Our first big stop on our 7,000 mile adventure this summer was Napa, CA for the wedding reception for Jacob and Kaitlin. They were married a year ago on Labor Day weekend 2020, but that was an intimate gathering of 14 at Kaitlin’s grandmother’s home. Even Matthew was unable to attend as his chain of command at Ft. Bliss denied his pass (Really? For his brother’s wedding?). Despite the ongoing COVID crisis, everyone was looking forward to a reunification with 120 friends and family.
Julie and I “camped” at Kaitlin’s parents’ home and vineyard. It was great being so close to our new in-law friends without feeling too intrusive. Cool evenings meant that the A/C was unnecessary in the van even with daytime temperatures going into the high 90s. We hosted the out-of-town folks for a “rehearsal” dinner at the same place. It was a great mix of college friends, my family, Julie’s family, and Kaitlin’s. For much of my family it was a first visit to California (or first in 37 years!). Most enjoyable was seeing my young niece almost in tears as she enjoyed her first views of western terrain, mountains, and vineyards.
We spent about a week in the area, doing some hikes, visiting the Sonoma coast, touring some wineries, and playing some golf. Julie and I love the area and suspect we’ll be spending more time there in the future, possibly a good chunk of our winter time away from Keuka Lake.
Sadly we (nor anyone we asked!) got a wedding reception night photo of Jacob and Kaitlin, so we’ll have to wait for the official photos. I’ll leave you with a photo of Julie and I with our close friends Jack and Anne Alley at the reception.