Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler… “
I have always loved this poem because I’ve felt like this so often, indecisive and conflicted. I now realize that even the small decisions we make can change the course of our lives. I’ve been lucky because many of the important choices I made have turned out well, and I have few, if any, regrets. But of course, I’ll never know where the other path might have led.
My husband is English and I was born and raised in Ohio. We met in Scotland when I was studying abroad and eventually got married. After a few wearying years living in London, my husband got a job with a British firm needing people in their US office, in the D.C. area. We moved our few possessions and began our lives here.
After buying a home, my husband discovered he really liked gardening. Funny, his mother’s father owned a nursery, and her brothers were still running it. It’s like he inherited a green thumb, which didn’t mature until he had his own plot of land. Eventually he started growing grapes — vinifera — to make his own wine.
Thus began the search for land to establish a vineyard: Loudoun and Fauquier Counties for the most part, and of course, around Middleburg. Oh, the fields we traipsed, the country roads we bumped along, with two young children in tow. Finally we found the right site, facing the right direction, with the right soil, and at the right price. We put an offer on it, but at that time, interest rates were sky-high — like 15-17%, and we couldn’t get financing that suited us. We wanted another piece of land very close to Middleburg, but the neighbors didn’t want a vineyard on it, so that also fell through. I think we lost heart, had another couple of children, and more or less gave up on the idea. Then, of course, prices for land skyrocketed even if the interest rates fell.
In retrospect, I think we are both glad it didn’t happen. We bought another house with an acre, my husband grows his grapes as a hobby rather than doing it as a risky business, and makes some pretty good wine. He also started his own business (in his chosen profession), and that’s gone well. All in all, it’s a good thing we didn’t get the loan, and chose the more traveled path.