The Figeac Principle

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that we love hitting the open road and exploring the more remote areas and two-lane highways throughout the country. No matter how much we think we want to settle someplace and get into our routine, we suffer from a bit of wanderlust. The lure of the open road is always there calling to us and it seems that this desire to keep moving extends into our actual home as well. 

The past year (not including the weirdness of everything that was COVID-related) was a strange one for us. Due to a number of factors, we had to sell our home in Colorado Springs. Once we hit the market (lucky us, we went on the market the day after the lockdown started in Colorado), we started looking for our next home. Still afflicted with the “where should we go” bug that initially took us to Colorado Springs in 2017, we spent countless hours studying maps, outlining pros and cons, and creating spreadsheets to help us determine our next move.

When we met and started dating, we were both living in Vail and were fortunate enough to work in the ski industry, which means that skiing during the workday was required (Jay as a coach) and encouraged (Jen an administrator). When the busy ski season was over, we reveled in the quiet days and incredible beauty of Vail Village and the surrounding mountains. We used to refer to it as “living in La-La Land.” During that time, we also shared many bottles of wine, and to this day, one stands out as unforgettable.

Part of any sensory experience is the taste and smell; however, it isn’t the only component. Environment, emotion, and a myriad of other factors contribute just as much to the experience and the memory. Whatever the situation may have been, a bottle of 1989 Chateau Figeac that we shared while living in Vail stands out as the best bottle of wine we’ve had. We can’t recall the exact flavors or the specifics of the situation or surroundings, but this bottle remains almost magical in our minds. 

Since those blissful days in Vail, our wine library has dwindled considerably but still contains a few gems, including another bottle of the memorable 1989 Chateau Figeac. A bottle we will never open because we know that it will never live up to the first time we experienced it, no matter the circumstances. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most phenomenal bottle of 32-year-old wine ever tasted; we know that opening it could and most likely would, at the very least, change, if not take away from that magical memory.

Back in our Vail Days, 2008-2010

After getting married, we took over ownership of the winery and tried to manage the business’s day-to-day operations while still maintaining a home in Eagle (about 30 miles west of Vail). It turns out this didn’t work, and our house became more of a vacation home. Eventually, we decided to sell and relocate to Grand Junction to get closer to the business. Assuming we would have the winery forever, we never considered that we would live anywhere else. It wasn’t until after deciding to sell in 2016 that we were suddenly faced with a decision about what to do and where to live moving forward. After some serious consideration and numerous road trips to visit potential locations, we ended up in Colorado Springs after spending a weekend getaway at the Broadmoor (highly recommended!) and unexpectedly buying a house. We loved the house and the area, as well as the accessibility to restaurants and services; but despite being relatively settled, we always had the feeling that we were waiting for the “next thing”. 

When we put our house on the market last year, it never occurred to us to stay in Colorado Springs. After all of our searching, number crunching, and revisiting places, we decided to move back to Eagle. The very same Eagle that we lived in when we got married and took over the winery. We’d been out of the mountains for eight years and were excited at the prospect of going back to an area with fewer people, more open space, and that feeling of living in La-La Land. We talked about our favorite restaurants that we couldn’t wait to revisit, the accessibility of skiing, and all of the aspects of living up there that we fondly remembered. 

Saxby’s First Day in Vail- September 2020

It turns out that some things have changed since we were there last, both with the area and with us. One of the most significant changes was the cost of housing. We gave up a sizable house in Colorado Springs for a relatively small townhome in Eagle. We sold or gave away at least half of our possessions before moving and were legitimately excited about having fewer things to take care of and less space for stuff. Upon moving in, we came to discover that we had a smaller space than anticipated. A bit discouraged, we decided to make the best of it and focus on the area. We enjoyed the quiet walks, access to our favorite go-to restaurants, and nearby skiing, but we still weren’t loving it. We missed our house with a yard for Saxby, a garage for our cars, and the privacy that comes with no shared walls. We missed the accessibility to services and search training for Saxby, which now required seven hours of driving every Saturday. 

On a Sunday morning in Mid-March, we woke up and realized that our living situation wasn’t working for us. For the first time (and sixth move) since we were married in 2010, the decision about where to go was an easy one. Our memories of the time we spent previously in the Vail Valley are special and represented a magical time in our lives that cannot and nor would we want to be repeated. That’s not to say that living in the mountains isn’t great. It is, just not for us at this time in our lives. While we are a bit tired from moving three times in seven months, we have learned an incredible amount about our path forward, including our decision to return to Colorado Springs. For the first time in five years, we are no longer waiting for the next thing to come along. We are excited to set down some roots, catch up with some friends, and get involved again in the community. Perhaps the greatest lesson learned from the entire experience is that just like that bottle of Figeac that we never plan to open, we should have chosen to hold onto the memories and magic of the Vail Valley experience rather than moved back.

Pikes Peak Through the Siamese Twins- Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

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