Seasons Greetings from Santa Rosa!

Today I write from Santa Rosa, California. On Tuesday we moved out of our home in Calistoga, a small town at the very northern tip of Napa Valley. The locals refer to Calistoga as the last remenant of Napa Valley past. It has a non-assuming and quaint Main Street, friendly local population, great live mariachi on Friday nights, a few watering holes, a small post office, and not much else…and that is what makes it special. Simply put, it was a wonderful place to live. We rented a small house in the Mayacamas Mountains on the western edge of Calistoga, it had a spectacular porch that overlooked the town and offered a view of the Vaca Mountains, which serve as the eastern border for the Napa Valley. This porch was host to many of our fondest memories the past six months. On the porch: we hosted a Hobart Class of 1964 Alum for dinner, shared countless meals (& bottles of wine) with our friends & family, acquainted ourselves with friends of friends, commonly known as strangers (Claire & Kyle), made outdoor beds for tired marathon runners, and watched the awe-inspiring & also awe-sickening forest fires of Northern California. Albeit each of these memories has a back story, ones in which we could ellaborate on in detail, we will leave it at this: Thank you to all who made our time in Calistoga so special, you & our little town will always have special place in our hearts.

View from our living room in Calistoga.
The back porch.

As previously stated, I am writing from Santa Rosa, just west of Calistoga in Sonoma County. I’m in a Starbucks and it is raining cats and dogs outside. Unlike the east coast, the rain brings the biggest smiles to the faces of Californians. An explanation for this requires one word: DROUGHT. I’ve been here for three hours (is there such a thing as over staying your welcome with free-wifi?), and as each person has walked in drenched by the walk from their car to the coffee shop, they’ve done so with a smile. Most order their drink, look out the window and admire the rain, and offer me a “Happy Holidays.” This is the California way of doing things, I’ll miss this.

Kendall, Olivia’s aunt, has become a great friend of mine while living here in California. She is one of the most mysterious people I have ever met. For example, my first introduction to her was via email, in it she wrote: “Let me introduce myself. I am the Phantom Aunt of Livy’s family.” At the time I had no idea what that meant, but boy was she right. The best way to make plans with Kendall is to not make plans, she’ll show up…and that is what happened t0 me this past Saturday. I was packing up the house, getting our wine ready for bottling, and doing the dishes when Kendall pulled into the driveway. She stayed only a few brief minutes but in the 5 minutes she was there this is what I learned:

  • Kendall closed on a house on Friday.
  • This place wasn’t furnished…Kendall referred to it as “glamping” (Glamorous-camping).
  • I had an address to this house.
  • I was now holding a pair of keys to this house.
  • I wasn’t allowed to tell Olivia about it until we arrived on Tuesday.

So Tuesday morning rounded, we handed over the keys to our place in Calistoga and I told Olivia I wanted to show her something (creepy, right?). We drove aimlessly into the mountains because I had a slight idea of where we were going, but not really. We drove down the street in the mountains that’s featured in every scary movie. Amidst constant comments of skepticism from Olivia, I heard an “OMG, look at that adorable house.” Followed by, “Yikes, that’s a creepy scarecrow.” Yes…that adorable house was the one that Kendall had closed on. Olivia was ecstatic, she proclaimed: “This is going to be the perfect end to our California adventure!” And indeed it has been. I think that Kendall & I like to play into her idea of mystery secrecy, but all kidding aside, she has been an enormous support to us out here. I have come to learn that she is undoubtedly one of the most passionate & caring people I’ve ever met. I feel lucky to have been able to get to know her and I know my life is better because of it. Thank you for the beautiful accomodations & the “perfect ending to our California adventure.”

Inside Kendall’s new place.