Our Engagement Story - July 24th, 2018
Updated: Nov 20
When we started planning our San Francisco - Napa Valley vacation, I only thought of it as another traveling adventure we were going to embark on. Little did I know, Joe had an entirely different adventure arranged from the beginning. Our months of planning this trip, Joe's time in planning this moment, all started on Sunday, July 22nd, when we took off on an early morning flight from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California.
We spent the first two days of our trip exploring a city we quickly fell in love with. San Francisco had the perfect mixture of old and vintage delights with modern, up-to-date treasures. This charming place was right up our alley. For a city, it never once felt anything like New York; it was not big, yet, it was packed with all good stuff. Even the touristy landmarks were cool: the cable cars, the Painted Ladies, the Golden Gate Bridge, the homes, and the food...between the sights and my being able to eat, it felt as if someone made up this place. It was the ideal start to a soon-to-be rememberable vacation!
After all the walking we did and the sightseeing we experienced, we were ready to spend the next day relaxing at the resort in Napa Valley. Little did I know, Joe was conjuring up a "Plan B" to his surprise.
One major part of this trip to northern California was supposed to be that we would be visiting Yosemite National Park on the anniversary of the day we first met. With the breathtaking views combined with our love for nature and the remarkable timing, I knew it would be a perfect spot to pop the question. After months of planning out this moment, picking out the ring, finding a customized ring box, and keeping it all a secret from Amanda, it was time for us to leave for our vacation.
Unfortunately, the timing of our trip was during the peak of wildfire season, and Yosemite was experiencing fires in many areas of the park, including the area we were planning on visiting. I stayed hopeful that we would still be able to visit the park and take our hike, but, by the third day into the vacation, after arriving at our resort, the local news announced many areas of the park were being shut down, putting an end to that plan. I had remained so hopeful about Yosemite that I didn't have another plan, but I needed to come up with one, and fast!
Plan B was going to have to be derived as quickly as possible, and luckily our resort was so beautiful, I knew I could find a proper way to do it there. When checking in, we were told there were vineyards behind the resort that were open for guests to walk around. Eager to check it out, and me being eager to see if this could be the new spot, we set off. The area was absolutely beautiful, from the plants to the surrounding views, all perfectly defining Napa Valley. This was it, I have found my spot.
Amanda and I planned to take a walk in the vineyards again after dinner, to "capture pictures of the view during the sunset". After our pasta dinner, we set off for the walk again. However, the thing we did not know much about was Napa Valley's temperature; how in the morning and evening, the temperature drops to about 50 degrees, but, during the daytime, it can reach about 90 degrees. We later learned more about this temperature swing and how it is the reason why the valley produces such amazing wine. While this was great for the grapes; it wasn't for an 'always cold' Amanda.
During the walk, the sun was setting fast and the temperature was dropping quickly. The two of us were not prepared for this, only wearing shorts and T-shirts. Before I knew it, Amanda was ready to head back to the room. Panicking to keep her outside for just a little bit longer, I had us set out on a mission to find the Vino Bello Resort wine man...at least that is what we were calling him for the time being. Once we found the wine man, I convinced her to take one picture together first before we go back to the room. I set up the camera, turned on the self-timer, ran back to where she was sitting, and dropped down on one knee.
So, without a clue of what was going on, we took a walk, determined to find "the man" we were seeing everywhere on our resort, all while capturing the beautiful night sky of Napa. When we arrived at the spot, Joe asked if we could take a picture together with the Napa Valley sunset behind us. Normally, I say "no" to pictures, but since we were on vacation, I figured "What the heck!" Joe set up his camera on a timer, then ran over and dropped to the floor in front of me. I thought he fell, so I asked what he was doing, then I realized the ring! It may not have been what he originally had planned, but it was still perfect to me in every way!
We later found out the "wine man" is known as the Grape Crusher statue and was created by a New Mexico artist, Gino Miles. It was created to celebrate what was to come for Napa Valley when it was installed many years prior. Surrounded by nine acres of vineyards and California oaks, the Grape Crusher statue was the perfect spot for Joe to propose.