After one of the most peaceful sleeps of my life (at the enchanting Meadowood) I woke with a start when the alarm went off at a truly ungodly hour. Remember what the morning had in store though I jumped out of bed and raced to get ready. We were going balloon-ing!
We drove through the dark, deserted, winding roads of Napa before arriving at the vineyard which was our meeting place. After some pastries and a pre-flight security briefing we hopped into vans to be driven to the launch site…which was not actually in Napa Valley.
Due to early morning fog the balloons simply weren’t able to safely fly over the valley so we were driven to another valley to see what the air was like on that side of the hills.
(I was SO disappointed that we wouldn’t be flying over Napa Valley itself but G made the very good point that it just meant we would have to return soon to try again.)
Hopping out of the vans we made our way over to our assigned balloons – this was the beauty that would be taking me up, up and away.
As the crew got the balloon up and ready to go we watched its brothers and sisters rise around us, silently and serenely taking off into the sky.
Each balloon has a basket which is basically the size of a car and can hold up to 16 passengers.
There’s more than enough room not to feel crowded though and I found it actually made the whole thing feel more stable, which took my mind off the fact that we were hanging in a wicker basket…under a giant silk pillowcase…powered by a searing ball of fire.
Before we knew it we were climbing in, taking off and soaring above the fields!
The sun welcomed us warmly…
…and the moon peeked out to wish us well.
With the exception of the moments when the flame was going (you’ve never heard anything quite so loud or felt anything quite so hot in your life) it was incredibly peaceful up there.
We watched the other balloons drift away and peeked in on the world below.
In what felt like no time at all but was probably closer to an hour we started our descent back to earth.
Back on solid ground the balloon was deflated in record time and with a few last snaps we were ready to say goodbye and head in search of a proper breakfast.
We had heard that Bouchon Bakery in Yountville was THE best spot in Napa for breakfast so we were ready for some seriously delicious delicacies.
Everything is baked fresh on the day and the tantalizing aromas of bread and biscuits was mouthwatering.
We loaded up on treats (including a strawberry lemonade macaron for me – yum!) and nabbed a table in the morning sunshine to enjoy breakfast.
Heading back to the car we stopped to visit with one of Bouchon’s regulars. Isn’t he gorgeous?!
Bouchon is definitely not to be missed and I’d highly recommend a balloon ride if you’re in Napa Valley. Unfortunately, whether or not it’s actually over the Valley depends entirely on the weather but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!
(Also, I would suggest going with these guys rather than the company we used as they have the highest percentage of in-Napa flights and if you are rerouted because of fog they ensure you still fly over vines. Just proves the importance of doing your research before you go!)