Thursday, September 1, 2016

Summer Adventures with Miss Merri Mac

Welcome to Tales of the Traveling Totes #8

It's been a full summer,

and Miss Merri Mac and I have lots to share!


Author Susan Branch, along with the love of her life, Joe Hall, 

made a two month cross country book tour 

in their A FINE ROMANCE van.

~ 8,000 miles ~ 23 Book Stores ~

 All the way from sea to shining sea and back again.

Lucky us that she chose Austin

as one of her stops.

"Girlfriends" drove in from far and wide across the state, 

and if you know anything about the geography of TX,

you know that nothing is close.

Some drove from as far away as New Mexico.

Susan generously spent most of the afternoon engaged with

the attendees and graciously signed books for all.

My very special "gift" from the very thoughtful,

Susan Branch!

Susan wrote A FINE ROMANCE first,

followed by THE FAIRY TALE GIRL, 

and most recently, ISLE OF DREAMS.

Published in the unique style of her delightful cookbooks

 with handwritten text and exquisite watercolored images,

Susan actually wrote the trilogy out of sequence.

Each is a delightful read, in or out of order.


When I read that Susan would be speaking at an event in 

Brewster, MA, the end of July, 

I set my alarm to be one of the first to secure 

tickets to the special Beatrix Potter 150th Celebration.

Then Miss Merri Mac and I bought a ticket to Boston!

Lucky me, I have a friend who lives on Cape Cod,

and she invited me to visit this summer.

Delightful days spent in this adorable Cape Cod home

that included lunch one day with a special blogging friend, 

(Note the smiling face in the center of the mosaic.)

The Beatrix Potter Society's 150th Birthday Celebration

was held in the Brewster Baptist Church.

400 guests were treated to an amazing program.

Betsy Bray, President of the US Beatrix Potter Society,

gave an outstanding presentation on the life

and achievements of Beatrix Potter.

Following her talk, Betsy interviewed Susan about her lifelong 

passion for Beatrix Potter, and then Susan read from

  A FINE ROMANCE,  about her first visit to 

Beatrix Potter's Farm, Hill Top.

The program concluded with birthday cake  

and singing Happy Birthday for Beatrix Potter.

Following the program,

everyone gathered in the fellowship hall 

for birthday cake and a book signing by Susan Branch.

Susan's latest book is a 30th Anniversary Edition of her first book,


Signed copies available HERE.

Next door at the Brewster Library

was a special exhibit of Beatrix Potter items.

Of course the week included other adventures as well.

~ Walks on the Beach ~ Shopping ~ Lobster Roll Lunches ~

~ Lobster Dinners ~ Oklahoma by Community Theatre ~

~ A Day on the Vineyard ~


We wrapped up the Cape visit with a quick visit to

NYC before flying back to Texas the first week in August.

(More on that trip another time.)

Our most recent adventure was

a long weekend in NOLA.

As you can see, Miss Merri Mac and I

filled the summer with some fun times, so I'll

save the NOLA details for a future post.

Suffice it to say that we were in town

 to celebrate the nuptials of this darling couple.

You might recall our LA trip in January for 

a wedding dress search here?

The winner ~ Iconic Gemma by Vera Wang 

Isn't she gorgeous?

The Traveling Tote girls will offer a 

MacKenzie-Childs giveaway with each of our next five posts.

will host this month, and to be entered you must

leave a comment on Emily's blog for a chance to win

the gift featured above ~ 2 pkgs of MacKenzie-Childs 

paper plates and an enamel storage container.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

More Tales of the Traveling Totes
at the links below.

~ Don't Miss the Fun ~

To Visit Previous Miss Merri Mac Adventures

Just click on number links below. 

#1, #2, #3, #4, #5 # 6, #7, and also
hereherehere, and here.



The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Sarah, what an enchanting summer you've had! I also looked at Susan's schedule but nothing worked for me. So lucky your city was on the tour. The cape trip looks amazing and shared with a special friend all the better. Oh goodness, I know the Beatrix Potter birthday party was so special. The cape, NYC, NOLA and a wedding! Yes, such a lovely bride and oh my that dress!!!!! Your summer was full of excitement Sarah. Great post....

  2. What a great wrap-up to a fabulous summer!! Your pics are great, dear Sarah. What a great looking couple the bride and groom are! Love all the Susan Branch pics. Your pics of Martha's Vineyard are gorgeous. We have yet to go but after your inspiration, it is on the top of our list. Last but not least, I have such warm memories of our afternoon at Phyllis' charming home and spending time with one of my favorite bloggers!! Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

  3. Sarah, how lucky you are to have the special relationship you do with Susan Branch! I know you had to be thrilled with those visits, and then to be able to enjoy the Cape and a visit with Katie too. Miss Merri Mac is one lucky tote! I can't wait hear about your trip to NOLA - that, along with TX (you're right, it's so big we didn't even mess with TX on our trip. It needs a trip all to itself!), both remain on my bucket, er tote, list. ;)

  4. I am so excited that you met SusanB...After reading all of her books I feel that I know her well!! You have had a busy and exciting summer and certainly get around!! Looking forward to hearing about your trip to NOLA! Beautiful bride!

  5. Oh, my, what a fun filled summer you have sounds like you will remember the Summer of 2016 for a long time.
    So glad you got to "hand out" with the infamous Susan Branch..(reminds me to order a calendar from her soon)
    We are having several rainy days in a row here and we are all loving it......

  6. Sarah, You have had a wonderful summer! Next time you come up here we must coordinate so we are both in New England at the same time! I would love to hear Susan Branch speak. I've been collecting her books since the original Heart of the Home was published and I remember seeing her home on the Vineyard. Yes, the dress is gorgeous and so is the bride!! She is truly glowing. I'm hoping to meet Katie sometime soon too. When (ha!) we buy our retirement house on the Cape you will need to stay with me too! Although I think it will be a long time before I have it looking as beautiful and welcoming as the house of your friend. I'm looking forward to hearing about your NYC adventures. Linda

  7. Oh my word, these bags are adorable! I love the handles too. Sounds like a whirlwind summer for you and your bags. So fun! LauriePOP Where Ideas POP

  8. Wow! You had quite an adventurous summer! I would love to have seen Susan Branch. You are one lucky lady...and so is she, to have such a cross country traveling devoted fan! AND the wedding dress...stunning! I bet that was a fun day! Congrats to the lovely couple!

  9. Oh my goodness! What wonderful travels you had this summer! I have enjoyed Susan's blog. She is just amazing. I have only read "A Fine Romance." The B. Potter event would have been so enjoyable. And so fortunate that she was in Austin! What a perfect page for her to sign for you!!! Boston! NYC!! New Orleans! You need a career in travel writing. You look so beautiful and happy in your photos! But no wonder! Makes me happy too.

  10. That was a lovely recap of your very busy summer, Sarah. I can't tell you how much I enjoy such posts. I love your photos, set up and casual, as they give such a sense of the moment. You know, I didn't know a thing about Susan Branch until I started reading your posts......and MacKenzie-Childs was a line I'd seen but didn't know much about. Thank you to you and to Miss Merri-Mac for taking me along for the ride!

  11. You've had a fun and exciting dummer, Sarah! I met Susan Branch many years ago at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore on a trip my husband and I made to Maetha's Vineyard. She was autographing her newest cookbook at the store. She is such a sweet and friendly person. I've missed a few of her recent books--I'll need to stock up for winter reading!

  12. I enjoyed reading about your adventures with your traveling tote. What a pretty bride! I can't wait to read about your New Orleans trip. Susan Branch is one of my faves. She seems like a delightful person, and I'd love to meet her! You've shared a couple of her books in this post that I haven't read yet. I need to find copies of them pronto!


  13. So much fun to follow the traveling tote! And, I might add, a girl can never have too many totes. I love Susan Branch and Beatrix Potter. What fun it must have been to see her in two different places. I bet the Cape was lovely and NOLA is always fun. You are traveling! Fun post!

  14. Sarah, I love the way you styled your tote with Susan Branch's books. I plan to read the trilogy over and over again. A FINE ROMANCE, THE FAIRY TALE GIRL,
    and ISLE OF DREAMS are all wonderful books. This has been a wonderful summer for all of us traveling with our totes! I'm heading to NOLA at the end of September so perhaps you and Miss Merri-Mac can share a recommendation for lunch. The wedding dress is stunning!

  15. Hi Sarah,
    You have had a BUSY summer! Looks like some amazing adventures. I think NOLA is one my favorite places to go, but not during the summer. I hope you get to rest a little after your fun filled summer. Dianne

  16. What a wonderful documentation of your recent adventures, Sarah! Thanks for taking us along while you escaped the TX heat. I'm envious of every single stop!
    The bride is just GORGEOUS in her VW gown....sooo special.
    Add me to the list of SB fans...but I had her pictured in my mind as much younger. Must be the photo on her blog. LOL
    LOVED seeing all the photos of YOU!! Is that tall handsome fellow with the grey beard your sweetheart? You will be forever young with your zest for life & adventure!

  17. Looks like you had a great summer! Thanks for sharing!

  18. You've had another delightful time! All I can say is wow. I loved following along on this journey via your beautiful words and pictures.

  19. Oh Sarah I can just kick myself for not going down to Austin to see Susan Branch! But I'm so glad that you got to go and you could share with us! I have the three novels?(it's hard to categorize them isn't it?) and they are so delightful.
    NOLA remains one of my favorites places in the universe. When my oldest daughter attended Tulane we found every excuse we could to go down and visit. This spring we too attended a wedding in NOLA. I think they have some of the best venues in the country. This couple look so beautiful! The bride's radiant smiles says it all.

  20. Your summer has been much more exciting than mine! What a thrill to meet this wonderful writer. The beautiful bride definitely found the right dress -- gorgeous. Looking forward to more adventures!

  21. My eyes have turned green while reading this post. I love Susan Branch, Beatrix Potter, Cape Cod and New Orleans and dream of a trip to NYC!!! What great photos and so much fun you had. Can't wait for more details about the NOLA trip!

  22. What a wonderful summer you have enjoyed! Thanks for sharing it with us! Happy Labor Day weekend! Pam @ Everyday Living

  23. Well you certainly had the most fabulous summer adventures! What a great variety of experiences. Love Beatrix Potter and Susan Branch's writing style. I so enjoyed A Fine Romance. I'll have to get her latest out of sequence book. :) Have a good Labor Day weekend.
    ellen b.-The Happy Wonderer

  24. Sarah,
    You and Miss Meri Mac, do get around!
    Love that you were able to visit for the Wedding!
    Wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend, ahead!

  25. Looks like you had a grand time. Thank you for sharing at SYC! xx Jo

  26. You do the most amazing things! I'm jumping in the tote! Gone on my own adventure for the next several days. Lunch in mid September? xoxo

  27. Dearest Sarah,
    That has been a lot of fun for making these fine trips.
    How special to tour the entire USA for book signing; wow!
    Love your photos, lots of action and lots of kindred spirits, sharing happy moments.
    Sending you hugs,

  28. What a fantastic summer you had, Sarah, so packed with wonderful trips and visiting an old friend as well. Lucky Lucky Ms Merri Mac to be tagging right along....Christine

  29. You and Miss Meri Mac have indeed had a summer of travels Sarah! And you've hit the hot spots, NYC, NOLA and Martha's Vineyard, what fun and each local so different! I always enjoy the traveling tote adventures-

  30. Happy Pink Saturday, Sarah. Thank you for joining me and making Pink Saturday special.

    It sounds as if you had a fabulous summer. Cape Cod and NOLA are on my list. I hope to make it to both places some day.

  31. Well, it sounds like you and Miss Merri Mac had an outstanding summer. Thanks for sharing part of your adventures.

  32. Oh Sarah, you and Miss Merri Mac have had such a fun summer! I especially love that Susan signed the book to the two of you. :) I need to get those books. Also love Beatrix Potter! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  33. Sarah, What fun you've had traveling with Miss Merri Mac this summer! Why do I not have any of Susan Branch's books?...I need to fix that! I know Beatrix Potter Society's 150th Birthday Celebration was not to be missed. So many fun adventures, thanks for taking me along as an armchair traveler. The bride is beautiful too. :)

  34. You two have the most fun together! Where next? KC perhaps??

  35. Lovely photos & collages. I'll look if i can find Susan Branch books here. Enjoy your week.

  36. Wow Sarah, what a lovely adventure. To meet Susan Branch and spend time with girlfriends. Her signing of your book to you and Miss Merri Mac is precious. visiting Cape Cod must have been fabulous as well. You and Miss Merri Mac always have exciting adventures.

  37. What a lovely adventure. I love Susan Branch and I Love Cape Cod too. Oh yes and I also love Beatrix Potter! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  38. Thank you for reminding me of Susan Branch. I haven't read her books in ages. It's fun following your travels.

  39. Looks like you had quite the adventure! Good for you!! Thanks for sharing at Dishing It & Digging It!

  40. You've traveled up and down and all around! What fun to see Susan Branch - twice! The bride is gorgeous!

  41. What a fun summer you and Miss Merri Mac had. You visited some of my favorite places. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us at Vintage Charm

  42. Oh my! What fun you've had! How amazing to get to meet our favorite author and blogger, Susan Branch! Love this post! Enjoy your week. Hugs, Diane

  43. Good morning Sarah, Thank you for sharing your awesome summer adventures with Blue Monday. A summer to remember. Book signings, wedding dress shopping, Cape Cod adorable cottage and NYC. I loved reading and seeing your story in photos as well. The traveling tote tells a story of fun and lovely days.

    Happy week to you.
    Hugs, Jeanne

  44. Wow Sarah! What wonderful visits you had with Susan Branch! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  45. I would say that you had some wonderful adventures this summer, Sarah! What a sweet gift you received from Susan Branch with her signing on chapter 16. The bride was indeed gorgeous.
    P. S. I really must read Susan's books one day in the near future.

  46. I hope you don't get 3 comments from me. Having a little computer trouble. You and Miss Merri Mac had an exciting and busy summer. How fun to meet Susan Branch twice! I just finished Isle of Dreams while I was in the hospital. Enjoyed the reading and the illustrations so much. Speaking of charming,I'm envious of your trip to Cape Code. I've never been. If I paint black and white checks on me, can I travel with you?


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.