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written by Liz Eisen

The conversation goes like this.

Michael:  “Where do you want to go for our anniversary?”

Me: “Paris! I’d love to go to Paris. Everybody we know has gone to Paris this year.”

Michael: “You do know our anniversary is in six weeks.”

Me: “Yep, the date’s been tattooed into my brain for only about 25 years.”

Michael: “That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to plan Paris. What about Hawaii?”

Me: “Italy?”

Michael: “I’m going to do some research online.”

So, we’ve had only about 25 years to figure out where we want to go for our Silver Anniversary. And, to be fair, most of those years have been busy with the beautiful milestones we have shared as husband and wife. The birth of three children, buying and selling three different homes, me graduating from college, Michael starting a business. Not to mention all the bumps and bruises that come with almost 25 years of marriage kids and life itself.

So, planning this trip should have been a priority within, say, the last year, or even six months. And, we have tried. We have talked about, and subsequently dismissed: Paris, the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, Costa Rica, Tuscany, the Willamette Valley, Kona, Maui, Boston, Manhattan and a “Fall Foliage” cruise along the east coast.

Another conversation goes like this.

Me: “I was reading online about this great yarn store in Washington. It’s on Bainbridge Island, a 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle. It’s a yarn and tea shop, is that perfect for me or what?”

Michael: “Do you want to go to Seattle for our anniversary? I could drop you off at the yarn store and then go fishing.”

Me: “Perfect, let’s spend our anniversary doing two different things…what about Paris?”

Michael: “What about Napa?”

Napa is our idea of heaven. The lush valley, the hills lined with perfectly formed rows of vines growing, yellow carpets of wild mustard, thousands of pastel tulips hidden in a meadow off Zinfandel Lane, the aromas of garlic and grapes permeating the air.

We’ve gone to Napa twice already for anniversaries and more recently for short trips when we’re already in Northern California taking or picking up Adam at college. The last time we were in the valley, we stopped and gathered “For Sale” fliers at a realtor’s office. Napa is where we plan to move when our nest is empty.

We’ve met some wonderful people in Napa. Derek and Roxanne, the British ex-pat and his wife the nurse, who own the B&B where we like to stay. Vito and Judy, the hairdresser and his beautiful lady, almost twenty years older than us and on vacation from Long Island who became dear travel friends in just a few short days. Justin, the adorable local young man who sat with us one afternoon talking about his recent vacation in Jamaica and how he couldn’t wait to get home to the valley. The sweet young girl pouring bubbly wine on the Mumm patio who told us she came to Napa for a friend’s wedding and never left. Roger, who was happy to drive a motor home across the country with his wife when her bank transferred to a new job in Sonoma. The couples from Pennsylvania, Texas and New York who chat like you’re old friends.

So maybe Napa is the reason that we haven’t booked a flight abroad or across the Pacific. The first 25 years have been a celebration of the past and present. Perhaps this vacation is supposed to be the jumping off point of the future.

Here’s how I think tonight’s conversation will go.

Me: “Napa is where I want to go for our anniversary.”

Michael: “Are you sure? I found this great website to make last-minute vacation plans. We might be able to work out Paris.”

Me: “I’m sure. Paris sounds amazing and we’ll go there sometime soon. But, I want to go to Napa. I can’t wait to go home.”

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