Attractions & Entertainment Travel

Up Up and Away with Napa Valley Balloons

Hot Air Balloon Ride

To celebrate my sisters’ milestone birthdays, I got to fly out from New Mexico to spend a girls’ weekend in California. Along with our fabulous Mother, we spent a couple of days in Sonoma. As the cherry on top of our little trip, we woke bright and early on Saturday morning and drove to Napa. We met up with Napa Valley Balloons for a morning hot air balloon ride.


We started at the lovely Domaine Chandon’s Etoile restaurant. The grounds were beautiful, leaving us wishing it wasn’t so early and cold so we could spend some time outside. Inside, where it was warm, we were fed juice and muffins while we signed waivers and received instructions. From here, we loaded into vans to drive to the launch site at a nearby golf course.

Napa Valley Balloons

Napa Valley Balloons come in varying sizes, that carry from 2 to 16 passengers. We were assigned to a new balloon, piloted by Bob. With his 34 years of balloon piloting experience, I felt like we were in very capable hands. After literally climbing over the side of the basket to get in, we lifted off. This was the smoothest take-off ever! The ride was amazing with absolutely breathtaking views of Napa Valley. With fantastic weather, we went up to 29 miles per hour, and traveled about 12 miles – though you wouldn’t know it by the feel. No wind, and we were kept warm by the large propane “heaters”. When it was time to land, we received instructions on the possible outcomes (tipping over?), but in the end, it seemed effortless. Needless to say, the 11 seater plane I rode in to get home could use some lessons from Bob and his hot air balloon. Though the the hot air balloon could have used the plane’s stairs, as climbing out of the basket was a task.
Napa Valley Balloons Breakfast

After the ride, we were transported back to the restaurant for a champagne breakfast. While the champagne is ballooning tradition, we don’t drink alcohol, so opted for water. The spread of food enough for us with eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, fruit, and english muffins.

Napa Valley Balloons hot air balloons

This was definitely an experience of a lifetime!







Megan is a stay-at-home-mom, computer whiz, problem solver, crafter extraordinaire and exceptional cook. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Recreation Management. Megan has 5 children ranging from 6 to 14 years old, and is the older sister of Emily (

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Emily Buys


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