Woods Walk

 We found something sweet on the beach I thought you’d like to see. Feel like taking a walk?  Joe and I have walked the same road almost every morning since we discovered this place over twenty years ago; I wrote about it in my Summer Book; it’s my favorite part of our day.  Maybe you need a timeout and virtual trip to a warm beach on a summer day.  So come along . . . it’s almost three miles, out and back, easy walk!  Musica?  ♫  Oui!  ♫ –click it on, then come with us!

Already we feel the season beginning to change; the first little hints are in the air, lovely cool rain for one thing, a few red leaves; the cicadas are beginning to drown out the sound of the crows (and that’s saying something).  But every day, rain, snow, or beautiful August morning, we walk the same walk . . . through the woods . . .

On a dirt road where we’ve memorized every stick, birds nest, and squirrel hole along the way . . .

These woods are full of wonderful things; from wild turkeys lumbering across the road, to baby squirrels chasing each other up trees, to the patterns the sun makes as it filters through the trees.  Nothing grows better here than poison ivy. Nothing turns a prettier red in the fall either.  The smell on the road in late summer is pine and hot dirt.

Cardinals flit through the woods…

Wild blueberries and blackberries make a delicious breakfast.

Wild mushrooms are beautiful and scary and we definitely don’t eat them.  If you are familiar with the type of scientific minds we have, you understand why we take no chances.

Homemade signs along the road point the way to little houses in the woods. . .






As we walk along, eating blueberries, we get peeks through tree-openings of our destination. . .

And then, suddenly, the trees end . . .

. . . and out into the open sky we go . . .

 …to walk along the shore of the pond . . . this is the part of the walk I call “Ireland.”

Hundred-year-old fishing shacks line this narrow spit of land, they have an amazing view of the pond out their front doors →, and the ocean out the back ←. . . you can just see a little peek of the sea.


The houses are right ON the water.  In a somewhat scary fashion if you believe in the power of hurricanes which I do.

But they’ve been there a long time; so far, so good.







These houses are all different inside, mostly unfinished with worn wooden floors and open shelves instead of cupboards. They’re not heated, so they get boarded up in the winter.






Beach towels flap from clothelines and front porches. Gulls and Terns dive overhead making all those wonderful beachy noises we love to hear; the waves lap on shore, the smell is wild beach roses, salt, and sand; the aroma of frying bacon floats out to greet us. 

Behind this blue door of one of the shacks lives the sweetest-pot-pie-people in the world.  We found out, if you walk past someone’s house for enough years, someday they will feel sorry for you and invite you in.  Give you coffee, tell you stories, play rummikub with you, and as the years go by, become dear friends.

They even, if you are very lucky, ask you to sit on their porch with them and watch the sun go down.




We stop here and visit as often as possible — but then we go on, to our final destination, to where the road ends and the pond cuts in front of you on it’s way out to sea.

Here’s where we stand in silent awe every morning and drink in the beauty. We come before the beach fills up; while it’s still quiet, just us and the birds.  The pond used to be landlocked, but it opened up during a hurricane and boat lovers along the shore could then have boats on the pond and get them through the opening to the sound.

And this is what the tiny beach there looks like on a summer day if you’re on a sailboat going through the opening….little kids, picnic lunches, umbrellas, and beach chairs.

And here’s what it looks like if you’re on board the sailboat!

But I digress . . . this story could go off into a whole other direction!  But wouldn’t you like to see what we found on the beach?

 I have a photo “collection” of sand castles I’ve happened upon like this.  The photo of this one makes three.  Because it’s August, and another summer is flying by . . .

. . . we stay awhile and search for beach glass and heart-shaped rocks, but then it’s time to say good bye, turn around and retrace our steps back along the pond, through the woods, popping blueberries in our mouths.  And home.

Did you have fun?  Do you want to come with us tomorrow?  OK, get your shoes on, we go at 7.  Be there or be square.♥  

48 Responses to Woods Walk

  1. Liisa says:

    Oh, my home! How my heart aches sometimes for this wonderful, relaxing place. Thank you so much for letting me have a few minutes on my island!!

  2. Kathleen C. May says:

    I grew up on the north shore of Long Island and even travelled to the Vineyard on my father’s boat. I grew up with all of those smells and sounds and sights that you speak of in this piece Susan. My heart aches so to return to the northeast coast after 15 yrs in the land-locked midwest. I have felt a ever-stronger “inner calling” to take my son and go back to that place where nature gives me so much peace. Sometimes I feel like Dorothy clicking my heels together (minus the red sparklies of course) and saying “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,………..

  3. Kathye Ogle says:

    This was so lovely! I still have the music playing and I am taking your “walk” over and over. Thank you, you just made my day 🙂

  4. mina says:

    I really felt we walked “together” and every little detail of your description was magical, the pictures are great and I could almost feel the sand , see the blue sky and listen to the water… thank you so much for sharing this with us! Warm wishes from Brazil.

  5. Gail says:

    Fantastic! I am going to get in trouble – I can’t seem to stay off your blog, and I’m at work. It is so refreshing!

  6. Robin says:

    ahhh… a walk along the beach is as relaxing and peaceful as a massage!! Loved the music you picked for this, we are from Germany and my mother and one of my uncles played the accordian so it reminded me of that, watching them as kids -it was as much of a treat for us children as it was for the adults! Thank you Susan!

  7. PauliJ says:

    How gracious of you to share your and Joe’s walk with us–a wonderful way to begin your day! How do you find all of your music? 🙂

    Today is actually Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for your website and blog, Susan. I hope after all of your lovely, diligent preparation you had a wonderful day!



    • sbranch says:

      They’re just some of my favorites, the music I play here at home — I’ve sprinkled it through my books and calendars too, over the years. It was a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! Thanks Pauli!

      • PauliJ says:

        I am so thankful your Thanksgiving was wonderful, Susan! 🙂 Love, Pauli (my name is Paula, but I noticed another Paula comments on your blog, so I am using the pet name my mama and daddy so sweetly called me!)

  8. Diana Hoffman says:

    I just love your site

  9. Diana Hoffman says:

    I just love your wonderful site it brings a smile to my face every time I get on it, I even sent it to my sister and she just loves it as well thank you

  10. Debbie Prifrel says:

    Love your books and blog! I live in Minnesota but will be on the Vineyard August 26th…will you be there?

    • sbranch says:

      I’m here, but I try really hard not to do personal appearances on the island! 🙂 because then it means I’m not working!! Have a wonderful time — I know you’ll love the island!

      • Debbie Prifrel says:

        Sorry…I didn’t mean to offend you! I didn’t realize possibly meeting you would be considered a “personal appearance”.

        • sbranch says:

          OH NO Debbie, I wasn’t offended, I’m so sorry — I was just kidding, “personal appearance” is funny to me (because I practically work in my pajamas, or something very close to it!) . . . it’s only that I can’t meet everyone, you see?

  11. tita smith says:

    Just returned from vacation at beautiful Newport Beach in southern California, where our large family has vacationed for 63 years. Was not clever enough to record our beach walk as you did, Miss Susan. But hearing the wind in your sand castle video, took me quickly to the precious memory of our daily “shell hunt”, often with 3 generations stooping to ohh and ahh at the crabs and shells. Our destination is the Newport Pier for donuts, and then back to our cottages for coffee and juice, while the kids rinse and compare their sea treasures . So delightful! And the fresh smell of the ocean all the way… Thank you!

  12. lynn says:

    Growing up….for a while….I had a wooded path that took me over a little creek on a few wooden planks….Jack-the-Pulpits grew in that woods and I have never ever seen them anywhere else in all the places I have lived. The woods is still there in Huntingdon Valley, Pa between Inverness Lane & Washginton Lane (as George Washington used it in his times)….and was my ‘route’ to my grandparent’s home….really an ‘over the river and through the woods’ sort of walk….my heart aches for that place….I can see how much you love yours.

  13. Sherry Palla says:

    I am coming to Martha’s Vineyard….some sweet sweet day… and drink this beauty up for real, I hope! For now I will settle for your kind tour and lovely lanes to the sea. LoL!

  14. Nancy Farrell says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. My husband and I taught in MA for 25 years and we retired to Cape Cod. Now we can be close to Martha’s Vineyard forever. This week we cross country skiied through woods that look similar to your pictures. At times I want to pinch myself to make sure this is real!

  15. Asha says:

    Hi again Susan! Hope I’m not being a pest! I just found your website in January and have fallen in love! I find something new to look at everytime I visit. Today, after hearing some not good news, I decided I needed some cheering up and low and behold I found your Martha’s Vineyard posts! To my delight, each one is better than the last! Illuminations and the Fireworks are my favs! THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU for sharing your talents with us, Girlfriend! The Vineyard will never look the same to me = it’s 100% better if that is even possible! Love ya! oxoxox

    • sbranch says:

      So nice to hear that Asha! Glad you liked it. Here comes springtime on the island, I hope to take lots of new pictures soon!

  16. Lynn Maust says:

    How does one get the music on while watching your pictures? I got the music on, but then could not simultanously have your pictures and post.

    • sbranch says:

      On most laptops you can have two (or more) screens up at once — when the music comes on, just move that screen over or click back on the blog and the music page will go behind and play while you read. I have heard that you can only have one screen at a time on an iPad. Not sure, but that might be it.

  17. tim mount says:

    enjoyed the walk those mushrooms u saw are yummy oyster mushroom

  18. maxine says:

    please let me be a part of your blog list.

    keep trying for some reason I am banned. Merrit Parkway, 3 Judges Cave, Sleeping Giant all part of my CT life – am definite anglophile descendent of William Brewster mentor of Bradford etc. so have things in common with you love GT no talent though!
    Don’t deny me access again, Susan

    • sbranch says:

      As far as I know, the doors are wide open! 🙂 Welcome, I hope it all works out . . . you sound like a kindred spirit to me, perhaps we have blog gremlins working against us!

  19. How lovely that you have the beach in the summer and the snow in the winter! I want to come and visit and stay a while!! Xxx

  20. Marsha says:

    this is amazing. we want to go visit a place to relax and I’d have to say this is beautiful. thanks for sharing it. 🙂 MEF

  21. Kym says:

    Thank you so much for all of the fun walks and MUSICA!!! You continually inspire me! I pre-ordered your new book – I’m going to wrap it up for a Christmas gift to myself!!! XOXO

  22. Marlene Highet says:

    Hi Susan,
    How fortunate you are to live in such a wonderful place as Martha’s Vineyard. We’ve had a few holidays on the Oregon coast that bring memories similar to yours. But………we were only visiting for a very short while and you get to live in that beautiful place and can experience its wonders all the time. Thank you so much for sharing with me. I love reading your blogs and Willard, keep them coming please!!

  23. Jean Admire says:

    Oh, Susan, I so love your writing and pictures. It breaks my heart to see it damaged by that awful apostrophe: “the pond cuts in front of you on it’s way out to sea”….please get your proofreaders to fix it.

    Cheerier note: sandcastle video brought your beach to my mountain in Taos, NM — so far from the sea! Yippee and big hugs for including it.

    About to settle into Willard — I’m so happy it appeared in my inbox last week.

  24. what a beautiful beach! you hare very lucky… huts are so funny, but I’m like you, it’s frightening for me, sea is so near; in France, some houses are destroyed by the sea when they are very near the seaside!

  25. I will be staying in Edgartown mid September and would so enjoy meeting you. You are one of my favorite authors. I am coming to ‘write’, and heal from a tragic event in my life. faithrunner.org

    • sbranch says:

      I will be in California the month of September … but it will be beautiful and healing here, I know you will love it.♥️

  26. Beverly Boughner says:

    Dear Susan, I read Willard often, even if it not recent! Your books and writings are so special. I recently received my Winter Cup and enjoy my coffee in it. I just want you to know that you are appreciated and look forward to your happenings on Marthas Vineyard and as you and Joe travel the world. Thank you again……….as I re-walk that path to the Sea. Bev B.

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