Napa in the spring

Our first winter and spring  in Napa was so good.

We rode bikes and played tennis every chance we could. The construction on the house I was managing was coming along nicely, and everything was running smoothly. I was happy and content.

Bella went everywhere with me…and her favorite thing to do: bike rides

In October we helped my oldest son move to Santa Barbara, and while there, we camped at Carpinteria State Beach. The campground is right on the beach and we were both in heaven.

Carpinteria State Beach

We helped my son move in and got a sense of Santa Barbara and the surrounding area. I was thrilled because I’d wanted to move to Santa Barbara ever since my first trip there in 1999 with the saddle maker.

On our second night at the campground, we sat on the beach together, watching the waves in the full moon. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

As we sat there looking out over the water, the ocean started to change. The normal white foam of the waves turned an iridescent blue.

It was so beautiful; I couldn’t believe my eyes and asked Judd if he saw it too. He did and we later learned it was from fluorescent algae, or bioluminescent plankton. I’ve never experienced it before then, and haven’t since.

It was truly wonderful and I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be.

I’ve always been a beach and nature lover and now that I lived in a warmer climate, I spent as much time outside as I could.

And luckily that winter in Napa was a mild one. When Christmas came around the weather was still beautiful. So on Christmas day, we rode our bikes 20 miles to St. Helena (with Bella in her basket) and had a picnic at a park there.

There were very few cars on the road, and we had the little park in the center of town all to ourselves. I found a bench to sit at and opened up our homemade turkey sandwiches and fresh fruit.

It felt like the world had slowed down that day, and we were enjoying every minute together.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the sky filled with small birds flying in unison with the air current. It was one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever observed. We both sat there looking up in awe at our private sky show and Christmas gift from nature.

The winter murmuration of those starlings was something I will always remember, but I was also looking forward to spring.

And what better place than Napa in spring?

All of the vineyards bud out with a promise of a hearty crop to come, and there are roses everywhere. It was always my favorite time of year there.

Hiking around Napa in the Spring

Our first spring in Napa also brought us a fun project.

My son’s connections in Santa Barbara, landed Judd a job creating the set for a local theater production of Reefer Madness. The production was to be at a High School, and even though there were a lot of pieces for the job, they needed to look like High School students created them.

We spent hours working around the pool and using the tennis court to roll out big sheets of paper. We designed and measured and painted and laughed together. Each day was filled with creativity and fun.

Using the tennis court to lay out the designs – Bella helped
Painting – with Bella’s help

Judd’s parents came and helped out, and we spent time playing tennis and riding bikes and having dinners around the pool, just like we did back in Palm Desert together.

Working around the pool
Help arrived
Making dinner to enjoy around the pool

The final pieces were assembled in Santa Barbara, and we loved seeing our work displayed on opening night of the show. That was such a fun project and I felt like everything was perfect.

The car was my favorite prop
At rehearsal


At rehearsal


We must have cut hundreds of “pot leaves”

We had a lot of fun together that winter and spring. And summer would start off with a very important trip to the East Coast together.


…to be continued.

Reader Comments

  1. Trudy Callan

    What a perfect day, so magical with the iridescent blue water, the birds. And what a fun and cool project. Everything was going perfectly.

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