Ten and a half years ago, Greg and I had a fancy dinner date set up, and I was pretty sure he was going to propose! He told me to get a new dress for the occasion and we’d be eating out somewhere nice. In the meantime, we had a little photography road trip planned for a Saturday in January. We were going to spend the day driving up the coast and back and we’d finish with a picnic dinner from a local Italian restaurant, which we’d eat on a little beach in Laguna. It was so great to have a boyfriend who shared my interest in photography. In fact, he was really more into it than I was, but I had an old camera and we took off.
We drove through Cachuma Lake, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Malibu, and Laguna, stopping to take pictures together in each spot. We even had tripods for shooting ourselves together on the beach in Malibu, just to get the timing right for a sunset dinner on the beach in Laguna. We settled into a deserted little cove and ate our pasta by candlelight. Then it was time for dessert. And that’s when I knew…there wasn’t any dessert…I was the one who picked up the order from the restaurant…could it be…the fancy dinner date we’d set up for the following weekend was just a ruse to keep me from being suspicious?
Greg pulled out a nice big leather study bible engraved with my first name and his last name…with a diamond ring tied to the placemarking ribbons. I said yes. If I had known he was going to propose, I definitely wouldn’t have worn those jean overalls.
For our ten year anniversary, we decided to recreate that day, sans denim. It’s been ten years and our memories aren’t that clear (Greg was a bit distracted that day, and let’s face it, my long term memory for details ain’t all that great) so we weren’t sure we’d be able to find the same spots.
Mission Santa Inez…
A little extra detour in the charming little town of Santa Ynez, where we found a great little sandwich shop with artisan bread and the most delicious tomato, artichoke heart, red onion, and goat cheese sandwich…
Then into Solvang with a stop at a local bakery, where Greg had ordered a cake for us to represent the top tier of our wedding cake which had been stolen from our reception by a crazy lady in sweatpants…
We had decided to extend our day trip and make it an overnight trip with a stop at a b&b in Santa Barbara. Isn’t this dining room amazing?
Once in our room, I turn around and find this…
Greg happened to be in Santa Barbara on business three days before, so he stopped by the b&b and delivered a card for me and arranged to have roses and chocolates placed in our room when we arrived. What a wonderful surprise.
Even better, he had snuck our wedding day toasting flutes and a bottle of Martinelli’s into the trunk and brought them out for us to toast together in the room. Who knew I’d married such a romantic? The card made me cry, so he knew he had succeeded. A toast, a cake, a card, a beautiful bouquet & bedroom, and chocolates. We even had a delicious dinner with an ocean view and a stroll along the pier before bed.
And twinkle lights wrapped around the tree outside our room. Sigh.
Breakfast in the dining room and we headed out towards Ojai where Greg found a U-Pick Lavender field.
I had been reading a mediocre book set in Italy, now I was living it. Breathtaking. The entire field buzzed with life.
We didn’t go there on our original trip, but what can I say, the guy has gotten better with age and knows exactly the kind of thing that makes me swoon.
On our way out of Ojai we stopped in town for lunch. I wasn’t too hungry so when I saw this sweet little bakery I had to stop in.
I just got a slice of quiche, but it was the best quiche I’ve ever had in my life. It tasted like a savory custard…light and airy. And filled with tomatoes, both fresh and sundried, artichoke hearts, and other good stuff. What a cute place, too.
Along the roadsides, we saw several honor fruit stands where the locals would sell their extra produce from whatever was growing in their yards.
Then back to our original road trip itinerary. Down the coast and looking for that little cove to eat an Italian picnic dinner from the same restaurant we’d eaten from ten and a half years ago. We knew this would be a challenge because there are so many little coves in Laguna. After quite a lot of driving and getting in and out of the car three times with a hot dinner on my lap, we discovered that our suspicions were correct…a five star hotel had been built right where our little cove sat. And it was a busy summer Saturday night in Laguna. Somehow the crowds on that January evening so long ago were a lot thinner.
Backup plan…call Aunt Krissy and Uncle Stan for access to their community’s private beach. Again, crowded. But we did know one little secluded spot to eat our cooling picnic dinner. We made the call and arrived to find Krissy and Stan putting a tablecloth and candlestick on a card table overlooking the ocean. Krissy flipped on some quiet music and we enjoyed our tenth anniversary there in their living room.
Then we drove over to my mom’s to pick up the boys and share our last pieces of cake with them all before trekking home for the night. It was just the perfect way to celebrate that trip we took so long ago combined with the life we’re living now. I wouldn’t have it any different.