Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where I Belong

When I was thirteen, the summer of my transition year into high school, I went on a week long camping trip to the Big Bear Mountains with the local YMCA, a long-held tradition by all siblings in my family.
After two days I was begging my fellow campers for change, calling my mom on the pay phone, telling her I was miserable.
I proceeded to call her every few hours until after day 3 I believe it was, my mom and sister came and picked me up.  I was severely homesick just 2 hours away from home, and my family to this day does not let me live it down.  Pathetic I know.

Let's not even talk about my experience "going away" to college to UCSB, again, just 2 hours away.  Let's just say that I used to longingly pine over our local Target, since Santa Barbara had no Target back then, and I had an apartment that hardly ever got slept in.  My roommates loved me.

So now, when I talk about leaving California to go and live on some acreage of land in the middle of some farming town back East, they laugh, roll their eyes, say "Okay sure Andrea."

Oh have I not mentioned before my desire to leave the traffic infested, rat-race state of California when we retire some day to live a life on a farm in either Virginia or Connecticut?  Think Baby Boom or Funny Farm.  No, I've never been to either state.  And yes, I do get cold when the weather drops below 70 degrees.  I want a white Christmas some day dammit, and I am going to get it!  But that is all besides the point okay?

So what is the point then?  Gosh can you tell I haven't blogged in a few days, with my long drawn out stories?
Okay, so the point is, it occurred to me that the place I've been looking for to retire is sitting in our own backyard.  And yes, I know retirement is a good 25 years off, but I like to have dreams.  We all have to have dreams right? 

This past weekend Art and I spent some time in the Santa Ynez Valley with our dear friends the Ireland's and Wards.  Of course we had a fantastic time being with friends, whooping it up, wine tasting and not having to worry about children to tend to.  Great food was had and many laughs shared.  I love hanging with these people.  The house we stayed at was comfortable and cozy, and the grounds were magnificent.   

One of the highlights of the trip though was sitting outside in the morning, drinking my coffee, reading The Help, and listening to the birds chirp.  Nothing but the birds.  No freeway noise, no trash trucks, no neighbors, no school traffic.  I tweeted on Saturday "this is where I belong."  I was so happy and grateful and just at peace looking at over the rolling hills that I was brought to tears on several occassions.  Yes, I am a crier.

And when I saw a deer on the side of the road, I had to laugh thinking of the scene in Funny Farm where Chevy Chase yells, "Cue the the carolers!"

So what does all this have to do with my tendency to get home-sick?  Well I figure, Santa Barbara County is now a second home to me having went to college there, and visited there multiple times a year, every year, for the past 10 years.  It's close to Southern California, where all of our family and friends reside.  It's small and quaint, yet with some style so I won't feel like "that crazy lady from California".  There's wine everywhere, and really, how can one ever get sick of wine tasting.  And I can have some land!  I can just picture it now.  Garden off in the corner 1/2 acre, chicken coop in the other corner.  Maybe even a horse stable.  Oh and if we could move there in time we would have the perfect grounds for Taylor and Sydney to get married on (though not to each other).  I can see it so clearly it's almost palpable.

The only problem is that it does not snow here, so I won't have my white Christmas.  But we can't have everything right?

So there you go, how many people can go on vacation and come home with their retirement planned all figured out?  I like to multi-task.  Now to figure out the main part of retirement, finances.   

Here are some pictures that highlight our way-to short stay.  There are a lot of pictures so I apologize in advance.  Enjoy :)
But before you leave, please tell me, do any of you dream about retiring somewhere someday?  Where do you belong?
Aaron giving us a tour of the property
 First tasting of the trip
We went to Mattei's Tavern for dinner the first night and celebrated Art's & Allison's birthdays
Out and about in Los Olivos the next day
Sarloos & Sons was a fun tasting room with a modern vintage style
We went to Blackjack Wineries as seen in Sideways and I asked the pourer if they were on Facebook or Twitter.  She replied in her best Brookly accent, "Nah, we don't do any of that promoting crap!  We don't need to!"  Ironically as you look around there are pictures and screenplays covering every inch of that place.
This was at Carina Cellars and the wine was so great, as well as the pourer Christine.  She was a lot of fun.
This was at Coquelicot
And cue the deer!
And finally, here is me saying goodbye to the Valley, until next time we meet again friend, until next time.


  1. looks like you had a great time andrea!
    next time you head up north, you should try out american flatbread in los alamos - the best pizza EVER using all homegrown/organic produce and nitrate free pepperoni... plus they make the best s'mores ever and cook it all in a huge hearth right in front of you! i'm pretty sure you'll love it.
    i grew up in santa barbara county... sb, santa maria, lompoc, solvang, santa ynez... i love that area and miss it a lot. and it has been known to snow in santa ynez and solvang! so you could have your white christmas ;-)
    glad you had a great time - looks like you have wonderful friends.

  2. Hey Andrea, love the pics and you and Art look like you had a lot of fun. It looks like we share the same love for the central valley,as does Maura and I will do my damndest to move their one day.

    Take care, Gerry and Maura.

  3. I love Santa Barbara! The first wine tasting trip my husband & I went on was to Los Olivos, so we have great memories there. I haven't been to the Saarloos' winery yet, but I went to school with them, so I'll have to check it out next time! I love all your photos, especially the ones of you guys jumping! Glad you had a great trip and were able to plan out your retirement! :)

  4. Oh, I too daydream of moving to a place with lots of land. I want a big Sycamore tree with a tire swing. I long to spend Sunday afternoons on a Main St. with eclectic shops and funky family owned restaurants. Maybe one day...

  5. for me it's on a lake or by the ocean, but let be honest - I wanna be near my kids, so if they grow up and move elsewhere, I'm sure I'll follow.

  6. i think i'd like to move into sarloos and sons. wine and pretty decor...it's like heaven on earth!

  7. Is your hubby always like that in pictures--usually cool but occasionally crazy? Sounds like Brad.
    And that is a beautiful place. I know they don't have snow, but I bet you could find cows.

  8. Looks like fun! I've been to every state and I'm definitely an East Coast girl, although I love the CA weather. I've only had a white Xmas once--and I was in Europe at the time. Ha.

  9. that looks like such fun! and I am so jealous cuz you are always so well put together!! i love it!
    I have been wanting to go on a wine tasting tour for eons and am seriously looking into setting one up for the soon-to-be hubs bday in October.
    Can you give me any recommendations?

    ahh to retire. someplace w/ space and no noise. havent exactly figured out where yet.....

  10. Hey mama! Sounds and looks like you guys had a blast. I LOVE the jumping picture. I can totally see you guys retiring there. :)
    Not sure where we want to retire...guess I've never thought about it much. I know Mike wants to get out of the grand ole USofA though... :)


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