Stories that Matter

#TBT – A Dream Come True!

As you may know, my upcoming release, The Memory of You, takes place in Sonoma, California. As we count down to March 28th, we thought it might be fun to use “Throwback Thursdays” to share the origin of that story, and how the seed was planted back in 2010.

One of my bucket list trips has always been to travel to California. Growing up on a small island in the 70’s and 80’s, I immersed myself in pop culture. I dreamed of living in California, of partying with the television and movie stars who smiled down at me from the Tiger Beat posters tacked to my bedroom wall. California had an allure all its own and I knew one day I would get there. Now of course, years later, the glow of the screen has faded, and I’m not so attracted to the big bright lights. But when my husband started musing about a trip to California wine country to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, it only took a half second for me to jump all over the idea.

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And so, that October, we were off. I was beyond excited, and although I can be a bit of a nervous flyer,  I was okay on the long flight from Atlanta to San Francisco because I just couldn’t wait to see this place of my dreams. My husband had already done all kinds of research and pretty much planned out our entire trip. With the help of the concierge at our hotel, we were looking forward to ten days of touring, tasting and relaxation. He was all about the food and wine, and I couldn’t wait to see the scenery. We’d heard from friends who’d done wine country tours how beautiful it was, so I had pretty high expectations going in. And as we passed over the Golden Gate Bridge, (which is more of a rusty red by the way),  drove a little further along the highway and the first glimpse of red rolling hills lines with rows upon rows of vines, my heart jumped a little.

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‘As she crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, bright shards of light split the clouds and the California sun began to warm the car’s interior. Her smile broadened as the scenery changed. Rolling brown hills ran into rows upon rows of lush vines that hid clusters of purple and gold treasures under green foliage. The sight unwrapped feelings she thought she’d long put aside. The sweet smell of grapes permeated her senses, and the joy found in simply being here surprised her.’ The Memory of You

Our first stop was a delightful little restaurant called The Fig, and then it was on to our hotel, The Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa.

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As I settled into the large, luxuriously soft king bed that night and sleep descended, I knew we’d landed in a special place. And I knew there was a story here, just waiting to be told.

Next week I’ll share more about my California dream trip and tell you about the first spark that resulted in The Memory of You!

Have you been on a special trip, traveled someplace you’d always wanted to go? I’d love to hear about it!  

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18 Comments

  1. Fiction Aficionado on March 2, 2017 at 7:42 am

    The first time I travelled to England was a dream come true! Went on tour with a choir I was in at the time, and we sang in some of the most glorious places–Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral… Visited Bath, the Peaks District, Edinburgh, Cambridge, all over! Can’t believe it was 17 years ago! I sound so old!!!!! 😩

    • Cathy West on March 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      That sounds amazing!!! We haven’t been to the UK for quite a few years, and I am itching to go back!!

  2. Brandy Heineman on March 2, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Your husband sounds like mine, Catherine! He loves to have the details covered. And now I’m sitting here thinking of all the wonderful places we’ve been. As far as a dream trip, our honeymoon to Oahu was spectacular. 🙂

    • Cathy West on March 2, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Oh we went to Maui two years ago and it was fabulous!!

  3. Jeanne Takenaka on March 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    When I was young, my dream was to go anywhere outside the contiguous US. Since marrying my husband, we’ve been to Germany (twice) to Hawaii numerous times (his parents live there) and I’ve been to Istanbul and the Philippines. I think my favorite trip with my husband was to the Big Island of Hawaii, because it was just the two of us relaxing and exploring a new place. And it was beautiful.

    • Cathy West on March 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      Wow, you have been to some interesting places! I wouldn’t mind seeing the other islands of Hawaii but I really did love Maui. Not sure I’d want to go to Istanbul, what was that like?!

      • Jeanne Takenaka on March 2, 2017 at 7:46 pm

        I haven’t been to Maui yet, but I really want to see it! Istanbul was with a tour group from Germany. And it was fascinating. I don’t think I would have done it if I wasn’t part of a tour. 🙂

  4. Jeanne Takenaka on March 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    When I was young, my dream was to go anywhere outside the contiguous US. Since marrying my husband, we’ve been to Germany (twice) to Hawaii numerous times (his parents live there) and I’ve been to Istanbul and the Philippines. I think my favorite trip with my husband was to the Big Island of Hawaii, because it was just the two of us relaxing and exploring a new place. And it was beautiful.

    • Cathy West on March 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      Wow, you have been to some interesting places! I wouldn’t mind seeing the other islands of Hawaii but I really did love Maui. Not sure I’d want to go to Istanbul, what was that like?!

  5. Winnie Thomas on March 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Sounds like you had a great trip to California, Cathy. I love to travel, but I want everything all planned out before I go. My husband loves to travel, but he’s not detail-oriented and just “wings it” unless someone else does the details. Both of my daughters are great at planning out trips, so two of my best trips have been to England/Scotland/Wales with my oldest daughter and to Germany/Switzerland/Austria with my youngest. My oldest daughter had spent 18 months in Scotland a few years ago. She had kept in touch with a lot of people she had met and gotten to know well. When she told them she wanted to go back, they all invited her and her husband and me and my husband to stay with them. We were gone for 17 days and didn’t have to get a hotel room! Plus, we got to see how the people there live. My youngest daughter got a scholarship to do some research at a university in Germany the summer after she graduated from college. She was there for 4 months, and I flew over with a couple of my siblings to meet her afterward and tour around. She had researched all the great places to go, and we had a wonderful time. As a highlight, we were able to visit and tour the house where my grandfather grew up near Interlaken, Switzerland in the Alps. I’d love to go back and explore more of the area.

  6. Winnie Thomas on March 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Sounds like you had a great trip to California, Cathy. I love to travel, but I want everything all planned out before I go. My husband loves to travel, but he’s not detail-oriented and just “wings it” unless someone else does the details. Both of my daughters are great at planning out trips, so two of my best trips have been to England/Scotland/Wales with my oldest daughter and to Germany/Switzerland/Austria with my youngest. My oldest daughter had spent 18 months in Scotland a few years ago. She had kept in touch with a lot of people she had met and gotten to know well. When she told them she wanted to go back, they all invited her and her husband and me and my husband to stay with them. We were gone for 17 days and didn’t have to get a hotel room! Plus, we got to see how the people there live. My youngest daughter got a scholarship to do some research at a university in Germany the summer after she graduated from college. She was there for 4 months, and I flew over with a couple of my siblings to meet her afterward and tour around. She had researched all the great places to go, and we had a wonderful time. As a highlight, we were able to visit and tour the house where my grandfather grew up near Interlaken, Switzerland in the Alps. I’d love to go back and explore more of the area.

  7. Cathy West on March 3, 2017 at 7:16 am

    We love to travel! Our next big trip is hopefully going to be Italy. We are just trying to find the right time when we can go! That’s getting harder every year.

    • Winnie Thomas on March 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Italy sounds so intriguing! We were so close when we went to Austria and Germany. If we would have had a couple of extra days, we’d have popped over there. I’d love to go there.

  8. Cathy West on March 3, 2017 at 7:16 am

    We love to travel! Our next big trip is hopefully going to be Italy. We are just trying to find the right time when we can go! That’s getting harder every year.

  9. A Different Perspective | Catherine West on March 9, 2017 at 7:33 am

    […] Welcome to another Throwback Thursday Post! We’re talking about my California anniversary trip that inspired me to write The Memory of You! If you’re just jumping on here, you can read last week’s post here. […]

  10. A Different Perspective | Catherine West on March 9, 2017 at 7:33 am

    […] Welcome to another Throwback Thursday Post! We’re talking about my California anniversary trip that inspired me to write The Memory of You! If you’re just jumping on here, you can read last week’s post here. […]

  11. Beyond Imagining | Catherine West on March 16, 2017 at 4:12 am

    […] been talking about my trip to Sonoma on the blog this month. You can catch up on the past few weeks here and here, if you want! Last week I shared how enthralled I was when we visited a small family-owned […]

  12. Beyond Imagining | Catherine West on March 16, 2017 at 4:12 am

    […] been talking about my trip to Sonoma on the blog this month. You can catch up on the past few weeks here and here, if you want! Last week I shared how enthralled I was when we visited a small family-owned […]

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