Wine Country’s Step Sister Is Making A Splash
As the forecast for mother nature’s fever was set to roll into the valley, I decided to decamp and head towards some cool water for relief. You might think Tahoe was in the forefront of my windshield, but you would be wrong. Instead, I chose something off the beaten path, a place long known for its’ dated small town and often deemed as the ugly step-sister to Napa Valley. Clear Lake is about an hour and a half North of the city of Napa. It is known for being the largest natural freshwater lake in California, spanning 68 square miles. It is also the oldest lake in North America – 480,000 years old!! I’m feeling divinely young suddenly. Driving into Clear Lake, I knew instantly I was not going to find anything luxurious here based on the worn and torn feel of the storefronts and surrounding homes. It was merely going to be an adventure and a way to avoid the oppressive heat wave.
My daughter and I found one vacancy at the Clear Lake Cottages and Marina. For a shekel or two we scored the best cottage they had, smack dab on the lake with views of vineyards. Wait, did I say vineyards? Yup, vineyards. Actually, they have over 30 wineries and 9,000+ acres of vineyards in Lake County. Who would’a thunk?
Once we got settled into our teeny, tiny cabin with a full kitchen, nothing luxurious yet… we decided to choose a place for dinner. Slim pickin’s for choices, but we ended up heading to The Spot where we were told there is live music on the weekends. We sat outside with picnic tables on the grass facing the lake and a stage with a local solo artist strumming his guitar and crooning away. Soon we were approached by a local, “born and raised for 67 years…” Perry was a pretty good storyteller and from what we could tell a beloved member of the community. We learned about Perry’s brother who went to Vietnam, got hooked on heroin and whiskey, came home and lost his family, house, and soul. Perry helped his brother beat the addiction but wasn’t so successful with his daddy. Perry swore he “never did any drugs, alcohol or tobacco, something most people around here can’t say.” Perry’s snaggletooth smile and happy go lucky attitude was contagious. With a childlike spirit he tottered away from us onto the stage where he danced to his souls delight.
Dance Perry, dance. May your delightful spirit remind us all to let our inner child come out to play every once in a while…
Morning came as it always does, but on this morning the true luxury began to unfold before me. As I sat on the deck sipping my brew, I could hear a chorus of birds singing, bass jumping in the lake, the distant hum of fishing boats gliding across the glass water of an untouched morning. Although we often define luxury as some material object, this luxury filled my soul in a way that only Mother Nature can do. This seemingly untouched community, sitting in a time warp just a short distance from everything luxurious & decadent is a little slice of heaven, sprinkled with humility and days gone by… I’m obviously not the first person to notice this diamond in the ruff. As with all things, change is coming. A 100 acre resort is being developed on the Western shore with a 1,400 seat theater, restaurant, bars and 250 luxury hotel suites.
Believe me when I tell you, “There is gold in them there mountains!” Investors, get out your pocket-books, because you will soon strike it rich in Lake County.
On a final note, this sojourn made me realize that Luxury is truly a state of mind not a Chanel handbag…
Morning by the lake with a symphony playing just for me…
Remember, life is a fast moving train, you live, you love, you work, and you die. Your in-between better be good.
What’s your in-between? Let me know!
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