the temperature at night, which is heavenly. I even noticed many sycamore trees have started to change their leaves to gold and brown and amber! I have been burning a pumpkin candle on the mantle all week, and it makes the family room cozy. I hope you enjoy many more years in your lovely and well-loved home. And that the next residence you make into your home (MANY years from now!) fills you with as much happiness.

  31. Colleen van de Kraats says:

    Susan have a beautiful, pack every moment with joy, seeing creation as never before kinda trip!!!!!!
    I love love love your blog……did I mention I love it? It makes me feel as if I’m sitting in warmth and love and pure pleasure. THANK YOU!
    Eat wonderful food and tell us all about it!!! And I hope you find the most beautiful leaves ever.
    Congratulations to all the winners of awesome Susan stuff!!!!

  32. Paula Lestini says:

    Reading your blog is an escape in itself. This sweet post gave me respite from my usual routine. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your life, your lovely home, and your adventures! My husband and I treasure serendipitous wanderings, always looking for the road less traveled.

  33. rebecca sulcer says:

    I agree very much..anticipation is a wonderful thing!! Anticipating a visit with my girlfriend in a couple weeks,,can’t wait!! I have a nephew who is part owner of The Holey Donut Shop in Maine..I hear the donuts are to die for!! Loving Fall and can’t wait for the colors to appear…I just Love Love it!! Happy Fall to All.

  34. Debbie says:

    Dear Susan,

    This is Debbie from Spain, the crazy “girl” who knocked at your door 5 years ago during my honeymoon!! I wanted to go to the Vineyard just to get the chance to know you & your lovely
    environmet. Your life itself is a fairy tale, and I’d love my home to have a “little touch” like yours. I’m still looking for my “Joe”, but in the meantime I dream of a life like yours!!
    For my 50th b-day I’ll throw a Downton Abbey party!!
    Lots of love & have a great trip!

  35. Janice Hathaway says:

    Downty is fabulous! Like being back with friends and family. A warm hug! Our little home town theater, The Bijou, had a special showing. Sold out of course!! Can’t wait to see it again next week. You are also always like a warm hug, I appreciate you greatly.

  36. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    I noticed you talked 3 times about the people who will live in your house after you. Please tell me you aren’t thinking of moving on. I can’t imagine you two living anywhere else, and I am so in love with your house and all the beautiful pictures you post of it. Of course, I also loved Holly Oak. 🙂 Anyway, another heartwarming post to make my day. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      Not yet, probably some day. It’s just that since the beginning I’ve been preparing the house for who comes after, mostly because of meeting who came before us! The lovely Bowditch family!

  37. Sheila Bayley says:

    I always look forward to your blog posts. They bring me back to when I lived in New England and loved the changing seasons. You seem to relish them so they are so much more poignant. Enjoy our jaunt through the towns and Fall colors. I envy you especially this time of year.

  38. Pat says:

    I so enjoy your blogs and news…I am 6 weeks out of open gallbladder surgery and going slower than ever ! It’s wonderful to have your blog and the musica to help me heal.

  39. Jackie says:

    Wishing you safe and happy travels !

  40. cheryl r van gelder says:

    Dear Susan, I have always loved your work or should I say play. Many years back, I gifted to friends your book “Girlfriends Forever”. Sharing gives such great joy. Now I have a question for you. Have you ever created a line of fabrics with all your beautiful artistry? All of the flowers and sayings on a quilt, well that would be a thing of beauty. I make custom market bags. These fabrics and a saying that represents me on the front. Cool. It’s never to late to think of a new delivery mode of your play. I am looking at the side panals of this blog site. Tulips, my favorite.

  41. Laura in Illinois says:

    Have fun on your little adventure. Love seeing the history of your home. I’m sitting here having a cup of coffee in my little house from my “Little House – Home Sweet Home” cup and reading your blog. The perfect combination. ((Hugs))

  42. Liz says:

    Do we know the Fall Meandering itinerary yet?!
    I think there may have been some hints about Hingham and Concord!
    Pictures, please!

  43. Susie (Rocky Point, New York) says:

    Have a wonderful getaway with your good buddies. New England is splendid this time of year as you already know. I so enjoyed seeing your ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics of your glorious home. Congrats to all the fortunate winners. One of these times I will see my name and faint. It will go down in history…a gal can dream. Have fun!

  44. Sara Kiiru says:

    September is the first of my favorite six months of the year and reading all about your upcoming travels and your fellow delight in autumn makes my glee all the greater! Plus my very favorite standard (“Isn’t This A Lovely Day”) was on your “Musica” list this time around! Huzzah! I am excited for chilly days to arrive because I’ve placed two types of FUN on my calendar: in November, I’ll be traveling to St. Louis for my annual get-together with two best friends from childhood (this is our 26th consecutive reunion…we call it Labor Day Reunion because it happened on Labor Day weekend the first two years but we changed it to late Oct/early Nov because we all wanted to enjoy autumn together)! And the second item of fun—scheduled for the first day that’s cold enough to make a fire in the fireplace—is to hunker down by the crackling fire under the Welsh blanket I’ll be getting for my birthday and re-read ISLE OF DREAMS and A FINE ROMANCE while listening to the King Cole Trio and Diana Krall and Stacey Kent. And maybe by then you’ll have written us about your delicious trip & I can add it as a coda to my readings! Happy travels!

  45. Sara Kiiru says:

    Oh and also, I had the exact same thought about the next owners painting your dining room turquoise again! But with all the LOVE DNA you & Joe have infused it with, there will be magic and joy in whatever color is there. 🙂

  46. Martha A. Martinez says:

    Aw, I never win anything. 🙁 But, I’m very happy for those who did! Congratulations! 😀

    Looking forward to the Downton Abbey movie this weekend!! “What is a ‘weekend’?” Haha!

    Enjoy your trip, Susan!

  47. Naomi A Jones says:

    Your blog just refreshes my soul!!

    Hugs and kisses,


  48. Nancy says:

    Have a wonderful leaf peeping week. Colors are beautiful here in northern New York! Warm apple cider donuts and fresh apple cider await you! ♥️🍎♥️

  49. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan! Happy Fall! We are feeling a little bit of Fall here on Long Island, but Summer is coming back this weekend with temps in the mid-80s – but, we will be in Maine seeing the progress on our new home in the Midcoast Region! So it will be cooler, which is fine with me. The leaves in places were just getting a wee tinge of color so there should be more now and even more in a couple of weeks when we go up again! I keep telling my husband I want the whole set of Downty episodes so I can sit with a pot of tea and watch them all! I want to see the movie, too! I’m glad your wrist is heeled, especially before your adventures with your friends from the U.K. Which reminds me, the QM2 was in port last weekend, having returned from a 2-week Canada/New England trip. She is crossing the Atlantic and will come back and do another 2-week Canada/New England trip. Have a wonderful week, beautiful weather and safe travels and best to Joe and Jack, too! xoxo

  50. Karen Ruth Ullom says:

    How can you be so generous, but then that’s your precious personality? You will have a glorious time in New England. Hope you can see some beautiful colors, but perhaps it might be a bit early. My favorite book is the updated version of your very first book–can’t recall the exact title. My second choice is girlfriends forever.
    SOOO happy your fracture is healing nicely!!
    I’m still giving your books away for gifts or just for the fun of it to make the world a happier place.

  51. Lynda Mortensen says:

    Congratulations to all the winners! We just got back from a wonderful week in Breckenridge, CO. It was a spur-of-the-moment condo deal, but Oh so needed! We hiked, then hubby napped while I sketched and painted, then we hiked back again. We went on a local history walk, followed by English Tea…and to my delight, the tour guide was a fellow Brit and so we ended the tea with hugs and exchanged phone numbers and made a new friend. We had ice-cream, and fudge and yummy dinners…and I had to put some of those ‘sticks of butter’ stickers I made back ON my bathroom mirror when we got home, but not many…because we walked almost everywhere. Breckenridge wasn’t quite Autumnal yet, just the odd rare yellowish leaf to be seen, but it won’t be long. The mornings are getting just chilly enough to start wearing my big, fluffy, cozy robe and comfy slippers, and they feel so warm and comforting, even though they make me look like a teletubby 😆. Downton Abbey Cheap Date Tuesday is already planned (that’s when the local cinema only charges $6 and we each get a kids meal lunch from Freddy’s burgers beforehand lol!). I love Cheap Date Tuesdays! Hubby and I will be celebrating 7 years of wedded blissfulness this weekend. Sometimes true happiness comes late in life, but it’s so worth the wait ❤️. Enjoy your holiday in New England…that is one of the top places on my bucket list, especially in the Autumn! Lovely!

  52. Deb says:

    Although home (Ontario, Canada) is lovely in the Fall, for me, nothing compares to New England in the Autumn and I’m in two week countdown for our yearly trip to the Mass/Cape. Part is itinerary and part meandering where the wind takes us ~ it’s a fabulous trip each year and we are so looking forward to it! Your post has me antsy to get going! Wishing you sunny cool breezy days filled with the smell of leaves and crisp apples! Happy meandering!

  53. Sherlylynn Pierce says:

    I love these newsletters and seeing and hearing about all the delightful things you do. Thanks for putting a smile on my face (so many smiles I should say.)

  54. Peggy says:

    Hi Susan – I certainly enjoy your e-mails and following your blog. My husband and I worked with your Mom, Pat, at McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach. She always talked about you and how proud of you she was. I do have several of your books and treasure all the artwork you have done. I get some change of seasons here in Big Bear but not like I grew up with back East. Keep up the good work.

  55. Sharon Swift says:

    Hi Susan, I hope you, Joe and your friends have a wonderful time in New England. My husband I have always talked about seeing the changing leaves in New England….just never quite got a chance to do it. Still on the list though. I just love your home….it’s exactly what I would have picked out had we lived in New England. I just love history….loved it in high school too. I can’t wait for Autumn to get here…Monday. I also can’t wait for the weather to cool off….living in Texas you don’t see too much of Autumn. It seems like it goes from Summer to Winter. We do get some cold winters in North Texas, so I am still able to enjoy our fireplace. I put my glass pumpkins around my house two weeks ago in anticipation of Autumn and cooler weather… didn’t help. My husband and I are going with friends tomorrow to see Downton Abbey. I can’t believe I didn’t watch it when it first came out….we were watching the “Walking Dead” (my husband’s idea). They started airing reruns of Downton ahead of the release of the movie. I recorded everyone of them and my husband and I got hooked on it….we absolutely love this show. I can’t believe we wasted our time on the WD, because we haven’t watched it for some time. We ended up buying the Collector’s Edition from PBS, so now we can watch it anytime we want. Oh well, enough babbling on my part. I am glad your wrist is better so you can type your blogs again. Again, have a wonderful time in New England….can’t wait to hear about your trip. Blessings to you and Joe….

    • sbranch says:

      I LOVE hearing from everyone. I wish I had more time today, I want to answer ALL of them! But Rachel and Paul are waiting for me to get going! So I can read . . . but must FORCE myself to not write too much! Thank you, one and all, I’m loving this!

  56. Angie Quantrell says:

    I love escapism! Doesn’t fall call for it? Find the mountains, breathe the air, wear the drizzle of gentle rain, look for fall colors, crunch through leaves. My favorite season of all! Safe travels!

  57. Judi Teters says:

    I’m so excited…for my Birthday my dear husband and family are sending me to New Hampshire along with our 3 daughters(maybe our 5 sons will make it next time.). Our family moved out to Oregon in 1957 when I was eight. The last time I was back there was in 1965. Even being 8 I have wonderful memories. I found my Grandpa O’Connor’s home built in 1910. Saw many photos of it on Zillow. Even though it has been remodeled, I remember the layout. My foodie memories besides lobster was those full bellies fried clams which are unfamilar to the western palate. I found out also that American Chop Suey is a New Hampshire thing although it’s called other names. They still serve it at the Red Arrow diner. Can’t wait. I have a bucket list of memories to visit.

    • sbranch says:

      Oh what a wonderful time you will have! Like you, I’m one of eight, and the memories are never-ending! Have fun!

  58. Ruth Hoffman says:

    This post was so wonderful! I love the thought of you escaping in the fall…what better place than New England! Then again I grew up in Connecticut and part of my heart will always be there! On Saturday my husband and I are escaping too…the coast of Maine (for the second time) to celebrate our 35th anniversary! We have a schooner ride scheduled in Camden, and I can’t wait to tell hubby that Joe was a cook on one. We are so excited for this trip and hope you have a lovely time as well!
    So glad your wrist is better. ❤️

  59. Sandy says:

    How wonderful to enjoy another adventure with your dear friends!!!! So excited for all of you❤️❤️❤️ Will love the pictures and all that you did!!! Enjoy every moment❤️❤️❤️

  60. Pam B says:

    Although it is gorgeous right now on the Vineyard, it is so exciting to think of you escaping to another beautiful place in New England, and with best friends. Thrilled for your freed wrist, for your friends, for the people and places you’ll see and especially for you two. Ain’t love grand? ❤️ You are a constant positive in life for us all! And finally, “visiting” your warm and beautiful home brings my dad back to me. A priceless gift, and I THANK YOU! ❤️🏡🍂🍁🌻❤️

  61. Tina says:

    Is it too late for the book giveaway? If not, pick me! Pick me! 🙂 I love your books! I read them over and over, so I need my favorite ones.

  62. Debby Rickett says:

    Congratualtions winners!! what a treasure trove that was, Susan! You are so good to your girlfriends 🙂
    The blog was wonderful… all of it…. love love love the house pictures from way back when – Do you keep in touch with Carlton?
    Fall is in the air and your trip will certainly get you all ready for it! Kiss Joe that cutie-patootie!! have fun with Paul and Rachael (I want her hair style – she’s adorable). So glad to see your are all healed and well.
    Love you, dear one!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, Carlton, such a good old friend. Ray is across the kitchen from me now, just told her you love her hair! xoxoxo

  63. Lori W Hamilton says:

    I’m so glad that your wrist/hand is healing and that you have FUN coming up. You and Joe enjoy every minute roaming the countryside in the lovely crisp autumn weather. Just please share all the exquisite photos I know you’re going to take. This escapism blog is just what I needed tonight although right now the Carolina blue sky is sinking into a beautiful sunset and the day was a blessed one.
    Thank you dear Susan for sharing your life with us!

  64. Nanette R Hill says:

    Fall is upon us and what a welcome.
    Saw the Downton Movie last week; was a premier showing. I went dressed for the occasion. (the only one in the whole theatre) It was fantastic–no spoilers from me. Will see it again soon.
    Have a wonderful trip, looking forward to your next posting.

  65. julie eden says:

    Sounds like a great idea for a trip. New places planned for…hope it all works out well. Glad the wrist is healing. Love the photos of the house…Have fun AUTUMN..

  66. Lynn says:

    Funny what you said about the turquoise paint. I think it’s already back in fashion!~

  67. Ann R says:

    Susan, Happy talk like a pirate day! Was looking forward to a chatty post. Glad you wrist is on the mend and things are getting back to normal. Actually I liked your original wallpaper when you moved in, but then again I live in Hawaii and like aloha shirt too! Enjoy your getaway this week and will forward to the pictures of your trip. Aloha ha!

  68. Carolyn says:

    You are my escapism and enchantment for my soul as I read each and every one of your delightful blogs-

  69. jeanie says:

    Maine sounds lovely. It all is! I saw Downty tonight and you will not be disappointed — so many things are tied up so nicely (not that we realized there were things untied!). You might even shed a tear or two! I love seeing the various stages of your beautiful home. Isn’t that what it’s all about — evolving over the years into what is your very own? (As much as I love the color turquoise, that is a bit intense! Much improved!)

    I’m glad your wrist is doing well, you’ll be welcoming dear friends. And congratulations to all the winners!

  70. Dixie Johnson says:

    Saw Downton Abbey tonight—wonderful! I actually tearedup because I miss it so much! All of you will adore it. Have a wonderful time meandering through New England!

  71. Judi Teters says:

    I am so excited. For my Birthday my dear husband and family gave me and our three daughters a trip to New Hampshire Our family moved to Oregon in 1957 when I was 8. The last time I was there was in 1965. Even though I was young when we left, I still have good memories of living there. I’m making a bucket list of places to see again even though much has changed. My grandfather O’Connor’s house is still standing. I googled it and lo and behold on Zillow they had 19 photos of it. It was built in 1910 and even though it’s been somewhat updated, the layout is still familiar to me. Then there’s the food……of course Lobster, but I crave even more fried full-belly clams. God bless our travels.

  72. Beth T. says:

    Seeing those swatches has me planning a little quilt, something autumnal! I’ll be thinking of you, dear Susan, with every stitch. xoxox

  73. Judy from KC says:

    Seeing Downty Sunday ! Can’t wait! Have a lovely trip! So so glad you’re liberated from the wrist device. Hope the fall foliage is at its prime for your drive. Looking forward to pics!

  74. Fall is my favorite season. Have always wanted to see Vermont in the Fall! Happy you are mended. Have a fun time.

  75. Pam Gardner says:

    Hope you are having fun on your trip- I so love New England! Well, 2 Pams won your great mugs( but not this Pam). Oh well! Congrats to them! I am babysitting my grand dog right now I have three. Hoping for energy to give the house a clean and get out some fall things! It is harder when you are alone… But I try. I spend hours reading every day and mostly just look at the dust ( ugh). Wish I was there! Your home is beautiful❤️

  76. Joy Pence in Ohio says:

    I hope you have a wonderful time exploring with your precious friends.
    I cannot wait to see Downton on the big screen! Sending you hugs.

  77. Maggie Settino says:

    Got to go see Downty last week at a preview. Going back next week to see it again. So wonderful on the big screen. More laughs with fewer downers. I don’t think fans will be disappointed. Glad to hear the wrist is better

  78. Donna Squires says:

    Hi, Susan!

    Thanks for this autumn post. I am SO looking forward to getting away to Western Mass and seeing the fall color next week. Your blog always makes me smile! I LOVE your home. It gives me inspiration to make mine as cozy and comfortable as yours looks. Have a great trip!


  79. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    What a happy blog! Drawings, Dinner parties, Dear Friends and Downton Abbey!!! So glad your wrist is getting all better and you are off for some fun in the New England Countryside… Maybe a new book?? 😉 Going to see Downtown at 2 today too. Can’t wait. And then off to Quebec City for a big dose of fall at the end of the month. We have our mini fall in So Cal which I do love, but Quebec will be amazing… ❤️❤️❤️ 🍁🍁🍁🍁

  80. Barbara Warner says:

    I looked at your photos and all of a sudden, I thought, “I know that dining room!” When my husband was ill and I was housebound with him, I indulged in books about my favorite places in New England. I looked at “Martha’s Vineyard, Houses and Gardens” so may times, I swear I wore the pictures thin! So often, I toured your house in my dreams and lived there vicariously. Thank you for posting that photo again. Perhaps next year, I will finally visit the real Martha’s Vineyard! Until then, your blog will keep me contented!

  81. Betty LaRue says:

    Your posts are always so uplifting, so beautifully painted and so inspiring!! I absolutely love your outlook on life and your enjoyment of living it!! Mend quickly and enjoy your getaway. Betty L 🙂

  82. Darla says:

    Fun to see the before and after pictures of your dining room. Your kitchen looks welcoming too. Thanks for the blog. Have a great week!

  83. Lois Carr says:

    How can just one word sum up, all,that Susan accomplishes for us…it can’t all I can say is a ❤felt THANKYOU!

  84. Marilyn Young says:

    I’m watching Downton Monday. Last nite NBC had a special and now I can’t wait. I love all things English. My grandfather was born in Luttleport and came to America with four brothers😺 Have a grand time, talk soon. Marilyn

  85. Marilyn Young says:

    Susan, have a grand time seeing the Fall colors with Joe and friends. Love your notes and hope you are healing well. I too look at my house and picture new folks moving in and all kinds of thoughts go thru my head! Talk later, off for a walk now. ❤️❤️

  86. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says:

    My husband Joe & I just went to see Downton Abbey & it was delightful 🙂
    The music, the clothing, the haircuts were all in tune w/ the television series.
    Maybe they will make a part 2 movie for the big screen!

    Susan, I hope you have a wonderful trip. Since Monday is the first day of Autumn, may the 4 of you reap the bountiful harvest of fall.

  87. Marilyn Bunte says:

    Hi Susan🌻
    I am another one of your friends going to see Downton Abbey tomorrow. I am so excited,
    You would think it was Christmas!
    Won’t it be fun to share all of our thoughts together!

  88. Lee Gordon says:

    Enjoy your time with Rachel and Paul. There is nothing better than spending time with a “bosom friend” as Anne Shirley would say. I’m just a little jealous of your romp through the northeast with good buddies! Enjoy the fall…it will be 90 here in Orange County, CA this weekend. No fall in sight here yet. Love and blessings to you all!

  89. Eurika says:

    Congratulations to all the winners! Enjoy your vacation Susan.

  90. Melody Lewis says:

    Just reading your latest blog and feeling happy! Thankyou for being you. Sometimes I feel like an oddball but then I read your words and feel like I’m not so weird after all. I used to carry favorite quotes around in my wallet as a kid so I especially enjoy all the quotes that you share. And your absolute joy that comes through for everything nature.

  91. Lucia Donahower says:

    How lucky you and Joe are to go traveling with your English friends! Have a wonderful time and let us know how it went.
    Enjoyed seeing the house through The years ❤️

  92. Maureen Graham says:

    Hi Susan,
    I love your blog so much!
    My beloved and I went to see Downton last night. Loved every minute! That’s all I’ll say for now.
    Happy Autumn trails,
    Maureen in Michigan

  93. Aletha J Riter says:

    Thank you for another fantastic blog post…I so enjoy them…I can live on Martha’s Vineyard thru your eyes…heart and soul. You take excellent photo’s and it is such a joy to see and experience… I know you will enjoy your week’s stay…good luck in finding antiques that you want or are at least looking for….

  94. Kate says:

    My husband and I have a date next Thursday to see Downton Abbey. We try to make a little trip every time we leave the house, going back roads we have never seen before. Today we saw the cutest barber shop with mannequins seated out front and a tall barber shop pole on the side. In a little town we had never heard of before and wasn’t even on the map when I looked for it. Have a wonderful getaway. I can’t wait to read all about it.

  95. Raynore Jones says:

    This makes me long for New England even though I have been gone 41 years. Thank you for Sharing your view with us.

  96. Mer says:

    Just saw the movie tonight with my mom and sister. It was so nice to see everyone again and hear that music that fills you with anticipation. We really enjoyed it! The clothes were fabulous and the dowager had the best lines.😉 Susan, hope you’re enjoying this incredibly beautiful warm September weekend here in New England! It’s a gift! Dahlia festival tomorrow for me.

  97. Daralyn says:

    What a nice break I just had reading your blog tonight. I love the love you give to your people, your home, your husband, your life! You are an inspiration. Thank you for caring, thank you for sharing.
    Sometimes I feel so weary, your blog is a reminder to move, breathe and just honor life…
    I hope your visit with your friends on your fall 2019 adventure is full of laughs, beauty, and love….. Enjoy

  98. Kathy Thompson says:

    Hi Susan…What a wonderful post about your beloved house on Spring St. I know the feeling. We just celebrated the day we moved into our beloved house…39 years ago. I know every nook and cranny. Every noise it makes. I wouldn’t trade it for ANY other house ANY place in the USA. I think I’m here to stay. I treasure it. All the people who have spent hours or days or longer here. Those whose voices and laughter I can still hear, even though they are now in heaven. All the little dog and kitty heartbeats that have made this house a home. Here’s a fun thing you’ll enjoy. Just this evening we were watching a Dodgers game. A question came up about why they call something what it’s called. My husband said, “Hmmmm. Let’s check and see…and then he said … Morning Science.” Made me think of you and Joe and your moments of Morning Science. I’ve learned him well LOL. Terry is my “Joe.” Heading to the Dodger game tomorrow on the last day of summer. When we wake up the next day, it will be AUTUMN. Yay!!! Even though it may not feel like it yet here in California.

  99. Geri says:

    Lovely pictures; reminding me of growing up on the East Coast. Wishing you many more years in your beautiful home. Congrats to all the winners 💕

  100. Debbie Boerger says:

    Ohhh, The Red Lion, we know it well. Joe seems happy to see his friend. We probably won’t get there again, but who knows? I know you are having a wonderful time roaming the back roads and front roads.
    Tom worked so hard all morning. I keep peeking out the window to make sure he’s not flapped out on the ground. And I take him water. He forgets to drink. He cleaned out the large drum composter and put what was left in it on the large “Borrow Bed”. The other side of the BB is from last year, so that is being spread over our poor, bedraggled hostas planted in the very first bed we made, over 20 years ago. The rest will go on this and that.

    Now, Mr. Tom is showered, having popcorn and watching his beloved Cubs….they not doing so well. I expect he’ll be nodding off soon.
    Looking forward to more of your Getaway.

    Debbie in Maine

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