RABBIT HOLES GALORE and History too!

Well, here we go my darling girlfriends ~ yesterday, due to timing, I posted this before it was quite finished, but now, It’s all here, the links all work, there are lots of little rabbit holes for you to go down! Have fun! … MUSICA!

The sun this morning! Right where I was standing! Streaming through the windows, beaming light across the rooms and onto the walls . . .

. . . 40º and all is well!

A little bit of spring to thwart the grey and cold, brighten things up, remind us of what’s soon to come! Looks like Punxsutawney Phil might have been right this time! No shadow=early spring!I know, it’s too early, but I don’t care, it’s not hurting anyone if I start the celebration a little early (it’s my house, I live here, I have all the power! Or at least half. The good half!). I like to pretend, so what if it’s freezing cold outside, flowers and sunshine make me happy!😀 Got my Valentines mailed off. This one’s for my mom, something soft for her to cuddle and love, remind her of her babies. She’ll get it with a box of See’s Candy, our favorite “family” candy. (My grandma used to send me a big chocolate egg with walnuts from See’s every Easter💞. They have old-fashioned, red heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate too ~ if you click on that link, there’s still time to make someone’s day!❤️ ⬅️ this is why I had to hurry to put this up!)

And, in the spirit of “Groundhog Day” (the very excellent movie), I’m still making new art for the new 2021 calendars. Keeping myself busy. I’ll show you what else we’ve been up to, but first, let’s do what we came to do, see what we came to see . . . let’s find out who the winner is for our Great American Cup Giveaway. (stole that from the British baking people!) Just so you remember, ⬇️ there they are. 

For the lefties AND the righties! I hope you win! They would make very nice Valentine’s presents if you already have them!

You ready? The barrel holding all slips of paper with your names is churning away, round and round it goes, mixing and folding in the bits of paper, some of them breaking loose and flying around the room ~ “Barbara” and “Debbie” and “Andrea” and “Liz” ~ and “Carol” just floated by . . . but none of that counts unless it jumps into the beautifully manicured hands of our darling Vanna!And here is the very lucky catch, or winner, not a man, not a fish, it’s:

❤️ LaDonn J. from Iowa! ❤️

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S ❗️ 

I will email you soon LaDonn ~ write me back with your address and those Valentines will be winging their way to you with love from me and all our kindred spirits!💞 Now back to our regularly scheduled programming . . . Joe and I took a little trip off-Island! This is us on our way home:

Look at that moon! With clanging buoys right outside our window. We’re on the “freight boat” ~ cars are not stored inside, so we have a view of the water all the way home.

The Snow Moon followed us to the Island as we were heading back after celebrating the 33rd anniversary of our very first date (that lots of you read about in A Fine Romance,

the moment I was very brave and took a chance that Joe, who I barely knew, was NOT an ax murderer, just a possible friend, way too young for me, and went away with him! (So happy I did!) So last weekend we took a little trip to celebrate our Happily Ever After.

The reflection on the water made a path right to us…

While we were watching, this big black cloud bandaid scooted in front of the moon and covered it!

Our reaction? “HEEYYYYY, wait a minute!”

So we did, wait a minute, and here comes the beautiful moon again. It was a perfect ending for the perfect small getaway. Came home all happy and raring to go! Some highlights of our trip . . .

We love to get a little history wherever we go . . . around New England you don’t have to go far to find it! We booked a hotel in Lexington and spent a couple of days immersed in the past! Saw so many darling houses from the car window . . . I happen to know for a fact that this one has magic in it, it’s Orchard House in Concord, MA, the home of Louisa May Alcott.💞

Lovely old homes are just part of the territory in this neck of the woods, big ones and little ones . . . some old houses turned into offices or stores.

I know you like to see them as much as I do!

Isn’t this a pretty paint color?

This yellow too, warmed the cockles of our hearts . . . it never got over 28º the entire time we were there, our cockles needed some warming!

Sweet old barn . . .

Creamy colors and picket fences . . .

I loved the Robbins House ➡️ click on “History” to learn more about it.

Simple, plain, and clean behind rock walls . . .

Hard to take pics from a moving car, I either get there too late and only catch a corner of the building, or I get just a smear of color, miss the porch, am too close or too far . . . you should see the ones that got away! I never get tired of driving around New England!

Our room at the Inn at Hastings Park had the cutest little fridge! 

And this cozy fireplace I could turn on in the morning by flipping a switch to warm up the room while I made

tea because of course we brought our cups and a tea kettle!  America is not like England, we are not provided with tea kettles in our rooms, we get coffee makers! If you want tea, you have to bring your own kettle!

And just outside our window . . . I see the moon and the moon sees me.

There is so MUCH to see in the Lexington/Concord area … it’s a little like Williamsburg, without quite the organization, but definitely with the history. MAS MUSICA? 

This is Battle Green ~ it’s in Lexington where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. The statue is called Lexington Minuteman. We heard and read the whole story, where Paul Revere rode and how he was captured, and then the standoff . . . the drama, how the people living here handled the deaths and woundings of their neighbors, the fear, shock, and insecurity now that war with the biggest power in the world had come to their quiet little town.

It’s hard to imagine it happened on this lovely, peaceful open space with the most beautiful church. My fingers were almost frozen out there! Had to RUN for the car to thaw them out!

There are monuments with stories like this all over the park and it’s surrounded with lovely old homes. They have re-enactments here on Patriot’s Day.

Honoring the brave men who stood their ground.

Need I say more? They call our democratic republic “The Great American Experiment.” We have to take very good care of it, 

 for the future of our children.❤️

The establishment of our new Government seemed to be the last great experiment for promoting human happiness.💖 George Washington

These mark the graves of the 1775 Patriots. Reminded again that freedom isn’t free. (Next life, I’m coming back as a history teacher, I love this.)💖

And then we drove over to see the place where the first battle of the Revolutionary War was fought on April 19 1775, the “Birthplace of American Liberty.”

Right here, on Old North Bridge ~ a wooden replica of the one that stood there on the day of the battle ~ it spans the Concord River.

From the Concord Museum, this diorama shows how it looked that day! Massachusetts has a holiday that no other state celebrates called Patriot’s Day. It’s on the second Monday in April and commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War.

Eeeek. Can you even imagine??? There is a confusion here … the first shots were actually fired on Battle Green in Lexington…the British then marched on to Concord where they were met by colonists on this bridge . . . The phrase “Shot Heard Round the World” comes from the opening stanza of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn” (1837) and refers specifically to the first shot at the Bridge, on April 19, 1775.

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.”

I tiptoed down this road to exactly here and much as I wanted to cross that bridge (shiny with ice), I didn’t dare, it was the MOST slippery walk just to get to this spot where I was rooted ~ and my wrist had things to say about me trying, like, “Don’t even think about it.”

You can see this memorial to the British soldiers lost that day in the photo above with Joe, but it’s in shadow. 

This historical home was on my left as I was looking at the bridge . . . it’s called the Old Manse. It was built on the banks of the Concord River just up the hill from the bridge for Ralph Waldo Emerson’s GRANDFATHER in 1770 … he was living here when the first shots were fired. Just looked out his window on a sight to behold.

Joe expertly slipped and slid his way across to the patriot side of the bridge just to get this photo of “The Concord Minuteman.” We learned about this statue when we visited the studio of Daniel Chester French (last year with Rachel and Paul), who went on to design the Lincoln Memorial. This elegant statue of a farmer with a musket and a plow was his first full-sized sculpture.

Charming downtown Concord, filled with history, cute shops, antique stores, thrift shops, ice cream stores, a cheese shop, restaurants . . .

This town is a great place to do Christmas shopping (love to do it when we travel!).

All of it, just down the road from Orchard House, so you know Louisa May Alcott and her family saw this same scene, only with horses and buggies (apparently, from the quote below, she wasn’t as impressed as we were) ~ here’s some interesting information about the newest version of Little Women.

The beautiful old graveyard, right downtown Concord, not shunted off to the countryside, these citizens of the past are still part of the action! I imagine they are forever contributing and still have a lot to teach us. Reminds me of a quote by Anne Sexton, “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”

Dads and Moms, grandmas and grandpas, aunties and uncles, sisters, brothers, teenagers, twins, babies, and oldsters, the days of their lives.

Works of art, a story for each one, and all handmade.

We discovered the MOST wonderful bookstore!! You will love it here. They have a whole long WALL of award-winning books, books that have won the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the Booker Prize, the National Book Award. A whole wall of storytelling genius to choose from. I was mesmerized reading the titles. Realized how very very far I have to go if I wish to get them all read. Which I do. Which I won’t. But my favorite word in the English language is still “Try.” So, I chose ONE. Because that’s all I can do, one at a time!This week I’ve been reading a lot and doing little work. That’s the way things ought to be. That’s surely the road to success. ❤️ Anne Frank  

Joe got a book too, and off we went to the Colonial Inn for a nice long late lunch with books. Our favorite thing!

The Colonial Inn is a luv-lee historical hotel, with a restaurant that meanders into several different rooms, some with fireplaces that feel like an English pub.

We loved the food . . .


Joe was good, started with a salad, held this up and said, “What’s this?” We thought, radish? No, wrong shape. Carrot? Also a shape problem. We finally decided it was a beet, but we have no proof. I tasted it, it tasted like a not-too-crisp raw vegetable!  

And here we are, reading and eating, exactly what I was doing the day Joe sat down next to me and asked me to go away for the weekend. Been doing it now for 33 years, happy as clams.💞

This is the book I bought, it won the National Book Award. Isn’t the cover beautiful? The gold parts shine! I’m really enjoying it, but of course! It’s an award winner! It’s beautifully written! Joe got Warlight by Michael Ondaatje. We could have stayed there all day!I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.  💞 Ralph Waldo Emerson

We would never even think of going off-island without stopping at either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, preferably both! I’m fine with living in a place where there are no chain stores, but the minute we leave home, we make a bee-line for these places (plus Taco Bell!). There’s a cooler with ice in the car, and we fill up with all the deliciousness these places have to offer, including, as you have seen from the beginning of this post, this springtime floral extravaganza!!! They even gave us a bucket with water to take our flowers home with us.

And LOOK at this irresistible thing. Yes, it went home with us too.❤️

I found the perfect card for Joe, but I knew he’d see it at check out, I wanted to surprise him so I just gave it to him in the store. He loved it, and then we put it back! P.S. I found his Valentine in another store when he wasn’t with me. 💞(Shhhhh)

We bought this little bouquet, for our next stop . . .

Yes . . .

I wanted to visit Louisa May Alcott’s grave on this winter’s day, in a deep and dark February, and leave her a Valentine of flowers . . .

We’ve been here before. This area of the cemetery is called Author’s Ridge.

Called that for good reason. Emerson gave the dedication for this garden graveyard and was thinking of all of us when he said, “When these acorns that are falling at our feet are oaks overshadowing our children in a remote century . . .” Thoreau is buried here, and Hawthorne too. Emerson is the quiet foundation of this whole area. He’s everywhere. His words are carved in stone. Such an interesting person, a mentor to the celebrity star of Concord, Louisa May Alcott.The cemetery is an elegant place.

Overlooking everything is a small stone that says, so simply, Lousia M. Alcott. Both times I’ve been here, her grave has been framed by mementos left by other visitors.

I took this photo when we were here in 2015. Always decorated.

Her grave held the only color in the entire cemetery. It was a lovely way to end the day. We left soon after to go look for the Snow Moon. I hope you had fun in Lexington/Concord! But for more history . . . go here!⬇️

I’m so excited to see the new three-night series beginning this Sunday called Washington! It should be wonderful. The award winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (“I’ve spent my life with dead presidents”) is the executive producer (the movie Lincoln was based on her book, Team of Rivals). Look for it Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday . . . February 16, 17, 18 on the History Channel.   

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw.” 💞George Washington

Yes, Jack was thrilled to see us back home. But not quite as thrilled as me! The little wriggling fur-ball. I will never get enough of that face! 😍Bye for now dear ones . . . Off I go, back to the paintbrush and Groundhog-Day Calendar making! See you soon!

PS Here’s a little rock and roll for us, MUSICA . . .

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484 Responses to RABBIT HOLES GALORE and History too!

  1. Judy in Oregon says:

    We have spent some time in the Lexington/Concord area and I loved all the history there. Definitely a highlight was seeing where the first battle of the Revolutionary war started and also the tavern where the minutemen held their meetings. You are very fortunate to live so close to where there is so much history.

  2. Dixie says:

    Oh, the thought of spring with flowers popping up everywhere makes me smile.
    Wished I could tour those beautiful old homes. They look so inviting.
    I haven’t seen “Little Women” yet. Can’t wait.

  3. Sherry Coleman says:

    These were the kind of trips my parents took us on as kids. My Dad was a huge history buff and oh, what a love for it I inherited. Love this post! Makes me hungry for more! Always love finding your emails! What a treat!💕🌸💕🌸

  4. Happy Valentine’s Day Susan.
    The mystery vegetable at the Colonial Inn is a carrot. Often multicolored carrots will be sold in bags containing orange, white, and dark purple…almost black, carrots. What you have is a slice of dark purple carrot, they are this wonderful color surprise when you slice them.

    Kathie H.

  5. Lynn Marie says:

    I think that veggie on Joe’s salad is a slice from a huge purple carrot. They are that yellowish color in the middle. I was stumped for awhile because of the size of it. We use to serve them on the salads at my little coffee shop when we could find them. ☺

  6. Ann Y. says:

    What a lovely post…you make us feel as if we were on the road with you ! I think you are right about the Groundhog and an early Spring….but I am still hoping for a good blizzard and some winter weather before that time comes. We actually bought the DVD of Groundhog Day to watch each year…this year I told Alexa to set an alarm playing “I Got You, Babe”…so we woke up hearing that and laughing. Went to Lexington years ago and am still moved by the monument to the British soldiers who died there and”their mother’s moan”….so sad for all. Will have to go back and see that cemetery. We love wandering around cemeteries….everywhere we travel. And, we are lucky to have a churchyard behind our church in Lancaster, PA….church just celebrated 275 years – but they boarded up in 1776 because it was the Church of England!!! There are patriots and signers of the Declaration of Independence buried there…and as you said…mothers, grandmothers, sons, daughters….we walk through the churchyard each week before services on our way to the library ( how convenient) and I also think of all those people and the lives they must have led. Even one of George Washington’s generals, Edward Hand, is buried there….and his home is a few miles away. So…someday, put Lancaster on your travel list….lots of history and good food, too. Thank you, Susan – for sharing your adventures with us. Now I am off to a cuppa and a good book, with my best friend/husband/sweetie of 43 years….as you said “happy as clams”! Blessings to you and Joe !

  7. daniela medina says:

    Hi Susan, I think the tuber in your pic is a camote, or maybe some kind of ñam, or batata, like yuca, mangala, they come in a lot of colors, 🙂 I wish you a happy valentines, from Mexico xoxo

  8. kimberley says:

    I can’t quite believe there isnt a kettle in hotel rooms there and I dont even drink tea! Opened my eyes a bit to a uk / usa difference!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, That’s what makes it fun, all these discoveries! Buy your kettle when you get here and then you won’t have to worry about the electricity differences. I have a British hair dryer now.

  9. Debbie Boerger says:

    It’s visiting these places, Lexington and Concord, that points us to what was sacrificed to make this Nation. Some of our younger friends seem to equate the overt display of the American Flag as somehow sharing the MAGA mindset. Even though Tom and I are as horrified at what’s happening to the vision of America as anyone, we still display that Flag where ever we happen to be…Tampa or Maine.
    My best Maine friend and traveling buddy once said re putting out the Flag the first thing upon opening up “camp” in Maine, “I’ll be damned if I allow those blanked-D-blanks to co-opt my Flag!!!” We agree.
    Thank you, dear Susan, for working to keep the gentle reminders of our history.
    Happy Valentine’s Day,
    Debbie in Tampa

  10. Denise Mangano says:

    …places I may never get to see…you made me feel like I did…
    THANK YOU for that!

  11. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Lovely post, as always. New England – someday I will visit it! all the history and quaint towns, great shopping, cemeteries, food, sooooo fabulous. I just thought I would tell ‘someone’ this – for 2 years now it has been my New Years Resolution to attempt to make macarons. I’m too afraid. What did my darling daughter give me for Christmas? she signed us up for macaron class at Sur La Table and we go tomorrow A.M. PLUS we’re going out to Cheesecake Factory for lunch afterwards. A daughter knows the way to her Mom’s heart. I just had to share. I know some of the readers would be thrilled for me!

    • sbranch says:

      And I am one of them Barbara! How fun, tell us how it went!

      • Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

        Now that I have spent 3 hrs in a macaron class I have a greater appreciation for them. Not sure if I will attempt to make them on my own, perhaps…. we did learn a few tricks so I might have the confidence. One thing I can pass on. For one of the fillings – she used dehydrated raspberries, crushed in a food processor, then added to the buttercream frosting. Genius! I serve dehydrated strawberries to my granddaughter and now think I will occasionally begin to use assorted fruits in my buttercreams. You can find them at Trader Joe, Aldi, and most groc stores. It really gave an enhanced flavor. Imagine the possibilities.

  12. jean m says:

    The fact that you brought flowers to LMA’s grave brought tears to my eyes.
    So sweet and thoughtful, and very moving to see all of the other mementoes left by her admirers .

  13. Happy anniversary, Susan and Joe! So glad you had a beautiful little getaway to celebrate. Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite stores; I shop there all the time. You really make a beeline for Taco Hell (as I call it)??! That has got to be THE worst fast food ever. Besides Arby’s. ha ha

    Your sunshiney photos in your beautiful kitchen are so heavenly.

  14. julia walker says:

    Thank you seems insufficient for the most enjoyable “vacation” I’ve spent in years! Thanks for taking me along Susan.

    With love & appreciation,

  15. Annelies says:

    What a lovely trip we just took. I remember walking into Concord house….and the tears came. My last gift from my father on my eighteenth Christmas…..Little Women and a Madame Alexander Beth doll. Both so precious. I am curious….have you been watching Sanditon. Be still my heart!!!! Speaking of hearts, OMA wishes you and Joe a lovely Valentine’s Day. We will never forget our time with you both at the Apple Farm. XXX

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Sanditon, as a matter of fact, I’m watching/listening to last night’s episode right now! Give my love to OMA! XOXO

      • Annelies says:

        Oma will be so excited to hear from you. Dearest Susan, do you think you can lead all of your followers to contact PBS and beg for a second season of Sanditon. It ends just begging for continuation!!!!!

  16. John says:

    Loved this blog, especially the book quotes! I must say, though, Massachusetts is not the only state that celebrates Patriots Day. When I worked at the library here in Belfast, Maine, we were closed every Patriots Day! Thanks!

  17. Pat Tasker says:

    Visited Lexington and Concord two years again and many of the same places. Your descriptions are so good! Loved the cemetery and authors ridge. Wished we had stopped at Louisas home!

  18. De says:

    Susan, my hubby and I did a short get away last week too. To Cayucos. I thought of you when we stopped in SLO and wondered where you lived back in the day. We visited 7 Missions! 7. I love history too.

  19. Another great trip without leaving my chair!

  20. jeanie says:

    Oh, the memories you bring me of a long-ago trip to Concord! Some of those were revived when I saw Little Women. (I just posted a photo of me reading that book when I was about 10 or 11 in my blog book post — and that brought back memories too!). You maxed out your wonderful time there and now I’m a little itchy to return! Isn’t it wonderful in the cemetery? Did you know that for the film they built a replica of Orchard House on the property of a nearby large home that served as Laurie’s home? Such love and joy here — you guys travel right! And come home to Jack!

  21. Dayna says:

    Oh Susan, what a beautiful blog post. I savored it for days, got delightfully lost in the rabbit holes & shed a few tears at the beautiful bouquet left for Louisa. Loved, loved, loved the movie & the care the production team took on every aspect of the film. Truely felt like a love letter to the book & Louisa May Alcott. So looking forward to visiting Concord/Lexington someday. So much to see in that area of the country. Fun fact, as a California kid, I first fell in love with carrera marble from the counters at See’s Candy shops. I now have it in my remodeled bathroom. Everyone said “don’t do it” but I love it & just give it a bit of extra care. So happy I did! Happy anniversary, happy valentines. May have to visit See’s today, try to stay out of there, you know, calories & all but I’ll treat myself today! Thanks for everything! ❤️

  22. Anne Miller says:

    Susan, these refulgent posts/sharings represent VAST time, effort, thought, creativity, and LOVE. Thank you for this special Valentine…as always a very important morale boost. XO

    • sbranch says:

      I love doing it as you can probably tell ~ so many wonderful things to share, if I could afford it, I’d do it full time!

  23. Cindy B. says:

    Your trip to the Concord area brought a smile to my face as I remembered our trip there years back. We were coming across Vermont and soon saw the signs for Concord. Already! Only to find ourselves in a sweet little community backed up against high cliffs…..hmmm, something doesn’t quite feel right. Well, I guess not as we were in Concord, NEW HAMPSHIRE instead of Concord, MASSACHUSETTS!!! What a laugh we had. History buffs should concentrate a little more on geography sometimes. But eventually we wound our way into the correct Concord and enjoyed seeing all the same sights that you and Joe saw.

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha! Sometimes I think there are at least two of every town name in New England and all of them came from England! They didn’t call it NEW England for nothing!

    • Rhonda Williams says:

      Ha! Ha! My husband and I did the exact same thing. We couldn’t understand why our waitress gave us a really weird look when we said it must be fun to live in a place with so much history. Then we started thinking about it and realized our mistake. We still laugh about it!

  24. Linda Stegner says:

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of your trip to Lexington/Concord. I’ve added that to my list of places I want to visit. And thank you for letting us know about Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Washington!” series. I’ll be sure to watch it. Also, I love the quote from Carl Sandburg about time. It really spoke to me today.

  25. Liz from Sterling Heights, Michigan says:

    And just as your picture of Orchard House popped up, my husband switched our own “musica” to the soundtrack of “Little Women” 1994 without my even mentioning what I’m reading! Finished enjoying your lovely (as always!) blog to the perfect music! It’s a lovely, chilly winter afternoon in Michigan, and I am delighted to be reading about Lexington and Concord – probably my favorite vacation spot when I was a child! Your pictures bring back so many memories! We’ll have to plan a return trip! Thanks, Susan!!

  26. Lori Montgomery says:

    What a wonderful post about our history! I love all the stories, memorials, statues, etc. I also enjoyed seeing Louisa May Alcott’s home and where she and the other amazing authors are laid to rest. Thank you for sharing these with us.

  27. Karen Holm says:

    This is one of your best blogs. I am ready to make our reservations for Concord and about, and want to take my grandson, Gunnar, who is 18 and on his way to Western Washington University next fall……….his parents and his Papa and I (Nana) have threatened to get the dorm room next to him – he is our heart.
    Papa and I have been where you went but your detail……..just saw Little Women – new one- and just loved it. You are a treasure for me. Thanks!

  28. Ellie says:

    Thank you for this interesting post. Your photo of the Concord Minuteman reminded of a movie I saw in the 80s called Revolution starring Al Pacino and Donald Sutherland. It got awful reviews but I loved it. For instance, I was amazed to learn from it that often wives accompanied their farmer husbands when they went off to fight so they could cook and otherwise care for them. And if there was no one at home to care for the children, they went too. Of course they remained behind the lines, but not always. Imagine that? We owe such a debt of gratitude to these unbelievably brave men and women.

    I’ve always wanted to, so when the weather is a little warmer I’m going to go off-Cape and pay a visit to Concord and Lexington.

  29. 3393 N. E Street San Bernardino Ca 92405 says:

    Oh this was so wonderful to read. I have been a fan of Doris Kearns Goodwin ever since I saw the Ken Burns series on baseball. I loved her stories about watching games with her dad. And also Louisa May has guided me through my life since I first read Little Women (called by mom, grandma and great grandma “the family Bible”) as a young girl which was followed by Little Men, Jo’s Boys and then Under the Lilacs, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom. My very very favorite was an Old Fashioned Girl and Polly was a role model for me. She even marries Tom at the end and I have now my own dear sweet Tom to love all my days. Seeing Louisa’s grave was amazing! In Anne Lebowitz’s book Pilgrimages she takes such poignant pictures of the Alcott sister’s dolls…images that make it real. Love to you always!

  30. Cat Wheeler says:

    One of the “musicas” you had on your most recent blog reminded me of Secret Garden’s Poeme! I grew up with all types of music, from Motown to Disco to Rock – but every once in awhile, I play this – and brings me to another place. You must listen to it. My husband and I were in Boston the end of October, didn’t have time to go to Concord (he’s a history buff) – but next time around!

    Love and Best, Cat

  31. Betsy Stevenson from San Bernardino says:

    Oh this was so wonderful to read. I have been a fan of Doris Kearns Goodwin ever since I saw the Ken Burns series on baseball. I loved her stories about watching games with her dad. And also Louisa May has guided me through my life since I first read Little Women (called by mom, grandma and great grandma “the family Bible”) as a young girl which was followed by Little Men, Jo’s Boys and then Under the Lilacs, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom. My very very favorite was an Old Fashioned Girl and Polly was a role model for me. She even marries Tom at the end and I have now my own dear sweet Tom to love all my days. Seeing Louisa’s grave was amazing! In Anne Lebowitz’s book Pilgrimages she takes such poignant pictures of the Alcott sister’s dolls…images that make it real. Love to you always!

  32. Becky Maggio says:

    You’ve convinced me!! Lexington/Concord is a must see. But when it’s a little warmer. I love that you left flowers for Louisa Mae Alcott❣️ Due to medical issues we haven’t been able to travel the last two years but soon!! We both love history, too. At the top of my bucket list is Martha’s Vineyard 🥰 Hopefully to spend an entire month!! I’m giddy just thinking about it. We’ll treat you and Jo to dinner… me and my fairytale guy. Remember us from Asheville Book signing? That was an amazing time. 🤗 Enjoyed this post so much. Thanks!! 😘

  33. Lorri H says:

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you one again, sweet friend, for a marvelous joy spot!! You are a treasure!
    Much love from Arizona ❤️

  34. Amy G. says:

    I LOVE every inch of this blog! This is everything I most care about, outside of my family and friends. 😉 I’m a lover of books, an adoring fan of Louisa May Alcott and am fascinated by the history and legend of the Concord/Lexington/Boston area. The many brilliant minds that all lived in the same area at the same time, the richness and respect for story and heritage – all entice me to dig deeper, read more, and hopefully visit those same spots some day. You couldn’t have nailed it on the head for me any better than this blog. Thank you for sharing – it is truly food for my soul. Isn’t it amazing that Louisa’s headstone is so simple? I am sure to revisit, re-read, and check out every link you have so thoughtfully included <3 Happy Date Anniversary to you and Joe! <3

  35. Jan H says:

    this is a wow-za blog! I was entranced with all the photos, drawings and wonderful stories and quotes of your time spent in these last few weeks of winter. Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Anniversary dear Susan. As part of my table setting decorations for a Valentine’s party with our grandkids and family I had your keepsake book, Love from the Heart of the Home.

  36. Peggy Cooper says:

    Wonderful! But I was disturbed for a minute. When I saw the book you bought, I first thought it said “Harming Billy” because I skipped the stylized C. I thought what has happened to Susan that she would want to read such a book. Anyway, thanks for all the pictures of New England. Having spent many summers there as a child, and then living in Massachusetts for a year quite a while back, I do enjoy seeing all the lovely old houses and cemeteries. But now I’m living in the south, so enjoying getting to know some of the history here. Hard to travel much now though because our 1 1/2 year old English Springer is a crazy pants girl, named Tasha after Ms. Tudor, and is quite the handful. What were we thinking getting such a wild one at our age. But she’s ours, and we love her even when she drives us crazy. Jack seems much more manageable.

  37. Cynthia Huffer says:

    Thank you for your recommendation in your previous blog, about “The Detectorists”. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed binge-watching it. The humor is so subtle and the storyline kept us interested. The acting was so good as well.

  38. Maggie Settino says:

    Knowing that you love history you need to stop in my home town of Wethersfield Ct. come in October when the scarecrows come out to greet you. Many wonderful historical sites. The book “Witch of Blackbird Pond” is about our town. Guess which houses Tom Tyron used as models in his novels. Recently we have played host to movie sets for Hallmark and Lifetime. Sit outdoors and have a bite to eat. Take the oldest continuous running ferry to Glastonbury and spend a night at The Ct River Valley Inn. It’s charming and the innkeeper designs beautiful dish ware. Glastonbury also has some marvelous sites. And all of it is about two hours from the Cape

  39. Anke Betic says:

    What a lovely newsletter again. I enjoyed it.

  40. Dawn says:

    Coming back to this post again, I’m so entranced… winter sunlight, books, flowers, historical tours, and cake are my idea of a soul-satisfying get-away too. Thanks for showing us the sunny side of life with this beautiful valentine.

  41. Charlotte M. says:

    I love the houses there. Those are my style of buildings. I love all the wood and the details they used to put into houses. I just started re-reading Fairy Tale Girl again. I must say, I love how it takes me back to that time. I am about 10 years younger than you, but I remember so much of that time in history. Isn’t it funny that whatever years our past is, is “the good ol’ days”? I just feel like things were easier then, even though I know that’s not completely true. I am chugging along in the book, and then will move on into Martha’s Vineyard and A Fine Romance. Just have to read them all. They are stories that stand the test of time. Thank you Susan.

  42. cathy bullard says:

    Love that you mentioned that you & Joe perused your books while eating lunch. My husband & I always read when we went out to eat. We talked lots when we were home, but it was our way of relaxing. My husband died in 2016 & he was my travel buddy so I rarely travel anymore. In one of your posts you called Joe your “boy”. I always called my husband that. It is bittersweet to read about your travels since I miss traveling with my boy so much.

  43. Irma Roberts says:

    This newsletter brought back such wonderful memories from 25 years ago! My late husband and I traveled ‘back East’ from California and visited the same area! Concord was a dream come true for me! His family came from that area and we were able to find gravestones and ‘visit’ his ancestors. It was a once in a lifetime trip but your writings brought me back for a second time! Thank you!

  44. Sheila Roberts says:

    I just love your blog! It’s a ray of sunshine for me every time I read it and you take me to places I have never been & only dream of going. Being a resident of southern California, the part of the country you are in is like another world; one I hope to see someday! Thank you for your wonderful word pictures. I also enjoyed the article about the location of Little Women. I was reticent to see the movie because I thought it was going to be too modern; the article made me think maybe they stayed true to the story. I have loved that book since I was a child and many others by Louisa May Alcott. I feel my character and value system was partially formed by those books. Almost no one I know has ever heard of Eight Cousins or even Jo’s Boys or read Little Men. I can’t wait to share them all with my grandchildren- another generation influenced! My daughter loved Little Women and my grandmother actually gave me my first copy.Thank you again for your lovely, lovely blog. I truly do feel you are a kindred spirit!

    • sbranch says:

      I think it’s gone like that for generations, grandmas to granddaughters, aunts to nieces, moms to daughters, a very sweet word-of-mouth passing-down of love.

  45. Jo-Ann Leedle says:

    As always, I so enjoyed reading your newsletter. Thank you!🌷

  46. Christine Morgan says:

    Enjoyed all the history. Beautiful pictures.

  47. Corky says:

    Lovely newsletter and a happy 💕’s day. That unknown vegetable is a carrot! Aren’t they cool and great in salads for sure.
    Thank you for the trip throughout Lexington.
    We are experiencing 60 and low 70’s in the Bay Area…..so springlike which is scary as we desperately need rain.
    Thank you for you lovely newsletter.

  48. Antonia Lutz says:

    I’m recording the Washington series! This was a lovely post I’m ready to do some traveling up north maybe next year

  49. Hannah, New Orleans says:

    Susan, your posts never cease to make my day– like a warm hug for my inbox! I eat up any history on Louisa May Alcott. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Orchard House, but I hope I do one day! Thank you for sharing more information on her burial site. I had no idea so many American greats were together in their eternal rest.

    On a happier and more celebratory note, I hope you and Joe had a fabulous First “Date-a-versary!” My fiance, John, and I are eloping on our three year anniversary next month in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA! Hello, sunset cliffs and ocean air! Take care!

  50. Ann R says:

    Susan, what a wonderful little road trip. It does my heart good to see an independant bookstore (let alone any bookstore). Buying a real book you don’t have to update your software, drivers, whatever, make sure your antivirus is on to prevent hackers, and no blu ray. You just buy the book and open it up and READ! You both picked great books, I really like Michael Ondaatje writing, he really sucks the reader into his stories. Highly recommended The Cinnamon Peeler (poetry) and Running in the Family (prose).

  51. Jill says:

    I just read today that Daniel French Chester once studied with May Alcott! I guess she was very underappreciated.

    • sbranch says:

      Her sister got the thunder! But in Orchard House, over the fireplace in Louisa’s room is painted, right on the mantle piece, a beautiful little picture of an owl by May. Very sweet to see.

  52. Patricia Edde says:

    Thank you for sharing the history of Concord. I was never a real history buff but find as I have reached the last 1/3 (if I’m lucky) of my life, I find it more fascinating. I would love to see more of the East Coast – I’ve only been to New York, Washington DC and best of all, Martha’s Vineyard. I spent 3 days there as a gift from some wonderful friends when I turned 50 – alas, after spending the money on inns, they didn’t have enough dinero to come along but I am a comfortable solo traveler so enjoyed myself very much. I looked up the Inn at Hastings Park and would love to stay there.
    Some things that spoke to my soul (and often my stomach) in your post:
    #1 See’s candy: The best chocolate (according to moi) in the entire world. While recovering from my shoulder repair, I bought a 5 item special package to thank the 3 people who had gone over the top in helping me during that time and the smiles on their faces said everything. Mary See really knew what she was doing.
    #2: Trader Joe’s is the bomb. Having lived in SoCal for 53 years with a Traders on practically every corner (ok, maybe I exaggerate a teeny tiny bit) I was spoiled. Upon moving back to Decorah, Iowa I was bereft, not to be consoled. The closest one was in Edina, Minn., almost 3 hours away when, lo and behold a miracle occurred, one opened in Rochester, Minn., a mere hour and 20 minutes away and I was transported to Nirvana (not the group but the place).
    I often went to Whole Foods but ever since Jeff Bezos bought it, and since he doesn’t pay any income tax on the billions he makes, I think it is off my list.
    #3: “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison. Do you remember the movie “Immediate Family” with Glen Close and she and Mary (I can’t remember her name but she was going to give her soon to be born baby to Glen and James Woods) were playing fake instruments to the song? It was perfection.
    #4 Anne Sexton: I was never really a reader of poetry ever since a college professor of English ridiculed those of us who interpreted an Emily Dickenson poem in a fashion different from his own. I did however love reading the biographies of Anne and Sylvia Plath. What tortuous lives they led.
    and finally, before your patience runs thin and your vision is starting to blur,
    #5: The winner of the cups, LaDonn from Iowa, could she possibly be from Decorah. I don’t think that LaDonn is a typical name and I know of a woman with that name who lives here. What a coincidence that would be.
    Anyway, as you can see from my novel here, I’m baaaack. I guess I had to make up for all of the months I didn’t write after surgery.
    Much love to you, Joe and sweet Jack from
    Patricia, Princess Olivia Rose and Bixby Beaudelaire, Easl of Dibly

    • sbranch says:

      LOL, this small world ~ Yes, LaDonn is from Decorah!!! I’m so HAPPY you’re back, Patricia! Loved your reflections, all the kindred-spirit-ness! xoxo

  53. Mamey Brown says:

    I have always wanted to go there in MA. I must go this year. Thank you so much for all of the photos and inspiration! Do you watch Outlander? I just binge watched the series and I am hooked!

  54. Kate says:

    My husband and I hope to visit these places this year. And a new candy place we didn’t know about. I gained ten pounds just looking at all the delicious looking candy! Thanks for taking us, once again, on a magical trip to a beautiful, historical part of our wonderful country.

  55. Joanie B says:

    Thank you for the best blog post ever, it lifted my heart and was a feast for the eyes and soul. Loved the new Little Women movie, now I want to re read all Louisa’s books. Thanks Sue for using electronics in a creative way to bless all of us kindred spirits.

  56. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    Rabbit holes; the perfect term for what I’ve been finding myself in lately. I mentioned to you recently that I am rereading all of your blog posts. Still taking my time, because I do have a life. 😉 But, I keep thinking of things I want to comment on, but don’t want to be leaving comments on every page, so here are just a few: You showed a “whistling bird” tea cup that you designed for Lennox, but it was never made. I really, really, really hope, someday you can make one. I want it! In another post you were talking about the recipes pages you used to make for Country Living magazine. I have 11 of those pages that I tore out of the magazines and have kept all these years. In another, you were talking about journals, and how much you love the handwritten ones. It made me think of my grandpa. He was a farmer, and kept more of a journal than a diary. He noted the weather, temperatures and what he was planting, plowing, harvesting, etc each day. On the day my dad was born he wrote “Monday, January 1, 1917. Happy New Year. We are the proud parents of a 9 1/2 pound boy. Mae and Baby are doing fine. Born at 6:00 a.m. today.” We found the journals after he died, and made copies for each grandchild. I love that they are in his own handwriting. Also, on a personal note, in another post you talked about walking through a very old, New England cemetery with Joe and how the double graves of moms and babies made you sad. My mom’s mother died during childbirth, when my mother was 2 years old. On the day of her funeral, the baby also died and they laid her in the casket with my grandmother and buried them together. A sad, yet beautiful thought. That’s all for today. I had so many other things I wanted to comment on, but didn’t think to start writing them on a notepad, and so have forgotten most. Have a wonderful day, Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      This is why I call us kindred spirits … we all have SO much in common! Our histories, our stories of love, family, home, and our hopes for the future ~ and, with all the quirks of history, the miracle that any of us are here at all! Tears in my eyes for the baby and her mother. Thank you for your review Mary Ann! xoxoxo

  57. Peg Parrish says:

    Such a wonderful post and I have shared it with many friends and family. My husband lived in Lexington and was a Selectman there, too. It is such a beautiful place so when we were married in 1997, we got special permission to be married in Buckman Tavern, where the patriots waited for Paul Revere. The ceremony was fireside and candlelit, the day after Thanksgiving, with a small group of friends and family and the reception was down the street at the home of dear friends. No one had been married in the tavern before and I don’t know if anyone has since but it was very magical and Lexington will always be in our hearts. The couple who hosted our reception will be the Co-Grand Marshall’s of the parade for Patriots Day this year and we would certainly love to be there to celebrate that honor with them.
    I hope that you, Joe and Jack had a lovely Valentines Day and are remaining in good health these days. We have been enduring day after day of very cold rain so we are dreaming of our July trip to the Vineyard. It won’t be long until those warm days are here.
    Take care and thanks again for the lovely travelogue of one of our favorite places in Massachusetts! XOXO💕😘

    • sbranch says:

      This means I’ve now met TWO Lexingtonians with husbands who were Selectmen, right here in this comment section of my Blog!!! The other was Beverly Kelley who you probably even know! They are also Grand Marshalls of the parade this year! Isn’t that amazing? Buckman Tavern was closed for the season when we were there, hopefully we’ll see it in the future. What a lovely place to get married! Hopefully the sun will shine for you soon, Peg! Thank you for your memories!

      • Peg Parrish says:

        Yes Susan, the Kelley’s are our dear friends and I did not know that she had written to you until I read the comments! They are Mr. and Mrs.
        Lexington as far as I am concerned. 😂 We shall all have to get together for one big picnic like you planned for your trip to the UK. Wouldn’t that be amazing? There would probably not be a venue large enough for all of your New England peeps but we would have such fun!
        Much love to you, Joe and Jack. 💕😘

  58. Lisa Berger says:

    Love this post! My maiden name was Buckman, and a grand of mine owned Buckman Tavern where the British soldiers were treated for their wounds by a Son of Liberty. For a Southern CA girl, it is is exciting to see living history at Lexington-Concord!

    • sbranch says:

      We saw your old house! Right there on Battle Green! Have you been there yet? I have people who fought in the Revolutionary War too, one of them was with Washington when he crossed the Delaware. Not sure where the others were. Maybe with yours! Very fun to be there and feel the past. xoxo

  59. Bobbie says:

    Hey Susan,

    Miracles do happen so I hope you’ll see this. It’s nice to know what others think of us. Please read: http://cozymadethings.blogspot.com/2018/01/snow-dreams.html

    • sbranch says:

      WOW! Thank you Bobbie, so NICE! She knits EXACTLY the way I would knit if I could knit anything besides a shawl or scarf! Gorgeous!

      • Dianne says:

        I will add another post (general) in a few hours, but I wanted to respond to your reply. First, I’m pea green with envy (to quote Scarlett) that Bobbie knit that absolutely gorgeous sweater in five- 5- hours!!! It would take me forever. Second, and most important, if you can knit a scarf or a shawl, you can knit so much more. I was always afraid to knit socks, but they are one of my favorite things to knit now. Such a nice gift- both to give and to receive ( I get a new pair every year on my birthday- knit with love by my niece). I’m even gathering the courage to once again try Fair Isle knitting. S0, remember- “Courage dear heart”.

        • sbranch says:

          I have courage, I keep telling myself to go to the yarn store on Tuesday nights where I could knit with others and learn … and I just don’t! Too much work! Someday!

      • Laurie Nico’s mom says:

        Just checked out this link. She says she loves Susan Branch “just like she loves Santa Clause”. I can’t think of a more apt description!


    • Me2 says:

      “Susan Branch is good medicine for me. “

  60. Debbie Boerger says:

    I just went through this wonderful travelogue again, making notes for the Summer visit. And got some great ideas from the comments, too. We have good friends who live in Lexington.

    Tom and I look like one big wreck. Have to laugh, or I’d cry. I had some nasty oral surgery on Tuesday to put a skin graft over an exposed root on lower front tooth. I’m told the recession is the result of “overly enthusiastic” brushing. As a kid. But, but…..that’s what they told us to do!!!
    Tom had a MOHS surgery yesterday for yet another skin cancer on his sweet face. He looks like Van Gogh if seen directly from the front, and I look like Popeye with the huge swollen chin. I’m especially cute with an Ace bandage tied around my head holding ice packs on the chin. He has to sleep in his recliner for 2 nights. Was laughing this morning with a friend who called to see if we needed anything…..Seems as though our calendar is mostly doc’s visits. I guess we’re like fine, vintage cars, which take more visits to the mechanic to keep running.

    Yep, that’s what we are…Vintage. Love to you, Dear Susan,
    Debbie in Tampa

    • sbranch says:

      Your sense of humor is holding Debbie! I always suspected that retirement was necessary to fit in the doctor appointments! These things heal. That’s the good news. So do that, heal as quick as you can, and get ready, because spring is coming! XOXOXO Love to you both!

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

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. well this is going to be short, we finally named our new rooster (adopted him about 3-4 weeks ago). his name is Chance after a John Wayne character from a movie called The Hell Fighters… his character was named Chance Buckman. seemed fit our new rooster so that’s his name and he likes it already. got to get hopping… dinner preps and put today’s eggs away in the fridge. have a great weekend everyone. hugs… 😀

  62. Jeanne Dolfin says:

    LOVEly post! Thank you always for sharing your heART! And so happy.. and grateful…you shared quotes from my favorite author Louisa May Alcott… and her well loved grave site!

  63. Inez Schlueter says:

    I always look forward to your blog. Love the old homes and all you’re pictures. But what caught my attention, was you’re shopping at Trader Joes and whole foods. I want to tell you about a market that opened here, I think you would like. It’s call sprouts. I love this store. You can buy healthy, organic, etc., but the best is, they have these barrels, that have all kinds of flours, rice, corn, etc., and nuts, seeds, oatmeal, so much. I believe you can pull up on the internet, a must go, if one is near you.I love that you can try something and not buy a five pound bag, just scoop a little and try. If you like, next time buy more.Also, they let you know on the signs, where the fruit and produce come from. Like raspberries USA, brussel sprouts, Mexico, etc. A neat market to visit.

  64. Dianne says:

    This was, for me, one of the best posts ever (although they are all so good- how can one discriminate), because the timing was perfect. I am planning a trip to the Lexington/Concord area in May- with fingers crossed that I can get tickets to the luncheon. I am a history buff, so my head is now filled with ideas of places to visit. I had already planned to include the Orchard House, but now I must visit the cemetery as well in order to see Louisa’s grave. I absolutely loved the movie, so I really enjoyed the information included in your post. Most importantly, I now realize that I must spend all of my time (only 3 days, unfortunately) in the Lexington/ Concord area. There is just so much to see- and I must allow time for the luncheon (fingers crossed). I had originally planned to include the museum in Lowell on the way there and Sturbridge on the way home. I now know that they will require an additional trip. I would love to visit the Robbins House (beyond the exterior), but it won’t be open until June (thank you for the link you provided). Alas, another trip. I did want to do a lot of road trips once I retire in late April!! For some reason I can’t seem to find the penpal section (mentioned in several comments over the years) in your blog. Am I overlooking it? I must make a genuine effort to connect (beyond the surface) with other “girlfriends” at the luncheon. If I’m not able to attend the luncheon maybe I’ll “attack” in the parking lot. Although my ancestors (on my father’s side) did not come over on the Mayflower, they arrived in 1630 and 1632. I’m hoping that is a good omen. My mother was British and met my father when he was in England during the war. They came back to the U.S. on the Queen Mary, so I’ve always dreamed of doing a crossing. Perhaps next year. Thank you once again for filling our lives with sunshine. I am so happy that you and Joe had such a wonderful trip- and that you were filling to share it with us.

  65. Dianne says:

    I forgot to mention in my comment that I will be staying at the colonial Inn the nights of the 6th and 7th. I would love to meet any other girlfriends that might be staying there. Will you have name tags like you have had at other events? It makes it easy for us- the girlfriends- to recognize one another.

  66. Sherry Palla says:

    Lovely blog Susan. The pictures of old houses and books were yummy, and the history too! Thank you for sharing your world on these chilly February days! MN still has much snow covered ground, but it got to 40 on Saturday! We went for our first horse drawn sleigh ride and nature trail hike!
    Loved seeing things of Louisa Mae Alcott! Happy painting dear Susan Branch.
    Warm hugs, S.P.

  67. Elaine Woodford says:

    Oh, thank you for sharing the visit to Lexington/Concord! I adored every picture and the commentary! New England stole my heart waaay back in the summer of 1963. (I’m from Ohio) My best friend had moved to Mattapoisett in the middle of our Jr. year of high school because her dad was transferred to Firestone Tire in New Bedford. Surely God meant for America to win their liberty from England because it was a MIRACLE we won!!! And because my ancestor served as a Hessian, fighting against the Patriots for England, I am an American now! He never returned to Germany. Why? Because HERE he could own land & be free. Lucky Me!! The Revolutionary War is my favorite history period to read about so I really appreciated this post so much! I don’t like to read about the Civil War or see movies of that time period because it is SO sad. It hurts my heart. So many American citizens fighting against and killing each other after what the Patriots went thru to save us from England. How heart-broken they would have been. I did have a Pennsylvania ancestor that fought for the North, he lived close to the Mason-Dixon Line & the outcome of the War was a good one, at LEAST for the freed slaves. North & South, East & West….love them ALL!

  68. Gail says:

    Hello Susan, I can not put Isle of Dreams down !!! There has been a lot of gray weather here on Cape this month and for sure your book brought me through a life that’s sort of similar!!! Except all the beautiful art you create !!! You have inspired me to unpack the little teacups that my Grandmother and I would use for breakfast when I would stay overnight with her!! Thank you for all the Color you put back into my world !! Cant wait to read The FairyTale Girl !! Spring pussywillows cant wait to forage !!

  69. Darlene says:

    I’m not part of the Twitter world, but I read your comments everyday through your blog. Thank you for that. Your linguini and clam sauce comment regarding the flu gave me an idea. Could you give more ideas on a blog and ask the Girlfriends for suggestions for using canned goods? I cook from scratch and eat fresh fruits and vegetables, so I am stumped when it comes to using canned goods. In my pantry I have minced clams, clam juice and linguini, along with pumpkin and condensed mild for pumpkin pudding, canned tomatoes for pasta sauce, and canned black beans or red beans to use with rice. That’s about it for me. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem. Since I am elderly and live alone, I plan to self-isolate if the flu spreads, so I would really appreciate any suggestions.

    Oh, and keep up the good work on Twitter! We all need to be informed.

    The water issue could become a problem if there is a shortage of workers at the water plant due to many becoming ill from the virus or refusing to leave home due to fear of catching the virus and spreading it through their family. That’s why stocking up on bottled water is suggested. Hopefully, things won’t become that extreme.

  70. Whew! I kept coming up for air, while going down all those “rabbit holes”!
    You post, wonderfully presented.

  71. Debbie Boerger says:

    Well….I have probably lost my mind, but I have booked us into a fab apartment in London for 7 nights…October 26 through November 7. Our plan is to arrive in the UK 3 weeks prior to London and spend a bit over a month. We have so many things happening with family, we can’t be gone for longer. I have a friend on Isle of Wight, which I’d love to see through his and his wife’s eyes. He’s the writer, George East, who grew up in Portsmouth. His wife is Welsh. We’ve never met, but we’ve discussed many things via email over the 10 or more years since I discovered him. Funny, funny books about his and his lovely wife Donella’s years spent in France living in a small village in Normandy and themselves rebuilding an old, quite dilapidated mill. I had to stop reading them in bed, as Tom would think I was choking to death…trying to stifle my laughter. In all your Free time (right) I think you and probably Joe would enjoy those books. Maybe not his murder mysteries, but I love them. Donella wrote a “cookery” book of all the many recipes she collected while living and traveling in France. I’ve been trying them, but need a guide to convert the measurements into our old fashioned system which is out of sync with the rest of the world.

    Now I’ll work on a week in Oxford. I see an inn just a few houses away from Carrie’s old home on Holy Well street. We were booked in for a week with her the year you hosted the Beatrix Potter get-together. So Carrie had to cancel our stay, as it was the exact week of your event. It worked out well, as we couldn’t make that trip due to some issue…which I can’t remember. I will try to contact Stewart or Carrie to get recommendations. I miss her old blog, it was so lovely and peaceful, but her Twitter posts are just beautiful.

    Thank you so much for all the great info on your Twitter, which spurred me to write and call those Washington people who work for us, don’t they? I think they have forgotten that.

    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Tampa, getting some nice showers

  72. susan Piddington says:

    Dear Sue
    I don’t have twitter so I can’t comment there. Wishing your mother the happiest of birthdays. I grew up at the same time you did, and was lucky enough to have wonderful parents. Your Mom was one of the best Moms I’ve ever heard of. To marry so young, and have so many children, yet still find time to make the time to do all the special things she did to make all of you feel special is amazing. I hope she realizes how special she was. I hope she has the best birthday ever.
    Have a great day.
    Love Sue

  73. Dianne says:

    I posted a comment several days ago, but it still hasn’t appeared. I realize that there is a time lapse, but usually only a day or two. Although I enjoy all of your posts, this one was one of the best ever (although how does one discriminate, they are all so good)!! The timing of the post was perfect. I began planning a trip to the Concord area after reading your previous post. (I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can obtain tickets to the luncheon ). After reading your posts and the comments to it, I now realize that all of my time – only 3 days- will be needed to begin to explore the Concord/Lexington area. So, I am modifying all of my previous plans. I will no longer stop in Lowell on the way to Concord and Sturbridge on the way home. All of my time will be spend in the Concord/Lexington area except for a side trip to the luncheon (again, fingers crossed!). The Robbins House looks so interesting, but I now know that I will only be able to see the exterior this trip. Thank you for the link. A second trip to the area will be required. I plan to do the Orchard House 5K in the Fall, so I’ll plan on seeing it then. In case any of your readers are interested, the 5K is a wonderful event. Families with school age children turn out in number, since it is a walk as well as a run. I walk, of course. The money supports the Orchard House and its activities, and information is available on their site. I apologize for not being able to insert a link, I tried. If any of your readers are staying in the area the day of the luncheon, I would love to connect with them. I will be staying at the Colonial Inn the night of the 6th and the 7th. I haven’t figured out yet how to connect using this site. Thank you once again for such a wonderful post- filled with history and beautiful moments. Best wishes to you and Joe for a wonderful Spring- and to Jack , of course

  74. Wendy says:

    An important distinction:
    The United States of America is a
    “Democratic ‘Constitutional’ Republic”

  75. Gina from NY says:

    Hi Susan! I know this a bit off topic, but was wondering what you thought about the way the series “Sanditon” ended… I was so disappointed! Fingers crossed for a Series 2 to get it right!

  76. Liberty says:

    Hello Susan,
    I saw your lovely art in the Country Register and wanted to say hi. What a gorgeous blog and site you have here– all filled with your art! Wow!!! Do you digitize it yourself or does someone do it for you?

    Liberty from B4andAfters.com

  77. Penny Carpenter says:

    Great blog again. My husband’s aunt and uncle are buried in Sleepy Hollow cemetary… girl from Montana meets boy from Concord on west coast at start of WWII….she went off with him to MA! We visited there in 2016. Love Louisa May Alcott! Just finished an 1889 copyright date book…L.M.A. Her LIFE, LETTERS & JOURNALS. So very interesting!!

    from north Idaho now.

  78. Debbie Boerger says:

    Happy Leap Day, all of you with Birthdays on Feb. 29. We’ve had what passes for Winter here in Florida. Actually needed heat, and the homeless shelters have been open for a few nights. Interesting contrast to tough New Englanders I know and love. Much loved neighbor in Maine responded after I’d asked if they were staying warm…..It’s Winter!! It’s supposed to be cold. We put on our layers, Balaclavas, etc, and take the dog for a peaceful walk on the Sunrise Trail…. She went on to explain that the sub 0 temps made the snowmobile traffic light.

    Soon after our Maine “camp” was ready for occupation, we flew up from Florida, on a pass from my brother who was a pilot, so that I could experience “real cold!” My idea. We arrived in Bangor in a very small propeller plane, during the tail end of a huge snow dump, clear skies, but howling winds creating something called a Ground Blizzard I was told. Tom, having grown up in Wisconsin and Illinois, knew what that was. He was not pleased. We made our way down to Ellsworth, sometimes going sideways, got some food to cook, and made our way to our village. The snow plows had made a snow canyon of our narrow little road. Those few folks who live on that road had to open their driveways every day. Yikes, these folks were tough, I thought.
    When we left the town road, and got onto the one track gravel road down to our house, Tom was using the rental car as a sort of battering ram to get to our drive. We couldn’t quite make it, but I wrapped my feet in some grocery bags, and we managed to get to the door yard door, leaving the car up above.
    Oh, was I happy…beautiful snow, clear and cold, a good fire going, the smell of cooking, Musica. Tom was less excited, as he’d lived in Chicago and Duluth, Minnesota, for some years. During the night the thermometer on our front porch made it to -20. That’s 20 below 0. We have a photo of that thermometer. I kept getting out of our mattress-on-the-floor bed to look at the full moon on the snow mounds and large slabs of ice on our shallow tidal shore line. I actually heard them groan when the tides went in and out!! The huge “eratics” poke through at low tide and vanish under the ice at high tide. Wow, that is exciting for a gal who grew up in the Mississippi Delta, next to Old Muddy.

    Then I noticed the little light inside the rental car that was still stuck up on the road. Po’ Tom had to slog through the very deep drifts to close the passenger door…which I had not shut all the way. I learned during our trip that when the temps are that cold, your legs get frost bite when you wear jeans with no thermal underwear. But, OH, it was so beautiful and exciting. That exclamation didn’t endear me to locals who had to deal with climbing into and out of all those layers of clothing, digging out of cars, and paying the plow drivers to do your road and driveway. I learned to be a bit less enthusiastic about the snow and cold.

    So, I am sending good wishes to all of you who in the upper Mid-West and New England….But….Spring is just around the corner. Lots more light, now. I know, you New Englanders still must get through Mud Season! No wonder the American Revolution began up there. Those folks knew they had been forged in hard, cold winters that most of the soldiers from England had never experienced.

    I just had a cup of thick, dark cocoa in a SB cup. Warmed inside and out!

    Love to you, Maker of Happiness,
    Debbie in Chilly Tampa

  79. Paula says:

    Loved this blog! Upon your recommendation we spent our Leap Day anniversary weekend at Concord’s Colonial Inn and visited the historic sites in the area. It was lovely! Thank you, Susan! 💕🙏🏻💕

  80. Debbie Boerger says:

    Uh, oh, Sue, I think I’ve done it again…..way too much info on Your Blog! I’ll keep trying to curb my enthusiasm. Not fair to others.

  81. We have a chance to spent some time in the Concord area and I loved all the history there. The first battle of the Revolutionary war Definitely, a highlight. Such a joy going through your post-Susan!!! Hats off for such lovely work. Keeping updating 😊 for more such lovely pictures. Do check out the latest wedding trends bloghasting.com

  82. Connie Wells Horrell says:

    Hi Susan, I’ve been “away” from blogging for ages but we once were internet
    “friends” back in the day when you began visiting my old blog Cootie Bug. Lots of water under the old bridge but I’ve made my way back to visit your blog once again. I plan to set up a new blog in the near future but am kinda busy with a few other things at present. I just saw your 3rd book in the trilogy last night, o my goodness I was so excited and just had to have it, of course, and ordered it. I love love love your watercolor art in every form available. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment, if you do find it. 🙂 I will be back soon. Blessings!

  83. Mary Ann in Mid-Missouri says:

    I just have to ask; do you have any plans to ever finish your Breakfast cookbook? As I’ve been reading through your old blog posts, I’ve seen it mentioned several times as something you were still working on. I am desperate for some good ideas for new breakfast food.

  84. Kathleen Moore says:

    Dear Susan,
    I am missing you! You must be very busy creating something wonderful as you haven’t posted anything since Feb. 12. I have been reading the archives again as it and all your posts are so soothing, it’s like the old Calgon commercial–Take me away Susan!!! I am transported into your world which feels so good to me, as we share so many likes and loves. Stay well, Dear Susan and don’t work too hard. Hope to see your post soon.

  85. Mary S. says:

    I didn’t see a place to leave a comment on the “Brown” blog, so I’ll do it here (I’m behind on your blogs so maybe it was too late)!
    I LOVE brown! And I love the photo of Jack looking over his shoulder! Of course, all his pictures are adorable!
    I also LOVED Howard’s End and Sanditon! Especially Howard’s End. For some reason, I thought it captured so perfectly the feeling of that time! Do you watch Call the Midwife? I think it’s my very favorite series! The last season is starting on March 29. You might have mentioned it, but have you seen The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? I absolutely loved it soooo much so I bought the book and it’s wonderful, too!!!
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA oxoxox

  86. Mary S. says:

    P.S. I absolutely hate to correct you, but Elizabeth Alcott was 22 when she died.
    Love from Mary S. in Fresno, CA

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