Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Her Shoes {or Wellies}

We travel,
some of us, forever,
to seek other states,
other lives, other
~ Anais Nin

When I travel, 
whether it is to a
metropolis or a
the countryside,
a beach town, a
mountain village or a
  desert community,
I immediately start
to think and dream,

I could live here!

And each day on
that vacation, I hungrily
gaze upon various local
dwellings and think,

What sweet house
would I call my own?

Which leads to practical
matters {even though
it is just a fantasy} such as,

What would I do for 
a living?

Last month, when I
was on a brief holiday
with my mom in California's
Napa Valley, those same
wheels started turning.

I could SO live here!

Mmm, yes, I'd never leave.

I would get a job at a winery!

This time, I had a real-life
inspiration for my traveler
who never leaves fantasy.

Her name is Kelly Fleming.
She lives in the lovely
Calistoga Canyon area of Napa
Valley, and she owns and
operates a small, family-run, 
organic winery and farm on
300 beautiful acres, 12 of them 
dedicated to the grapes.

My mom first read about this
gem of a winery in The Wall
Street Journal, over the Christmas
holidays.  We had already chosen
Napa as this year's mom-n-daughter
trip and knew that we had to
visit Kelly Fleming Winery.

As a child, growing up in
Oregon, Kelly picked strawberries
and filbert nuts for candy money
and always liked getting her 
hands dirty.

Adult Kelly visited Napa Valley 
with her husband, helping him to
select wines for their restaurant
businesses.  In 1998 they bought
the Calistoga property and Kelly
Fleming, who wanted to grow grapes
and become a farmer, went from
being a visitor with a dream to
 a visionary who made that 
dream come true.

Over the next six years, Kelly 
directed the building of her family's
home, winery {with a limestone cave
dynamited out of the rocky soil}
and farm.  Their first vintage was
introduced in 2004.  Their premium
wines have been well-received by
the wine community, ever since.

When the limestone winery, with
it's red-tiled roof, first came into
view, my heart skipped a beat.
It had that classic look of a 
Tuscan or Provencal villa.

Imagine living and working in
this breathtaking setting.

Ah, there in lies the rub to this
little reverie.  Work, work and
'lots of it.  Living this Wine
Country dream involves
plenty of elbow grease.

When the vintner/farmer/owner
came out to greet us, she was
radiant, albeit a bit tired, in her
dusty Wellington boots.  Mom and I
had just toured the winery and 
caves with Kelly's assistant manager
and daughter, Colleen.

Colleen and Kelly Fleming
The wines that we sampled 
were delicious.  Not only could
we taste the Napa Valley sunshine
and the soul of the land in each
sip, but we most definitely tasted
the fulfillment of a dream.

Do you imagine yourself in
another's shoes when 
you travel?

If you had the means,
would you ever act on that
dream, as Kelly did?

Here's wishing you 
happy travels and
beautiful dreams,
this summer!

And we travel, in essence,
to become young fools again ~
to slow time down and get
taken in, and fall in love
once more.
~ Pico Iyer


You can learn about visiting
Kelly Fleming Winery,


Alicia said...

wow! so cool! what a cool lady. i think that all the time when we're on vacation. we were just in charleston over the weekend and i was thinking i could so live in one of those gorgeous old homes!

NanaDiana said...

Suzanne- What a beautiful, thought provoking post! How wonderful that someone is living their dream...and that it is such a success. I am glad that you had fun visiting and I hope you took a couple of bottles with you! xo Diana

Terra said...

Ah, to have millions of dollars to invest in such a handsome winery.
Like you I usually imagine living where we visit; even in Rome, I thought, how could we stay here and make a living?

michele said...

i love your post, suzanne! i can feel the longing and love and generosity of spirit.

i often lack the courage to go beyond the dreaming, but i am married to a man who makes my dreams come true and is my hero. so even owning a winery seems within reach!

what a fabulous trip for you and your gorgeous mother. i have only visited airports in california!

love to you.


Susan T said...

A beautifully written post. I do just the same wherever I visit I peek at houses and wonder how my life would be if I lived there. I do admire people who have the energy and passion to live their dream and I know it takes a vast amount of commitment, but if you love what you do it must all seem worth it.

Passionedeco...perchè le case hanno un'anima said...

First of all this daughter and mother annual trip is such a good idea!!!

And then, your destination was incredible!


Lisa at Shine Your Light said...

Suzanne, it always strikes me that the backbone of any dream is hard work. I just read a quote I love: The harder you work, the luckier you get." I'd say Kelly is pretty lucky, and it didn't just happen to her! Thanks for sharing this special part of your trip (what a blog-worthy adventure you and your mom went on!!)

Love this version of "Imagine" playing over here today, too. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, lovely lady!

Farmgirl Paints said...

yay pics from napa...i was wondering:) i always envision myself there. just went to monticello this week. wouldn't that have been an interesting place to live? love ya girlie. have a great weekend.

Hartwood Roses said...

I love stories like this ... folks who take their destinies into their own hands and make something happen!

Whenever we travel, I always pick up the little free real estate magazines. It's fun to peruse the ads and dream about houses while we are visiting.

Debby Steele said...

Absolutely. I am all about creating the life of my dreams. Unfortunately, lack of means is slowing me down! Her grounds are stunning and I love that she is living her dream! xo

Teacup Moments said...

Suzanne, what dreamy photos! Each one postcard perfect!!! Thank you for sharing these! Yes, the same goes for me, I like imagining myself in another's shoes when I travel. It's great fun! Hope all's well, my friend. I'll be catching up with you again, soon.

"Create Beauty" said...

How delightful to learn about Kelly and her passion and how she made her dream come true!!!

Like you, when I visit a place I love to walk around the streets and envision where I would live.
This most often happens in Cannon Beach Oregon as we walk our dogs down the alleys and walkways where the cottages have picket fences and the flowers are blooming so gorgeously. {Obviously we don't visit during the winter rain months!!!}

How very special that you and your mom have these yearly vacations.
Someday you will be doing this with your daughter.... do it before she has little ones though!
(I speak from experience}

~ Violet

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Fun post, Suzanne! The winery looks wonderful! I often have thought I could live in an area I am visiting, and look at the little shops and imagine myself as the the little garden store you brought me to. But, truth be told...some places I visit make me long for home lol! It seems I always bring back life inspiration from wherever I travel...

Leslie said...

Yes! I am all about dreaming.. reality is a bit of a kill-joy though. If finances weren't an issue, more opportunity would exist. Wonderful story and I believe, even if we can't pick up and do something like this, there's plenty we CAN do to get a taste for adventure. Traveling is so important and I feel fortunate to be able to have that opportunity every now and again.

Have a wonderful weekend Suzanne!


kerrie of sea cottage said...

Beautiful post. It's funny that I live only 2 hrs from this winery but had never heard of it! And you know how much I adore anything organic. I don't even drink wine because of sulfates...makes me sick. But my family loves wine. I used to dream when I was younger but I am so happy where I am now that I don't anymore. To do what she did you need money...something I have never had. I hope to visit her place one day. Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


I am exactly the same! Sometimes my husband dreams along with me and in fact on two occasions we have even visited realtors, once in Orvietto Italy and each year when we are in Paris we stop in to see about a pied a terre.

One of these days....

My dream though is to live in a cottage on a loch in Scotland, I felt like I was home the very first time my food touched the soil.

Thanks for sharing your mother daughter napa trip! I have noted this vineyard for my next trip there, my husband will love it.

Have a beautiful weekend, Elizabeth

Biz said...

Beautiful Post.
Beautiful Pictures.
Inspiring Concept.
Being military, as you know, it's easy for me to picture myself in a new surrounding...but I don't know what I would do to sustain a life other wise.
All I know is you've put a passion in my heart to visit Napa some day.
Thank you for sharing, always!


Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

So beautiful! Doing what you love for a living makes the living so much more exciting and wonderful. What a fabulous mother-daughter trip that was. Have a great weekend. Tammy

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I was there THREE YEARS AGO this June and it was like going back to my beloved Provence. and I both my dear love the simplicity of nature that takes us all back to our roots of being humans in search for paradise. Enjoy. Anita

Tiffini said...

oh yes I would! You captured my heart in this post. I do the SAME thing when I have traveled. Now I've never been to any foreign exotic places but if I did I know I wouldn't want to come back.
Have a BEAUTIFUL weekend

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

Soul sisters we are! Yes, I do the very same. But, my main heart-dream is to live by the sea - in a cottage - with a long porch winding around it - HEAR the waves crashing, and I'd be an author. That's my DREAM!

Megan said...

What a great dream that came true for her! I love imagining myself in the places I visit but boy its so nice to get home again! My daughter and I just spent a week in San Francisco visiting my sister. She actually is a wine vintner herself so we enjoyed plenty of wine ourselves!

Looks like you and your mother had a lovely time!


1 Funky Woman

Shelly W. said...

I totally resonate with this post because I always do that! Especially in England. But this summer I'm going to Italy and may never come back! :)

lisaroyhandbags said...

That to me is pure heaven! I would do that in a heartbeat. I always dream of life in different places - oddly I never did with Dubai and look where I ended up!

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Dreams do come true. With a whole lot of wishing and a truckload of work! So glad to see her dream having come to fruition. :-))

Stitchfork said...

Their hard work is evident in such a gorgeous place. Dreaming of living there...
xo Cathy

Jeanie said...

I relate to so many elements of this post -- the thought of being somewhere and starting to dream about living there and what you'd do. Boy, talk about making a dream come true! I so admire women (and men) like Kelly who figure out that way and put their whole selves behind it! Inspiring!

Mary Ellen said...

We begin to be who God created us when we begin to dream and dare live out those dreams in set as seed in our hearts!

bee blessed

Mary Timmers said...

I do that all the time--envision myself living in a place. Sometimes for just a month, since there are so many places I'd like to live. Cornwall, England, for instance. In one of the small villages. Then move on to Paris for a month. Then to a farm in Tuscany. See? I could go on and on. Thanks, Suzanne for the push for my imagination. I think heaven will be that way. Moving around to beautiiful places prepared for us!

Palomasea said...

Absolutely I dream! Having lived in so many places over the years, I feel very much the chameleon, and I love that...
Dear Suzanne, what a beautifully written post, and such special memories you are making with your sweet mom!
Yes, my first thought was..that looks like Provence! Indeed, those lovely ladies are glowing because of their healthy lifestyle, and living their passion.
I so admire the owner's hard work and tenacity.

And I thank you so much for visiting me! You know, it's of the best meals I had in Paris, was from a lovely little Vietnamese place.
But nothing beats a fresh croissant, bien sur!
Hugs, and I hope you enjoy the cooler weather, sweet friend..
- Irina

Beatnheart said...

she is living her dream with hard work guts and determination thrown into the mix....what a great place....i could so so live in Napa...cheers!

Karena said...

Oh Suzanne you have won my heart with this post! Oh yes I could live here; what a dream come true. I have such admiration for Kelly!!

Napa is so very Provencal especially a winery such as this!

Paris Holiday with Anita
Art by Karena

Vintage Home said...

Ahhhhh..yes means ...but courage! So glad you had this amazing visit with your mom! Thank you for introducing us to this wonderful place!

pretty pink tulips said...

I love stories like this where a dreamer becomes the doer! Kelly not only had the vision but the follow through.

I think sometimes the first step is deciding which dream is the one you want to pursue!

Hope your summer is off to a dreamy start!
xoxo Ellizabeth

koralee said...

Wow...what a lovely place! Kelly is amazing. Thanks for sharing this special place..hope you are well my friend. xoxo

Blooming Rose Musings said...

What a fun trip you and your mom had. Yes, I do the same thing. I have lived in many places and I am always open to dream of a new adventure. I lived near the Napa/Sonoma area and have often thought of moving back up that way. There are so many places in my heart and in my imagination that I wonder if I could ever really decide on a final place. I guess the fun is in the dreaming because actual moving is not fun to go through. I have been away from the computer for a few days and this was a fun and thought provoking post to come back to. Thank you, Suzanne. XO

Acanthus and Acorn said...

beautiful pictures, idyllic.... you must have hated to leave!~R

patty said...

looks like a wonderful place to visit... as i write this, i am sitting in the airport, waiting for a plane to wisk us away on a LONG (24 yrs?) awaited trip...

so happy to see you on instagram!



What a fun way to live in the moment.

Lili said...

That is such a gorgeous place! I'm sure you and your Mom had so much fun there! xo ~Lili