Hello little monster (Not you! You’re adorable! That ⬇️ monster!) Oh, it is good to be home! MUSICA!

But first of all, let me say, in a quiet, but excited voice, YOUR BOOKS ARE ON THE WAY!!!🎵 This was a perfect welcome home gift for me!!! If you preordered Distilled Genius, then get ready, because they started going out on Friday and will continue to do so all week! At least! You may already have yours!

When we drove up, fresh off the ship, these boxes of books were waiting on our front porch!!! How’s that for timing?

I dove straight into the boxes (after hugging and kissing the little monster) … I couldn’t wait! It’s not real until it’s real! I love the red ribbon!

And something else I think turned out good . . . Almost all my books have dust jackets, I love the way they look, and the little “extra” you get to read on them … they seem to finish the book. But with some books, especially a reference book like this one, I find that dust jackets get in the way. They slip off, they get torn, and sometimes I get frustrated and take them off ~ and never can find them again! 

So I did something with this book that I’ve never done or even seen before. I glued the dust jacket down and Trompe l’oeiled the cover flaps! See the shadow on the edge of the flap? It’s not really a flap! It’s all glued down! Have you seen books like this before? Maybe I invented it! Look at all the trees we saved! Makes me so happy!😂 Made in America!

Anyway, I’ve waited a long time to do this book (as you know, there’s a queue💖) and I couldn’t be happier with the way it came out. If you pre-ordered, you should know, there is a little surprise in the envelope, don’t accidentally throw it away! There will be one with every order until we run out of them (even if you didn’t preorder!). If you haven’t got yours, we still have them, you can read more about Distilled Genius here . . .

So back to the little monster! He has not punished me for going away! I keep waiting. In fact, he cuddles
alongside me in my chair, or at night. I think it might be, after all these years, dare I name it, could it be love?

I’ve come home to the little things, and I am almost giddy with the delight of it… my own home where I can nest and hygge to my hearts content… 💞

As I putter around the house, unpacking, doing laundry, putting it slowly back together, his eyes are always on me, except when he’s asleep as he is now in the desk drawer next to me. My shadow.

All so soft and peaceful in the old creaky house I love so much

The new needlepoint pillow I bought in an antique store in Harleston UK and smooshed into our luggage to bring home … looks pretty good in my pale green living room! (Before you even ask: Paint color, Martin Señor Colonial Williamsburg Green Light ~ 🤣)

Of course the children were waiting for me, a feast for the eyes … the Beatrix Potter figurines I collected in my 20s that have been in every kitchen I’ve ever had and went onto this shelf in 1989 when I bought this house and have watched over this kitchen ever since …. and their new friend from home, a tiny painted shell Rachel bought for me from children selling their artwork for Ukraine on the beach in Southwold, (the beach town I showed you in my last post). Whew, that sentence was a mouthful for such a tiny little shell!

And yes, the ritual filling of the tiny vases . . . such an important part of the puttering!

If ever I am feeling sad … or lazy, or tired, or lonely I just go outside pick a flower or two, bring it in, put it in a vase, walk around the house finding the perfect place for it, and my mood gets an instant lift. Something about the garden, the sunshine, the birds, smells, and sounds, and the small gesture makes the difference.💝 We came home to wildness in the world, very hard days we are living through, I want to pat everyone’s head and say it’s going to be okay … but I’m reminded, the only part any of us have much say over, is our own homes. And that’s not a little thing… we have the power to make them heaven on earth, bake a pie, and voila! We are lucky, not everyone in the world can say that!

We’ve been lucky so far … we came home to the most wonderful weather, our windows are open, the curtains flutter in the sea breezes, the island is abuzz with summer life, the harbor is filled with little white sailboats flitting around in the blue, we had our first Fish Sandwich at John’s Fish Market (a summer tradition for us, I take tiny bites of it’s juicy goodness to make it last), and of course, we walk our walk to the sea each day. It’s good to go away, good to challenge yourself, and drive on the wrong side of the road, and good to come home, alive and well, full of inspiration, and plotting for the next time!

Beautiful on Martha’s Vineyard just now ~ our walk to the water in the morning is heaven … and FLUFFY. When we left there weren’t any leaves on the trees and bushes in the woods, and now the island could actually use a haircut!

Quiet sandy pathways and the sounds of seagulls. . .

Yup. I know you know how I feel.💞 Kindred spirits.👏

And speaking of houses … I know you love them the way I do . . . so, up next, a little house entertainment from me and Joe to you from England . . .

The bunting was everywhere . . . but look at these great houses . . . wonky roof lines, no two windows alike, narrow walking paths, like secrets, go between them to other parts of the village, and out, and onward, to the next one . . . amazing history … just hanging out there like they aren’t even amazing, just normal! Tell your children:

Normal? Ha! And all handmade . . . because England decided not to let this charm go in lieu of big new shopping centers!

the bluest of blue skies, the whitest of fluffy clouds, the tallest of hedgerows . . .

Pubs and pubs and more pubs . . . how we love them!

Because they have been here FOREVER too . . .

I found critters to make friends with . . .

Bricks and gingerbread, and the MOST amazing trees

I could go on all day with trees!

Trees and pathways to discovery and serendipity . . . Spring in England is the cat’s meow.

Many of the trees are as old as the rest of the country . . . you give them a hug and ask, could you please tell me your secrets?

There really aren’t very many photos of us together, it’s either him alone, or me alone, or a tree alone . . . Rachel took this one . . . but I promise you 

THIS is how we felt most of the time. Verklempt at the beauty. (This old photo of us in tears was taken by my niece. We were all on a glass-topped boat on the Seine in 2001, having dinner, going by the sparkling Eiffel Tower, while a woman was singing La Vie en Rose ~ and Joe and I, being normal people, teared up from the beauty.) Leaving England, saying goodbye after two amazing months of our first freedom in years, sailing by the Isle of Wight as we left Southampton, this is what we were doing.

I’m sure we weren’t the only ones … 

Perhaps the tears this time came from our stunning arrival in New York Harbor . . .

It was so beautiful … Staten Island Ferries with sunrise making them shine, passing ships!

Our ship was filled with Brits and Germans … and Americans, all thrilled to get up at 5 am to watch the Queen Mary 2 slip quietly down the harbor, and see the sun rise over New York City . . .

And as we sailed past the Lady with the Light, the gift to America from France, the promise and hope of everything we stand for ~ more tears.

Our crossing was perfection . . . we were wined and dined, we slept like babies . . .the views were stunning . . .MAS MUSICA

Rainbows, fog, blue skies, sunshine, and fast-moving clouds . . . we had it all!

Here are more views for my armchair travelers . . . ❌⭕️❌⭕️

But in this one, so foggy, there wasn’t so much of a view! The ships horn blew all day . . . ships have been in these waters, going back and forth for hundreds of years. Now it’s our turn. 

Nothing ever stays the same at sea . . .

Joe and I had every good reason to be toasting, but someone has to hold the camera! Our life together seems like a miracle. Since the first moment we met all those years ago, and first spoke about our matching dreams of sailing on an ocean liner to England. Sit down at an oyster bar and the cutie next to you says this! How can that BE? Especially when you KNEW you were finished with love forever??? How does that happen? 

Look a this delicious lunch! Henry the VIII did not have it this good!

They treated us so well. And just a reminder, ask our other girlfriends, this trip is affordable! Right? We had 90 kindred spirits join us on our way to England (on the way over, most flew home) . . . and, from what I hear, they loved it as much as we did! PLUS, you don’t have to deal with an airport, AND you can take as much luggage as you want! So if you’re inspired, make a reservation! And go!

 This was the hardest part . . . saying goodbye to Ray and Paul! But the fact we were able to spend so much time together made it all okay … an even deeper deepening of an already deep friendship!

Our last pub lunch together was made even better because my old friend Elaine (my boss in Fairy Tale Girl if you remember) had joined us in England by then!

The other thing about pubs, they all have outdoor gardens and tables … pretty special in this covid-ridden world we are having to deal with.

Elaine, Joe, and I walked all over this amazing place called Chartwell, inside and out, Winston Churchill’s gorgeous home in the country. Talk about history! It was all there . . .

Elaine in Winston’s kitchen . . .

Churchill’s garden and one of my favorite plants, called Gunnera … isn’t it fabulous? It wants “wet feet” in case you have that . . . I tried to grow it in my creek at the Studio, but it wasn’t having any of it. I might have to try again! It’s very picky, it wants everything PERFECT! 

My best new discovery . . . Do you see Elaine there in front of that giant bush or tree or whatever it is? Know what she is doing? She is taking a picture of it up-close so her phone will tell her what plant it is. A wonderful free app for your phone they are advertising everywhere called Picture This.  Now I have it too, and it works! I can’t tell you how great it is to not have walk past something beautiful and say, I wonder what that is?! Joe and I have argued about the blueberries growing on the dirt road where we walk for YEARS… now, as soon as they turn into berries, we are going to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I can’t wait! 

Okay, one more picture … a National Trust house full of William Morris that we toured … just LOVED IT. But you see, it’s the books that make it!!! Which is WHY, I’m pretty sure, the future for e-books isn’t as bright as it used to be! No good book smell! Not good for decorating! Carrying real books is good for arm muscles. See what I mean?

So all this lovely home sweet home stuff will be coming to an end for us soon. We hadn’t planned it, but while in England Joe and I started talking about how much we missed California, our friends and family, my Studio. It’s been years! Plus, my family is going to sprinkle mom’s ashes and I want to be there for the hugs. At first we planned to make our trip as quick as possible, and take the train so we could get home . . . but as time went on, and more bits of my new book began filtering in (the very first pages were sent to me in England that’s me hugging them there), we realized we really wanted to drive so we can visit our favorite Independent Bookstores (it’s been a long time for that too), and see as many of my Girlfriends as possible along the way. We aren’t going everywhere, we really DO want to come home and stay home, but we figured we could at least stop at the ones along the route. So that’s what we’re going to do! It will take three weeks, most of August (brilliant, traveling in August, pray for us!) We’ll take the train home, and hopefully be here by September 14! We are going to meet you more than halfway, so now you have to come find us if you can! We’ll all be careful of Covid, I don’t want anyone to get sick. And I’ll ask the bookstores to turn up the air-conditioning ~ I think it will be HOT!!! If you see a puddle, be careful not to step in it, it could be me! Here is our schedule so far. There are more dates coming, to see them scroll down on the home page, in border to the right of the blog post, and click on COMING SOON/EVENTS to get updates.💖

Some of the bookstores are already decorating! This is Prairie Path in Wheaton, Ill where we’ll be on August 10! Making me feel so welcome. Sandy sent it ~ I’m so excited about this trip!!! Hope to see you there!

The first signing and talk is the 28th of July … right here on the Cape at Titcombs Books in Sandwich! Come!

Must go now . . . I have to design the covers of the 2022 calendars before we go!!! Much more little monster kisses to be given, and Gazpacho to be made! I hope you are staying cool, and having a WONDERFUL summer, and counting your blessings every day. I hope you LOVE the new book. Thank you for your faithful correspondence, it means the world to me!


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353 Responses to OH, IT IS GOOD TO BE HOME!

  1. Iris Shubert says:

    Hello Susan, I received my book Monday, 7/11. Like the Brits say, “I was gobsmacked” !!!! It is just delicious in every way. I absolutely love it !! I’ve taken it back and forth to work with me so I can look at it during lunch, etc. If I’m being honest, there’s a 30 minute lunch and lots and lots of etc…. I can’t hardly put it down. It’s like walking down a meandering path full of wildflowers and little buzzy things, I can’t wait to see what’s around the bend, I can’t wait to turn the page and see what’s next! You have done a beautiful job. I’m so glad I was able to get a copy. Thank you for the bookmark and the sweet little “F.O.S.B.” card, and your autograph! I love seeing sweet Jack . I have kitties too. Thank you sharing your remarkable life with us. I’m already looking forward to Volume 2 . Take care and be well, Iris Shubert

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Iris, I love the “wildflowers and little buzzy things!” Just what I was aiming for!💖

  2. Barb says:

    Welcome home. Glorious photos. And Glorious Jack!

  3. Janeen Breyman says:

    Yes, I have received my book! Enjoying reading a few pages everyday. Thank you for letting me be an armchair traveler on your trip. Everything looked so 💕😘 lovely!

  4. Donnie says:

    Oh, Susan, welcome home to you and Joe. What a blessing the little monster is in your life. Thanks for taking me along with you to England and getting me back home safely, again. I so enjoy everything you publish and appreciate all the smiles in your pages. Happy days on the Vineyard and safe travels to California.

  5. Linda says:

    Thank you for your blog and the escape from the challenges of life into your peaceful world for a time. Love it! XO Linda

  6. Carol Duffey says:

    Hi Sue, As always, loved your newest post! So glad you and Joe are home and enjoying being back! Jack is so cute! I still have my Seymour; he turned 19 in April. Still a joy to have around.
    I’m really looking forward to your visit to Vroman’s this August! That will be one of the highlights of my summer, besides my to sons coming home to visit.
    Be safe on your trip across the country. XOXO

  7. Christine Anderson says:

    Received my book and I love it! Thank You1 I have accumulated a number of quotation books over the years. As teacher I shared them with my students. A valuable resource! Enjoyed our trip to England, thanks for sharing with us!!

    • sbranch says:

      How I love that! They should know the path before them has been “trod” (couldn’t help it) by others and there are now flowers planted on both sides! ❌⭕️

  8. Antonia Lutz says:

    I received your book this week and I love it I love the cover the pictures the quotes I love that I see something new every time I browse through it!!! I agree with you there is nothing better than being home and going away always makes me appreciate it more❤️

  9. Debbie T says:

    Susan, I am glad you and Joe made it home safely. I very much enjoyed following all your pictures and comments. I was so excited to receive my book on Monday. I was also excited to see you would be stopping at independent book stores while on your trip to California. I immediately checked the schedule. You will be in Hudson, OH which is only about 1 3/4 hours from me. I called this morning as soon as they opened to get my reservation. Safe travels and see you there!!

  10. Judy Ford says:

    Oh my gosh, Susan Branch! “Distilled Genius” is on my table right now. I want to read it in one gulp, but will instead dole it out word by word. Thank you for such a thing of beauty! Welcome home. 🕊

  11. Patti says:

    Welcome home! I so enjoyed armchair traveling with you and Joe. I particularly loved your description of coming home and what it means to you… all the little details that make a home a home. It makes me realize how much I love my own little creaky house with its perfectly imperfect imperfections ❤️❤️❤️
    I’m so excited you’re coming to Wheaton, IL! I will be there with bells on clutching my beautiful copy of Distilled Genius, which arrived in the mail yesterday. See you in August!

  12. Susan Ekins says:

    Susan, I was thrilled to receive your new book on my 65th birthday, July 11. I ordered it a few months ago, so that was a sweet birthday surprise. I hope to see you when you are at Prairie Path Books in Wheaton as I live in the area–but I own all your books already. Welcome back!

  13. Tonia Grantham says:

    Welcome home, Susan and Joe! I bet Jack (and your house and your garden) was happy to have you home. I hope to catch one of your book tours. I live in Mississippi, but….have book, will travel! God speed on your next trip to California (and the stops along the way). Thank you x 1,ooo,ooo for Distilled Genius and for taking us with you on your journeys!

    My very best wishes to you,
    Tonia Grantham ❤️

  14. Ann Prins says:

    Dreams do come true !! And you two are proof of that statement!! Thank you for taking us along on your journey ♥️♥️♥️!!!

  15. Zoe Greenwood says:

    Welcome home, Susan and Joe.
    Thanks for the armchair travel! It’s been a glorious spring and early summer in Chesterfield, MA. I’m sitting outside and listening to the birds say good night to each other. Glorious!
    Thanks for the new book, too. Love, love, love it (and you). Thanks, too, for the membership card. So fun!

  16. Margaret Harke says:

    Made my day when I found your blog in my email. Had such a lovely time reading about your wonderful adventures at sea, in England and home again! I’ve gotten my preordered Distilled Genius books! One for me and one for a gift to my best friend. Thank you so much for the joy you spread through your art and writing!

  17. Kathy W says:

    Susan, I love hearing about your wonderful trip to England. I would really love to go someday. Thanks for sharing it all with us. The pubs look like fun and the Queen Mary looks wonderful. I would have gotten up at 5 am for sure to see the beautiful sunrise in NYC.
    I agree with you 100% about real books. Exactly what I loved too about that room in the National Trust house. And I just got a notice today that your book is being shipped. Yay!
    I’m so looking forward to seeing you at the bookstore in August. Road trip to Ohio from Michigan for me!

  18. Donna Jones says:

    Hi Susan,
    Reading the blog post makes me ACHE to go to England. My sister & I used to go every four years, but Covid messed up the schedule. 😕
    I’m excited you’re headed to California, though. Maybe I’ll be able to get to a signing. Cambria (near Arroyo Grande) is lovely in the late summer…
    Keep your eye out for “Let Them All Talk” on HBO Max. Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen and Diane Wiest on an ocean liner–just like the Girlfriends Trip. I kept wishing I were there…
    Kiss Jack for me.

    • sbranch says:

      I know the ache of which you speak!!! I’ll watch for Let them all talk!!! sounds fun!😘

  19. Lucia says:

    Hi Susan
    It must feel wonderful to be home. Loved the photos of English Cottages, and of you and Joe!
    Congratulations on your latest book, I didn’t preorder it, but will buy from your store online.
    I was wondering if you made a decision on which cup you will reorder?
    Thank you for this post enjoyed it thoroughly.
    Lucy in California

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, ordered the Corgi cup … and two others, but I forget which ones!🤣 I’ll put it on the blog!

  20. Colleen Hunt says:

    Hi Sue! We’re driving to California this next week and I thought I remembered you had a store in northern CA, close to Santa Ynez or Buellton? Is it open to the public? I hope, I hope. Answer soon.

    Thank you!
    Colleen H. in Reno, NV

  21. Candice Black says:

    Love this blog! Another armchair visit across the pond! Plus the gorgeous photos of your arrival back to the US of A and New York harbor. Breathtaking!
    I received your new book and I am in love with it! Love the pages where there is blank space to write our own family quotes and sayings. Wonderful!
    Wishing you safe travels in August on your cross country trip. xxoo

  22. Nancy Deda says:

    Thanks for sharing all that English loveliness with those of us who couldn’t go ( though did manage to send off a good friend and her husband…they loved the trip!). It was a welcome breath of fresh air, dear Susan!

  23. Karen Carpenter says:

    Welcome home Susan! It was so exciting to feel like I was along on trip. So glad it was a wonderful trip! I received my book on Monday and loved the way you did the jacket. I have started reading it and will savor every page!
    Poor Jack, so happy to see you and off you go again but he will manage. I am sure going home will be delightful. Hopefully I can see you on the way.

    Enjoy life it is way to short! home is best though!you know my MIL always said you are twice glad when you travel. Happy and excited for the trip, loving every minute and then glad to come home! So true. Same with guests, happy to have them and then happy when you have your place to yourself. A delightful way to look at it. Have a wonderful trip to California and thank you for sharing your cruise and journey in England.

    Til next time.
    Karen Carpenter

  24. Doreen Peterson says:

    Good Evening Sue, I’m so happy you enjoyed yourselves and I’m positive it was wonderful to sleep back in your own bed once you got home. Of course you already know… “There’s no place like home.” I just wanted to let you know that Greg & I have already purchased our tickets for your visit to Wheaton, IL. We are finally going to be able to meet face to face. It is because of you my friend that Greg and I were put in each other’s world. With the passing of Karen his late wife with whom I had a loving friendship with because of this blog, we would never known about each other. And here we are married. I sent you a message on your email. Not sure if you have even had a chance to see it yet. But I’m so looking forward to it. Have fun being home I’m sure Jack is very happy (but of course he’s a cat so he might not to let on too much about it).
    Remember…. EMC! <3 Every moment counts!

    • sbranch says:

      You’ll be my children! 😂 How fun! I’ll see you in Wheaton, thank you Doreen, Yes, EMC!!!!💖💖💖

      • Doreen Peterson says:

        Hahahaha! “Being your children.” We’ll consider that an honor. I’ll share that with Greg. I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of it. Looking forward to August 10th. Make sure to take your vitamins… you’ve got a busy schedule lined up for yourself. I told Greg if he doesn’t want to hang out with a bunch of gorgeous looking women… he can chat with Joe. See you then! XO

  25. Janet Swanson says:

    Love your “letters” and I have all your books! They are like scrapbooks of love and recipes and I ❤️ Scrapbooking my memories and writing with my white pen on black pages. I’m patiently waiting for my preordered book 📕. And will be at Titcombs which I was told will be outside in tent. I melt quickly too. Take care wear your mask stay healthy😷.

  26. Ann H. (Southern California) says:

    So happy I received your wonderful new book! It reminds me of my late mother Gladys because she always loved quotes. Thank you.

  27. Pamela Sinsabaugh says:

    Welcome home! My copy of Distilled Genius arrived July 12 & it’s fabulous! Another creative treasure – congrats 💕 As always, I enjoyed your blog post & the extra pics from your trip! May your days be filled with happiness and joy!

  28. DR Ann Smith says:

    Sometimes I wonder if you know how special you are. You make the world a better place. I just ordered Distilled Genius and I’m so excited. I will read it everyday for the rest of my life. Thank you for your insight, your positivity, and the beauty you share.

  29. Glenda Slanina says:

    Hello Susan. I received my book in the mail yesterday and dived right in. I love quotes and your book so much more special with your artwork. Perfection 💕. The lovely bookmark was tucked inside. Is that the special surprise? And a huge thank you for this wonderful blog. The photos are great and I absolutely love hearing about your adventures. Welcome home!🇺🇸

    • Wendy Swain-Olson says:

      Glenda, Are you the Glenda Slanina that was married to Tom Slanina? And your brother is Wes Engler? I was a friend of Tom’s from Alhambra High and I worked for Wes at Fluor…..When I saw your name on here I couldn’t help but think you are the right Glenda, Mother of Nick! Would love to hear from you – not sure how to do that! Maybe you could reply to your comment if you’re interested? Wendy Swain Olson.

  30. Denise says:

    What a glorious adventure!!! Thank you for sharing!!

  31. Jane says:

    It was such a pleasure to travel along with you. A wonderful escape from the challenging reality we are experiencing. Would you consider selling the corgi buttons the shipboard girlfriends wore to those of us who were along in spirit?
    As a retired librarian, I hope Distilled Genius will be an addition to the reference collection in many libraries as I know it will prove very useful to assist patrons with many different needs for a good quotation for a speech, letter, or school assignment.

  32. Allyson Billingsley says:

    I got so excited if you would be doing a book tour in California in September but it sounds like I’ll be there right after you 😔. We are going the end of September for a wedding and instead of just flying back home (to MD) from San Francisco decided to drive to LA and make a trip out of it. I’m so excited, what should we do?!

    • sbranch says:

      Go down Highway one, Check out Carmel… down the coast through Big Sur. Stop at Nepenthe and/or Ventanna … for lunch, or to stay over … views from here to forever! On your way out of Big Sur, stop at Hearst Castle for a tour, worth it, amazing, see the movie if you can. Then go to little village of Cambria for antiques. (Tons of wineries a little inland from here) Or stay on 1 Down to Morro Bay for lunch … San Luis Obispo is a wonderful town, if you stay overnight … stay downtown so you can walk around. On your way down the coast, just a few miles from SLO is Spyglass Inn for lunch and view. Continue south on 101, take 154 over the mountains (wineries, Cold Spring Tavern, Los Olivos Grocery) to Santa Barbara, then through Ventura ~ Cut over to Highway one and go up the coast (just before Malibu, stop in Paradise Cove, big sign, it on your right) to Santa Monica/LA… All my secrets … you just have to make choices!!!

      • Allyson Billingsley says:

        That all sounds delightful, thank you so much!!

        • Banjo says:

          Sitting here in my home in Carmel Highlands, one of Sue’s mugs in hand, my furgirl beside me, reading of your upcoming adventure and Sue’s wondrous and purrrfect suggestions!

          Magic. I’ve lived in Carmel since 1998, but prior, in Santa Monica—with my mother, living in Carmel, so Sue’s description of the southern leg of your journey brings an additional smile!

          I shall add 2 suggestions:
          1. once you get to Carmel—before you head further south through Big Sur and onward, on our beloved Highway 1—please FILL your tank with gas. FULL. There are extended, gorgeous segments of your drive to follow, in which there are NO gas stations for miles. And the one you will pass in that stretch, is extra expensive due to its location.

          2. Build in A LOT of time for that segment of Sue’s plan from Carmel to Cambria / Morro Bay. Do not be fooled by the ‘miles to x’ on road signs or maps! Highway 1 is a gorgeous, stunning, spectacular route, with many pullouts and stops along the way to view the beauty, take photos, and as Sue mentions, places like Nepenthe, Ventana, Hearst Castle, etc etc—and Highway 1 is just two lanes—winding along above the ocean—thus to enjoy, the drive actually takes much more time than the ‘mileage’ suggests!

          You might even see whales! (tho I’m not sure if their migration time coincides with your trip. I’ve seen them often, cruising alongside us on drives between here and Malibu / Santa Monica)


  33. Christine Freeman says:

    Hello Fairytale Godmother! The new memories you’ve shared are as wonderful as the old ones! After reading every book..one truly begins to cherish them just the same! That gift can only be attributed to how amazing you are at sharing these moments! I simply cannot wait to see you at the Learned Owl! I’ve even asked Kate if I could set up a lemonade table! The lines will be around the block!! Now.. which book to choose for your autograph?! Hope I’m not alone with this difficult choice! My copy of DG will be here any day now!! Thank you!!
    Sending you both a “welcome home” & “safe travels” out west! Hudson,Ohio will keep a light on!

  34. Beth Lang says:

    Your words never cease to amaze me; nor your energy and stamina. Coming west is awesome. I shall see you on the journey somewhere somehow! Thank you for sharing so much of your trip and your cozy home on the Vineyard.

  35. Marge says:

    Dear Susan,
    Rainy Day Books is in Fairway, Kansas (KS) 66205-1705 USA, NOT Kansas City, Kansas. Your event, though, will be in Kansas City, Missouri.
    Saturday, August 13, 2022 – 4:00pm
    Unity Temple on The Plaza, Sanctuary
    707 W 47th Street
    Kansas City, Missouri.

    Just so that your fans won’t miss you.

  36. Gail says:

    Oh my, oh my I received Distilled Genius this week and absolutely love it! Thank you so much for the lovely book and wonderful inspiration in the quotes. It always fascinates me how you write everything with the little tips of paint brushes! This book is beautiful and I cherish it. 😍😍😍

  37. Marsha Sega says:

    Having just returned from a trip to see kids and grandkids in Portland, OR, I well know the “its good to be home” feeling. And it was made even better finding Distilled Genius in my stack of mail😊. I LOVE it!!!! I also love “Picture This” and have used it many times on walks to identify plants. Thanks for sharing all the pictures of your trip. It makes me anticipate our upcoming fall foliage cruise in October even more. We are going with friends on this trip that was supposed to happen in the Fall of 2020. Thanks to the dampanic, of course, it didn’t. So we anticipate with fingers crossed that it will actually happen this year. Wish I lived closer to the stops on your book tour – oh, well, maybe another trip will bring you further south. Thanks for your wonderful blog – I enjoy it so much.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Marsha! I’m so happy you got your book! Your cruise sounds fantastic! Keep that dampanic FAR away from us!!!❌⭕️

  38. Another heart warming post. What a wonderful trip. some of my happiest memories are those of traveling to the UK and Ireland. Such a simple thing can create so many heart warming thoughts and memories. And I feel the beauty with every word you print. Thank you so much for the adventure!

  39. Loretta Kennedy says:

    Welcome home Susan! Thanks so much for your posts from England. I am looking forward to seeing you at Kings English in Salt Lake City! I am bringing my 13 year old granddaughter who loves your books and art just like me! Hope you have safe travels.

    • sbranch says:

      How fun it will to be to meet you both Loretta! Thank you for coming! What I love, mom to daughter, grandma to granddaughter, sister, to sister, best friend to best friend … Kindred Spirits!💞

  40. Karen Lotito says:

    Hi Susan and welcome home! Your trip sounded wonderful! I so enjoyed your blog. We will be on QM2 in September heading to Canada. Let’s hope that Covid behaves itself. I hope you have a wonderful Summer. There’s nothing like walks to he beach on a Summer morning. I enjoy collecting sea glass and heart-shaped rocks. Be well and be happy! Love, Karen 🙂 xoxo

  41. Renee C says:

    Hi Susan! I just finished reading Isle of Dreams. I loved it! Your little house seems so dreamy – I wish it was an AirBNB! I love reading about all your travels… I was wondering if you were working on a “part two” of your England travels?? It seems like I saw you had a chapter done? I would love to read more about the wonderful places you visit! I hope your book tour makes to to south Georgia someday – You would love Thomasville. The art in your books and the hand lettering are very inspiring – Thank you!!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Renee! I still have that part two …. called Enchanted … book in mind. We’ll see if I get to it! I hope we get to take a longer book tour one day!💝

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Love Thomasville. Isn’t that where that ancient oak is in the middle of town?

  42. Joan Kotvas says:

    Received my book. Love it. Love hard back books and what a great idea of the permanent cover. You put so much effort into your calendars and books. Great idea to have book of quotations. Details are great. Saw you in bucks county and hoping to go to Ohio. Only a few hours from pa.

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

    good morning Susan, Hello girlfriends!!! it has finally cooled down a bit here and this morning it is very cool and breezy. good time to get the fans running to cool off the house. had fun yesterday watching the tractors chug on by, sat out on the front porch in the morning with coffee to watch them and later on in the late afternoon sat out on the porch to shell peas and watch them come back. the Queen Ann’s lace is coming up and looks lovely, it always come up in July and it is sort of a warning that Fall is not too far off. we now have crow wars in the chicken yard, along with scrub jay wars for the scratch (mix of grains and cracked corn) . yeesh the noise and the squawking going on … oh well life around here is interesting and not dull. we have a new thing going on this week, Squatch festival, or to be more precise.. Bigfoot festival. we do have them around here, you can hear them holler just before big thunderstorms, and up around the caves near the Chateau the first Bigfoot photo was even taken way back in 1964. and yes i believe in Squatches, don’t ask me how but i believe. we still have to hustle and get in our firewood for the winter, a bit late but better late than not at all. also have to hustle and get the bed sheets out on the line to dry and then go water the front gardens. did the lawns yesterday and then again tomorrow. have agreat day today everyone, enjoy the sunshine and the summer, and remember Fall is just around the corner. stay well, stay healthy and stay happy. hugs. ….. 😀

    • Debbie Boerger says:

      Love the Queen Anne’s Lace, too. While I love all the golden rod, I know full well that it means the end of Summer. But…then comes Gawjus Fall. That’s as far as I let myself go, as it also means having to return to Seasonless Florida. Ahhhh well………..

    • pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

      good morning Susan, good morning girlfriends. well up here in Cave Junction we may have Bigfoot festival this weekend, but now down in Grants Pass tomorrow starts off Back to the 50’s week. grab your poodle skirts, bobby sox and loafers and join in the fun. things got started this weekend with the classic corvette weekend and you should have seen those beauties …. no wonder guys love those cars. tomorrow night is the classic sock hop for the ages, you rock around the decades and the pie and ice cream social, for $5 you get a huge slice of fresh baked pie, your choice and home made ice cream. drool!!! wednesday night we have the Elvis contest and concert. Thursday is movie night in the park, i think playing is a double feature … The Blob and Rebel Without A Cause. friday is the drive-in night, plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers and milk shakes and more movies plus a walk downtown to look over the window decorations and to vote for the best window. Saturday night is the classic cars cruise, the classic cars are out on display all week but Saturday night is the best night to see them all and the big sock hop at the fairgrounds. the cruise goes up and 6th and 7th streets, main drag in town. grab those poodle skirts, capri pants, loafers, bobby socks and put your hair up in a ponytail. see you all at the hop. hugs… 😀

  44. Nanette Hill says:

    I just subscribed to “Picture this” its free for 7 days then a monthly charge. Anyway I’ll have fun with it for 7 days. So happy all had a fabulous time in the UK and the voyage over was smooth. Anxiously awaiting my pre ordered book.

    • sbranch says:

      I am hearing this from many people… I didn’t know there was a charge, and I especially didn’t know it’s monthly! I should have figured it out! Thank you Nanette!

  45. Jacqueline Caron says:

    thank you for sharing more pics of your trip…lovely to see, and such a Winston Churchill fan – his home is beautiful! LOVE the pic of the huge tree Elaine is standing in front of, can only imagine it’s age?! receiving my email that there’s another Willard is like getting a letter from an old friend – I cherish it and wait til I have the right time to sit and read it with your Musica playing and sipping a cuppa from one of your mugs! can’t wait to see which one you will be re-releasing? enjoy your cross country trek and time with family. XO

  46. Karen B. says:

    Hi Susan,
    I’ve read and re-read your posts for your trip and getting home. I almost felt as though I was there.
    I received your book Distilled Genius. I love it and will devour every page. Thank you so much. I love the little extras sent with it.
    Karen B.

  47. Jeannette from the Central Coast says:

    Welcome home to the USA! What a wonderful homecoming post! Loved everything from the trip…all the adventures, photos of trees and friends, pubs, and especially the one of you & Joe together – beautiful memory to keep. Enjoy your summer travel to California. I am thoroughly enjoying the new book – taking a little bit at a time to savor the meanings of quotes and sometimes looking up the authors to read more about them. Blowing a kiss for Jack:)

    • sbranch says:

      Perfect! That’s what I love. Quotes make us curious! Becomes a whole learning adventure as one thing leads to another!👏👏👏

  48. Sharon Byars says:

    Congratulations on your new book!! Also, your trip was wonderful to follow. We leave for England in mid-September for 3 weeks. Partially, a cruise around the British Isle and the other part riding the train to Winchester and then onto the Cotswolds and Oxford. I will contact your friend for the walking tour of Oxford. So much to see packed into those weeks!! Safe travels out to CA. We moved from Morro Bay 8 years ago and we are still loving our life in North Carolina. Wish you could stop by Raleigh! Much success on your book signing trip.

    • sbranch says:

      Beautiful trip plan! Have you been before … these are great places to see. Thank you Sharon!❤️

    • Dianne in upstate NewYork says:

      Hi Sharon, I hope you have a lovely visit in mid-September. I stayed in England for several weeks after the crossing and traveled around by train. I made all my connections without any difficulty. I actually surprised myself! My first stop was Winchester where I stayed in the medieval section- not far from the Cathedral close. The area is so “walkable”, but be sure to have an umbrella. I highly recommend the Wykeham Arms for Sunday roast (they have an award winning chef and all the food is exceptional). The Vine and the cafe at the Cathedral were also good choices. Where are you staying in the Cotswolds? Some villages have very limited transportation. I was in Chipping Camden, and I love the village. Unfortunately transportation was difficult. I was unable to hire a private driver, as they were all booked. When I return in the Fall, I will do that well in advance. Some friends from the crossing did that, and they had a lovely tour of the area. I want to see several of the villages, and you probably do as well. I hope you are able to connect with Stuart (from Oxford walks). I hope to take his tour in October, but I have been
      unsuccessful so far in my attempt to connect with him. Carrie (his wife) told me that the light on the buildings in Oxford in October is breathtaking. I can’t wait. If you are traveling to the Cotswolds by train, I suggest you arrange for a taxi to meet you at the Moreton-on-Marsh station ahead of time. That station (the one for the Cotswolds) does not have a stand with taxis waiting. Or they didn’t on my recent visit. Good luck and have a lovely and safe journey

  49. Wendy B says:

    Dear Susan –
    Thank you for your wonderful blog, books & more that take us on your wonderful travels. I am hoping to see you when you travel to California! Of course- I hope you have a opportunity to do a bookstore visit in the Arroyo Grande area as in the past. Also – in the past I was able to contact your customer service which does not appear to be an option any longer. I do miss that personal touch. Your customer service staff was always wonderful. Thank you so much for the inspiration & encouragement you provide to all of your kindred spirited girlfriends everywhere!❤️ Wendy

  50. Joan Kovach says:

    Your book, your bookmark, the red ribbon and a surprise tucked inside….Who could ask for anything more ? Not me….Your Quote Book is simply Devine !!!!!! I have been beside you a very long time. My very first book was gifted to me in January 2001–Girlfriends Forever !!!! It’s true…it’s true…it’s true !!! But, all things aside Sue….I want to THANK YOU for your words, your stories, your love, your talent that you give so freely to all of us ! Enjoy your trip to be with your family–they are a part of you too !! xoxo

  51. Anna says:

    Welcome HOME! You have a beautiful home – must be difficult to leave it and oh so wonderful to return to it. Sigh … lovely photos of Jack’s pining heart with face to match, the pastel pink house, friends along the way, the amazing tree with a “little peoples’ doorway” in its truck base, the fog while on the ship’s deck (a movie scene for sure!), open windows in July to air out the house, fresh garden flowers blooming …
    Again, welcome home!

  52. Bee Stevens says:

    Hi Susan
    I got my book a couple of days ago and I love it. I am ordering a couple more
    for Christmas gifts. The amount of work you put into it is daunting. You are
    amazing, artwork is so beautiful.
    Safe travels on your book tour. Sorry I am not close to any of the stops.
    love from panhandle of WV.

  53. Jan Johnson says:

    Oh me oh my! I am about a third of the way through your book and I so love it! First of all, it’s beautiful!! Who else does a book where every page is a work of art, all handmade? And quotes! I too have collected them for years — they are strewn around in my calendar planners, on my computer, in a notebook here and a notebook there, snips from the internet in a computer file, two huge files on Pinterest. But most of those in your book are new, and I love your quotes.

    I was so happy to read there will be a book 2! I know you’re waiting to hear my opinion (ha!) but I so would love a pet/animal/nature section. Mary Oliver has the most delicious quotes about dogs as does Dean Koontz. John Muir has wonderful nature quotes as do so many others. I mean, “The smallest feline is a masterpiece” Leo Da Vinci. “Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift.” Mary Oliver. “Into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” John Muir

    “Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price.” Dean Koontz

    Well, you get the drift and of course you can find your own quotes for your own books! But I can only imagine the great art to go in a section like that and would love to see some new quotes on these subjects.

    But anyway! I love the “dust jacket” of your book so much! I dislike dust jackets. I have a pile of them that need to be matched up with their books, many of which are solid navy blue and all look alike from a book club as that’s how I could afford new releases. I wish everyone would do their dust jackets built in like that.

    I also love how in the UK old buildings are treasured and not torn down. Nothing built today has the personality of these old places. I live near Atlanta, and they will tear down the most sacred things to build a high rise or a stupid parking lot. We have the most incredible Fox Theatre with an Egyptian theme, wonderful pieces galore, and they were going to tear it down for a parking lot! Thankfully people banded together and saved it.

    This is too long, sorry! Again, can’t wait for the next quote book, though I can’t imagine all the work that went into the first one. You are brave! It was much longer than I expected and so worth the price, even out of my disability paycheck LOL! I may have thrown away the extra you said was in there unless it was the cute bookmark as I didn’t see anything else, so I’m curious what it was. It’s just a lovely work of art I will enjoy for years to come and I will add some of my favorites on the blank pages you provided (great idea!). Thank you! It’s hard to find a kindred spirit these days, but I know I can always come here and feel at home.

    • sbranch says:

      Do not worry, definitely a pet section … beautiful quote by Dean Koontz! next book will be more about home than anything else I think . . . family, the seasons, holidays, cooking … all that good stuff! Love that you approve of the dust jacket … I like it too … been thinking I should always do it that way! There used to be a FOSB Friends of Susan Branch Club Card ~ we had them reprinted . . . that and the bookmarks is what Kellee has been putting in with the books! Yes, this good land of kindred spirits!💖Thank you for being part of it!

  54. Linda says:

    Oh so lovely to receive a new blog post! I did not travel to England on the QM2 with your group. BUT–along with 6 friends–I got on the QM2 in Southampton on Sunday, May 8–the day you arrived–to return to NYC. It is a lovely way to travel and the seas were our friend….only about 15 hours of rough seas right when we came out of the English Channel and into the Atlantic. We were waiting with anticipation to get up at 4 am and run outside as we came into New York harbor the day we returned. But, we were met with pea soup fog and were sadly unable to see the great lady as she welcomes ships into the harbor. The captain announced that as we went under the Verrazano Bridge the QM2 had only 13 meters of clearance to go under the bridge! The pilot who brings big ships into the harbor certainly earned his pay that day!

    Thanks for all of your books and blog posts about England. You not only paint beautiful watercolors for us to enjoy but you are a wordsmith who paints pictures in our minds. Safe travels to California. Maybe you need to do for Amtrak what you have done for Cunard!

    • sbranch says:

      We had the same thing coming home, perhaps 15 hours of rough seas as we were coming out of the English Channel ~ maybe it’s always there! Also, a lot of pea soup, but a lot of clear skies too … and as you can see, we had a beautiful morning the day we arrived! I’m so happy you enjoyed your experience. It’s something quite amazing… it never gets old for us! I usually do something I call Twitter from the Twain as we travel cross country, and show photos from our room with a view!💞

      • Arline in So CA. says:

        I think you are right! After we left the beautiful Queen we hopped on another cruise for a “taste” of Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the cliffs of Dover, so we weren’t able to make the picnic. We also had about 12 hours of bumpy ride getting through the English Channel to Ireland. Just enough to rock us to sleep. Also, I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my ♥️ for inviting us along and sharing your vacation with all of us who were thrilled to be along with you and Joe, (but tried not to follow you around too much). We also got to see some of the Cotswolds and Highclere. All because you invited us! Thank you so much and see you at Vroman’s with my pin on!

  55. Janice Cobb says:

    I immediately got the “Picture This” app….. and then found that it is free for a short trial only. Then, it costs $39.95. The AppStore can be so deceiving sometimes!

  56. Janice Russell says:

    I was showing my husband, John, pictures of your tour of Churchill’s home, Chartwell & John
    said, “why didn’t we go on this trip?”And I told him there may be more. He said, “Well I think we should DO that. Sign us up!!” So I’ll be watching for news of another trip – & will be more pro-active. Right now, I’m watching for news of your stop in Salt Lake City at the King’s English book shop. Saw you there last time – & have been to two other book signings on the
    Vineyard in past years. My daughters say I’m a groupie & I say you bet ‘cha, I am. 😊❤️
    Glad you had another fabulous time & are safely home now!

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha! Thank you Janice! You will LOVE Chartwell, and there many other important homes in the area for you to stop and see. It’s a great part of the country! Full of historical riches.❌⭕️❌

  57. Cheryl Hubbard says:

    Dear Susan I ordered a copy of enchanted 3 months ago but still haven’t received it and you aren’t answering my emails on your website, please contact me. I’ve been a fan of your work for over 20 years but am getting disalutioned.

    • sbranch says:

      Don’t be, we had thousands of orders. I’m sure it’s on the way … but I am going to forward your email to Kellee (they’ve been so busy shipping) … and make sure she gets back to you! So sorry!

    • dezi says:

      I didn’t think Enchanted was published yet. Is it? 🙏🏻🙏🏻

  58. Therese says:

    Oh, It is good to have you home, Susan!
    I feel like Jack must feel to have you back in this orbit again.
    Our summer here, for us patriots, has been filled with anguish and profound disappointment. After reading this post I feel my true center reasserting itself.
    I got seduced into reading a political pundit’s daily screed and realized that so much of of it feels clueless and “off”. I guess we all come to our walk with different rhythms to our step. It feels soooo good to be in step with you!
    Welcome Home!

    • sbranch says:

      Kindred spirits! And too much craziness in the world for mental health! I have to remind myself to take a deep breath! Take care Therese, thank you!❌⭕️

  59. Minette says:

    Welcome home! So glad you and Joe are safely back on MV and know Jack is full of joy to have you home. Your posts from England were just what we all needed during this disturbing . summer. You are so right—Coming home and focusing on those things that are in our control to maintain and make better for ourselves and loved ones really does help to cope with everything else. Just seeing your lovely home and the care and love that you and Joe have for it is truly inspirational. I am truly enjoying Distilled Genius and adding new quotes to an already long “favorites” list, mostly taken from your books! Your books line my bookshelf with bookmarks and bits of paper tucked in between pages where you have included a quote that rings so true. The quotes you have chosen to use for your books are one of my favorites things about all your books. Sometimes the wisdom shared in a simple sentence is so profound that I am absolutely blown away. Enjoy your summer and your cross-country trip! Autumn will be here soon!

    • sbranch says:

      I couldn’t agree more … sometimes those words that have survived over centuries answer the very questions I’ve struggled with! Amazing! Everything that’s needed to be said, HAS been said … 💖😘

  60. Martha B says:

    Take someone take those photos of you together. One of you will be glad you did….

  61. Anne says:

    Thank you Susan for your sweet words. The red ribbon is the perfect touch. Blessings for safe travels💕

  62. Linda Reilly says:

    Loved all the beautiful pictures! Enjoy your next adventure ✨️

  63. Liz from Sterling Heights, Michigan says:

    The book is wonderful (just received it today!), and your treatment of the cover is pure “genius!!” Thank you for all your amazing work to make it so beautiful – just like everything you do! Already found inspiring quotes about silence!! It’s good to have you back on this side of the pond!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s wonderful to be here. And thank you for the kind words. Yes, making a book is just like making a Christmas present, you want it to be good! ❌⭕️❌⭕️

  64. Ann Y. says:

    Welcome Home ! So thrilled for you to have such a wonderful trip and for sharing it with us, but also love hearing how happy you are to be home. Two things touched me in the post ( well, everything did, but two really did) – how happy you and Joe are. What a blessing! My dear husband and I feel the same…our license plate says 1BIGD8…One Big Date! We feel like everyday together is a gift and we are having so much fun together. Yes, the world and our country is CRAZY….but we enjoy our home, I made zucchini muffins this morning with a big zucchini my neighbor gave us and then delivered some around the building…now making a blueberry pie. We had a little adventure in NYC this past weekend and it was lovely and exciting….but it was SO good to come home to our cozy nest. You know the feeling. The other thing that touched me was the photo of you and Joe “verklempt” and thinking how good life is….and the scenes of the ship leaving the harbour. Years ago when we sailed out of NYC to Bermuda with dear friends we were on the deck watching Lady Liberty and realized we were all of Eastern European descent, and our grandparents had come to America and sailed past her hoping for a better life….and in just two generations, there we were…sailing on a vacation in luxury. Yes…it made us tear up! Looking forward to Distilled Genius…and more posts from you. Welcome Home !

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we felt that same thing sailing past the Statue of Liberty, how our ancestors did the same thing, and how lucky we are that they did! A huge feeling of being a culmination of history so far. Although, sometimes in England it was SO beautiful, I have to admit wondering what they could have been thinking!😂 Thank you Ann!

  65. Mary Brehm says:

    Welcome home Sue! I’m sure Jack is just giddy to have you back. There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed. The first night after a long trip is the best. I snuggle down and talk to it…” Hello my cosy bed! I have missed you so!”

    I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my books! I ordered three! One for me and one for each of my daughters. Speaking of daughters, my two lovelies gave me the most wonderful of surprises by gifting me a night away and tickets to come see you at your book signing stop at “An Unlikely Story in Plainville, Mass. I am so EXCITED! I have been wanting to meet you for such a long time and now my wish is coming true. I will probably make a fool of my self and be at a loss for words, my apologies in advance. I’m sure all of your girlfriends feel the same way. You are such a positive light and bring such happiness and remind me to dwell on the sweet, simple things in life. You have a gift, no, you ARE a gift.

    Thank you for sharing more pictures of your lovely trip to England. I just love those beautiful trees. The one giant tree looks like Winnie the Pooh and piglet live there! It’s just missing the sign that says “Trespassers Will.” Hope you are having wonderful time enjoying your beautiful home. I am loving mine. I picked my first sweet pea bloom today and i have clothes fluttering on the clothesline. My girlfriend brought me quiche and the most delicious strawberry soup for lunch. It was soooo good! Now I’m gonna go do like you say and pick some flowers to tuck around my house.
    Sending much Love to you.

    • sbranch says:

      Just be sure to tell me your first and last name so I recognize you!!! I’m looking forward to it Mary, we’ve been talking for so long, will be nice to have a face to go with it!🌷🌷🌷

  66. I always feel so good after reading your Willards! Thank you!

  67. Janet Conn says:

    So glad you and Joe are home safe and sound. Thank you for the beautiful post and many, many thanks for the beautiful book. So thrilled to receive it in the mail last Saturday. The book is magnificent. I can’t wait to devour every page. Blessings to you and Joe.

  68. Cindy Huk says:

    Thank you. I really tried to read my bed book slowly, that lasted two days. No self control here. What a delicious feast. Again , all I can add is, so happy you’re home in New England, and thank you ❤️

    • sbranch says:


      • Charlotte Schultz says:

        loved all of the photos, especially the one of Joe at the pub.
        The woodwork on the wall behind him was beautiful!
        So much history to see and enjoy in those little towns! I loved seeing
        the flower and trees.
        Someday we will get to travel to England and France.
        Loved your blogs. ❤️

  69. Connie Wahlse says:

    July 15
    My copy of Distilled Genius arrived today! It is wonderful! I am in love!

  70. Diane says:

    A dreamy trip and I easily live vicariously through others travels! The pictures are priceless and tell the story. It’s funny how we feel meant for a place we weren’t born or have even been. I’ve always felt I was meant to be from Cape Cod or Martha Vineyards ever since I can remember. Midwesterner, east coast gal at heart💖. I have 3 millennials….2 are real minimalists, 1 somewhat….as most generations veer the opposite of the prior. The other reasons, are environmental, and producing less (nearly all of my son’s home is used/vintage midcentury furniture, lights, used books, mostly from the public library, everything repurposed). A clean, simple, calming environment they preger from the hectic world today is,.

  71. Peggy Willoughby says:

    Another great blog! I have framed prints of “The best journey always takes us home” and “Home Sweet Home.” Going is great fun, but there’s nothing like home. We traveled to upstate NY by car …12 hour drive!…to see the NY grandchildren. Laughter and more laughter with the teens. I taught the 9 year old a new word for her…serendipity. We had great fun giving her examples of serendipitous happenings. As wonderful as our trip was sleeping in my own bed, doing my own laundry, cooking in my own kitchen are the best.
    Glad you both are home safe and sound and holding all those UK memories in your heart. I cannot wait to travel cross country with you this summer.
    Oh, wait, …Distilled Genius…LIVE LOVE LOVE it. Thank you.

  72. Renée says:

    Thank you ~ for your words, your art, your adventures and sharing it all w/us! Received my book today and I’m savoring it – a hug between beautiful end papers! Your trip looks /sounds fantastic, wishing you safe fun travels as you head out again. I fondly remember meeting you @ a book signing in NH ~seeing the cool lettered van and glimpsing Joe, your ever present co pilot of the road trip. ♥️ Be safe + happy!

  73. Linda Ann S says:

    Just a ray of sunshine getting a Willard! I love the way it makes me feel when I read your words…so happy and peaceful! Your trip looked amazing and so many fun adventures….and I’m in love with the “little monster.”
    I was so excited to see your tour includes a shop in NJ just one town over from where I live!. My excitement turned to disappointment when I saw the date and realized I’ll be away that week….I’m going north as you’re coming south…attending your signing would have been a dream come true! Hopefully, now that I just retired, there will be other opportunities to meet you! Have a wonderful trip and enjoy your beautiful home!

  74. Mary Lawrence says:

    My book arrives today in the mail! I can’t wait!Thank you for sharing your beautiful trip to England.But I do believe with all my head,there is no place like home. Safe travels to California,I know your heart we scattered my mom’s ashes last year.We are our mothers ,they are a part of us and we a part of them our grandmother’s as well.Have a beautiful rest of the summer,I don’t like to wish my life away,but I’m very excited for fall.My husband had his hip replacement in June 1st.We are looking forward to some travel .God bless you the queen of cozy.Mary Elizabeth Marshall Lawrence

  75. Patricia Clilfford says:

    I so enjoy your Willards. Got my copy of Distilled Genius last week and am enjoying it most afternoons with a glass of tea followed by a dreamy siesta. Thank you for putting your lovely, heart felt creativity out into this crazed world. It is exactly what is needed.

  76. Janie Foltz says:

    Susan, my Willard arrival came at the best time. Thank you! I loved seeing the pictures of you and Joe and how beautiful your love story truly is.I too am so fascinated with the life of trees. As we learn more and more about trees communication system we understand the connection nature truly has. I have been dealing with some health issues and reading your posts today gave me hope and encouragement. I just came in from snipping some fresh herbs and zinnias. I believe we never know how we are being used to bring joy to others. You bring “JOY”. Prayers for travel mercies. Love to you and Joe…and of course Jack.

  77. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    “I’m pretty sure, the future for e-books isn’t as bright as it used to be! No good book smell! Not good for decorating! Carrying real books is good for arm muscles.”

    Love what you said above! I agree! Books still make the home. Our comforts.

    Your love of all-things HOME sings thru every line of this post, Susan. It’s infectious in the best way. Thanks for the reminder.

    Have a terrific road trip in August! You’ll really be ready to settle down for Fall/Winter on the island, as you will have had such a busy travel year. I’d think it would really be something to look forward to; sounds Cape Cod Cozy to me.

  78. daniela medina says:

    Hi dear Susan, welcome!! could you please share how do you do for keep the fabric on the living room furniture so white? Thank you for your books, arts, energy and all the goodness, xoxo Daniela From Mexico:)

  79. Sandi from the Cape says:

    I’ve been trying to find the talk you and Rachael gave aboard the QMII on how your relationship got started. Is it on you tube? Could you provide a link so we can see it? Thanks dear Susan!

  80. Terri Morse says:

    Welcome home! So happy you had a good trip home. I have loved arm chair traveling with you. My book came yesterday. I was so excited. I’ve been carrying it around with a grin on my face. It is just delightful! As I write this, I’m settled in my favorite chair with my feet up, and Distilled Genius is in my lap. It is such a treasure. The quote about avoiding playing leapfrog with a unicorn made me laugh out loud. Your home looks beautiful, as always. The paint color in the living room is perfect. The best part for me though, is all of the cute pictures of Jack. I can’t help myself – I just adore tuxedo kitties! Stay safe on your trip to California❤️

  81. Catherine says:

    I just ordered your new book – can’t wait! Would LOVE to get it signed when you come to Cali. I went to a book signing in 2000 (or 2002?) in Mission Viejo, CA at Michael’s and had you sign all the books I had at the time. I looked at the schedule and NO California dates are listed — I’m sure they are “in the works” and I may have to drive to *&^*#!! Los Angeles or thereabouts to see you, but it will be worth it Sue!! I have been a fan FOREVER!! I used to get the WILLARD in real print!
    Looking forward to seeing you soon and thanks for coming to Cali! 😍

  82. Debbie Boerger says:

    Tom and I sit on the porch most afternoons and hash over whatever is on our minds. My eye caught sight of something yellow in the “natural” landscape down toward the water. “Natural” means what ever grows is fine with us.
    Aakkk! It’s goldenrod. Don’t get me wrong, I adore golden rod, both varieties that grow around here….But! It signals summer is drawing to a close. And what a fabulous one it has been out here on the far Eastern tip of the US. So very pleasant. Most nights windows wide open. On warmer days we keep it nice downstairs by blowing the cool basement air up here. Have a monster de-humidifier down there, so there is no musty smell. Small fans on the floor blow the coolness around.
    I had thought I’d posted my Churchill’s garden story, but I probably just Thought about it. 😉 On my second visit, I picked up an acorn under a humongous oak, also a small cedar cone. I have kept these, along with dried rose petals and a “buck eye” from Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s garden in a pretty blue saucer on an old writing desk. We stayed in the converted potting shed of Virginia’s home for 4 nights…National Trust. After the tours closed for the day, Tom and I had it all to ourselves. They keep it up so well. We’d get up and have our morning coffee sitting outside and just try to absorb the beauty and quiet. I know it was mostly Leonard’s doing, but Virginia loved it, too.
    Another home we visited nearby was Down House, where Charles Darwin and his family lived. It was a stormy day, and we were the only folks in there. No rush, so we got the Primo tour. My heart was beating so hard, as I’m a wanna be scientist. This was “where it happened” this kind, brilliant man working out the wonder and beauty of Evolution. I’ve read everything by and about him and seeing his actual notes, glasses on the desk, chair and evidence of a home filled with children and love, just blew me away. Then we went over to Biggin Hill, which you and Joe know all about.
    If anyone is interested, Call A Spy, based on a true story, is just now on Netflix. The reviews say it’s pretty true to actual events. I really liked it.
    With our ongoing showdown between the forces of tyranny and fascism, we need to be reminded of what was sacrificed for freedom. Not the kind of “freedom” that gives us the “right” to do any thing we want, but the Freedom that comes with Responsibility to our fellow countrymen. I find that the people in countries that experienced WWII, have a much clearer idea of that Concept.
    Checking the PO box every day for my Distilled Genius, 3 copies. So excited.
    Hope the calendar is going swiftly. Packing for your twip on the twain?
    Mucho Love,
    Debbie in Her Happy Place

  83. Hi Susan,
    I am waiting for your book to arrive and can’t wait. I’m hoping to meet you in Ohio, but if you could find a book store in Michigan…… There’s one in Ann Arbor called Nicola’s books where I have met other authors. Maybe that would be a good fit? I’m dreaming.
    Your trip looked so wonderful. Thanks for taking us along.

  84. jaybirdinohio says:

    I was so excited to see that you’d be in Wheaton 8/10, as we’ll be in Chicago that week for birthdays, but…one of those birthdays is on the 10th. Our 6yo grand wouldn’t be happy if I weren’t there, so…another time, perhaps?

  85. Mary Webb says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh I can’t put it all into any other words right now!!!

  86. Paula from SoCal says:

    Dear Sue,
    I am “Completely, and Perfectly, and Incandescently, Happy”..(Jane Austen)…with your new book! It was so much more than I expected, but I should have known you would “hit it out of the park”!!! I plan to use it as a daily affirmation source. Enjoy your cross country adventure. Welcome Back to us…

  87. Val says:

    What a fabulous trip that must have been! When I saw the photos of the gnarled and magnificent trees, I exclaimed “There MUST be fairies in there!”.
    Thank you for the always-colorful addition to our in-boxes!

  88. Sharon Crane says:

    So many wonderful pictures, but I think the one I love the most is Jack at the screen door! I am happy that you had a safe journey, and thankful to you for sharing it with all of us Girlfriends!

  89. Cindi Copeland says:

    I was so excited to see your picture from my favorite book store, Prairie Path Books! I purchased my ticket for your visit as soon as Sandy posted it and I’m looking forward to meeting you on August 10. Safe travels!

  90. Cece says:

    Oh, trees. 😊 My one friend has nicknamed me ‘Treehugger’.
    I love your picture of the huge, old trees. The one looks like an entrance to a secret world, like in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
    Such wonderful adventures.

  91. Linda F says:

    I was late in reading this, but I enjoyed it so very much I wanted to say Thank You! And then purchased the book from you, plus a few other goodies I have been eyeing for a while 💕 Now to wait impatiently to receive them! Have a wonderful trip to California. Keep cool and travel on!

  92. Viffy says:

    Oh, the summer is flying by… but I had to take a quick moment to see the latest blog post from you! Really great photos of your trip. I’m inspired on two levels to visit England myself… your great stories and that of some much beloved cousins who are already living there. I think 2023 will be our voyage timeline. I’ve heard so many good things about how a visit to the English countryside can change the very fiber of a person.

  93. Debbie Boerger says:

    Thank you for that Great Birthday Laugh! The cat at the symphony. Having a wonderful day, as everyone respected my wishes re presents. I have absolutely everything I want or need. I’m in the give away phase now. Have boxes waiting to go to various places when we get back to Tampa, and some up here in Maine.
    Some of my birthday gifts are…a telescoping back scratcher, a coiled bracelet infused with citronella, a $1 book of Dog essays by EB White, a coupon for home made ice cream, a dish towel that says, “Just one drink away from telling someone how you really feel about them.” and a small bag of Werther’s caramels. All useful, and the book will be regifted. I do love EB White. It takes thought to give these gifts, from people who know and love me.
    Off to the loft, to turn on the AC and start reading.
    Thank you Dear Lady for supplying the belly laugh,
    Debbie in Maine…very warm today

  94. Dianne in upstate New York says:

    Hi Susan, So glad that you and Joe are back home safely. I love the pictures of the houses with the “wonky” roof line (isn’t that the greatest word?) and the half timbered ones. May I ask where they are located? I would love to visit that village(s) on my next trip. I also want to visit Churchill’s home. I did visit Sissinghurst, and I joined the Royal Oak Society while there. It was , unfortunately, the last National Trust property I visited, but U.S. membership wasn’t offered at the others. Time got away from me, and I didn’t join before leaving home. I think the membership might be a little less if purchased in the U.S. (just so your readers are aware). I’ll have to peruse the book provided to see what I can visit while traveling by train. I do hope that Churchill’s home might be accessible. Among other things, I’m anxious to see the desk you showed a picture of somewhere. It looks very similar to one I just purchased from my insurance agent when he retired. It had been in his father-in-law’s office prior to his retirement, so it is quite old. So nice and heavy. The book-filled room is lovely. Is there anything more comforting than being surrounded by books? I love libraries, bookstores, and college campuses. And I agree, the future of e-books is not as bright as it was once thought to be. Due to weight restrictions, they are great for travel, but I much prefer the printed word. Didn’t you just want to curl up on that sofa, book in hand- and Jack by your side of course! Looking forward to seeing you at Titcomb’s and hoping that some of the girlfriends from the crossing might be there. I always enjoy talking to the people on line at your signings. Everyone is always so positive. I think it’s the sunshine you have a way of spreading wherever you go. It’s contagious!

  95. Susan says:

    Susan, I hope you will not mind my asking you a question here. I’ve asked a couple of times on FOSB but received no answer. I understand that everyone is very busy there with mailing books. Would you know if Amazon will be receiving more books to sell? I pre-ordered one there, but something seems to have gone wrong and there is no record of my order. Now they are temporarily out of stock. Do you know if they received any in the first place for pre-orders? I frequently checked, and the date available always read September 15.

    • susan morgon says:

      Ignore the question – I decided to go ahead and order from your Shopping Page instead. I’ve heard so much good stuff about the book that I can’t wait on Amazon anyway!

  96. June from Southern California says:

    Dear Susan,
    Welcome home! It is good to go away and experience different places and things, but it is also good to come home to your own comfortable bed! Today I received the 6 copies of your book that I pre-ordered (1 for myself and 5 for gifts for my girlfriends) and fell in love with it after looking through just a few pages. Will get back to it and go through every single page and savor it all! Thank you for another wonderful book.

  97. Barbara Warner says:

    I was so happy that you will be in Hudson at our beloved Learned Owl Book Store!
    I couldn’t believe our good fortune! I marked it on my calendar immediately…and then two days later…despair. We have to be out of town on that day. I will have to meet you vicariously as I have been doing for all these years. Lucky people who are able to hear your voice and see your smile in person! At least my book is on its way in the mail!

  98. Linda Auwerda says:

    I am looking forward to seeing you again at the Kings English in SLC. Last time you were here I didn’t realize that the books that I own can be brought to have you sign. How many can I bring or is that even going to be a part of this visit?
    Your books have brought so much contentment and joy to my life over the years. Warmly,

  99. Debbie Boerger says:

    Wasn’t yesterday the most beautiful Summer day? I’m sure your porch supper was wonderful, in the cool afternoon and evening. We got to fling open all the windows and French doors yesterday and say, Aaaahhhhh, after a week of hot, sticky (actually the usual) weather. We had been spoiled by the lower temps and humidity.
    Mucho love from mucho lovely Maine

  100. Kelly Reid Machnov says:

    For your book signing tour 📚wouldn’t it be wonderful if those attending brought their favorite quote(s) to share with you? The myriad of quotations from across the US could be really interesting and your favorite quotations file would grow and grow!

    I hope you and Joe have a safe and memorable book tour. Looking forward to seeing you in CA.🌞🍃🌷🍃

    Best to you both and thank you for your incredibly gifted talents that all of us Girlfriends are enjoying in this new book. It is wonderful!!!

    ~ Kel from Walnut Creek

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