Here we go…

Well, this post is going to be extremely short because…we are getting MARRIED on Saturday! It is crazy how time flies by. So anyway, we just wanted to reach out one more time before the big day with a couple of small details.

If you are arriving from out of town on Friday, please feel free to stop by The Tyrolean Inn (9600 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, CA 95005) for a drink. We will be there for our rehearsal dinner and would love to see anyone and everyone in the Beer Garden following our meal.

On Saturday, the ceremony starts at 3pm at the Alba Road Schoolhouse (12070 Alba Road, Ben Lomond, CA 95005), followed by lots of delicious surprises! We can’t wait to see you all.

Sunday, we will be opening Filling Station (1500 Mission Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060) just for you! Swing by for breakfast at Fran’s (The Truck Stop) and coffee at the shop. We will be there from around 10am until we have to leave to pack for New Orleans!

It should be a beautiful weekend and we are so excited to share it with you.

The Big Day Approaches…


Well everyone, believe it or not the big day is almost here. A mere 42 days from now we will celebrate our wedding with those of you who can make the trek. We wanted to provide a little bit more information about where you can stay and what you can do here in Santa Cruz if you are coming from out of town. Our wedding weekend happens to be packed with local activities to keep you busy. Here are a few suggestions:

Open Studios – A huge array of artists from both sides of the county take part in this widely popular annual event. You can purchase a guide from the Cultural Council or just look for the bright green signs that indicate where an artist is showing their work.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – Needs no introduction. Fun for all and nothing really comes close to the kitchy nostalgic strangeness of one of the only authentic boardwalks left. Oh, and our friend Athena took some great engagement photos for us here (see above), so we like it a little bit more now.

Santa Cruz Mountain Winetasting – Download a map from the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association and check out why our area offers such a diverse mix of great wine. We are happy to provide some names of our favorites if you are interested.

The San Lorenzo Valley is the region of town that we live in, and although beautiful and much sunnier than fog dense Santa Cruz, this rural valley does not offer much in the way of lodging. However, we reserved rooms at the following locations:

Best Western Scott’s Valley – Our reservation block is under Stimpson/Turpin, #81

Quality Inn Ben Lomond – Reservation is under Amber Turpin, call direct and specify that you need to transfer the room into your name.

If you are interested in staying in Santa Cruz, which is about 30 minutes from the wedding and reception, we would recommend these spots:

Dream Inn

West Cliff Inn

Adobe on Green Street

The Babbling Brook B&B

Davenport Roadhouse

To arrange for a shuttle or rides to and from your hotel to the reception, the following might be your best bet:

Santa Cruz Experience – Offers shuttle service for events and also group wine tours.

Hero Designated Drivers – A great service.

Other taxi and limo companies

Since you will be enjoying the mountainous nature of our San Lorenzo Valley, you might as well soak up some of the culture in this unique place. Here are some of our, um, recommendations? near Alba Road:

Tyrolean Inn – Authentic German food with a wide array of beer served in their outdoor beer garden. There is often a blow up jump castle that the kids love.

Coffee 9 – Good bran muffins

Henflings – A true biker bar. Cheap drinks, live music, a sunny deck and the thrill of never knowing what might happen.

Redwood Pizzeria – A young hippy couple that actually succeeded in creating an eatery that is semi-decent and good for the community. We like the old Palookaville posters and the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing on tap. Order extra sauce if you get the pizza.

New Leaf Markets – This is a small chain of natural food stores that we do most of our shopping at. Our favorite is luckily in Felton, about 3 miles from Ben Lomond.

If you havn’t already, please remember to send us your RSVP cards! We need to make sure you all get plenty of yummy food and drink, so let us know as soon as you can if you are planning to come join the party.

We opted out of registering for gifts since we really don’t need more things, however we did set up a special Honeymoon Fund so we can take the trip we have been dreaming about. See below and right to contribute…

We can’t wait to see you all and are so happy this occasion will bring us all together.

Oh yeah, and by the way, if you didn’t know…we are proud to announce our newest coffee shop venture: Filling Station! Visit us online, on Facebook, or in person if you can.

Our Story

by David P. Stimpson

I had seen her from time to time at one party or another.  She was quiet and a little sad, and she was beautiful.  She lived somewhere else and occasionally visited her good friend and my housemate Emily.  At a Halloween party we flirted, though I don’t know if she knew it.

Then I hurt my knee and surgery lead to an infection, which almost killed me.  I missed Ed and Jessica’s wedding while recovering, more an atrophying, on a single mattress in the living room, and she brought me back a flower.  In the haze of Oxycontin and immobilizing illness, while a velvet Marcel Marceau painting mournfully watched me teeter at the precipice of the abyss, I felt a twinge of something, of that one thing.

Eventually, I planned an epic adventure; it would be my first out of the house in many months.  I would show up at her work/living place, a farm, and family camp way out on the Eel River, with an impromptu picnic.  I brought beer and wine and bread and leftovers from a Middle Eastern themed dinner we had at the house the night before, and chocolate and flowers.  I limped to my truck and headed into unknown territory.

Three hours up the 101 and thirty minutes on a winding county road the last of which becomes gravel as it snakes along with the Eel.  The drive was beautiful and the hills still held some green, though the fading of summer had begun.  The warm air through the window buoyed me and somehow I had no doubts about what I was doing.  All was right.  The unknown was not scary, but enticing, and exhilarating.

There were some guys working near a gate and I asked them if Amber was up ahead and they said yes with a wave.  I parked, and with a full picnic basket in one hand and flowers in the other I limped toward voices and kitchen noises.

“Do you want to try this chocolate pudding?” someone said.

I like pudding,” I said through a screen door.

She was more bewildered than surprised.   She wanted to know what I was doing here, I said I was in the neighborhood; I don’t think she got it.  Then I asked her to picnic with me.   She said yes.

She had to finish working, which would be soon, and I could wait in her room/cabin.  So with full picnic basket and flowers I limped across the grounds toward her place.  To my right a short ways off a large table full of people ate dinner, but as they saw me with flowers and picnic basket limping toward only one possible location, all the accompanying murmuring and clanging of a convivial meal abruptly stopped.  In deafening quiet, with dozens of eyes burning into me, I entered her room to wait.

Eventually, she finished working, and then she forced marched me up to Inspiration Point, unaware of the still excruciating pain of post knee surgery or my total lack of physical conditioning. We ate and drank and talked for hours.  In the wee of night, hand in hand, we walked the farm and toured the barns. She plugged in the party lights hanging from the barn rafters for a magical, fleeting second. I like to think that despite her fear of getting caught at the early morning hour she was compelled to capture a moment. We returned to her room and slept; she on her bed, me on the concrete floor.  In the morning, we toured some more, mostly the animals this time, and my all time favorite baby pigs.  We said good-bye, and I drove home full of something I had always lacked: Belief.

For months we lived far apart, mostly remaining in contact, or rather getting to know each other, by hand written letters sent via the US Mail.  Occasionally we meet up in San Francisco or some other bay area locale, often with awkward and certainly drunken escapades.  But, probably for good reason, she seemed timid and shy; reclusive, and me, volatile and erratic…a quitter by natural tendency found a way to start something beautiful.

It grew slowly, surely, deeply, with ease and fun.  We lived the good life for years before we had to weather dark skies and stormy seas, whose waves threw us against jagged cliffs again and again. But eventually those waves bore us away to calmer bays.  And so, with this approaching wedding date our story seems to begin again and go on and on and on, like those waves rolling and crashing. If not forever then surely their echoes will be eternal.