A small blue sign marked the turn off from the ocean hugging, sun-kissed highway on the coast of California. It is only a short 3-mile drive tightly turning around heavily flowered meadows and through deep groves of Californian redwoods. As the road straightened out, a young vineyard emerged to the right and a small hand crafted wood building rose up to greet us, as it did for so many other travelers curious enough to take the turn to begin with.
The building has been the center of the surrounding community for 100 years with humble beginnings as a general store in the early 1900s. By the 1950s, it was transformed into a local watering hole called the Lost Weekend, which was filled with a colorful cast of characters and managed by the creator of the Pet Rock, Gary Dahl. By the early 80s the historic building changed hands again was turned into the Bonny Doon wine tasting room. And finally in 2008, it became the winery it is today, owned and operated by a five-generation wine making family, the Beauregards.
Beauregard Vineyards is a small boutique winery, where the majority of the grapes are grown within a 3-mile radius. Small lots and unique growing methods, their wines are a considered a hidden gem nestled in the Santa Cruz mountains.
As we drove through the automatic gate, a unexpected oasis appeared. A backyard filled with grassy picnic areas, a small meandering stream, vases of handpicked rose, old growth redwood woods, a herb garden, a winery cat, two friendly dogs, and a swing. Beautiful. Peaceful. Families picnicked on wooden tables. Children ran and played down by the creek. Glasses filled with ruby liquid clinked in the warm Sunday sun.
However, this story is really about a swing.
The swing was positioned up on a grassy hillside, silver chains tied high into two immense trees. A handmade wooden slat seat provided a stable and comfortable place to sit. It reminded me of a swing I had as a child, secretly located down a backwoods trail not far from our house. I don’t know who put it there, but all the neighborhood kids played on it. It was only a thick rope with a knot at the base, and we would swing out over a ravine filled with prickly blackberry bushes. Totally a 70’s kids kind of fun with a hint of danger attached. Once, I tried to get off and missed stepping onto the dirt landing and ended up swinging out hanging only by my hands. I dropped on the dirt hillside and slide down to the edge of the blackberry bushes.
This swing was definitely better than my hidden forest crazy swing. Ava squealed when she saw it and ran directly over. She climbed into the seat and her dad pushed her high into the sky. A mixture of being scared, but loving every second was evident on her face. She flew into the air, the ground dropped away, as the hill rolled downward towards the driveway. From her vantage point, all she could see was the large grove of redwoods before her as her feet reached for the sky.
She was flying.
“I can see the sun,” she laughed.
“I can see the whole world up here!” she exclaimed.
Back and forth. Back and forth. Her laughter sparkled on the air. The simplest version of happy.
We all took a turn, except for Mia. She was suspicious of the swing, although I secretly caught her inspecting and sitting on it later.
During my turn, I certainly felt the thrill of the world falling away, only to see my toes reaching towards the trees in front of me. I too was a little scared and excited all at the same time. The majestic grove of redwoods seemed so close, I wanted reach out and touch them. Time slowed and a child like joy filled my heart.
It simply was the best…swing….ever.