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…..it 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.

 

ou lucky people who grew up with the seasons know how exciting it can 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.

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
Gazette
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 .

 

oon I will be adding links here for hotels, inns, and bed and breakfasts I think you’ll like; some of my favorite restaurants; which of the darling shops not to miss, a little bit about the different towns, and other inside information, such as the best way to get around — just pulling it all together now, but I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for an island view of your own. Get a little jar, drop a few coins in, and let the enchantment begin! Watch out, guard yourself, it’s dangerous here….you might fall in love like me.

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271 Responses to Martha’s Vineyard Love Letter

  1. Lynn says:

    I love Martha’s Vineyard! One day I will write to you about your cookbooks, our trip to the vineyard and my portuguese water dogs.

  2. Tricia says:

    I love the old photo of your house and the porch that was on the front of it. Do you ever think about putting one back up?

    • sbranch says:

      The columns that were there are on the back porch now …. you know how they built houses right on the street back then, barely room for a sidewalk? That’s how it is, better to have the porch on the back where there aren’t cars to listen to!

  3. Linda Auwerda says:

    We spent a week in Oakbluffs in a rented home with all of the Auwerdas in the early 90’s. I fell in love with the island and have always wanted to return and spend more time. My oldest daughter was so excited when she threw the ring on the carousel and got an extra free ride. Everything is so charming there.

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t help but agree…coming from the other side of the country, it still feels like a Disneyland for grownups to me… I can never get enough picket fences if I live to be 100!

  4. Nina says:

    Hi Susan Love the blog! Especially the look at Martha’s Vineyard! My friend and I visited a couple of years ago and to me it was the most magical place on earth! We hoped we would bump into you but we didn’t. Lucky for you perhaps! lol
    My friend lives in New England and I live in the middle of England. We live 4000 miles apart and visit each other when we can there’s not a day goes by when I don’t miss her but we feel very connected through you and your website and books. Keep up the good work! Love Nina xx

    • Gaynor says:

      Hi Susan and Nina,

      I am Nina’s friend who lives in New England but I am originally from England. Nina (still in England) and I visited Martha’s Vineyard for some girly time two years ago and the memories I still hold dear. It truly is a magical place where time seems to stand still and life is simple, just like it use to be.

      Thank you for the pictures and making our memories all the more special.

      Gaynor

  5. Yvonne Shafer says:

    Susan, I have the same feelings for Nantucket! I’ve visited the Vineyard and loved it, but started going to Nantucket and find that I can’t get it out of my system! Everything about island living is in my blood even though I live in Michigan! My home decor is island-like, white/blue/yellow with rose pink thrown in. Roses grow over a trellis – you know the look. The Islands are magical as you’ve said and I think that once you’ve been there you dream of always going back. We’ve been going back for 35 years!

    • Mary Whiting says:

      Yvonne, My husband Rick and I spend every other anniversary in New England. Living in Michigan, also, we treasure the beauty of our lovely state but New England is magical. The islands, Nantucket and Martha’s Vinyard, are always in my thoughts. How lucky to live there year round. Going back in 2 weeks and can’t wait!

  6. Cheryl Colazas says:

    Hi Susan,
    I too grew up in Southern California, currently live in the Middle East. While reading about the Vineyard, I was thinking, “OMG, Susan (my sister, my best friend) and I have to go there some day.” It sounds so beautiful! Kind of reminds me of Ferndale, Calif.
    Thanks so much for writing the blog, I love it and everything you do!
    Warmly,
    Cheryl Colazas

  7. Rhoda Tuckey says:

    Dear Susan:
    I just love your web-site and everything you represent. I check in as if you were a sister I never had. Your kitchen looks so inviting and comforting. The pineapple upside down cake looks divine. I enjoy all things by Susan’s branch! Life is in many ways what we make it. Thanks again for all the encouragement!
    Sincerely,
    Rhoda

  8. Gert says:

    Hi again Susan!

    Finally got through therapy & a busy day & back to MV web page!
    Oh how I’d love to come visit but how gracious of you to share this upclose & personal visit to MV!!! Love it!!!

    Bless you!
    xoxo Gert

  9. Rosemary Thomas says:

    Yes! Another way to read whatever you write…somehow there is always something that you write when I say…”That is just how I feel.” Our 10th anniversary LADIES TRIP (7 of us…in 2003)we jumped the hoop and went to Martha’s Vineyard for a week…from Texas. We have a pic of my bff and I walking in front of your house. Scary, isn’t it? The charm of it all…it is the perfect place for you and I know it inspires you in every way. Love the Blog!

  10. Ginny S. says:

    Yup, It’s official…. your an adopted New Englander! Now is the time you can refer to both men and women as “the guys” (or guyz as I like to type) and also say that the weather is “wicked” today.

    Congrats!
    Ginny S.

  11. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Oh Sweet Sue… I actually Have The Sweetest Dreams about coming to Magical Martha’s Vineyard…& each Time I awake…I know with All My Heart that one Day I shall Visit your Beloved Island! & Dance Under the Moon~Light…Jiggity~Jig! xoxo Poof! 🙂

  12. Pamela says:

    Oh Susan, no one can write so beautifully about island life as you do. I hope to get there some day. Until then. . .I will dream through your words and photos.
    Thank you for bringing it alive for us!
    Here’s to starry summer island nights*~*~*~*~*~*

  13. Sarah Powell says:

    That was wonderful – should be a book – because now I am hungry for more!
    A beautiful, sweet, educational, charming walk down memory lane. Seeing MV through your eyes makes me very homesick indeed. XOX, Sarah

  14. Janis says:

    Susan, thank you SO much for sharing beautiful “Martha’s” with us. I have always wanted to visit and I think I’m going to put this beautiful isle on my list. Your descriptions and photos make it all the more appealing. Thank you so much. : )

  15. Pat Mofjeld says:

    Thanks for the beautiful photos of Martha’s Vineyard, it is so much fun to see somewhere like this where we would all love to go but very well may never. Guess it is called “armchair travel”… The pictures remind me of Door County in Wisconsin, where we go for vacation every year. It has a sense of history surrounding you with the historical buildings and past history, the shops, the water and gorgeous sunsets, and the sailboats. When living in the big city gets to me with its traffic, the modern box-like houses, apartments, and townhouses, the chain restaurants, etc., I go to Door County in my mind…now I can think of MV, too, and imagine I am there…

    • Margot says:

      Hi Pat,
      I am a Wisconsinite who was moved to NE in 1999. Yes NE felt like home to me as far as the scenery goes with one exception, we only had Rib Mtn. Since I have Swiss heritage I loved climbing the White Mtns. , but when I stood on the seacoast of NH or ME I felt at home. Wisconsin has maple syrup, cranberry bogs, fish boils, sandy beaches, sailing, and in winter, X-country skiing~Just to let the people of NE know. When my son was asked where he was from; he said, the East Coast of the Mid-west. And grandma lived in Door County or the Cape Cod of the Mid-west. LOL
      Currently I live in VB, VA. Another nice place, but not as quaint. We cannot be land locked.
      Enjoy your summer in Door County!
      Margot
      PS Meredith, NH looks like Ephraim, WI. Or vice versa.

      • Miss Marion says:

        The beach at Ephraim is the best on the peninsula! I love it!! The water is so clear and warm. I live along the lake just a few miles south of Door Co. and we also have a beautiful beach, but the lake water is too cold for me!
        Like some of you, I grew up in SoCal (San Gabriel) and although there is so much I miss, I am here for good!
        MM

  16. nettie says:

    love this……..we are off to the Cape next week and plan to take our bikes on the ferry and visit the island for a day…….I am so looking forward to it and now you have really given me a taste of the island……….thank you and blessings to you this fine full moon evening……..

  17. sue wrather says:

    Love the new blog! You should check out the latest issue of Victoria Magazine. There is a beautiful article on the Charlotte Inn in Edgartown. Came across the article and this section of your blog on the same day. Maybe someone is trying to tell me it is time to visit Martha’s Vineyard!

  18. Ann Elick says:

    We once owned a house that looks just like yours, it was 150 years old. And it was right on the sidewalk, just like yours. Took a while to get used to hearing people walking by to go to the library. It didn’t take long and it was a welcome sound. Our porch was on the side of the house where we would swing on the porch swing long into the evening and listen to John Philip Sousa play on the lawn of the library every 3rd Thursday in the summer. I miss that house. But feel like I’m there when I see yours.

  19. Maureen Richloff says:

    Susan,
    Today is my birthday. I wanted to thank you for living the life I’ve always aspired to live; bicoastal (Martha’s Vinyard and Southern California). I have dreamed of living on both ends of the country. And good Lord traveling between by train (because I prefer not to fly) – another dream of a life not yet written. I have visited the island several times since I was a child. I saw Janice Ian there when I was younger and absolutley love the old theares and NO chain resturants and the best part – all the twinkle lights!!! Is the old carasol still there in Oak Bluffs? Your life has inspired me to take the next step in making my dreams a reality. OH and I agree – Disney should take over the train system in America. I can only imagine how magickal train travel would be…. So, Susan,,,,THANK YOU, THANK YOU…..so very much for inspiring all who read your words and see your amazing art. 🙂 A gift to us all!

  20. Marcy says:

    I LOVE New England with all my heart! We lived near Portsmouth, NH, several yrs ago, and I was in Heaven! My husband was career military then and of all the places we lived during that time, New England felt the most like HOME! I try to get back at least every 2 yrs. Each season brings something wonderful and the people make the most of everything around them. Enjoy it for me! Marcy

  21. Cookie Yordon says:

    I pass by your house all the time driving down to Vineyard Haven. I am heading back up on Thursday for the holiday weekend to visit my dad in W. Tisbury. My parents moved to MVY in 1986 . I am so lucky to be able to call it my second home. Yes, it is sooooo magical, no matter what time of year.
    Hope to see you soon!
    Cookie

  22. we have stayed on island at the lightkeeper’s inn and highly recommend it for visitors… lovely and private… we loved the shops, places to eat..and especially edgartown… the water is lovely as the trip over on the car ferry.. so romantic and charming riding the waves… i would love for you to paint the ferry and write about the anticipation of reaching the island from the mainland… i just love the ride ! : )

  23. CAROL OLIVER says:

    SUSAN…OH MY GOSH….I LOVE, LOVE THIS NEW BLOG/WEB PAGE/ALL THIS INFORMATION IS FABULOUS. THANK YOU FOR SHOWING FAB. PHOTOS OF MARTHAS VINEYARD…I TRIED TO GET ON THAT FERRY 2 TIMES WHEN TRAVELED TO NEW ENGLAND…IT JUST DID NOT WORK OUT…I WAS SO CLOSE IN WOODS HOLE…I WILL NOT GIVE UP..I HAVE MET YOU ABOUT 3 TIMES IN CALIFORNIA…AT A BOOK SIGNINGS AND AT THE REMNANTS OF THE PAST ANTIQUE SHOW. FYI..MY GIRLFRIEND AND I WERE IN YOUR WONDERFUL STORE IN ARROYO AND BOUGHT THAT WONDERFUL HUGE PICTURE OF THE BATHING BEAUTIES…REMEMBER??THANKS FOR EVERYTHING SUSAN BRANCH…HOPE TO SEE YOU IN MARTHAS VINEYARD SOMEDAY….

  24. Mary says:

    I grew up on the island. Is a print of your rendition of the map of MV available for purchase????

    • sbranch says:

      What a nice compliment…I haven’t had them printed…in fact I painted that for the Martha’s Vineyard page. Had never done it before…the little lighthouses were my favorite and the teeny little boat!

  25. dawn says:

    Your descriptions of the island in your book ‘Autumn’ was so beautiful that it planted a longing in my heart. The longing was so strong that it manifested in my husband and I taking the long trip all the way from Austria. And you know the rest! 🙂
    There are places on this earth that are truly special. Martha’s Vineyard is one of them.
    I really enjoyed reading this (although it does make my heart ache), and especially love the map you painted!
    Lots of love,
    Dawn

  26. Cathy Wegner says:

    My husband and I love “The Vineyard”. We made it our vacation spot for about 5 years. We had to take a break due to a wedding and business issues but hope to be back very soon. Reading about it makes me to go right now.

  27. Lisa says:

    Susan,
    I am a California girl too but I have this absolute fascination with the East Coast, mostly because my family is from Mass, Maine and Vermont. I have not been able to spend a lot of time there, but when I have it has been magical. Yes California is nice but there is something about the people and places back east that made it special.
    My BEST EVER 4th of July was in Vermont as a kid, we spent it at on old 100 year old home…much older now…if you know what I mean, Ahem!
    We went to a patriotic parade, ate yummy food, swam in a pond and the men fired off a real canon. I have never experienced anything like this in California. It truly was and always will be my most FAVORITE 4th of July ever!
    To all of you out there! Happy 4th of July. This 4th, as always I will be thinking of the lovely east coast, yummy lobsters and home town parades. No worries we will still manage to round up some fun in my small town with our home town parade and yummy BBQs but it will be a different feel for sure.
    Susan you do a terrific job at capturing the feeling of the east coast, I love your work! Thank you so much for all you do!

  28. Jill says:

    My daughter lives on the vineyard with her husband and my darling grandson, in fact I just returned from visiting. They live just around the corner from you and we pass your home frequently. I wanted to knock on your door but my daughter said that was akin to “stalking”. I love my visits on the vineyard, i love everything about it. The Farmers Market in Tisbury was lovely, we did flea market and art show, the beach and lots and lots of walking and window shopping! This year was beautiful weather, a perfect vacation. I love you blogging about it as I miss my family so very much and it makes me feel closer. Thanks!!

  29. Donna Wilder says:

    Your words, in this sometimes fast paced life, are my literary “deep breath.” Thank you for reminding us to slow down so we can enjoy the Vineyard flowers(and E’s cupcakes!)
    xo Donna Wilder

    • Jayne says:

      I so agree with you Donna…lets slow down and smell the roses, how lovely is that! Have yourself a wonderful day!! Jayne

  30. Margie says:

    OMG…it sounds wonderful. I am putting Martha’s Vineyard on my “bucket list” as a place to visit before I die. It looks so beautiful and quaint. The simple life…perfect for me!

  31. Rhonda Rutherford says:

    Some day I’m going to make it to MV. Susan you make me feel like I am there! Love New England!

    • sbranch says:

      I fell in love before I ever laid eyes on it in person. The history!

    • Rhonda Rutherford says:

      Hi Susan,I so wish I could be on MV but with you I feel like Im spending the 4th of July with you.I even copied some of your suggestions and had a sorta new england 4th in land locked Indiana including the sea shells and sand stones,lobster nets on our fences with orrs and all.Thank you your pineapple upside down cake is to die for.Thank you,Rhonda

  32. carol shapiro says:

    Susan,

    Your blog is the next best thing to being on the Vineyard…I will return in two weeks for a week’s rental with family….before I bought my own little “piece of heaven” (a tiny summer cottage on an old Methodist camp meeting grounds in CT ) 12 years ago, my family would take yearly vacations there… your inclusion of the MV Camp Meeting Grounds at Oak Bluffs certainly brought back memories of time spent on the vast lawn surrounding the Tabernacle, where I could always sit and enjoy a morning coffee, and read the newspapers….I have returned ti MV for day trips and weekend getaways once in a while…but to be there for an entire week- heaven on earth!!! You have kept me connected since I first discovered your books “On Island”, and with your monthly Willards, your calendar that hangs on my office wall at work, and now the blog, well it just doesn’t get any better…I smile more. It’s a happy day when a Willard arrives in my e-mailbox!!! I am reminded that every day is a gift from God, and finding delight in the “little things” of the day-to-day makes life so, so precious. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us who truly appreciate all that you do….

  33. Mary says:

    What a great love letter! Thank you for all that info, we are coming to the Vineyard for our late summer road trip get away this year! I am so excited. Actually we are staying in Plymouth but the point of the whole trip is to see MV! (at least for me, perhaps not my hubby, but he is happily coming along). I just bought a darling vintage shopper cart today and I am already wondering if I need to make a pretty liner for it and take it along to stash things in when we are there for the day(s). Planning to be in Plymouth for a week, hoping to make it to MV at least two of those days! Wish we could be there for the Grand illumination! Maybe next time!

  34. carol shapiro says:

    Mary,

    You will not be disappointed…enjoy your time and don’t miss the wonder of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association…it is worth the walk (drive) to see…(we used to rent a house between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven and it was very walkable)….and be sure to visit their museum which is so interesting…safe travels to you & blessings!!!

  35. Margot says:

    Dear Susan,
    The drawing with the stone fence is one of my favorites. I also like the one with the girl looking out at a sailboat on the sea. I used that one for my screen saver, but lost it in cyber land. Well, my sailboat did come in after that summer. And it came with a wonderful man! After living in NH for 5 years I never got to Martha’s Vineyard. So this May I gave my sailor a tour of ME and NH, but the ferry wasn’t running yet and the government didn’t allow us much time in NE. There’s always next year or the year after that or… I have this trip on my list.

    I know what you mean about the four seasons, but sometimes the winter one drags on and things start looking dirty. I always loved the fall when my mother put the wool quilts on the beds, and spring when the bedding and curtains were lightened up. I like the seasonal changes in the cooking too. mmm Maybe that is why I like the way you do your cookbooks. 🙂

    Enjoy your summer,
    Margot

  36. Christine says:

    Absolutely love the Blog, the pictures and stories! My husband, brother and sister (in-law) and I are visiting Cap Cod and Martha’s Vineyard the first week of October. Will there be any shops open? (OK, I openly admit I’m a shopaholic) Will we still be able to get lobster and clams? (add food lover to the list) Besides sweaters, what other clothing do you suggest we bring? MV is on our Bucket List and we can hardly wait to experience on-island!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a wonderful time to come. All our little shops and restaurants will be open, it will be beautiful, lobster and clams will be bountiful. Just check the weather before you leave, it’s never for sure, you might bring a warm jacket, nights will be cooling down. Should be perfect!

  37. Christine says:

    Yipppeee! Thanks so much for the feedback – you are such a doll-face! While we are out and about shopping, eating and taking in all the beautiful colors, smells, and sights we’ll keep an eye out for our “new, best-est friend’!! Hope we see you – if not, just knowing you are on-island is exciting!

  38. Victoria Roberts says:

    My friend, Judy, and I are visiting September 13th – 15th to celebrate Judy’s 50th birthday. We are from North Wales, UK and this will be our first visit. It sounds a magical place and we can’t wait to see it!!

    • Nina says:

      Hi there Victoria I live in the West midlands and my friend and I visited the Vineyard a couple of years ago. It is everything Susan says about it and then some! I am hoping to get back for my 50th birthday in a couple of years time if I don’t make it before then. Hope you and your friend have a fabulous time! xx

  39. Erin says:

    What a wonderful, vivid description of the island! It makes me miss it SO much. What a dream it would be to live there year-round! ♥

  40. Hi Susan,
    I am so happy to have discovered your blog…quite by accident I might say. I love hearing all about Martha’s Vineyard….it was the only place my dear Mother talked about going “some day.” My Mother was the caretaker of my Dad who had parkinsons disease. My husband and I talked about taking her to New England after my Dad passed away. My Dad was in his last stages of Parkinsons. Unfortunately, my Mother passed two months before my Dad in 2008. I lost them both….sadly….in 2008. I miss them every day. I was telling my sister the other day that we should go to Martha’s Vineyard someday in memory of our Mother and be her eyes to see all that she wanted to see. Thank you so much for giving us a beautiful glimpse! When we visit, we will definitely be referring to your guide. What a great resource you are sharing with everyone! I love your blog! So happy to have discovered you! Have a very beautiful day! xoxo Kim

  41. Pauline DiTommaso says:

    Susan,
    The last I read (a few years ago) you were moving back to CA. I thought that was sad and did not keep up with your website. I am reading your blog today and I am confused…did you move back to Martha’s Vineyard or do you just visit?

    • sbranch says:

      My family is out in California (mostly) — so my roots are deep there. But we live on Martha’s Vineyard (heart magnet). We used to live on Martha’s Vineyard for maybe four months a year, and the rest of the time, we were in CA, but a couple of years ago we shifted that around; we’re on the island for 8-10 months a year, and in CA for maybe two or three. It’s confusing. We go back and forth, but my kitty is on Martha’s Vineyard.

  42. Vivian says:

    This just has to go on my “Bucket List” ! What a magical place!
    I have a daughter that lives in Maine…..and I have visited there. It is so hard to come back to “earth” and leave ! How fortunate you are ! I love all the things that you blog and write in your books and treasure them for always. Hugs to you….and many blessings.

  43. Marilyn says:

    Hi Susan:

    I will be visiting the Vineyard in early September and I have been looking for the location of your shop there. Please help me as we know you from books, Remnants of the Past, etc.. etc. and we are from California!!

    • sbranch says:

      Sorry Marilyn, I don’t have a shop on the island. Used to have one n California, but no more. Takes so much time (was always trying to make it perfect!), had to decide between store and everything else!

  44. Nancy Paine says:

    I always dreame dof going to New England in the fall, and when I finally got there, 2 years ago, it was even more breathtaking than I had imagined! I miss the seasons soooo much, living in the desert southwest. Part of my childhood was in Iowa, and those fall colors and smells (bonfires), and sounds (leaves crunching underfoot), they never leave you! Last year, I didn’t get a taste of fall, but this year, I will spend the first week of October in Vermont, with a dear friend! I cannot wait for sweaters, being chilly and having hot tea or hot chocolate, and those COLORS! Thanks so much for sharing these things with all of us year ’round, Susan! I love reading other’s posts, and their sharing, also. You bring us all together! 🙂

  45. Alice Wagner says:

    Are you in danger from Irene? Sure hope the storm fizzles.

  46. ruth tallman says:

    at one time i know you had some fabric with scenes from the vineyard. i have tried to locate some but to no avail. Is it still available?

  47. Margie says:

    There is NO WHERE on this earth better than the Vineyard. I have been coming since 1993 and LOVE it with all my heart. My husband says I am a different person when I go to the Vineyard. I try and go every summer and plan on spending a month at a time when I retire.
    People ask me what is it that draws me. I cannot explain it. My sister went with my daughter and I for her 50th. All she said was, “I get it now”.
    I was SO worried with the hurricane, hope all is well and I’ll be there again as soon as I can.
    Vineyard Addict / Margie / North of Chicago / I cried reading this Blog.

  48. Nikki Orosz says:

    We have talked before. I was looking at your pictures and i saw one with Audrey Hepburn on it ♫ i like her 2! 😀 ♫

    – Nikki, 11 yrs. , ohio 🙂

  49. South beach says:

    thanks ur parents for having you

  50. Katherine says:

    Ever been to the North Fork? I could write it a love letter as well—then we could swap:)
    Must visit Martha’s Vineyard soon! Thanks for sharing!

  51. Nancy says:

    Waiting anxiously for the links for hotels, restaurants, etc. in order to plan my first visit ever to the island!

  52. Jansi says:

    Hi Susan,

    Really excited for you to share your hotel, restaurant and points of interest choices with us all. I REALLY want to visit now. Your photos and descriptions already make me feel like I’m on my way!

    Do add more soon! <3
    Janis

  53. Susan, your blog is wonderful in all aspects, but for me one of its biggest appeals is that it’s so beautifully New- Englandish! I had the chance to see Martha’s Vineyard years ago; for some reason – time constraints, perhaps- I never made that little trip. I love it anyway and love it already with a real anxiousness to get there. Maybe this summer…

  54. Cindy Garner says:

    Oh that all sounds so wonderful.
    I too live in a small tourists area, but sadly I have not embraced the wonder of it.
    Thank you for reminding me of the delightfulness ( i think i just made up a word….lol)of living small town.

    • sbranch says:

      All our tourists have gone home now…our island gets to heal after the summer, which is a very good thing. So now, it’s just us.

  55. Cynthia says:

    Susan, thank you for bringing MV to life. There have always been two places that have tugged at this flatland midwest gal’s heart. The Rockies of Colorado, & the East Coast. Got the chance to visit Colorado these past 2 summers, now it’s the East Coast turn. The quaintness of that whole New England area, has always been a draw to me. Love, Love, Love, the small town atmosphere, the old homes, with picket fences….I could go on, but I know you get were I’m coming from. It just feels like home to my soul. I think one of the reasons why I enjoy watching “The Gilmore Girls” & “The Ghostwhisper” is for the small town scenery shots. So with fingers crossed & planning we’ll visit “the Vineyard” this coming year. And I’ll probably want to stay…..forever!

  56. Sherry Svoboda says:

    Susan Oh how much I love this blog, I have to visit everyday to see what is new that you have added and I love the new photos you add each day. Marthas
    Vineyard is so beautiful I visited Nantucket last September and we are coming
    to the Vineyard in September 2012. I hope to drive by your house and wave even thou you won’t see me but I would know your house from anywhere I absolutely love it and I love looking at it from afar on your blog, in my Susan
    Branch books and of course Willard. What would I do without you Susan I hope you are always around for me to enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours….and of course to the Kitties….

  57. I know now where I will be spending much of the long, dark winter months in wild, wet, and windy wonderful west Wales . . in the Vineyard!! As the nights draw in I manage to glean a few extra moments to explore and your blog is top of my exploration list. Upon reading this, I now have a better understanding of what my friend said about my own blog . . How can you be homesick for a place you have never been? Well, now I understand what she meant. Your blog does make me homesick for your home! Thank You with all my heart for your words and pictures and that you love sharing your little corner of this wonderful world which we all share! Diolch yn Fawr Iawn!

  58. Jennifer says:

    Susan, I have for years loved your work – own many of your rubber stamps and have found that a note with one of your cute & clever stickers will brighten anyone’s day! I have also loved MV for years, moved to Menemsha this past summer, and am now a year round resident of this place that has drawn me to it for so long. What a joy it was when I opened my email this morning to find that a friend had forwarded your site to me – thank you for sharing your perspective of this magical place, I look forward to reading more & enjoying your wonderful pictures as the seasons change 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations Jennifer! A huge change for you … year round is so different than summer, especially Menemsha . . . You have it all to yourself now!!! I’m sure you’re loving it. Today it’s so warm!! Hope you get a beach walk in!

      • Jennifer says:

        Thank you Susan, have gotten quite a few walks in at Lucy Vincent- can’t believe how warm November was & December has been so far! I lived at the Flanders Windmill this past summer and managed the Home Port Restaurant, every night was a spectacular sunset – interesting people – it was a terrific experience. In September my family moved to Chilmark, we now stay in a lovely house at the top of Newby Hill, looking out at a beautiful field complete with stonewalls, geese, horses and the sea in the distance. I am enjoying being on island during this time of year – it is so different!

        • sbranch says:

          You’re so smart! You put yourself in the most beautiful places on the island! I love Flanders Windmill, and Home Port, the location is perfect for the best sunsets! Don’t you love the quiet!?

  59. Hope Morrissey says:

    Hi Susan, thank you for the gift of George Cooper. I googled him and found
    “October’s Party” which I loved. Thank you for the tour around Martha’s
    Vineyard a wish on my part to go there …by train. These feet don’t go off the
    ground. Thank you again for your gift of poetry.
    “I asked my Friend the tree to speak to me of God, and, behold it blossomed!”
    Nikos Kazantzakis

  60. Lori from Maine says:

    After reading all of these comments I feel SO fortunate to live in New England. I was born and raised outside of Boston, lived on Cape Cod for a while and have been to both Nantucket and the Vineyard. I’ve lived on the coast of Maine for almost 38 years (wow, where did the time go :)) and I can’t imagine living anywhere else! Hubby and I will sometimes look at each other and say “Look where we live!! We talk to the tourists and feel so proud of “our” Island when they go on and on about how beautiful it is

  61. Lori from Maine says:

    One question we get a lot is “What do you DO in the winter???” Anyone who lives in a resort area knows the answer to this…we enjoy the peace and quiet! Although we love our summer visitors, it is nice to get back to the quiet of late fall, winter and spring.

  62. Jayne says:

    What a wonderful read…from each of you and thank you Susan for the amazing pictures that you share and that you paint with both your words and your brushes.
    I live on the east coast here in Canada and I too am blessed with a home on the harbour. The wind can be cold and refreshing in the winter and so very warm and soothing in the summer… a blessing to be able to bloom where we are planted!!
    Merry CHRISTmas to each of you and cheers to a wonderful 2012.

  63. shelly matter says:

    I love reading everyone’s comments’! We “get” each other, lol:)

  64. Susan I loved your new photos of the moon over Martha’s Vineyard. It brings
    to mind a saying by Anne of Green Gables one of my favorite books. Silvery in the Moonshine and this is exactly the feeling I got from your beautiful photos. I am so exited that it is finally 2012 as this is the year my husband and I will come to Martha’s Vineyard in September of 2012 and I will get to experience first hand your lovely memerizing Moon. I can hardly wait. Thank you so much for the
    anticipated excitment I feel each time I visit your blog, you never fell to get my
    senses running wild with my ooh ah moments. Thank you so much.

  65. Mary McCatherine says:

    Gorgeous! We are making a trip to New England this summer for the first time…Martha’s Vineyard is definitely on the list! Thank you for the lovely tour!

  66. Jenelle says:

    Dear Susan, thank you for your books, your blog, and your cheerfulness! I love coming here, I do almost everyday. My favorite thing is the bird tweeting when I come 🙂 My husband always says, ” how is Susan doing?” when he hears it. I am so glad I found out about you in the 07 issue of country living, I’ve been coming here ever since. I’ve been able to share your sunshine with friends and even my children. One day recently I was giving away a copy of one of your books to someone and my little 6 year olds eyes welled up with tears and she cried she didn’t want me to give it away because she loved it. I hugged and assured her it was an extra copy. You had another fan in my house and even I didn’t know it. My husband is planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard this year because you made it sound so wonderful we had to see it for ourselves. Thanks for all the info you put up about it. And I can’t wait for your next book, but the blog site helps ease the wait 🙂

  67. Paul says:

    My wife Nancy loves your website. She strongly believes that your life is the one meant for her. I can only pray that I can become the man that you have so glowing talked about….and that is your husband. To be happy with what you have. Thank you for your wonderful insights!!

  68. Georgie says:

    Oh! Someday I hope to visit your charming island… walk out to the beach and up and down the town and all around! What fun awaits. Right now it’s a dream, but that’s a good place to start 🙂
    Georgie

  69. ruth tallman says:

    have been going to the vineyard for 55 years except for the last 5 years as we could’t make it. my children will call and say “it’s a vineyard night” or “ahhh, a vineyard smell” i always felt as though my soul was there. reading your letters from the vineyard and seeing the pictures made the separation bearable but now this summer i am returning with children and my grandchildren..(their first time there). i have finally finalized the boat reservations so now the sweet vineyard dreams can begin! ahhhhhh

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I am so happy for you. Today was one of those days. Perfection. Long walk out to the water, lots of staring at the garden. Odd in March, but we are giddy, it’s so good! You have the boat, you’re half way here!

  70. Will you have the link to the B & B’s you recommend on the island up soon?

    • sbranch says:

      Because I live here, I don’t stay in many B and B’s. I’ve been planning on visiting several of them; looking at the rooms, etc, but haven’t had a chance yet. Don’t know if I will have time before I leave, but these days, with the virtual tours on-line, it’s so much easier to choose something you’ll like.

  71. Anita says:

    Susan, I believe you made a wee mistake. It’s Cape Poge not Cape Hogue. 😉

  72. Jackie Joice says:

    I love lighthouses and have never been in one or even ten feet of one. My dream. I’m a native Southern Californian. Your website is so dreamy and uplifting. I love it.

  73. karen says:

    I just wrote a post on my blog about our wonderful trips to the Vineyard, and how it always feels like “home”. Someone commented that I might like your blog…. It’s wonderful, especially your illustrations… and now I must check out your books, especially if you have written one on the Vineyard, one of my favorite places on earth! We plan to stay in Edgartown at the end of September for our 24th anniversary. I’ll look for your books in my favorite on-island book stores then!

  74. We’re planning a visit to MV this September! I see that several girlfriends are, too! Maybe we’ll all bump into each other. We should all wear something in our hair or something to identify ourselves. 🙂

  75. Amy says:

    I loved reading your love letter about the Vineyard! I am a California girl who married a small-town New Englander (just west of Boston). We have spent many happy vacation days on the Vineyard, and I secretly wish we could retire there someday. 🙂 It is such a special place!

  76. Barbara says:

    Hello Susan,

    After years and years of reading and cooking from your beloved cookbooks, receiving the original “snail mail” Willard with a goodie tucked inside to following you on the internet……My husband and I are finally getting to travel to Martha’s Vineyard at the end of August. We love good food and would appreciate some restaurant recommendations. We’re staying in Edgartown but will be traveling throughout the island exploring and enjoying. We also love to “go off the beaten track” so any little out of the way spots that you can clue us in on would be great. I would love to take that wooded walk that leads to the fisherman cottages you have described and photographed so beautifully.
    I’m sooooooo looking forward to my island visit.

    • sbranch says:

      Hi Barbara, how funny you should ask about this now! I must be a mind reader! I know you’ll understand that because I’m trying to stay focused on getting the Diary finished, I just don’t have time to do a very good job of answering this for you right now, giving directions, restaurant phone numbers, contacts, links and so forth, but have you looked at this page? I give lots of ideas there, and the main thing is the local papers . . . every single thing there is to do for each week is listed in them. You can also Google the chamber of commerce. The island is very small and I promise you, it will be hard to miss anything!

  77. Mary says:

    Just had to say my hubby & I are going to the Cape this weekend and plan to take a day trip to the Vineyard…really looking forward to it! It’s been so long since I’ve been back….this will be my 3rd visit. I have collected your artwork and have it decorated throughout my house—The “Home Sweet Home” kitchen picture with “Girl Kitty” look-alike (I’m guessing) —-looks like my big boy kitty “Muffin”…could be brother/sister they look so much alike. And the Mary Lou Cook quote “Seek Not Outside Yourself. Heaven is Within” artwork looks like you in comfy slippers in a overstuffed chair reading a book. I also have the “Under every great hat is a great woman” picture too—love your work (calendars/stickers/artwork/books). My hubby surprised me with your sweet books for Valentines Day this year…I always have to have the wall calendar each year…..for 2012 I also added the little small calendar to my home office/computer area. It’s been such a joy to find your blog and read through your findings and discoveries and recipes and fondness for family ( the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day postings made me laugh and cry!) and kitty cats and nature walks and moon phases and kitchen happenings and gardens and holidays….really appreciate your postings and photos and accompanying music! I have shared your fun and happines with my own dear friends who now follow your blog as well!! I know at time the world spins out of control and is crazy—I can get some quiet time and enjoy your posts…can’t wait for the diary. Very much enjoyed your taking us girlfriends on your voyage to England—-THANK YOU!!

  78. KAREN says:

    Before I knew about you, Susan Branch, I visited Martha’s Vineyard and have never been quite the same. We purchased a lovely signed book at the local book store that seemed to be on the busiest street in your little town; I still get it out and read it from time to time. Loved reading about the wonderful old Methodist camp meetings in the 1800s and the houses that were built to accommodate the people that attended; a fascinating story. Please put a few Martha’s Vineyard souvenirs on your web site store AND your map, ESPECIALLY YOUR MAP OF MV!!!

    • sbranch says:

      OK, I’ll do that one of these days . . . I hope you scrolled down to see Illumination Night … it’s in that campground you spoke of.

  79. Jane Gladden says:

    A lovely description of the islands. Oh to be there in the fall. I am sure it is gorgeous. Thank you for all your creative ideas, whether it be decorating, cooking, or just walking in the woods.

  80. Barbara says:

    My husband and I just returned from 4 glorious days on the island. I feel so fortunate that I was able to experience this picturesque locale. The island is definitely right out of a story book. I enjoyed your latest photos from this past weekend. That moon was a beauty ! I hope to return to Martha’s Vineyard next year with my whole family. I know they’ll fall in love, just like their mom. ……..I’ve been bitten 🙂

  81. Shelia mcguckin says:

    If once you have slept on an island,you’ll never be quite the same; You may look as you looked the day before and go by the same old name. You may bustle about the street or shop; you may sit at home and sew, But you’ll see blue water and wheeling gulls wherever your feet may go. Rachel Field

    • sbranch says:

      It never leaves you… I have a girlfriend in California who has done her home office as her island cottage. Her walls have photos of Vineyard beaches, the colors are blues and greens, pastels . . . it’s all island! Why shouldn’t a person take what she loves wherever she goes?!

  82. Annie Raymond says:

    I found your site looking up Gladys taber. Gladys is my favorite author, love all her books! I love your site, wonderful stuff. You have a beautiful home and live the lifestyle I would love to live. I live in Connecticut in a lovely old 1866 home. I married my second husband in 1994. We honeymooned on Martha’s Vineyard. We loved your island, had a great time, walking, eating, biking and touring. We stayed in Edgertown at the Harborside Inn. Would love to come back. Now that I found you I’ll be reading you as much as possible. I sit here looking out at the beautiful stone walls my husband rebuilt watching the birds have breakfast out my baywindow, beautiful site.
    Keep up the good work. Life can be peaceful if we just slow down and enjoy the beauty all around us and the miracles life unfolds each and every day.

  83. Elaine says:

    So want to visit, when will you give suggestions on places to stay, and “don’t miss”. Things to see and do?

    • sbranch says:

      Oh I keep forgetting to do that! I’m trying to finish my new book right now, I will make a point of getting that done within the next year. Hows that for giving myself some leeway!? 🙂 You can go to the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and get lots of info if you need it sooner. Hope this helps!

  84. CindyK says:

    This looks like such a lovely place to visit. I would love to come and stay for a week. I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to read every comment, so maybe you already answered, but, are there any places to stay on the island? I’m going to get there for sure…….eventually! I know if I sweet talk hubby, he’ll eventually see things my way! 🙂

  85. Julia says:

    Somehow I missed this post. I love it. Can’t wait to visit. It reminded
    me of a poem. As you know I live on a muddy little island in the southland.

    Here goes:

    “If once you have
    slept on an island
    You’ll never be quite
    the same;
    You may look as you
    looked the day before
    And go by the same
    old name.
    You may bustle about
    the street or shop;
    You may sit at home and sew,
    But you’ll see blue
    water and wheeling gulls
    Wherever your feet
    may go.”
    Rachel Field

  86. Julia says:

    Now that I’ve read the comments, I see that the poem reminded
    somebody else of your post. It came from a magazine a long time
    ago.

  87. Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

    Hi Susan! I was scanning the posts on this blog the other day, and something you wrote a while back really jumped out at me. You said that even though you have roots deep in California, Martha’s Vineyard is your “heart magnet”. I love that! My dear daughter received her Ph.D from Widner University in Philadelphia last month…her dissertation was on therapy dogs and their affect on children with emotional and developmental issues…and we’ve decided to take a “mommy and me” trip to Cape Cod next week to celebrate. We’re going to include a day trip to MV, too. She spent her honeymoon in Boston, on the cape, and on Martha’s Vineyard seven years ago this October, and she was enchanted. My husband and I have made several trips to the cape, usually including a day trip to the island, and we adore the area. I think one of my favorite places on Cape Cod is Rock Harbour in Orleans, because Gladys Taber loved it so. Heart Magnet. That’s why we’re coming…if we see you on the island, we’ll wave…we’ll be the 66 year old mommy and 43 year old daughter with tears of joy in their eyes and big ‘ole grins on their faces!!!! 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      Oh you will love it — I pray it quits raining and turns into a nice summer for your visit! You have never seen such fluffy green in your life as we have here right now! Congratulations to your daughter!!

      • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

        We just returned to Hyannis on the 3:45 ferry…we took the morning ferry to Marthas Vineyard. We sure didn’t have to worry about it raining or being too cool today…very, very toasty, but we had so such fun! The island is lovely, the flowers..especially the hydrangea, are breathtaking. We zoomed through Vineyard Haven, and waved to you as we passed (took the blue sightseeing school bus ),and spent quite a bit of time in Edgartown. We went into the Edgartown Books store, and when I mentioned you to the clerk she said I’m the 5th person who asked about you this week…and this is just Tuesday! She invited me back for your vist on Aug. 17…would love that, but guess I’ll wait till you’re a little closer to PA 🙂 we’re off to the Paddock for dinner, then tomorrow its up the coastline to Provincetown….life is sweet!

        • sbranch says:

          I am so happy you enjoyed it! The island is gorgeous right now — all that rain has made everything so green and abundant (the only correct word to describe it!). Enjoy the rest of your trip Shannon!

          • Shannon (Pennsylvania) says:

            We’re getting ready to leave this magical place this morning. We had a yummy lobster dinner at The Lobster Boat in West Yarmouth last night…delicious. One of the highlights of this trip was finding a copy of “The Best of Stillmeadow” in a used bookstore in Provincetown! It is now safely tucked away in my suitcase…along with a Baggie full of sand from the dunes in Provincetown:). My daughter is in the process of applying for an application to stay in one of the shacks out there…fingers crossed!!!

          • sbranch says:

            How wonderful you found the Best of Stillmeadow! Good one!

  88. Rosemarie Kulp says:

    I love everything SUSAN BRANCH and MV!
    I spent a summer being a “mother’s helper” (circa 1980) living in a tent outside of the family house off of Lambert’s Cove Road in Vineyard Haven. That summer I explored all the glories of the vineyard and living in a tent (I had a bed, and dresser with a lamp on a pallet) and just had to do a creature check before sleeping. Only once did I wake with a huge spider on my chest staring at me. That was kind of creepy. In the morning I would enter the house to take care of their 10 month old child and some housekeeping while the couple went off to work. My stay in the tent and all the bluefish I wanted was my pay…. The lady of the house was a teacher for the school system and the husband was a psychologist on the island. My good friend was Carly Simon and James Taylor’s (at that time) assistant so I was able to visit their home which was exciting…..
    More about you…..after that summer I came back to the island with a boyfriend and saw that I just missed you at the “Grapes of Wrath” book store when your first cookbook came out “Vineyard Season’s”. I spent that vacation reading that book from cover to cover, marveling your artwork, creative writing and delicious recipes…..I collected all of your books since and am famous for my (your) coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate which I artfully package and give at Christmastime.

    I am from N.J. and only recently relocated to Southern California since I was eligible for early retirement and my husband was offered a transfer to LA….sooooo we rented our NJ home and are now renting a guesthouse in Brentwood! Enjoying life! Now that we are on the west coast, we think of the east coast, NJ, the Cape and say that when we return, we have to go to back to MV! Thanks and keep on bringing us your magic…..

    • sbranch says:

      Your summer in the tent must have been pure magic. I did something like that myself, and the sounds at night that lulled me to sleep, I will never forget. Life is good Rosemarie!

  89. Candace Moakler says:

    Greetings from the East Coast of Canada – Newfoundland & Labrador to be exact! For years I have been an avid fan of you and your work having collected most all of your books, etc. Tomorrow (July 2) I am very excited to be visiting Martha’s Vineyard for the first time! My family and I are visiting Cape Cod for the first time and are enjoying it so much – it is completely what I imagined it would be (don’t you love it when long time expectations are met and – even better – exceeded!). So tomorrow, I will be snapping pictures of everything I see as I finally (I have been wanting to visit for years!) get to visit Martha’s Vineyard!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope it’s not too wet for you Candace, but I hear we might see some peeks at the sun by the 4th.

  90. Diane Newton says:

    We are going to Newport, RI next week to take our precious granddaughter to the Naval Academy Prep School. I am hoping to travel to Martha’s Vineyard. I have always wanted to come there and this seems like the perfect opportunity! Can’t wait to visit!!

  91. Lucia says:

    Hello Susan,
    My husband and I will be visiting the The Vineyard this August. The early part of August, and I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to where to stay. We probably will spend one night there. Will be arriving in Boston from California and renting a car.

    On another note, I’m anxiously awaiting for the arrival of A Fine Romance in September! And would like to know when you will be in the west Coast. We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and can easily go down South if that is where you will be signing books.

    I hope this is not too much of an imposition.
    Enjoy your books, blog, and calendar! You bring so much joy into my home, thank you so much for that.
    Lucy

    • sbranch says:

      There are so many places, all in different price ranges, and I’ve actually never stayed in any of them. But you can go to the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of commerce and pick just the right one for you. It’s just all nice here. But I would choose either Edgartown or Vineyard Haven — unless you’d like to be out in the country. Hope this helps!

  92. Lucia says:

    Susan, thank you for your suggestion.
    Lucy

  93. Robin Hill says:

    As I was reading your post about New England I felt like you could read my mind and my heart. As a fellow Southern California girl (raised in East LA) I too am in love with the changing of the seasons. I currently live in Ohio and after 20 years people still think I’m crazy because I love the snow season. I fell in love with New England when visiting friends in Rhode Island 20 years ago and our yearly trek to NE is the bright spot of my year. You described what was in my heart as though you were here and talking to me. My dogs must have thought I was crazy when they hear me exclaiming, “Yes! Exactly” as I read your posts describing the beauty and the “feel” of New England. I am new to your blog but thanks to a wonderful friend I will be looking forward to your posts every day now. I am also a diehard Anglophile which is way my friend sent me the link to your blog….your Royal Baby party! Loved it!!

  94. Sandy, West Tis Washasha says:

    You write so beautifully and captured the wonder of the Vineyard so well. I, too, am a native, now part-time Californian, who marvels at the luck to be able to live modestly on both coasts.

    I love your map of the island, as I do all of your drawings. There’s a “typo” though. Cape Poge is labeled Cape Hogue. We won’t even try to spell the word pronounced “singe a ka tack it.” Speaking of which, how do you pronounce the name of my favorite Vineyard freight ferry, the “Sankaty”?

    Thanks so much for your wonderful blog. You are a delight.

    • sbranch says:

      Ooops! 🙂 Joe says Sank-ity, so I do too, being the newer arrival to these shores! Glad you enjoyed it Sandy!

  95. Julie Peck says:

    What a wonderful way to express the infinite beauty of the New England coastline. I just ordered your new book, A Fine Romance & I am just chomping at the bit until it arrives. Your wording, artwork, and precious little quotes are what make these books of yours so amazing 🙂
    I am a 4~Seasons kind of gal, hailing from Ohio, with Autumn being my absolute favorite season! When you came out with your “Autumn” book, oh how thrilled was I!!! I proudly display it on my entrance table in my home with Fall themed ribbon & bittersweet starting in September, changing pages as the season progresses.
    Since you are such an “outside” gal, any chance of a “Gardening” or ‘Play in the dirt” book in your future? As always, whatever topic you’ll choose, is an “inner winner” in my book (lol) because they ALL put a smile on my heart !!!

  96. mary kathryn says:

    Ah, Susan, you make me giggle. I know I’m the one-millionth commenter here, and nearly invisible :), but don’t you know that YOU are one of those famous people you mention here? If I saw you in a bookstore or restaurant, I’d look at you and think, “I know her!” and almost speak, and then stop in embarrassment, realizing that you probably get that on a daily basis, and don’t need another stranger accosting you. Except you do seem so personable (and I know you are!), and here on ye olde blog, you FEEL like everyone’s best friend. Your island sounds so lovely. Somehow, knowing nothing of it before, I assumed it was a snobby place for weary presidents to visit and rich people to live. How I’d adore being in a place with NO chain stores! Hurray! Oh … my friend Krista is visiting the island today with her hubby for their anniversary. She wondered where they should eat. So I came hunting on your blog for restaurant recommendations, but didn’t really find a spot for that designation. I’ll hunt some more. Thanks for the beautiful tour!

    • sbranch says:

      Not at all snobby on the island, very lovely, lots of old people sunning on the beach, which you hardly ever see in California. Rich and poor, just like most places. Fishermen, store owners, jewelry designers, caterers, gardeners, nurses, waitresses, cake makers, carpenters and plumbers, along with Presidents, bankers, and lawyers. They’re all there. Tell your friend, for nice, with table cloths, try Saltwater — and for a great fish sandwich, go to John’s Fish Market, both in Vineyard Haven. On Friday, Lobster Rolls at Grace Church, also in Vineyard Haven. Hope that helps … tell her to have a wonderful time. Thank you Mary Kathryn!

  97. Donna Farris says:

    Susan, have you read any of Philip R. Craig’s books? They are fiction set on Martha’s Vineyard and called Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries. He wrote 19 of them before he died and they are wonderful. He describes the island so well that I feel as though I’ve been there myself. He also includes a map of the island that is very similar to yours. I know you are a very busy lady, but you should check them out, especially if you like mysteries. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking at every nook and cranny of your delightful website and plan to visit again and again. I pre-ordered your new book “A Fine Romance” and can hardly wait to get my hands on it. Thanks so much for the enjoyable couple of hours I just spent visiting with you. Donna

    • sbranch says:

      I have read one or two of them, but it’s been a while. I met his darling wife at a book signing just after he passed away. She was adorable and had put together a family cookbook and was full of stories. They loved Durango CO, and we have family there, and then of course, Martha’s Vineyard — lots in common.

  98. Dearest Susan,
    You are in California, and, believe it or not, hubby and I had the good fortune to be invited to spend Columbus Day Weekend with friends at their cottage in Dennisport, MA. It’s the closest I’ve been to Martha’s Vinyard ever, and even though you are on the other side of the country, I feel close to you. I introduced my friend to your blog, and she is fascinated by all you do. We both wonder if you ever really take time to sleep. I hope every moment you have with your mom and old friends are just grand. I’m so glad you just put together the extensive post on Jack. I saved it to my reading list on my iPad so I can enjoy it on our ride home with no Internet access. I’m so thrilled about that feature. Be safe. I hope to get to visit your lovely island sometime next year.

    • sbranch says:

      I do sleep, eight glorious hours last night, with a little freckled black furry face right next to me (sleeping with the “Studio Cats while we’re here). It should be gorgeous in Dennisport about now! Have a wonderful time Carolyn.

  99. Ann Shirley says:

    Martha’s Vineyard is absolutely beautiful. I’m so glad you loved it! Your pictures look so nice. My husband and I have just made our down payment on a Martha’s Vineyard rental home for our vacation. I can’t wait to see the beaches and lighthouses and to be immersed in the beauty of the land.

  100. Susan says:

    As a native of the Vineyard, many of your writings bring back fond memories of my childhood. I haven’t been back for 13 years, since my gram’s funeral. It has changed so much since my childhood days in the 50s, it makes me sad. It is still a beautiful place, but so much more crowded than when I lived there. So many more houses, people, businesses, etc. Those carefree days of wandering around by myself, not having to check in at home…except be back for dinner…gone. Guess I would just like it back to when I was little, sort of undiscovered. Not overrun by the rich and famous.

    • sbranch says:

      They’re only here in the summer, in the winter it belongs to us. It’s quiet and old fashioned and feels just like the 50’s. Main Street in Vineyard Haven is so pretty decorated for Christmas. Nothing stays the same, but it’s pretty sweet here, your old home.

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