Wine Country Activities

Ride a hot air balloon in Napa.

Excerpt from Atlanta Constitution/Atlanta Journal appearing Sunday, May 18, 1997 READER POSTCARD: Up, up and away to thrills in the air over the Napa Valley A thrilling hot air balloon ride enhanced Atlantan Kay McCall's trip to Northern California. It still takes my breath away just thinking about peering over the side of a hot air balloon basket while high in the sky. I finally realized this experience of a lifetime on a recent visit to the San Francisco Bay area. I booked the ride with Above the West Hot Air Ballooning for four of us, including my elderly aunt and uncle. Leaving our San Francisco hotel at 4:45 a.m., we were driven to Yountville in the Napa Valley for pastries and coffee at 6. As the day dawned beautiful and clear, we met our ace pilot, Donna Dunrud. We Watched the crew inflate our hot air balloon, the Tivoli. What a thrill to see that huge pink and blue sphere come to life. We climbed into the basket and in no time were inches off the ground and slowly, gently gaining altitude to 3,500 feet. the vineyards and wineries below began to look like a model railroad set. Propane tank blasts—and our oohs and ahhs—punctuated the serene quiet. We zoomed low over a range of hills, watching a hawk dive for his breakfast, a deer dashing across a field. And we gasped as the other side of the crest dropped away below us. As we approached the bay, we descended into a hayfield. I was worried, having heard about baskets tipping over on landing. But the ground crew grasped the basket and we felt an easy bounce. We received certificates, hot air balloon-shaped pins and a champagne breakfast, a fine way to cap the trip. Check out the comments for more Wine Country Activities Or Click to Add your own recommendation


irishlass said...

Bike and Drink in Calistoga, unwind with a mud bath

Susan said...

Celebrate the holidays at Carols in the Caves. Whether in wine caves of Napa Valley, Sonoma, other regions of California wine country... in natural caverns, cathedrals, or other sacred settings, Cave Music features the silence, resonance, reverberation and echo of the pristine acoustical environment. Hear the cave. Experience the space. Go back in time.

Participating wineries include

Schramsberg Vineyards, Calistoga - America's First House of Sparkling Wine

Rutherford Hill Winery, Rutherford - Merlot with 94 points from Wine Spectator Magazine

Cliff Led Vineyards, S. Anderson

Pine Ridge Winery, Napa

Jarvis Winery, Napa

irishlass said...

Cross Posted from The Irish Lass

October 6, 2005

The Birthday Extravaganza Begins

Last weekend started the cellebrations for my Birthday Bashes. Yes, multiple bashes. After all, I'm worth it!

The Mountain Mama, Viking Lass, Saturday Morning Sale-er and the Twisted Gypsey accompanied me to Napa and the Embassy Suites last Friday. We checked into our deluxe but crowded accomodations and began the party. Free wine at the manager's happy hour, a fabulous dinner at Uva Trattoria with wine and palm readings (I'm going to meet a new man says the Mountain Mama). Uva had a great band for dancing and the bandleader told the Viking Lass and I that our dancing inspired him. ;^D

Next we were off to Downtown Joe's where the world famous Twanna Turner (daughter of Ike) was performing. She isn't famous for her singing, which was strictly bar band, but for her Chaka Kahn-like hair. Sorry, but it wasn't like seing Tina perform.

We heard there was a piano bar at the Silverado, so off in a cab we went. The driver told us a Bush joke and I told him - FYI, I'm sure for the first time, you have one hundred percent Republican women in your cab. He laughed and said, Good, I'm Republican too.

But we were wrong. Although Silverado was gorgeous, there was no piano bar. So we went home.