Martha’s Vineyard Love Letter

A Love Letter to

M A R T H A ‘ S ….V I N E Y A R D

Marth's Vineyard

ow could I not fall in love with Martha’s Vineyard? Southern California, where I was born and raised, was a wonderful place to grow up; we were free as birds in shorts and T-shirts pretty much year ’round… but until I came to New England, I never saw a hillside of daffodils, or a snowstorm, never rode on a ferry, ate a whole lobster (especially not on the beach when the sun was going down…), wore out a leather jacket from going on morning walks in the cold winters, saw ice skaters on a frozen pond, filled a vase with springtime lilacs, or smelled wood smoke on cool Autumn days while leaves blew off the trees. But I sure dreamed of it. When I was young, I would see gas station calendars with photos of picturesque Vermont villages in the fall… couldn’t be real, I thought, the photographer must have put a colored filter over the camera lens; nothing could ever be that pretty. Imagine my amazement, not only is it real, but it happens every single year! Like clockwork. Sometimes I think it might not, but it always does.


You lucky people who grew up with the seasons know how exciting it c
an be! I watched old movies and read magazines with pictures of darling old houses, long lawns, and picket fences; saw those arbors dripping with roses and wisteria…especially I dreamed of the old houses with picket fences and arbors. When I finally got myself to New England, I felt like I was coming home. How could I not fall in love with it; it’s my dream. Every change of season still seems like a miracle to me.

I get lots of letters from people asking me what the island is like, what they should see when they visit, where they should stay; all the information we want to know about a place before we go. I’ve been meaning to do this for years, give you all the details in one place. Perhaps you will agree, as I wrote in my book Vineyard Seasons, “that fairies seem to be running ahead of me setting up scenes just for my pleasure.” Soon I’ll be adding links to this page for my favorite shops and restaurants, inns, hotels, and events you might like to attend. But here’s a starter-kit of island basics — first off, this is a map of the island so you can get your bearings:


This is the shape of the island. If you come here you will see it
on mugs, napkins, lampshades, dishes, charms, purses, ties, hats,
T-shirts, and bumper stickers. And on diamond necklaces for those
who are seriously committed.

f you’ve seen the movie Jaws, you already kind of know what the island looks like because it was filmed here. Martha’s Vineyard is seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, just far enough away to make it interesting, but not so far you can’t get to the mainland when you want. Two hours by car or bus from Boston, another 45 minutes by ferry, we are out in the Atlantic, near our sister island of Nantucket.

ere’s a bit of local jargon…when you are on the island, you are “on-island” — when you go away, you are “off-island” which can be shortened, when speaking to other islanders, to “I’m going off.” In this case, “off” is a place, therefore its a noun. In a sentence, you might say, “I’ll be on-island on the 12th.” And we call it “The Vineyard.” (Our funny friend from England, Paul, calls it “Martha’s.”)

he Vineyard is 100 square miles; about 20 miles from one end to the other, which takes about an hour to drive at a leisurely summer pace on our narrow country roads. You can fly in to our small airport, but the most popular approach is by ferry boat. Big white boats (with snack bars) bring people and their cars, bikes, dogs, and children across the water. It’s a lovely way to arrive in the summer–you can sit on top of the boat with the ocean air, sparkling water, seagulls white against the blue sky, and sailboats all around.The island slowly comes into focus as you approach the lighthouse at West Chop, you get your first view of the antique houses dotting the shore, and the tall white church spires that break the tree line — this sight always sends a thrill to my heart. Coming home, I can see the treetops around my house from the ship’s rail.

he island was settled by the English in the 1600’s, but it was already a thriving Native American trade center when the Mayflower landed in Plymouth; it’s been a popular summer resort since the 1800’s. They say John Adams stopped here once; we know President Ulysses S. Grant stayed here, and that is just the beginning.

wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard of Martha’s Vineyard in connection to someone famous; the island draws artists, writers, presidents, princesses, talk show queens, singers, and your basic average everyday movie star. It really makes things interesting when you’re downtown, running into someone you think you know, you know you know, but can’t quite place how; you almost say “Hi” before suddenly realizing, oh no, you don’t know them, and most importantly they don’t know you! All of this flickers behind your eyes in about a second and a half; the reaching out, the confusion, the dawning. No, I don’t know you Greg Kinnear. Look away. Feel stupid. It’s fun to have celebrities here, they add spice and excitement to the summer.

ue to the seasonal nature of the island, and what I call “the moat” (note body of water surrounding island), we’re somewhat cut off from the world. In the 1970’s, the island tried very seriously to secede from the state. Independent self-sufficient New Englanders live here. They have to be strong, the place is one nor’easter, one hurricane, one frozen harbor away from isolation and disaster; self sufficient, but interdependent in that neighbor-caring-for-neighbor kind of way.

he year-round population is about 15,000, but in the summer it swells to over 100,000 people (and their dogs and cars).The summer brings the glitterati, but most of the year, it’s just us, the lucky ones; the normal paint-the-house, put-out-the-trash, work-in-the-garden, go-to-work kind of Vineyarders, living our small-town lives, having dinner parties, tea parties, and cookouts on the beach to keep each other entertained, in this remarkably unspoiled pastoral setting with wonderful water views all around us.

here are six little towns (three of them, if you blink, you’ll miss), old picket-fenced cemeteries from before the American Revolution filled with beautiful stone grave markers, sandy beaches, miles of bumpy dirt roads, charming architecture in tree-lined neighborhoods, lighthouses, gray-weathered fishing shacks, wildflower-studded meadows, lakes, ponds, woods to walk in, harbors filled with schooners and cat boats, old farm houses in rolling pastures bordered by lichen-covered rock walls, all surrounded by sunsets and water which are never the same two days in a row. It’s very easy to “go back in time,” the quiet village streets are of another era, and church bells ring as they’ve done here forever.

he season” goes from the unofficial beginning of summer, Memorial Day, through Labor Day. August is the high point, some of the most popular “events” such as the Agricultural Fair and Grand Illumination Night are held in August. In September, some of the stores begin to close for winter, restaurants and movie theaters too. By the time Christmas is over, the hatches have been battened down; firewood is stacked, storm windows have been put on, hibernation sets in; the long (wonderful) quiet winter begins (as I’m writing this, it’s an early January morning, still dark and quiet, there’s a fire popping in the fireplace, the furnace is humming, and every so often a snow plow crunches down the street outside my window). If you appreciate tradition and consistency in a place, you will like the island.

eople ask me what they shouldn’t miss when they visit. For me, it’s the simple, old-fashioned, small-town ambience. Our local papers provide lists of island events, parades, flea markets, bandstand sing-a-longs, fireworks, street fairs, lectures, book signings, farmer’s markets, art openings, sweet little museums, theatre, dance, and music concerts. The first thing you should do when you get here is pick up either the Vineyard
or the Martha’s Vineyard Times. There is always a page of events and you’ll find everything you need to know.

here are no chain stores on the Vineyard. Darling small shops line the main streets; the movie theatres date from the time of silent films. It’s a meandering sort of place, a wandering-down-country-roads-exploring-place, a picnic-basket-to-the-beach, ice cream cones-on-hot-summer-nights-window-shopping kind of place. Simple pleasures. Roam through bookstores; play cards on a porch. Eat lobsters and watch the sunset. Take a yoga class on the beach; fish, play golf or tennis; go for a bike ride in the state forest; nap in a hammock. These are the things people come to Martha’s Vineyard to do.

n the summer, pack casual clothes; it’s usually warm and humid, but it might rain, so tuck in a small umbrella. It will often cool down at night; you will likely want a sweater and jacket. Edgartown is dressier than the other towns, especially at night; you can wear high heels if you want, but you don’t have to; you can wear pants anywhere. During the day your children can walk through any town with a towel around their bathing suits wearing flip flops. Mostly it’s cotton and linen; sun-dresses and Bermuda shorts, skirts, palazzo pants, capris, bathing suits (the Gulf stream circles the island, the water is warm!), jeans, T-shirts; sandals and walking shoes … summer things. Men can wear green pants with embroidered whales on them (if they must, this is the place for it); blue blazers are popular here too .

We have hotels, bed and breakfasts, and lots of houses for rent. A visit to our Chamber of Commerce website will get you started!  Enjoy the Island! But watch out, you may fall in love and never be able to get out!

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306 Responses to Martha’s Vineyard Love Letter

  1. Donna Erickson says:

    I remember reading in one of your posts that you moved here after your divorce. Did you have a job at the island? You are a brave woman to move so far away from family by yourself. I’m not sure I would have had the guts to do it! Your surroundings have surely fueled your passions!

    • sbranch says:

      I was a little bit unconscious when I did it having just experienced that huge broken heart from divorce. I kind of didn’t know what I was doing, accidentally bought a house, and that was it, I found out I’d moved to the island! I got a job at the gourmet food store on Main Street. Finding out how to live in the winter was where I suffered most on the learning curve. It all worked out well, I wouldn’t change a thing.♥

  2. Anneliese Henderson says:

    Just finished your magnificent love letter to England! It blew me away; not just the wonderful travelogue, but the drawings, photos, recipes, little bits of great information about the many magical locales you explored. I wish I could pack my bags now and take a voyage there like you did! What an inspiring book filled with humor and insight (I did shed tears at times, but also chuckled and smiled). Thank you Susan for sharing your experiences with us. Your love for nature and all the creatures made your writing even more endearing.
    Have several of your cook books (love, love them all!), but now I will have to get the rest plus some of your treasures on your website.
    You are a rare gem with talent galore.
    Thanks for all the love and effort you put into your books!

    Happy New Year to you, Joe, and the kitties!


    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Anneliese… you can’t imagine how nice it is to read such wonderful words. xoxo Happy New Year to you and yours!

  3. Jo Ann Pollick says:

    Dear Susan,
    My sweet sister gave me your book “A Fine Romance” for Christmas, read it in two evenings. Have followed your blog for a long time and love it. I fear for our young ladies who are not learning the Homemakin’ Arts from their Mothers as most of my generation learned. I’m so thankful that you are available on the internet and in print for those who search.
    Thank you for sharing your life and talent with the world.

  4. Barb Kile says:

    Susan, is there any way I would be able to purchase your books: Christmas, Baby Love, Mom and Christmas Memories ? Would LOVE to have them in my collection. Sending Hugs !! Barb Kile

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes you can find them in the vintage part of our webstore … just click on “shopping at the top of the page” — then on “vintage” in the left-hand column.

  5. Deborah Dowling says:

    I loved your book , “A Fine Romance”. I wish that I could take a trip like that.
    I have always been a person who loved British things. I went there when I was
    in college for a short term class in Medieval Literature. I wish I could go back.
    Deborah Dowling from Gilbert, Az.

  6. Josephine Gadaleta says:

    Hello Susan! Your blogs are such a pleasure to read. Your love letter to Martha’s Vineyard makes me want to visit your island myself. Actually, me and my family would love to vacation there this summer for a week. I’ve been on some MV websites and the accommodation options are so overwhelming and expensive to boot! Can you give me any feedback on which town to stay in, for example? It would be our first time there. We visited Oak Bluffs a couple of years ago but only for the day, which wasn’t enough. It would be nice to get some recommendations from a local. Thank you Susan! Any tidbit is appreciated! Can’t wait for your next blog. PS: I have your 2014 calendar and I’m loving it!

    • sbranch says:

      All the towns are a little bit different from each other, but they all have something to offer. The whole island is only 100 square miles, most of it is country roads and beaches — the towns are tiny, but fun — no chain stores are here at all except for a Dairy Queen that’s been here since the 50’s. It takes about 20 minutes to get to any furthest point on the island. It’s probably better to rent a house, very likely much cheaper and more fun because you can cook if you want to. It’s not really a “rock and roll” type vacation, more laid back, reading, walks, boats, eating ice cream, water things, like that. Also, if you will need a car, which I’m sure you will, make your boat reservations asap because that’s where any problems can come — those reservation slots for the summer fill up early. Hope this helps!

  7. Jan maskrey says:

    I live in a pretty village in the UK but have an obsession about New England, I visited a few years ago and fell in love with it. Next time I come I really want to visit Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket …one day I will come ….love your blog x

  8. Marie-Christine Hornstein-Elissalde says:

    You have at least two French admirers for I offered your lovely “A Fine Romance” to a dear friend at Xmas ! We were already in love with England before reading it, but your travel journal only increased our crave for English country pubs, lovely hedge-lined roads, old manours and cute little brick, sash-windowed, thatch-roofed cottages, warm old ladies with delicious accents and cookies on their tables …Nothing was missing ! Thank you for your exquisite and humourous drawings that provide every page with the surprise of an ever-renewed inspiration, and the richness of a firework. You are so right in calling the very ordinary craftsmen of bygone days true artists who did not know about their talents, and in glorifying the hand-made objects that bring peace to one’s soul. ( Have you ever tried patchwork ? I’m sure you would make beautiful quilts ! ) This is the only passion we seem not to have in common. Come and visit our lovely French country ! It’s worth a trip too !

    • sbranch says:

      Oh how nice Marie-Christine! French people too! 🙂 Love it! Yes, so much in common. Before I learned to paint I sewed everything, my clothes, curtains, pillow cases, and I made quilts too. But when I was thirty I tried watercolors and that took over my life and I discovered I could paint quilts faster than making them! I’ve designed fabric and quilts too . . . I love them and have collected old ones forever. Here are some of them . . . We would love to come visit . . . have been to Paris and to the coast, but not the countryside yet. Soon! Thank you!

  9. Marie-Christine Hornstein-Elissalde says:

    I offered “A Fine Romance” to a dear friend at Xmas ! We were already in love with England before reading it, but your travel journal only increased our crave for English country pubs, hedge-lined roads, old manours and cute little brick cottages, warm old ladies with delicious accents and cookies on their tables …Nothing was missing ! Thank you for your exquisite and humourous drawings that provide every page with the surprise of an ever-renewed inspiration . You are so right in calling the very ordinary craftsmen of bygone days true artists who did not know about their talents, and in praising the hand-made objects that bring peace to one’s soul. ( Have you ever tried patchwork ? I’m sure you could make beautiful quilts ! ) This is the only passion we seem not to have in common. Come and visit our lovely French countryside , we have a couple ofold villages that are worth seeing too !

    • sbranch says:

      “Crave” is the perfect word. I have one girlfriend who lives in CA — we call each other just to talk about England ~ we try to feed the “crave” factor — which is difficult to do, but so fun to remember those meadows, wildflowers, lambs, hills and dales, gardens and cottages. I did quilting long before I painted — didn’t know I could paint until I was thirty so I had years of sewing and embroidery and quilting before that. Thank you Marie-Christine!

  10. Amy Starr Van Duzen says:

    I just discovered your lovely book “A Fine Romance” at my local library recently and loved everything about it! It lead me here to your beautiful blog, which I can’t believe that I hadn’t discovered sooner! Call me a late bloomer, but better late than never. I’ve recommended your book to a few friends, one in particular who is madly in love with all things British! I especially enjoyed learning more about Beatrix Potter and seeing your photos and paintings from her farm. I decorated my daughter’s room when she was born in Peter Rabbit and friends motif and have save all of the special collectibles from that time. I will treasure them forever! I look forward to your new book! Thanks for putting a smile on my face 🙂

  11. Maggie Roche says:

    Bon Jour,

    I found your blog most interesting. I hadn’t a clue there were so many interested in the finer things such as Laura Ashley, home baked scones, and old black and white cinema as sort of an “alternative lifestyle”. Kind Regards!

  12. Marilyn Britto says:

    My sister and I are headed for Boston in 2 days. I have never visited the east coast and I just realized today that we must visit Martha’s Vineyard! I love your artwork, cookbooks, and all that you do!
    I live in the mountains in Calif. and she lives in So. Texas, so we will find a happy medium/balance during our travels.
    Thank you for everything!

    • sbranch says:

      Be sure to walk the Trail of Freedom in Boston. I hope the weather cooperates with you, bring every warm thing you have.

  13. Wendy Jorden says:

    I have just learned of your books. I’m captvated. I have already signed up for your newsletters. Due to previous injuries to my wrists, I’m unable to read books, but do read many e-books. Do you have plans to offer your books in e-format? Once again, I’m thilled to have been introduced to your unique and charming talent. Thank you.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m so sorry Wendy .. but because my books are handwritten, apparently that makes them difficult to format for e-books. I’m hearing it may be possible in the future, but right now, it’s my understanding they can’t do it. There’s lots to read here though, I’m so happy to meet you.

  14. Kate says:

    Are you sure this isn’t describing heaven?

  15. Mary Bustamante says:

    Hi Susan – I live in Arroyo Grande your old CA neighborhood. I was wondering when you purchased your beautiful farm house on MV? I was reading through your blog and it has pictures of your first little place but not much about the big white house that I would die for. Miss the store in the Village. I loved to go there to see all your beautiful things. I still have a few garden signs amoung the flowers.

    • sbranch says:

      The big white house is on Martha’s Vineyard. The little white house is in Arroyo Grande . . . I think that’s what you are thinking of? Say hello to the beautiful California springtime, almost summer, for me. xo

  16. Marcelle Longueil Québec. says:

    Susan,found your colourfull site by La table de Nana.was inMV 25 years ago,stayed in a nice bed and breakfast The corner House.Thanks for remembering Mrs Gladys Taber was following fer inFamily circle

  17. Jenny Johnston says:

    Hello Susan,
    I’ll be on-island May 8th!!! My sweet, sweet husband is bringing me for our 30th wedding anniversary. I’ve loved everything Vineyard for so many years, and almost got there in 1972. Now, all these many years later, I’m going! Your wonderful book, Vineyard Seasons, has been displayed (and used) in my kitchen since 1988, as I dreamed of The Vineyard. I’ll be writing my own love letter to MV soon! As Carly said, “I’m bound for the island…” Xoxoxo
    Ps: love love love “A Fine Romance” and ALL things England, too! Using my new Peter Rabbit Emma mug! 🙂

  18. Susan Schmidt says:

    Many years ago I happened upon your Christmas book at the local library and fell in love with the book and all things Vineyard. I passed this down to one of my three sisters and before long we found ourselves on an airplane headed your way. I must say, upon arrival, we looked at each other saying “what have we done”. The airport was so small and very old however there has been a very nice new one built since then. We were naive to think we could “bicycle” around the island and not need a car! We spent a glorious week the first part of October on the Island and completely fell in love. We also ran into you at the local florist which was a treat, you were very gracious. Since this time we have been back three times and included my mother, two other sisters and my daughter. This is truly a magical place and I would know nothing about it without coming across your book in the library. My sisters and I have followed you ever since and look forward to the Willards. We are hopeful to get back to the Island again soon.

  19. Tammy Baer says:

    Hi Susan,
    I first fell in love with your work back in the early 90’s when I was about 12. I purchased your lovely book ‘Christmas From the Heart of the Home’ for my mom as a Christmas gift. I fell in love with the warm, cozy, country cottage style you have. Twenty two years later, I still love your style. It’s one of many things I have in common with you. I also spent the first 32 years of my life growing up in California. The Bay Area actually. I will always love California, but I too have always been drawn to the East Coast and four seasons. I don’t know how well I would fair through my first winter, but I imagine I too will catch on. I actually came upon you again just the other day when I did a search for ‘Martha’s Vineyard blogs.’ My husband and I are planning our second Martha’s Vineyard family vacation there this Fall. We were there when we were just a family of 3 back in the Fall of 2011. We LOVE it there so much, we plan to move to the island in the next couple of years to raise our now family of 5. My father’s side of the family is from England actually. So I’ve been lucky to have traveled to England on many occasions. If I could live there I would in a heartbeat. To me, Martha’s Vineyard feels like I’ve been transported back to the English countryside. It is so beautiful and peaceful there. I love all your posts about Martha’s Vineyard. It has become another inspiration on our mission to move our family there one day. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures and warm memories of your time spent on the island.
    Tammy Baer

  20. audrey Bell, LaBarque Creek, MO says:

    I am in danger of becoming a stalker… of a place!
    Having just returned from an all too brief visit to your beautiful island with a group of girlfriends, all too soon my heart longs to return with family.
    I want to pack them up with swim suits and flip flops, beach towels and sunscreen.
    I want my grandchildren, who are off right now visiting a mouse in Florida, to experience the tranquil “homeyness” of what MV has to offer. Ice cream and bicycle rides, long walks and boat rides, sunsets and ocean breezes, the island is a magical haven almost a capsule of times gone by.
    It is no wonder you live with a daily dose of nostalgia in you heart.
    I love Missouri and have always loved my home, but I feel a new tug…
    You warned me… this affirmed Midwest girl may be in danger of losing her heart to a new location.

    • sbranch says:

      You make tears in my eyes, yes I did warn you. Did you know that people come here year after year for a week in the summer — once they’ve been caught, they have a difficult time getting away.

  21. Dear Susan, I have been a fan of yours for more years than either of us wish to admit! I came across your facebook page and clicked to order your 2015 calendar and found your website. What I have been missing!!! Just read your letter to MV…oh, how I miss my Massachusetts. A NJ girl I married a boy from MA and we moved “home” in ’81 and down here to SC in ’06. I had always wanted to visit the Vineyard and Nantucket but it never happened. Then just before we moved, during February school vacation, we took the ferry over! Yes, everything was pretty well closed up and the tours weren’t running…but has he says “at least I got you there!” You can be sure I will be a “regular” now and hope it is a beautiful summer in NE because it’s been a toughie down here! take care!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s been surprisingly wonderful here this year, less humidity, more perfect days, although right now I think we are waiting for a deluge. So happy to see you here Patricia!

  22. Sharon says:

    My husband and I arrive on your beautiful island a week from tomorrow for two nights of a week’s tour. I am so excited I could just bust. Thank you so much for so many shared years of lovely art, food and contagious love for England and romance!

  23. Denise S says:

    I have enjoyed reading this section many times and the main blog’s tales of the events of MV. Today in the paper I read of the crush of having President Obama and Hilary Clinton on the island at the same time. I KNOW you are not about to blog about celebrity culture (an oxymoron?) but I was curious of how it is to live there as regular citizens in the summer. Does it cause you problems? Must you also pre-book the ferry to get of and on? Do you heave a huge sigh of relief in September?

    • sbranch says:

      Whether or not they come, it’s actually August that’s the thing . . . We have our three biggest events this month, fireworks, Illumination Night and the Fair . . . it’s always crowded in August. But we live within walking distance to the supermarket, drug store, restaurants, everything we need, so we don’t have to get into the traffic and that’s really half the battle right there. We love the tourists actually, and we love it when it’s quiet. It’s fun to have both, I wouldn’t want to choose between one or the other for year-round. Both is best. The island gets to rest in the winter, the roads are quiet and everything gets to heal for the next year. It really works out pretty good.

  24. Linda says:

    I enjoyed reading this blog this evening because we’re actually staying in Edgartown tonight! It’s beautiful! What a gorgeous day! This is our first visit to the island. Our son recently moved to Boston so we have an excuse to explore New England now. We’ve been Seattleites for 30+ years (formerly S Californians also). I’ve enjoyed your art for as many years. Now I know what inspires it! I can’t get enough of seeing the old, elegant beautiful homes. What a wealth of beauty! I’m looking forward to enjoying your autumn book this fall.

    • sbranch says:

      I love it when the people I love move to “good” places! Very smart son you have there! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful time. The island practically sparkles right now. Chilly air and gorgeous light.

  25. Brenda Tiner says:

    I just want to say that I have loved your books for years…..since buying the small white Christmas one with a Heart on the front. I have another Christmas one that’s much larger….I also have the Autumn Book that I love to read every fall as well as the Summer Book that I read every summer! But I have to say I absolutely adore …The Girlfriends Book! I have two best friends that we are now celebrating 53 years of being best friends…having met when we were all 14!!! I couldn’t wait to buy them each The Girlfriends Book…of course that’s been a while back but I still love to pick it up and read it. I wish you had some idea of what absolute joy your books, drawings, blogs, ect. bring not just to me but to so many people! Please ….don’t EVER retire!!! Thank you for all you do!!!!!

  26. Donna J. Rusco says:

    I have always loved your books! calendars! scrapbook stuff! on and on!
    Oh how I covet your giftedness! I guess that is why I devour all that you publish!
    But, oh how I wish you could be faster and faster at getting those books out to us! Aren’t fans the worst!? We don’t give you a moments rest! I think a book on “Martha’s would be spectacular! Thank you so much! Donna Doo
    PS I live in Paso Robles, CA. I know you are familiar with the area!

  27. Cathy Corell says:

    I’m reading a Fine Romance. Love it!!

  28. Nan Sadler says:

    Hi Susan

    We are planning a three day visit to the Island in June – just wondering if I’ve missed the added information re restaurants, B&Bs etc that you said you planned to add to this site. We live in England, not far from Hampton Court (so enjoyed your love letter to England!) and are very much looking forward to visiting Martha’s Vineyard, which looks and sounds wonderful in your blogs.
    I hope you aren’t knee deep in snow at the moment!

    Nan Sadler

    • sbranch says:

      We’re a little knee deep, but it’s warm and cozy inside. I gave up trying to add them to the site. Since we never stay in them, and I haven’t had time to go and check things out. With all the virtual tours on line, I think it’s much easier than it used to be to choose what you will like. I think you would like to either stay in or near Vineyard Haven or Edgartown . . . but there are beautiful country inns too . . . like Lamberts Cove Inn — and nothing is very far from anything. Hope this helps a little! Have fun Nan!

      • Nan Sadler says:

        Thanks, Susan, I’m sure we’ll love every minute of it. Have just read Winter Storm Part 2 – wow, that’s some snow! Stay warm!

  29. Rebecca Koenig says:

    My family and I just visited Martha’s Vineyard last week as part of a glorious “off season” vacation. We brought out car over so that we could explore and still I feel we just “skimmed the surface”. I have one of your books and read an article about you “somewhere in my past”. When we passed a house in Vineyard Haven I kept thinking I’d seen it before…perhaps in the article that showed your garden which you described as containing the ever changing “mess” (or some such words). Sketchy memories here… I happened upon this online and it is the best description I’ve read about living on the Island. I love how you portray living with “famous people” in the midst. I had a “meeting Carly Simon” fantasy of my own when we visited. Alas, it didn’t happen. I may have fainted…lol Hope to return someday and perhaps spend the night. Such a lovely place.

  30. Dotty Rowan says:

    I love love MV from your writings and want to come for a week this summer…or soon. I would like a pretty big hotel with rocking chairs on the front porch. I would like to walk all around and on the beach. I am 82 and know I could be limited. Do you have any idea if it is possible? Or suggest a hotel? I hope I haven’t waited too long…

    You brighten my life in so many ways.
    Thank you,
    Dotty Rowan

    • sbranch says:

      The Harbourview Hotel in Edgartown is very large, very nice, with a beautiful restaurant and a comfortable eat-in bar and a long porch filled with rocking chairs, overlooking the water and the lighthouse. A little flat path leads to the lighthouse and the water. I think that would be your spot. I also think you should try to come in the off season, before Memorial Day or just after Labor Day, so the crowds will have dissipated. It’s a beautiful dream you have there.

  31. Mary Sandy says:

    Have adored A Fine Romance. Also planning a trip to island, brief stop, in Sept,2015.
    Have you a shop or outlet on island? Have a grand summer! Mary

  32. Julie says:

    After all of these years I finally had the chance to visit beautiful Martha’s Vineyard. Your description of it was perfection and we enjoyed every minute of our time there last week. Vineyard Haven was absolutely charming: flowers everywhere, the boats, the white clapboard homes, the sweetest little Main Street, a day spent driving around the island, including Chappaquiddic (sp) to see the Osprey nests (gorgeous). We spent an evening enjoying the play, Sweetened Water, in your beautiful remodeled playhouse. And Bunch of Grapes? Heaven. What a lovely independent bookstore and such a friendly staff! We had the best breakfast of our lives at the Art Cliff Diner, lobster/bacon eggs benedict, amazing! Your beautiful photos, paintings, stories and love for life, including Martha’s Vineyard have broadened my horizons in so many ways. Experiencing a taste of it myself was a life experience I’ll treasure always. I realize now that I too can create a dream of my own. There’s charm and beauty everywhere and I intend to seek it out, each and every day, for it is our focus that matters. I learned that from you. Thank you Susan!

    • sbranch says:

      You found every perfect place. Breakfast at the Art Cliff is perfection! And even our little Playhouse! I’m so happy you enjoyed it!

  33. Janis Hueftle says:

    My husband and I have made the decision to spend our 32nd Anniversary next may in the Vineyard. I’m so excited and your descriptive and informative words here helped with the excitement! I’m so excited to visit this beautiful island and behold all the beauty around every corner! Thanks so much for all that you do, all and all that you share of yourself with the world. I’m sitting here in my craft room looking at all your books on my bookcase. I love them all!! God’s blessings to you, Joe and your adorable kitties ~I have 3 myself~

    • sbranch says:

      What a wonderful thing Janis, I know you will love it! May is perfect because it’s before the crowds come, but the weather is beginning to get warm, but not hot! XOXO hugs to the kittens!

  34. Suetta says:

    Happy New Year, Susan, Joe & the kitties, from your fan in Indianapolis, Indiana. We haven’t any snow yet this year, just some rain and I look forward to meeting you some day, and possibly getting to see your little piece of heaven on earth. I, too, look forward to your calendars every year. You make all of us smile and enjoy plenty of happiness and joyfulness!! Here’s a return loving tip back to you-check out; you won’t be disappointed. She is from Minnesota and we love her in Indiana, as an amazing pianist and more. Her Linus & Lucy song this year in tribute to the Peanuts movie is so lovely! She has a good heart, like yours…Your friend with love, Suetta

  35. Dede Grosso says:

    I celebrated 21 years of marriage this December and have been collecting and using your cookbooks since we were engaged! I remember receiving your” Love” book from my mommy as an engagement gift and trying out every single recipe on my beloved the first 6 months of our married life together, until I broke down and purchased “Vineyard Seasons”. I was smitten with each page and recipe! I adored the hand written recipes the fabulous quotes. Love all the happiness of every single precious detail you pour into your books . I have recently finished reading ” A Fine Romance “. I rearranged a corner of the living room with a comfy armchair, small table for tea and a good lamp, where I parked my patootie for 2 days! It was an instant vacation! I already have many books on hold at the library to read! Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents sprinkled with joy and romantic sincerity. Many Blessings to you this year!

  36. Gina Mahoney says:

    Hi Susan,

    My husband and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this May and are planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard but not until early October. Are shops and restaurants still open that time of year? We are looking to rent a home in Oak Bluff but will have a car to visit the other towns and the lighthouses. Thank you in advance for any information regarding a visit in October.

  37. Thom Brown says:

    Hello Susan,
    My friends with whom we met while at our vacation home in Ft Lauderdale, FL (full-time in Nashville, TN) have become family to us. They rent a house for a month each year on Martha’s Vineyard. They’ve asked us to come for 5 years. This year, next week, we finally come! Your book has been so great for getting me excited about the visit.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story and also the blog!
    Can’t wait, Thom Brown and Dr. Heinro van Zyl

  38. Sallie Flesher says:

    I’m so happy I just happened upon this wonderful starter kit of island basics! Just exactly what I needed. Even though I have read all three of your latest books (loved loved loved them all), this is perfect. My friend and I will be traveling to Boston and “the Vineyard!” in September.

    Also, glad to read about what happened to your Holly Oak house. I, like many of your other readers, had been wondering about it. A very interesting story.

    I was drawn to your wonderful style of art and writing when I happened upon a little book of yours in a gift shop in Bishop, CA many years ago. It was called Love from the Heart of the Home, published in 1994. I of course, still have it. Thank you for your beautiful artwork over the years and for being so much like a best girlfriend. You are a special person.

  39. Vicki says:

    Hello Susan,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful books. I own several of them, and have purchased “A Fine Romance” four times. People just love receiving it as a gift. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and sang my way through all your books. The musical representations were so much fun. Reading your life story was so interesting, and I felt like I was right there with you. I have wondered about Holly Oak as others have, and I am happy to know how that story evolved. My best to you and Joe, and all your kitties.

  40. Susannah says:

    Susan, I have been invited to spend a long (next) weekend at the vineyard with dear friends. This will be my first time on and I am very much looking forward to it! Unfortunately I will not be able to travel with an appropriate gift basket. Does a local wine shop deliver gift baskets or is there a florist you’d recommend for a hostess gift?

  41. Susan Crawford says:

    Just read my first SB book, A Fine Romance and absolutely loved it and England because of it. I am giving it to a friend who is English from the Borders of Scotland, and survived the Blitz in London during WWII. I know she will love it. I also have two older friends who will be getting copies, since I just placed the order an hour ago. Since then I have been reading this thread, and your Queen May II trip. My bucket list now includes MV! Perhaps we would be so honored to see you at home there someday… Will be checking in often for more on this year’s trip to England. Your pictures are great and have always loved your art work. Safe travels!

  42. Joy Harding Rees says:

    Hi Susan,
    I happened upon your book in the Boston Public Library a few weeks back because I was drawn to the cover and haven’t put it down since! I am a British Girl, just moved to Boston with my husband and ‘Isle of Dreams’ was so perfect, everything I wanted in a book and more!
    We are hoping to come to the island this weekend, just for the day sadly. I wonder if you could tell me if The Black Dog is still open. Is it linked to the clothing line in any way? Apologies if this is listed somewhere in your blogs..I will be reading them shortly! Can’t wait to get my hands on your cookery book!

    • sbranch says:

      Oops, I’m sure I’m too late, so sorry Joy, Having difficulties with computer connection. But yes, as you probably already know, the Black Dog is still running… and yes the clothing is part of the company. It was my Joe that put the dog on the T-shirt (he is very proud of this!). Hope you enjoyed the Island, and especially Boston, and aren’t too homesick. At least you’re only a quick hop over the pond to be home sweet home. If you are too homesick, read A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside. Nice to meet you and welcome to America!

  43. Jana says:

    Fancy that! There YOU are visiting England and here WE are touring Martha’s Vineyard!

  44. Karen Knabe says:

    Susan – After 25 years of marriage, I made my very first cheesecake & guess whose recipe I used? Yes, your perfect, easy-to-make, smooth as silk cheesecake from Heart of the Home’s 30th anniversary edition! My husband LOVED it, and we served it on Thanksgiving. My mom and I have read all three of your books and are giving them to friends as gifts here in Kansas City. Mom also saw you on your book tour when you and Joe stopped in KC! We are huge fans! Thank you for bringing joy and inspiration to our world.

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations on your first Cheesecake….I haven’t made that in a while, but you have just inspired me! Hi to your mom, and your husband, nice to hear from you Karen!

  45. Luciana J. says:

    Querida Susan, sou brasileira e hoje eu a conheci através do Pinterest (que eu adoro!).
    Suas receitas ilustradas me agradaram tanto que eu as procurei incessantemente.
    E assim descobri seu site!
    Fiquei muito feliz em poder ver tantas coisas lindas que fazem bem para nossa alma.
    Suas fotos conseguem nos mostrar através de seu olhar a sensibilidade que carrega na alma.
    Seus desenhos são lindos, delicados e de uma sensibilidade incrível.
    Espero um dia conhecer esse lugar maravilhoso e mágico onde vive.
    Que bom que você compartilha conosco toda essa beleza que carrega no coração e que consegue transmitir através de desenhos e escritos.
    Desejo toda a felicidade para você.


    • sbranch says:

      As per Google Translate: from Portuguese, Luciana says (because I know inquiring minds will want to know):

      Dear Susan, I’m Brazilian and today I found you through Pinterest (which I love!).
      Your illustrated recipes pleased me so much that I sought them incessantly.
      And so I discovered your site!
      I was very happy to see so many beautiful things that are good for the soul.
      Your photos show us through your gaze the sensitivity of your soul.
      Your designs are beautiful, delicate and of an incredible sensitivity.
      I hope one day to visit this wonderful and magical place where you live.
      How good that you share with us all this beauty that carries in the heart and that can transmit through drawings and writings.
      I wish all happiness to you.


      How beautiful, Luciana, thank you so much. Very nice to meet you! Hello to Brazil! XOXOXO

      Como é belo, Luciana, muito obrigado. Muito prazer em conhecê-lo! Olá para o Brasil! XOXOXO

  46. Pam Butterick says:

    Although I grew up on the Vineyard, and am now back, and retired, AND have your Christmas book and an address book (for years!) I JUST read Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, and I LOVED it. I felt that I could have written it (except I’m from MV, not CA, and I can’t paint!) Your descriptions of the island and your growing love for it are so endearing and for those of us lucky enough to be HERE, so real. I am half way thru A Fine Romance, and of course love it as well, seeing as how I, too, am an Anglophile!
    When I was growing up, my dad played trumpet in the Vineyard Haven town band, and sometimes directed it, so I LOVE that you enjoy that, and there are so many other things….my husband’s aunt was Gladys Taber, so your quotes from her are special to us…(both of us…he read A Fine Romance before me (and we ALSO crossed the Atlantic on the QM 2!).
    And I just discovered your blog, and loved that in your picture of Ocean Park, in your MV Love Letter, my family home is in it! (Yes, it’s a summer home on Ocean Park….we were VERY cold in it, all winter long!
    Thank you for writing about, and photographing and painting things that are so very dear for people like me. I am soooo grateful!

    • sbranch says:

      Loved every word Pam, just wonderful. What good history you and your husband have! Welcome home! And thank you for saying hello! Looks like spring outside my window today, but bundling up for our walk, because I know looks can be deceiving! I’m so happy you are enjoying the books! xoxo

  47. Lisa Hohl says:

    Thank you for bringing me to this wonderful place! I just finished reading “Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams” while on the island. You have given me so much inspiration and happiness, no words can tell you how much I adore your story and gift. I just bought your first book and The Fairy Tale Girl at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Tisbury. I wish I could have ran into you. Xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      I was likely in the garden, or making hard-boiled eggs or something! Thank you Lisa, so nice of you to tell me, I’m thrilled you enjoyed the book. Hope you like Fairy Tale Girl. It’s kind of like the sketching in of everything that made Isle of Dreams possible!

  48. Annette says:

    I just finished reading Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams. My sister got me started with A Fine Romance. You might remember her – Diane, manager at the Cedar Rapids Barnes and Noble. I guess I’m reading you backyard, first the romance, then the vineyard, and I now need to rush out for a copy of Fairy Tale Girl, to see how you got started. However it is, I have decided I want to be you. 🙂 My sister says I already am, a little bit, because I create with what I have on hand and what no one else wants. But there was so much inspiration in this book, and I fell in love with that little cottage, next door to Myron and Ellie. In fact, I was a little sad when the book ended with you in a different house, although it is probably just a larger version of that first one. Do you still have the original cottage? I hope Agnes would have been duly impressed! I’m heading out tomorrow to find quilts for “new” curtains for my windows. Thank you for your books. I have seen them in a few unique shops in the area, and I will look for diligently now.
    P.S. Do you ever come to the North Texas area?

    • sbranch says:

      I definitely remember Diane! She was so good to us In Iowa. How nice to hear from you! I wrote the books sort of backward so it’s fine if you read them that way! I’m glad you’re enjoying them. We’ve been kind of all over Texas, but it’s so big, not sure how close we got to you. We’ll be back one day, I’m sure. We don’t own Holly Oak anymore…someday I need to write a book about the house we’re in now. xoxo

      • Annette says:

        I know my sister thought the world of you! That’s why she just had to give me your book, I guess. She may be younger, but she has inspired me in many ways.
        I am just north of Dallas, so if you ever make it back to that area, I will be there, so let me know. My sister is coming for a visit and we plan on going to Waco, home of Chip and Joanna Gaines. Have you met them?
        Keep on doing what you do.

  49. Paula says:

    I hope I am not repeating myself , so sorry if I am ! I left a message and now I do not recall where on your site.
    We are visiting your wonderful Vineyard in Sept. and only have one day to do so, what would you highly recommend a must see, ? or have you listed your favorite restaurants and shops that I missed ??
    Thank you so much !

    • sbranch says:

      If you put in Command F, a little screen comes up and you can search for yourself. (Works on Macs, not sure how it works on other kinds of computers.) So here’s what I found:

      ~Susan ~
      Its me again , Paula from IN , hehe. I visit your site often be thankful we are not neighbors hehehe . Question?? under the icon Visiting Martha’s Vineyard, you mentioned you were going to add “Links” of your favorite Shops, restaurants, Inn , hotels etc.. where may I find these links?? my daughter and I are planning a Sept. visit, and any information would be helpful ! Im thinking a one day visit , because I would think after 5pm or so most places close for the evening?!.And one may ask Vineyard or Nantucket , what to you feel ??
      Thanks so very much for any input if you find the time !
      Happy 4th of July !!

      sbranch says:
      July 5, 2017 at 6:16 am (Edit)
      I was going to do that, but never got around to it, and now I realize, things change so much, restaurants come and go, it would be a full time job to keep up with it, so I think the Chamber of Commerce and the Newspaper (when you get here) that prints everything there is to do here each week, will have to do! I would come to the Vineyard, because for one thing, it’s only a 45 minute boat ride, and Nantucket is further out, so a much longer boat ride. Also, I’m biased! Can’t forget that. And the Vineyard has six towns and Nantucket only has one and a half. If I only had one day, I would come in to Vineyard Haven by ferry, wander around down town, then get on a bus for an Island tour (right where the boat comes in) and get a view of what there is here. One day is really not enough, but it will give you the lay of the land for next time!

      • Paula says:

        Thank you so very much for taking the time for your input, and as everyone else may think also, it is so truly kind of you to reply to our questions and comments .
        p.s I told my daughter we are staying over on Vineyard for several days !!! yeahhhh woot hoot

  50. I simply don’t have time to keep up with all of you, but I have tried over the many years of following you! I have Martha’s Vineyard on my bucket list. One day my hubby and I will visit and I will be hoping to see you out and about! Thank you for all of your wonderful books, for sharing your loves and your adventures. I wish you would (or perhaps you have?) make a coloring book so I can act like a real artist and watercolor your lovely drawings! I am so excited to pre order a mug! Happy Birthday to me! I met you once on a book signing. You were so gracious. Blessings always ~ and keep sharing your great work! Patti in Southern California

  51. Sarah Rhynalds says:

    Hi Susan, my name is Sarah Rhynalds.

    I have been staying here on the Cape for almost a week now. I have been here for work, inspecting cranberry bogs. This is my first time here. What a week to come….i have not seen the sun since I left. I see it peeking out from my bedroom window as I write this. I scheduled an extra day on the end of my work trip to come visit your island! My sister introduced me to you and we both just adore you and your story, your books, your blog….your everything! ha! She has both of your books and reads your blog and then sends me little highlights here and there which brighten my day! My sister reminds me of you….your gentle idealistic hearts, your art works, your dishes, your love of tea….i’m the Twine sister ;)…I plan on taking the ferry this am, renting a bike and riding all around to see what there is to see! So, I you see a girl biking by, it just might be me! Any lunch spots you could recommend?

    Thank you for all the wonderful little pieces of your soul you put out into the world….my sister and I just love it all!

    oh, one more thing…..I love your stories of feeling extra special in the world….I too feel I have an uncanny way of manifesting my dreams and desires….like wanting to see where you are from and visiting Martha Vineyard….this trip and job and how I ended up here…its a long story but a similar feeling one of the ones you describe happening in your life too. 🙂 I also just love islands….I have lived on a little island called Pleasure Island just outside of Wilmington NC, and also lived on a little island off the coast of Miami, called Bimini.

    Oh and I told my friends I was going to try and find your house and bike by and they encouraged me to reach out to you and say hi instead…ha! ….which is why I write to you this morning.

    Take care Susan… I come to your little island soon~

    • sbranch says:

      Hello Sarah … what a sweet comment! You and your sister are lucky to have the endearing relationship you do. Joe and I are away from the Island right now, up in Maine … but I know you’ll love it. Biking is a perfect way to see it, the slow way. How were the cranberry bogs? All up to snuff? Loved hearing from you, write more when you have time. Thank you!

  52. Pam Stevens says:

    Hi Susan,

    I recently finished your book Isle of Dreams and just fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard in the process. Your words evoked such amazing pictures in my head and heart. I couldn’t stop talking about it, and my sweet husband surprised me with a visit there in late October. I am beside myself with excitement. We live in Georgia and I’ve always wanted to visit the Northeast in the Fall. Hope we haven’t missed all the colorful leaves by then. If you have any “late October” suggestions for your beautiful little Island, please share.

    Please keep writing. I’ve read the other two books in your trilogy as well. Your style makes me feel as if I am talking to a best friend. LOVE it!


    • sbranch says:

      You’ll love it, bring your sweaters, it will be starting to get cold, especially at night. But not unbearably, it’s really beautiful at the end of October. There will still be some leaves on the trees, and the wind will be blowing them into piles in the streets and lawns. Very Halloweeny! Get the local paper, it will tell you everything there is to do at that time, it will also have ads for all the restaurants that are still open ~ and many will be, so don’t worry. It’s quieter now, but it doesn’t totally shut down around here until after Christmas. Enjoy!

  53. Annette Saul says:

    My husband has a business trip in NY, this month, and I’m tagging along so we decided to make a vacation of it as I have only 5 states left to visit until I chalk up all 50 and 3 are in New England. After reading, “Isle of Dreams,” I have longed to see Martha’s Vineyard… what a perfect time with this trip! Will Susan have any book signings or bookstore visits during the time of 14-18 October 2017 anywhere in the greater area? Thank You, Annette Saul PS… my dear friend, Pam Stevens (post above) and I are Susan’s biggest fans in Georgia!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      How fun for you, I think you may have saved the best for last! States so small you can be in five in one day! Though you wouldn’t want to do that, but they’re easy to explore. You’ll find signed books and things at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven, but I don’t have anything planned other than writing a new Willard! Thank you Annette . . . and hello Pam!

      • Pam Stevens says:

        Yes….we are your biggest self proclaimed “girlfriend” fans in Georgia! We are both visiting MV this month, but unfortunately not together. However, it will give us the opportunity to share our individual adventures over a cup of tea and double the fun! Thanks again for planting this adventure seed in my heart!

        • sbranch says:

          Hi Pam! Hope you have fun!

          • Pam Stevens says:

            Hello Susan,

            We just got back from our trip to MV. I owe you the BIGGEST of thank yous for inspiring me, through your words, to visit there! Your book is the entire reason I went. I…LOVED…IT…SO… MUCH !!!!! The trees, the stone walls, the street lights, the ivy covered everything, the Autumn festivities, the quaint little towns, the beautiful old houses, the manicured lawns and gardens, the sea, the ships, the shops, the coffee houses, the history, and the charm. If interested, I wrote a blog and gave you credit:

            Thank you, which is certainly not enough, but I am deeply grateful that you saw fit to pen your passionate love for this place!


          • sbranch says:

            How wonderful Pam…makes me so happy to hear that. It’s very special … I’m glad it showed its prettiest face to you. xoxo

  54. Donna Arold says:

    Hi Susan!

    I am so excited to find your blog/website and as an aspiring writer, I find it extremely inspirational! I have been a fan of yours for some time and own several of your books (Christmas and Love) that I have enjoyed for years. Most recently, my dear cousin gave me Isle of Dreams as a housewarming gift and I’m absolutely in LOVE! What fun I am having going through it!

    The Vineyard has been our Isle of Dreams for the last 15 years as vacationers every Fall, and this November we found a home we fell in love with and are now ‘Island’ homeowners! I hope you and I run into each other (not literally!) on the street one day…I would so much love to meet you and maybe even to be your friend! The more I read, the more I find we are kindred spirits.

    My husband and I owned a B&B in New Jersey for 12 years and I so enjoyed all that went into creating a haven and a home-away-from-home for all the folks who stayed with us. We recently sold the inn, so I find myself retired and in the process of reinventing myself by taking into account all the things I love doing…gardening, baking, painting, reading, writing, and cooking. Now I have a lot of spare time to figure out what will be my next big adventure.

    I just want to say thanks so much for inspiring me with your wonderful perspective…I feel ‘found you’ at the perfect time, so thank you! Have the merriest of Christmases filled with much Joy and Good Health in the New Year!
    xo, Donna

    • sbranch says:

      Lovely note, Donna, thank you so much on the sweet comments on my books! And congratulations on your new home! I can imagine how you must feel about that dream-coming-true. Happy to have you here! Best Christmas Wishes to you and yours! xoxo

  55. Lucy Crosby says:

    Oh Susan, The Vineyard is part of my bucket list. I would love to know where to stay, eat and shop. I hope I can make there before I grow too old. I have wanted to see and be there since I was a child. We always drove to NY -Long Island – My grandparents lived there and my Dad – born and grew up there. My Dad would laugh and tell me I only wanted to go there because of a song – Patty Page (?) maybe Doris Day – Ole Cape Cod??? So long ago (maybe 1957) I was about 10.

    If someone wrote a song about it, it must be the place to go . By the way I love your musica – Big Band and all.
    Lucy Hickory,NC

    • sbranch says:

      The Island is so small, only a hundred square miles ~ you can get to know it before you come by going to the Chamber of Commerce website ~ they have tons of information. When you get here, get the local paper, they list EVERYTHING there is to do, from restaurants to celebrations, while you are here. I love Old Cape Cod too, could listen to it over and over! And, you’re right, it’s Patti Page. I play it sometimes on my Blog.

  56. Linda says:

    Dear Susan, when I moved to San Luis Obispo in 1988 I bought your first cookbook Heart of the Home (I think at Country Classics). My sister had lived in the area for several years before I got here and she told be all about you. Since then I have bought your Vineyard Seasons Cookbook and the Christmas Cookbook. I don’t know how I could ever live without them! My grown daughters love theirs as much as I love mine… your name comes up in our conversations about cooking and making a house a home frequently. I was searching for a gift for my oldest daughter a few weeks ago and a friend had told me about your Christmas Memories book at Apple Farm. It was perfect for her! While I was there I picked up 2 copies of your book “Isle of Dreams” for her and I. Thank you for a great read…loved it! I know my daughter is loving hers too!
    San Luis Obispo

  57. Eve Marie Webster says:

    Hello Sue!

    I read Isle of Dreams this past winter and put it on my favorite books list (along with A Tree Goes in Brooklyn, Little Women, Big Stone Gap, etc.) – you have truly written a personal, endearing masterpiece. I live in Rhode Island and have never gone to Martha’s Vineyard – this is pretty lame, I know. My husband and I love Block Island and always go there in summer, but once I read your book I told him “That’s it! I’m finally going to the Vineyard!”. I really appreciate all this info above and will read it all. We have rented a fab little cottage in West Tisbury and can’t wait (we’re trying not to daydream about it yet) with our 10 year old son. I am wondering if it would be weird to drive by your little cottage from Isle of Dreams? I don’t want to freak out the owners or anything…. Thanks for all tips and I hope we run into you somewhere on the island. I’d love to shake your hand and say hello! Have a swell day!

  58. Zoe says:

    Hello Susan,
    I’m reading this in snowy Maryland and it’s making me miss the Vineyard more than I ever have! I’ve gone every summer for the past 5 years and I’m completely in love with it.
    You discrided every part of the island perfectly and I feel like I was transported back for a few minutes. I stay in West Tisbury and I completely agree with you that the island beholds a never- changing magic. I completely understand the “ magnet effect” that the island pulls on me when I’m off-island. P.S I love the West Tisbury Farmers market blog, all the pictures really took me back, I would go every morning it was open in the summer.
    Thankyou again,

  59. I thought it was really interesting that there is an old-fashioned, small-town ambiance to Martha’s Vineyard. Personally, I love to travel and think it would be great to experience that feeling. I’ll have to look into site seeing tours that will help me really appreciate Martha’s Vineyard.

  60. Bea Tapparo says:

    Greetings Susan: My husband are from CA and we are taking a bus tour of the New England States leaving on the 1st of October. I am so excited to be stopping for a day in Martha’s Vineyard. We will have some time in Edgartown to wander and shop. I am wondering if you can give me any suggestions on where I can find some of your “special art” pieces. I’m excited to bring some Vineyard charm home with me – especially yours. 🙂 Also, I have your book about Martha’s Vineyard and am wanting to read it but am unable to because my eye sight has gotten so bad. I was wondering if you ever would consider releasing your books on Kindle through Amazon or in some form where we can make the print larger?
    Thank you and Blessings to you and Joe

    • sbranch says:

      My things are in a gallery (Simon Gallery) on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Don’t know how much time you’ll have, but it’s about a 20 min ride, bus or cab, from Edgartown. Lovely time of year, I know you’ll have a wonderful time! My books don’t translate to kindle because the artwork doesn’t “flow.” Sorry! Bring it with you and get your seat mate to read out loud!!! XOXOXOXO

  61. Lynn says:

    We also will be coming from central California in October on a Fall Leaves Toor and because of YOU and your wonderful books, I made sure that we are taking a day trip excursion to Martha’s Vineyard. I am so excited about that part of our trip and really appreciate your information above as I’ve wondered where to go to see your items which will be great souvenirs. I wish our tour included driving by your lovely home!

    We are going to Avila Beach in a week and I plan to stop at the Apple Farm gift shop to see your items there too! Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world!

    • sbranch says:

      There’s a store called Vineyard Arts, in the tiny village of Vineyard Haven, that carries all my stuff. You’ll love it here on the Island. So pretty at that time of year!

  62. Vicki says:

    No matter what my mood, when I see that I have an email from you I know my day is going to change and be wonderful at least for the time I’m reading it. The way you write causes me to disappear into everything that you describe. I feel as if I’ve heard the crunch of the leaves on your walks and what the dirt path looks like with shadows and then a peek of the ocean as you approach the beach. I imagine your house smelling of cinnamon rolls as I enter and look for your black and white kitty. I actually, for a short time live your life and what a wonderful feeling that is. We’ve stayed in Martha’s Vineyard for a short vacation once when visiting Boston. I can’t remember the name of the hotel where we stayed but it was a short walk from the Charlotte Inn where I promised myself I’d stay next time. We also ate lunch at the Black Dog restaurant and deeply regretted not buying a sweat shirt from there. I grew up in the 50s and 60s by the ocean too. In a little town called Pacific Palisades. Since you are from So. Cal you probably know where it is. Our big, old family home was built in the 20s & very much like the old homes I see in your pictures. My childhood was very much as you describe life on the island to be except we got rain storms occasionally instead of snow but the house was always cozy with a fire going in the living room and usually music in the background. Thank you for giving me a break form current day reality and taking me back to a warm, charming, cozy time and place.

    • sbranch says:

      I can picture it all . . . yes, Pacific Palisades is, was, in my neck of the woods! How lucky you were to grow up in an old house!

  63. I spent a lot of time on the Vineyard in the early 90’s, and fell in love. I worked as a nanny for a family that had a house in Edgartown. They lived right by the lighthouse, it was very pretty but Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven were always my favorite towns, I loved Vineyard Havens artsy fartsy streak and Oak Bluffs… heart belongs there even though I’ve never spent more than a day there at a time.
    This past summer I returned to the Vineyard for the first time in over twenty years to spend a glorious summer day in Oak Bluffs with some people from my church, one of whom has a small cottage in the old camp. I spent the best afternoon sitting on the porch sketching the houses around me. My youngest child also fell in love with the Vineyard. The man from church who summers there is like a grandfather to my kids.
    He has invited is for a longer visit next summer. Out day was too short and I’m looking forward to spending a weekend next summer. The first thing I did when I got back home was to start an embroidery of a summer cottage. Reading this page in your blog has made me long for the Vineyard and island life, what an absolute delight of would be to be kn Oak Bluffs in a little cottage (winterized of course) curled up by a woodstove drinking a steaming hot cup of tea, reading a good book, and listening to the wind blow through the nearly deserted streets. With snow, of course. We haven’t had a real snowstorm here in RI this year. Meantime I’ll keep strolling through your blog and reminiscing about my own Island days.

  64. Pam Stevens says:

    Hello Again Susan….
    Your Martha’s Vineyard book inspired a trip there two years ago and I absolutely fell in love with the charm of your island. Your words truly captured the lovely images of that place you call home. My husband and I are planning a road trip through New England this fall. We would like to visit Nantucket, but I really want to return to Martha’s Vineyard. We can only do one. Do you recommend Nantucket? Would love to know your thoughts!

    • sbranch says:

      Nantucket is very beautiful. But it’s small, and crowded in the summer. It’s one and a half towns, charming and old, the half town is called Sconset … if you plan ahead, you can make it nice for yourself… I think you need a car there though, to get around. On the Mainland, try to go to Salem and Plymouth. So historical. And Concord to see Orchard House and other historical places. It’s all wonderful, either way, you’re going to be happy!

  65. Dianne Carrol says:

    Hello Susan,
    This Christmas, one of my closest Retired Teacher friends found your book A Fine Romance and immediately sent to it to me for a present. She called it a “Dianne book”…knowing I collect handwritten books, that I have always loved England and especially Beatrix Potter ( I decorated my entire 2nd Grade classroom in Beatrix’s wonderful characters and art and have every one of her books and books about her AND the enchanting little figures). I visited England with my two children to study the English literary heroes and visit all the places I possibly could in two weeks. I loved it and always wished to return. That was 30 years ago and I was a lot stronger and able to hike with my kids all over the Lake District. IT WAS HEAVEN!! Reading your book A Fine Romance brought me back to experience it all over again and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the trip with you and Joe. I am a reading Teacher and loved your fine ability to bring the reader so close to your heart as you experienced every day with all its glorious details. All those years of writing diaries have given you the practice to write the wonderful books you have done for all of us to enjoy. I have read and reread your trilogy (backwards since I was given A Fine Romance first, then the second book and then the Fairey Girl last). I so enjoyed every one of them. Also your cookbooks are fabulous. Now I found your website and I have so many questions! BTW I am so happy for you and Joe…the love of your life! I wish you every blessing and happiness. You wrote so much about your first marriage and gave gorgeous pictures. Is there a book about your wedding with Joe with the same lovely details? Can’t help but being interested. I feel like I found a long lost relative. Lots of Love!

    • sbranch says:

      There are so many books I haven’t yet had time to write, and that is one of them. It would go with my book about HOME … since Joe was the one that found our house, and it’s where we were married. Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so glad I could take you back to England. Just like you said, “It WAS HEAVEN!”

  66. Emily says:

    This love letter makes my heart sing – because my heart has the same love for that sweet island. You remind me so much of my fairy-God-mother, a magical woman named Jan who embodies all of the cozy and wonderfully happy sentiments in your books and blog. She had a house on Clevelandtown Road in Edgartown until the mid-90s and I loved (LOVED) it. Full of warmth and charm. It has fallen into disrepair and it makes me sad to see it like that (but hopeful I might be able to buy it someday!). I spent summers at my cousins’ house – they were Islanders – and I got to live like one, too. Boy, nothing like that to seal the deal on my love for the place. I still visit almost every summer and have introduced my children to all my favorite spots. I hope to be able to have my own little slice of heaven someday. For now, I’m happy to be able to visit through your site!

    • sbranch says:

      You put your life in peril if you come here, you never forget, and spend the rest of your days trying to return! 💞

  67. Marianne MacCurdy says:

    Just finished A Fine Romance and loved it, recommended by my friend Diane. I was happy to see a page about Rosemary Verey’s garden. My husband and I saw her garden in 1980, while visiting friends nearby. Rosemary and her husband were very gracious. I am a great grandmother, and am so happy to know you found Joe! Am now living in a retirement community in a Kansas City suburb.

  68. Janet H. says:

    Dear Susan, I recently received a copy of A FINE ROMANCE as a gift. So glad your book finally found me! It was a great pleasure to read about your journey through the English countryside. We honeymooned on Martha’s Vineyard in 1984. One evening we took the shuttle to Chillmark for a film repertoire showing REBECCA in a barn theater setting. No shuttle for our return trip much to our surprise, dismay. We were in a predicament and began to walk/hitchhike back to Edgartown. A very lovely, kind woman and her friend stopped to offer us a ride. During our conversation she mentioned she was moving to the Vineyard from California. Could it have been you? We also celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in England. That was in 2009. Too wonderful for words, except for John’s new driving experience. Ha Ha Ha… I can laugh about it now. He was pulled over by the local law enforcement officer at one point. It was suggested that we purchase a large letter “L” on a placard for the back of our car to alert other drivers he was a “learner.” Rightfully so. No GPS then either. Quite an adventure with just a map. We did find our way to Hill Top Farm none the less. A dream come true for me.

    • sbranch says:

      I don’t think it was me … but MAYBE! I didn’t go to Rebecca, I would remember that! I think it’s only fair to warn the UK that we are on the road!💖

  69. Ruth Thomas says:

    I grew up in Newport, RI, very much like your lovely island. I hated our move to California in 1962, and still miss it to this day. I got to go back once in 2003 and although it is a bit more touristy, it hasn’t changed, I knew where everything was and driving by the beach, I remember our wonderful summers, going to the beach most days. My mom would make bologna sandwiches, chips and a big jug of koolaid. We would walk home, my mom would rinse the sand off of us, put us in jammies fresh off the lines, and fall into bed for the best sleep I have ever had. Thank you bringing such lovely memories back to me.❤️❤️❤️

  70. Alisa Milton says:

    Whatever happened to your first house from the Isle of Dreams? I loved that little house. I could picture myself walking on the dirt road to the sea. I have always wanted to have my own dirt road for walking. Would love to purchase something similar although I doubt anything like it still exists today. It’s a nice thought though!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s still here. I drive past it. A lucky woman lives there now, but I always tell her I would like to have it back! You never know!

  71. MarLa Cain says:

    I can’t believe it- I’m finally checking “Visit Martha’s Vineyard” off my bucket list next weekend! Our anniversary, Love of my Life is bringing me. I can’t wait to see a peek of what you’ve helped to plant in my heart. Thank you for your inspiration. Sometimes, in this life, inspiration is a tough thing to come by. Can’t wait to me you at the book signing in August!

  72. Carole Sugimoto says:

    I have been a fan of your art forever! After decades of enjoying your books, calendars and artwork, I am finally here (along with my hubby, my brother and his wife) just a ferry ride away from Martha’s Vineyard!! I grew up attending school in the SF Valley and spending summers up in the Arroyo Grande / SLO area.
    Thank you for the info on the Vineyard. I’m hoping to find my favorite artist’s work to take back to So Cal

  73. Elizabeth Ann Gleason says:

    Hello Susan,
    My mom and I visited Martha’s Vineyard in a day over the summer. (You may remember us asking for recommendations about how to spend just one day!) Although we would have loved to spend more time, we did it and thoroughly enjoyed it! Lunch at John’s Fish Market was delicious. We even saw your beautiful home with the adorable heart garland in the window – and Joe bringing home some groceries. We were too shy to stop and say hello. 🙁 It is easy to see why you love it so.

    I was wondering if you will be doing a full moon bookmark for 2023? I am a teacher and my teacher friends are asking – as we believe there is a correlation between the behaviors of our dear students and the moon! (Ha!)

    Have a merry Christmas Susan!


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