|The lovely drive through the hills and vineyards of the wine region of California was a marvelous way to start the first West Coast meeting in several years. Westerbeke Ranch seemed the perfect setting to meet up with old friends and make new ones. Siobhan was the first to arrive, greeting us from her reading spot on a sun-dappled lawn near the pool. It seemed a good omen for the festivities to come.|
|Arrivals continued through the afternoon, with ladies being greeted from the porch of the Adobe by Cheryl, who directed them to their respective quarters for the weekend. Ivy-lined pathways led up the hillside to cabins nestled under the trees. (Each cabin was identified by the distinctive color of its trim.) The best part about being on the patio for arrivals, however, was seeing the looks on everyone's faces as they spied none other than Mr. Darcy waiting for them! Candace made a long-time dream come true by making a life-size cut out of Darcy, with Elizabeth's face conveniently cut out so that everyone could be Elizabeth for just a few breathless moments! Here we all are with Mr. Darcy
Arriving at Budget rental and wondering how I was going to recognize Clare, Ginny and Darlene. Then I saw a woman with a hatbox. A dead giveaway.
|In the late afternoon, Margaret, the Westerbeke Ranch manager, gave us a brief orientation about the facilities, the dinner bell, and a request for no noise after 10pm so that we wouldn't disturb the Ranch's neighbors. A request for quiet is always difficult when we spend so much time laughing out loud.
Forget about New Years...I tend to mark time by Annual Pemberley Meetings...although I haven't figured out if it's when my year begins or ends.
|A gong summoned everyone to dinner Friday night, the first of many fabulous meals created for us by Chef John. We dined at tables dotted with colorful linen on the patio overlooking the pool, many of us feeling that we were picking up conversations from right where they left off last summer. After dinner we repaired to the meeting room where we conferred California-style, with pillows and backrests galore! A round of introductions ensued, followed by the annual Friday night ice breaker. Everyone received an index card with the name of an Austen character on it. Myretta challenged everyone to write Milestones message as if we were the character on the card. There were some very amusing results!. Afterward we found ways to amuse ourselves, some with movies, some with walks through the paths, but mostly with chatting. Some of the East Coasters took to their beds early.|
One of my favorite moments was witnessing Darlene’s first glimpse of Darcy. Her utter loss for words and unblinking stare were priceless!Saturday dawned sunny and clear (is there any other kind of day in California?), although some in the Blue cabin would claim that JulieW, Golda and Lynn were much too cheerful in the morning! The day was open for whatever delights we could find for ourselves. There were visits to an Alpaca farm, a lavender farm, to wineries (and an unfortunate hit and run fender-bender suffered by one group of intrepid wine tasters!) and to pretty downtown Sonoma for shopping. As shoppers returned, they stopped at the Customs Desk, staffed by Pemberley's own Inspector Cheryl who perused all purchases before they could be stowed in one's cabin.