Leland and Megan Stock have always believed “home is where the heart is.” They’ve lived in several wonderful places over their years together, finally settling here in El Dorado Hills, and recently adding the first child to their family. “But no matter where we live,” Megan began, “having each other, we have always felt at home.”
Leland is originally from Westchester County in New York, and his family still lives there. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Albany, graduating with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Megan, a California girl, attended Santa Clara University and earned a double major BA in Dance and Psychology. She also went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, where she majored in Product Development.
Megan naturally stayed in San Francisco to work, and Leland also found his way to that city for employment. While they were both living and working in San Francisco, some friends set them up on a blind date at a concert at the Fillmore in 2007. Megan says it was love at first sight, and Leland wasted no time in calling her the next day to ask her on their first “official” date.
The couple lived together in San Francisco (a city that will always hold a special place in their hearts!) until 2011, when Leland received a job offer in San Diego as a Senior Mechanical Engineer. “San Diego is where we became a family and got our first ‘fur child’, Ginger,” Megan laughs. Not long after they moved there, however, Megan’s career caused them to move again, this time to New York City, where she would work as a Fashion Designer for Ralph Lauren.
“Relocating across country with a pup in tow was one of the best experiences we have shared together,” says Megan. “We both loved living in New York and being so close to Leland’s family. It is easy to get swept up in the city that never sleeps and the fast- paced life of New York.” But the lure of California living and its amazing weather drew them back “home” in the end.
After many discussions, and pros and cons lists, the Stocks made the big leap in 2015 to move back to California to be close to Megan’s family in El Dorado County. Their move back here took them over 30 days of driving, during which time they visited 22 states and camped at six National Parks. Their favorite city that they passed through was Denver, Colorado, which, Megan says, was a close second to California when it came to looking for a home state.
Their favorite park on the trip was Yellowstone because it had everything, from geysers to a mini Grand Canyon called “The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”. And there was wildlife around every corner. They remember being trapped in many bison traffic jams, seeing a mama bear with her two cubs, and even having a family of Rocky Mountain Elk walk through their camp and taste the Stocks’ breakfast while Leland and Megan hid in their car! The couple hopes to visit all the National Parks someday, taking road trips when their kids are older so they can share the experiences with them.
The decision to move back to California also allowed Megan to be able to follow her dream of opening her own barre fitness studio, Barre Nor Cal - El Dorado Hills. “What,” you may ask, “is a barre fitness studio?” Well, according to Megan, it is a blend of Pilates, ballet and yoga all rolled up in one hour-long class. With influences from Megan's dance background, class members build the long, lean muscles of a dancer through low impact movements and heart-pumping cardio sets. And the best part is, you don't need any dance experience to take the class.
Megan and Leland co-own the business, although Leland also works for Schilling Robotics in Shingle Springs. Megan comes from a dance background, with more than 20 years of dancing in addition to her major in Dance. She took her first barre class in 2010 and was immediately hooked. She knew she had found her calling. It was a big leap of faith, however, to leave New York and Megan’s corporate job to start a new business. “We knew we wanted to have our own boutique studio, not just buy into a franchise,” Megan explains. “This adventure has proven to be more work than we could have imagined, but also much more fulfilling than we ever dreamed. We have developed such wonderful relationships with our staff and our members. It truly feels like our second home and our new family.” They are looking forward to celebrating their third year in business this coming March.
In 2016, Leland and Megan finally decided to make things official and were married in San Francisco, the city that started it all. Then this year, their party of two happily turned into a party of three. On September 28, they welcomed Vera into their family. She was seven pounds, five ounces, and 19 inches long. Normally when I write the Feature Family articles, I ask those families with children to describe their children and what they like to do. But there is not much you can say yet about the hobbies, habits, and likes of a two-month-old. According to Megan, she likes to eat, sleep, and cuddle with mom and dad. Sounds like a pretty normal infant to me!
The Stocks still have Ginger, who is now seven. She is a Brittany. Having lived on both coasts, Ginger loves California but misses running around in the snow of New York. She, too, has traveled cross country, visiting those same six National Parks. “She was a trooper, travelling in the car for extended periods of time,” Megan says. “She even scared off a mountain lion that ran through our camp in Grand Canyon National Park.”
Although work and a new baby keep them both pretty busy, the Stocks do find time for a few hobbies. Leland loves to play golf with his buddies, and Megan occasionally, and likes to ride dirt bikes with his brother-in-law. Megan enjoys sewing and knitting, and just recently knitted a baby blanket for Vera. They both enjoy wine tasting and dream of someday owing their own small vineyard and tasting room in El Dorado County. And when they have time to travel again, Leland would love to visit the Puget Sound area of the Canadian coast and whale watch Killer Whales up close, while Megan would like to explore the French and Italian wine countries.
In closing their story, Leland and Megan are thankful their friends set up the most important event in their lives eleven years ago at that concert in San Francisco. Since then, they have shared their lives, lived across the country and back again, started a business together, and now have begun a family. And they couldn’t be happier after making the transition from big city living to living here in El Dorado Hills. All they want to do now is live a modest and comfortable life, spending as much time as possible exploring new experiences with friends and family. They are feeling right at home here, putting down roots and growing their family. This is exactly where their heart is!
By Nancy Mees/Photos by Farrell Photography