My husband was searching for a job in church ministry at the time. It was right after the fall of the housing market and recession. We lived in Arizona at the time, which was one of the hardest hit places in the nation. We needed respite, we needed time together as a family. We needed great memories together during a very disheartening time in our life.
We drove up to Sonoma wine country through the endless landscape of vineyards and stayed in a little town called Santa Rosa. It's a beautiful town; quiet, welcoming and quaint. We visited wineries in the area, The Frances Ford Coppola estate which housed many pieces from the film The Godfather (my husband's absolute favorite film of all time) and Chateau Montelena, a vineyard that was a location of a film we loved. We found a hotel in Santa Rosa that was an renovated 1960's establishment, the owner kept that same mid century design and feel to the decor. The hotel had this stunning ambiance when you walked through the front doors. It was a swanky place that at one time housed vintage movie stars on holiday from the haunts of Southern California.
When we settled in, we were warmly welcomed by some local families there, sharing with us the necessary places to dine and visit. We ate dinner at one of the recommended places, a delicious Italian restaurant with possibly the most unbelievable glass of red wine I've ever had. We sat out by the pool every night, eating appetizers and drinking tasty drinks. We listened to the local band as they played soft music. My daughter and I lounged out in our bikinis watching the birds fly overhead. It was like time stood still. Just for a moment.
We walked around this picturesque town and discovered that it was where the cartoonist of the Peanuts characters, Charles Shultz, retired and lived his last days. I've always loved his drawings and the art deco feel to his work. All over Santa Rosa there are these artistic statue renderings of the Peanuts characters. There is a museum placed at the center of the town honoring his life work.
We fell in love with this charming place at time when we needed a little hope. Our time there was perfect during a place of crossroads in our life, when we needed to take our mind off of what was going on in our life back home. It brought a small amount of whimsy to a trying time in our life. It came at a time when we needed to feel welcome somewhere. It gave our family a brief moment; a brief moment that everything was wonderful and perfect in our world.
I'll never forget our time in Santa Rosa. When I think of a brief moment that brought our family wonderful memories during a time when we needed it, I think of this captivating place. I think of Santa Rosa.
I like to remember Santa Rosa when there are moments in my life that aren't going the way I think it should. I like to remember our time in Santa Rosa when I need a bit of respite from life. I like to remember Santa Rosa when I need a little hope.
Thank you, Santa Rosa.
Thank you for the memories.