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Stranded on a Roof in Napa and Other Improbable Adventures

By Morgan Bricca October 25, 2018

Photo courtesy of JL Souza and the Napa Register

You might be surprised to learn it is the first time this has happened to me, but getting stuck on a roof is actually quite an accomplishment. First of all, the battery on your cell phone has to run out of juice. Otherwise, you could just call a lifeline, like those cute guys that live over at the fire department to come rescue you, and that would be a great story. You also have to have the door you entered through to get on the roof locked behind you. This is improbable, unless someone happened to come by and notice the door was unlocked, and do you the unexpected favor of locking it. I had a dedicated scissor lift operator to take me up and down from the sidewalk as needed, to make absolutely certain my current predicament would be impossible, but that day I had decided to work late, and Joseph had gone home for the day. One is not properly stuck unless one has a single remaining option: to holler at the top of your lungs in the general direction of the street below.

A panorama view from the roof

This mural was commissioned by Andy Beckstoffer, who has been growing grapes for wine in Napa for 48 years. Mr Beckstoffer purchased and renovated the original Napa Register Building located on the corner of Coombs and Main Street, and the mural was the final phase of the renovation. The mural depicts the Beckstoffer farm in Rutherford. Only a sliver of the seventy-foot long mural can be see from the street, but Archer guests with east facing rooms can enjoy the full view.

A highlight of the project for me was staying at the newly built Archer Hotel. I would dock them one star in my review because of their slow response time to the concerned citizens telling them there was a woman stuck on their roof. They simply didn’t believe it. When they finally came up to unlock the patio door of my room, which is how I got on the roof, they asked for ID before they would let me in. On second thought, they deserve that fifth star back because their security is so good.

You can watch the mural being painted start to finish in this video:

Click to watch a time lapse of the mural being painted

The Napa Register sent over J.L Souza, their photo editor, to cover the project. It turns out that he was born on the same island in the Azores, Portugal, where I painted fifteen “Nature is Home” bird murals last summer. I would put my odds of meeting someone from that teeny-tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic even lower than my odds of getting stuck on a roof, but life is full of surprises. J.L. generously featured photos of the mural on the front page of that week’s Napa Register.

Mural detail of the Beckstoffer Farm in Rutherford, Napa Valley. Photo Courtesy of Bob McClenahan.

I would love to take full credit for how beautiful the mural turned out, but the truth is, I can hardly do the subject justice. The soft, rolling mountains and spectacular fall colors are the real deal, just waiting patiently to be enjoyed. What an unlikely coincidence that just this morning you were thinking you would like to book a romantic getaway to the wine country…

The full seventy feet. Photo Courtesy of Bob McClenahan.

And if you happen to get stuck on a roof, don’t forget to enjoy the view.


Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca

Morgan Bricca is a mural artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her clients run the gamut from professional creatives, including architects and designers to building owners, school administrators and community advocates. When she is not making art, Morgan enjoys sipping boba tea with her kids and taking naps on the couch.