August, 2004 Contest: If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

Congratulations to our contest winner!
Melissa Buhrig of Naples, FL

It was September of 2002 and my new husband and I drove through the twisting mountains of North Wales, around careening corners shrouded by bright green trees, past ancient walls that whispered ancient secrets as we drove, windows down, through clean fresh air. We had no agenda, no itinerary, no reservations, but as the sun descended, we found ourselves in unfamiliar terrain passing through the dark of night with no place to eat or sleep. Near ten o’clock, almost out of nowhere, a lighted country home appeared at the side of the street, and we stopped to discover a quaint restaurant called Tony’s run by a wonderful family, and the proprietor playing amazing violin. When they heard we had no place to stay, they immediately called a nearby bed and breakfast, and instructed the owner to take care of their “American friends.” After a delightful dinner, we were personally escorted to the bed and breakfast by the owner’s son. It was dark, and we could only make out our cozy room in the warm light of the lamp and candles on the bedside table. But when we awoke, we were met with an unexpected surprise. My husband yawned, stretched, then pulled open the window, and immediately called me over. We were situated on a picturesque rolling hill, and spread out below us like a rich blanket was the crystal blue waters of Cardigan Bay. After a wonderful breakfast in the 300 year old cottage, the proprietors told us their story: former Volvo execs who gave up city life for the peace and comfort of mountainous Wales. The city was warm, quiet with a peace that settled over the rolling land like so much sunshine on a summer afternoon. People waved hello as they passed, absolutely everyone was smiling, and there were no traffic lights for miles around. Which is why, if I could live anywhere, it would be Gwynedd, Snodonia, Wales.