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Hot Air Ballooning and Napa Valley, California

Hot air ballooning is one of those things that tourists would love to do when visiting Napa Valley, California. Indeed, it has been one of the most popular things to do in the Wine Country ever since this form of leisure was started by some enterprising locals.

A hot air balloon is a lighter-than-air aircraft. The first untethered and manned flight was successfully carried out in Paris on November 21, 1783, by pioneers Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes. Before that, flight tests were performed with hot air balloons tethered to the ground and animals were actually the first passengers!

Hot air balloons were then redesigned and fitted with engines, becoming dirigibles. They became the chief means of transporting passengers and cargo. Dirigibles were even used as war airships, although during the World War II airplanes were being more heavily favored.

Since after the war, hot air balloons are still in use although they are no longer the major means of transportation. Nowadays, they are sometimes used in science, surveillance, and advertising, but most hot air ballooning activities are taken purely for adventure, pleasure, or sport.

Napa Valley is famous for its luxury hot air balloon tours. Although the first recorded hot air balloon flight happened in Napa way back in the mid-19th century, it wasn’t until the 1970s that hot air ballooning began to be seen as a means of getting around Napa in a more pleasurable way, especially for tourists.

Before the Judgment of Paris that brought California and Napa Valley wines into global prominence, Napa was then a quiet region with only a few vineyards and wineries. But a professional hot air balloon pilot named Bob Barbarick was already envisioning providing tourists a unique traveling experience in the region. That vision became true in 1976 when he founded Balloons Above the Valley, the first company providing flights in the biggest hot air balloons in the US.

For the next 40 years or so, Balloons Above the Valley built up its solid reputation to become one of the prominent hot air balloon aviation companies in the US. It has surpassed all the industry, quality, and safety standards plus the warm Napa hospitality that it extends to its visitors and guests are unmatched.

Balloons Above the Valley partners with some of the wineries, resorts, and restaurants in the valley to create upscale hot air balloon and wine tours packages. While all packages include at least a pre-flight breakfast, most packages also include an after-flight champagne brunch, and some of them even offer chauffeured tours from San Francisco to the Wine Country.

The hot air ballooning history of Napa Valley has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Just the feeling of flying alone already makes for an utterly unforgettable experience — and what’s more is you get to see stunning views of the Napa Valley, California. It’s guaranteed to take your breath away.

On Your Next Visit Look Up For Napa Valley Things to Do

Napa Valley (and the rest of the California wine country) is an agricultural area, and its Mediterranean climate and rich soils are perfectly conducive to growing grapes for wines. The neat rows of vineyards provide a unique element which makes every visitor feel like they’re in a different part of the world.

So, are you planning some Napa Valley things to do? You’ll never feel short of the sights, sounds, tastes, and activities here in Napa, depending on your budget. Imagine that money is not something to worry about, you will be able to experience a wealth of activities in Napa Valley — but a few suggestions are given here.

One of the famous ways to get around to Napa Valley is the Napa Valley Wine Train. With its spectacularly restored 19th-century vintage Pullman cars, guests will definitely feel the romance of the glorious past. The train takes you to some of the region’s premium wineries (like Charles Krug, Castello di Amorosa, Robert Mondavi, Domaine Chandon, Raymond Vineyards and V. Sattui) and other tourist spots in a three-to-six hour scenic ride.

Want to take the views even higher? You will never be lacking in fantastic panoramic views of the Napa Valley as a lot of wineries, estates, and resorts are situated on hilltops. These include Newton Mountain, Sherwin Family Vineyards, and Fantesca Estate & Winery (atop Spring Mountain in St. Helena); CADE Estate Winery (on top of Howell Mountain); Rutherford Hill; Kuleto Estate (which overlooks Lake Hennesey); and the Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga and its famous aerial tram rides.

Maybe you’re not satisfied with just sitting on a rooftop deck, you want to take the views into the sky! Yes, that’s possible in Napa. If you’re more of an adventure-seeker you may want to take the views higher in a chopper. It’s more action-packed! There are guided helicopter tours that operate from Napa or in nearby San Francisco which allow you to enjoy great views of the city and its landmarks (like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Alcatraz), as well as the picturesque rural landscape of the Napa Valley. There are also the conventional wine tours included depending on the package.

But if you’re distracted by the noise from the rotating chopper blades and you feel you’re still not getting the views you expected, there’s another alternative — a hot air balloon ride!

Unlike riding a helicopter, a hot air balloon ride will give you nothing but unobstructed, 360-degree views of the Napa Valley. You don’t have to complain about the noise as the hot air balloon quietly floats in the sky while you enjoy the open atmosphere and the fresh, cool air.

Include a hot air balloon ride in your conventional wine tours to make it a more fun, unique, and memorable experience. Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) will give you so much more aside from the main (and sure to be much-anticipated) hot air balloon adventure! Wake up to a pre-flight breakfast at The Model Bakery, and go down afterward to a post-flight champagne brunch at a Michelin-starred taqueria called C Casa.

Depending on the type of BATV package you choose, you may either enjoy a standard hot air balloon adventure (with at least a pre-flight breakfast), or more comprehensive itineraries that include wine tours and even tours from San Francisco to the Wine Country. Experience the luxury with BATV without suffering a huge dent to your pocket. Look at our website http://balloonrides.com/ for more details of the packages and their itineraries.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) offers the unique and more awe-inspiring episodes of your Napa Valley journey. Having spectacular views of the Napa Valley’s picturesque landscape as the sun rises — is a surreal and ethereal experience you will not easily forget. Next time as you plan your next Napa Valley visit, include an adventure with BATV in your Napa Valley things to do and you experience a journey of a lifetime!

Plan for These Northern California Activities This Fall

As the summer season comes to an end, brace yourselves for the cool winds that sweep in most regions in the US. This might be the perfect time for Northern California activities this autumn season!

If you plan to have a holiday in Northern California anytime in the future, a trip to the Wine Country is always recommended whenever the fall season starts. This is when you will see some of Nature’s most exciting and striking colors. Plus, the cooler winds provide a welcome relief for some who might find the summers in the Wine Country too stifling and uncomfortable.

The fall season also means harvest time where the grapes are ripe enough to be picked and made into wine. Here in Napa Valley, we have lots of reasons to celebrate the autumnal colors and the bountiful harvest through many events and activities. Who says summer has all the fun in Napa?

Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena should be one of your “must-visit” places in Napa. Other than being one of the oldest Napa wineries still in existence, it also holds its traditional “Picnic on the Lawn” which happens every autumn. Founded in 1951, the “Picnic on the Lawn” gathers food, wine, and music lovers together at one fun-filled event. It also provides the launch for Charles Krug’s newly-released wines which will surely excite wine and non-wine lovers alike.

Another reason why visitors love Napa Valley in the fall season is the significantly fewer crowds. This allows wineries to devote more time and service to every visitor, making wine tours a much more intimate and personal experience.

Fewer crowds do not mean less fun in Napa during autumn. When you think of fun in the fall, the grape stomping festivals almost always come to mind. Hop in a barrel of ripe grapes and squish them with your feet — it’s actually the traditional step in wine-making, but it also brings loads of fun for you and your friends or family. The best-known places for grape stomping events and competitions are usually the following: Round Pond Estate, Grgich Hills Estate, Villa Ragazzi, Rutherford Hill Winery, Raymond Vineyards, and Judd’s Hill Winery.

This year though, Castello di Amorosa’s “Harvest Celebration and & Grape Stomp Competition” is said to be the biggest grape-stomping event, so bring your own team to see how you will fare in the contest! Whether you win or lose, you will still feel like a winner with other perks like fun grape-stomping photo-ops, harvest and winemaking demos, and barbecue with Castello’s wines at their courtyard.

The best time of the day to fly a hot air balloon are the cooler periods, such as morning or late afternoon. And the seasonal weather could mean extra minutes to enjoy the journey!

Enjoy the Napa scenery which is bathed in the glow of the golden fall colors under the warm rays of the sunshine. There is no better way to view the beauty of Napa Valley in autumn than viewing from the above ground, gently floating in the clear morning sky. There may be an occasional fog over the fields, the hills, and the valleys, adding to the dramatic effect to the whole landscape.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) gives you the warm welcome and service this coming fall season. Start your journey first by filling your bellies with freshly brewed hot coffee and baked pastries provided by The Model Bakery at the Oxbow Public Market.

From there you will be driven to the launch site where you will witness how the balloons are inflated and readied for the flight. Next, as you lift off from the ground, you will get to enjoy the uninterrupted views of the Napa Valley. Don’t forget to take some pictures and videos while our professional and licensed pilots expertly maneuver the aircraft in the gentle breeze.

After the flight, you and the other guests will be driven back to Oxbow Public Market to enjoy a champagne brunch at a C Casa, a Michelin-starred taqueria. Enjoy delicious food while making new friends along the way.

While Northern California activities for the fall season may not be as many as during the summer months, they provide a fun and unique experience. Take your most magical autumn moments in Napa Valley to Balloons Above the Valley and you’ll be blown away by the hot air balloon adventures that we offer!

Winter Vacations in Napa Valley for the Family

What can you do when your kids are on a winter break and you are thinking of places to spend a winter holiday?

The ideal winter getaway would normally be: heading to the mountains somewhere up north, skiing down the slopes or sledding down the snowy trails, riding a gondola lift or skating on a frozen lake. Winter resorts are sure to be filled to the brim with tourists seeking the warmth of a hot chocolate and a cozy time beside the fireplace.

Or perhaps you want to escape the cold and head down south (or fly somewhere abroad) to catch some sun, sea, and sand. The warm tropical heat would feel so good.

But if you want something out-of-ordinary winter vacation holidays, you may want to fly to California and try winter vacations for Napa Valley. While there are no snowy trails or winter wonderland in Napa, it offers a different kind of winter that you’d never thought before.

Winters in Napa are usually cool and rainy, typical of the Mediterranean winters. But you’ll be surprised — and charmed — by what you will see: the brilliant yellow mustard blooms spreading abundantly across the valley and taking over the bare, sleeping vineyards. The hills and the mountains, instead of being covered in snow, remain very much green throughout.

Plus, when you think of Napa, you’d think of wines, vineyards, and wineries — not the usual destination for the children and families. While it might be true that the words “kids” and “family” don’t usually come first to mind when people think of Napa, it has slowly become a family-friendly vacation spot. Because Napa is an agricultural area brimming with bucolic charm, it is a perfect place for the children to “pull the plug” from technology and discover the wonders of nature.

And speaking of nature, a good suggestion to explore the natural wonders, as well as the history of Napa, is to check out the Petrified Forest in Calistoga, the only extant forest in California from the Pliocene era. This national forest features some of the largest petrified trees in the world, most notably a fossilized redwood tree which earns the nickname “Giant.”

Having kids who tag along with you in Napa Valley can be a bit of a challenge. However, it gives you the chance to think of fun ideas that will keep your kids from getting bored while touring around the wine country. For a more fun-filled exploration, take the Napa Valley Wine Train. You and the kids too will surely be excited to ride the vintage Pullman cars which take you to some of the best wineries and other prime tourist spots in Napa. Enjoy a scenic ride and the views while being entertained by hosts and dining on delicious gourmet meals.

As Napa has become more family-friendly, more and more wineries have adapted their services to cater to the families and their youngsters. While most wineries do not permit children to take part in the wine tours and wine tastings, they offer other activities that will appeal to the kids.

Some of the wineries, like Castella di Amorosa, even offer sweet grape juice and other non-alcoholic beverages. The Sterling Vineyards will excite the youngsters with aerial tram rides that will lead to the hilltop winery — the only winery of that kind in Napa. It’s a great way to view the fields carpeted with those brilliant yellow mustard blooms!

A lot of wineries in Napa feature vast gardens and picnic grounds for the children to play and run around. V. Sattui has a large and pleasant picnic shaded by trees; Inglenook’s courtyard features a large fountain where children could play with their wooden boats, while Beringer boasts a picture-perfect garden. Castello di Amorosa is a perfect place for your kids to live out their fairy tale fantasies as it is built like a real old castle.

The holiday season is one of the reasons that families bond together. While you won’t get to spend a white Christmas in Napa, and the holidays aren’t usually busy here, there are still some big events that you should not miss. They include the lighting of the Christmas tree in downtown Napa, and the Annual Festival of Lights in Yountville (which magically transforms the town into a holiday wonderland with bright and energy-efficient Christmas lights), and the Christmas Parade (highlighted by heavily decorated holiday-themed floats that will surely charm and entertain spectators of all ages).

Winters in Napa are wet, and the frequent rains result into fewer hot air balloon flights. But there are plenty of dry and even sunny days as well — while the air is still cool — conducive for a hot air balloon adventure. Go fly with us at Balloons Above the Valley (BATV). You will experience the best and the most spectacular way to enjoy open and unobstructed views of Napa Valley, which boasts its full winter colors of bright yellow (from the mustard blooms) and green.

With your guide and the expertise of BATV’s flight crews, they will help your children to overcome their fears of flying. The kids will even get excited and have a fun time exploring and surveying the vast fields and valleys.

After the approximately one-hour flight, enjoy a champagne brunch served by the Michelin-starred C CASA at Oxbow Public Market. Kid-friendly meals are definitely available at the brunch.

If you want to go beyond your usual winter holidays, you might want to consider winter vacations in Napa Valley. The usual winter frost may be nowhere to be found in the wine country, but Napa will surprise you with unique and otherworldly seasonal sights, which are appreciated best when you go on a hot air balloon adventure!

Winter Has Many Fun Things to Do in Napa Valley

When talking about the highest time for fun things to do in Napa Valley, it’s certainly the summer season. Food and music festivals go right here and there; resorts, lodgings, and tasting rooms are jacking up their rates to take advantage of the throngs of tourists that flock in the Wine Country.

You’d think that summer is the best season to visit the Napa Valley. But actually, any season is a good time to go to Napa, even in winter. Winter? Nope, Napa Valley is not exactly a winter wonderland like in many other regions in the US, because it’s a different kind of winter here.

Winters in Napa are usually cool and wet, but there are sunny skies as well. This season may be the quietest time in Napa, but it doesn’t mean it’s less exciting or enchanting.

In fact, of all the seasons in Napa, winter definitely cuts the mustard… pardon the pun. It’s because you get to see rows of strikingly beautiful yellow wild mustard blooms that grow and proliferate around the bare, sleeping vineyards. Winter in Napa can actually be the greenest season with the emerald hills and fields. These seasonal changes also signify the coming the Cabernet season. Tourists would enjoy warm, hearty meals and raise a toast of the Cabernet Sauvignon. There are activities that celebrate the Cabernet season, so better check out several events, festivals, and promotions to get you into the Cabernet groove.

Apart from the lesser crowds, one of the reasons why a few knowledgeable tourists love Napa during the winter is the unbelievable discounts! Hotels and other lodgings, as well as wineries and tasting rooms, are slashing prices down, as low as 40%. Still, on the subject on discounts, the “Winter in the Wineries Season” in Calistoga gives another reason for tourists to head to the Wine Country. It offers incredible discounts on various accommodations from luxury hotels, comfy breakfast-and-beds, and of course, wines and wine tasting. You can even enjoy free wine tastings at several different wineries!

The cool and mild weather during the winter also favors certain pleasurable activities, such as a hot air balloon adventure. Hot air balloons generally work better when the outside air is cool because a hot air is light while a cool air is dense. The cooler the outside air gets, the air inside the hot air balloon gets warmer. As a result, the hot air balloon will become lighter which causes it to fly high. That explains why hot air ballooning is much preferred to be done late in the afternoon, early in the evening or early in the morning, or during the chillier months (as long as the winds are stable and there is no precipitation or snow).

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) is always there when you need to make your hot air ballooning dreams in Napa a reality anytime of the year. With over 40 years of experience, we have kept our commitment and passion for flying and making our guests happy and satisfied with our unbeatable flying experience and unique Napa hospitality. You will always be welcomed and received warmly, no matter how hot or chilly the seasons will be.

Enjoy the wide, uninterrupted views of the Napa Valley in winter and be amazed by its unique seasonal beauty, with the landscape being almost dominated by the rows of vividly yellow wild mustard flowers, and the bright green hills and fields completing the picture-perfect scenery. It’s nothing like winter like the winter season in Napa Valley.

Wintertime means otherworldly beauty, cozier getaways, quieter moments, Cabernets and hearty meals in the Wine Country. These are just a few of the many other fun things to do in Napa Valley in the wintertime… and they are only waiting for you to explore!

Wine Tours from San Francisco to Napa Valley

San Francisco in California is no doubt a famous tourist destination. The good thing about it is that the other neighboring towns and cities also benefit greatly from the city’s legendary tourism industry. One of these cities is in the neighboring wine country called Napa Valley, which is itself a popular tourist spot in its own right. Wine tours from San Francisco to Napa Valley are popular, needless to say. Most tourists in San Francisco couldn’t afford to miss the “taste” of Napa, and well, there’s no reason not to go there! It is only about a 90-minute drive away from the Bay City.

For those who are staying in San Francisco (or are planning to) but want to get away from the urban jungle to the lush, scenic paradise of the California wine country, they can also take advantage of the San Francisco-to-Napa transportation services, many of which can be found as part of several Napa wine tours packages.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) also offers a package which specifically caters to those who are visiting San Francisco but also want to experience Napa. The “San Francisco Balloon & Wine Tour” allows guests to explore Napa on or even off the ground! For two days, guests tour the wineries and enjoy a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the gorgeous Napa scenery.

Convenience is also provided to the guests by chauffeured tours from San Francisco to Napa Valley. As they depart San Francisco, they enjoy an onboard breakfast with mimosa, and a stopover to enjoy spectacular vistas of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Coasting along, guests get to visit wineries in Napa and Sonoma and tour around vineyards and a production area at one winery. The guests’ tummies will be satisfied by a sumptuous buffet-style picnic lunch at one of the wineries.

The sunrise hot air balloon ride is sure to astound and amaze anyone! Guests enjoy open, uninterrupted views of the Napa Valley, with fields dominated by vineyards that appear well-manicured from a bird’s eye view. The experience of flying alone is already exhilarating! Take pictures and videos of the gorgeous and picturesque scenery to keep as a lasting souvenir.

The approximately one-hour flight is followed by a champagne brunch at the Michelin-awarded C Casa at the Oxbow Public Market. Guests get to savor the innovative Mexican and Southwestern fusion gourmet cuisine — their unique tacos are surely not to be missed! The brunch is also a great time for convivial chats and recollections about how wonderful the flight has been.

BATV’s “San Francisco Balloon & Wine” package does not only offer exciting sights and delectable flavors of Napa. It also offers comfort and convenience to the guests. You don’t have to bother driving your own car or commute all the way from the city to the Wine Country. It’s because our partner Napa Wine Country Tours will go out of its way — with its fleet of chauffeured limousine buses — to pick you up at specific meeting places in San Francisco and drive you and the other guests to the Wine Country.

If you want to add wine tours from San Francisco to Napa Valley to your itinerary — plus an incredible sunrise hot air balloon journey — do not hesitate to give us a call at 800-464-6824 to schedule your tour!

Unique Napa Wine Tour Packages

In a notoriously expensive place such as Napa Valley, Napa wine tour packages are perhaps a blessing to those who want to discover and experience the Wine Country on a budget. When you are aware or are informed about the choices of itineraries and their corresponding rates, you will be able to plan your budget and your schedule.

At the same time though, you may want to look for packages that guarantee you a unique travel experience in Napa. For you, your stay in Napa should be something that you cannot easily forget.

If you want to go around the city of Napa and nearby towns and cities, perhaps the best way is to take a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Hop into the fabulously restored vintage Pullman cars and enjoy a three-to-six hour scenic ride that will take you from the city of Napa to Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford and finally, St. Helena. Visit several certain wineries and estates (depending on the package), which offer unique activities themselves.

  • Castelo di Amorosa – Tour around the 13th-century Tuscan-inspired castle constructed with moats, drawbridges and defensive towers, and even a torture chamber with an authentic 300-year-old iron maiden. Despite some gory elements, the place is nevertheless kid-friendly, offering trail rides in the wine country and even non-alcoholic and sweet Syrah and Muscat Canelli grape juice.
  • Grgich Hills Estate – Visit Grgich Hills Estate especially during harvest time as it hosts its annual grape-stomping activities. Hop in a barrel of freshly-picked ripe grapes and tread away to heart’s content! It will surely be fun for you and your friends or your whole family.
  • Sattui – Seeing V. Sattui may already be the highlight of your on-the-ground wine tours. The good thing about this family-owned winery is that it requires no appointment — just enter the premises as you arrive! One of the most popular wineries in Napa, the sprawling estate boasts a garden with olive trees lined with lavenders, as well as picnic grounds where you can enjoy lunches prepared by the winery itself. Not to be missed is the main tasting room which almost feels like a party!

Other wineries you should check out:

  • Sterling Vineyards – Hop inside the aerial tram that will take you and the other guests up to this hilltop winery in Calistoga. Enjoy spectacular views of the landscape while having a cable car ride!
  • Raymond Vineyards – You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to make a good wine. At least, Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena won’t require you to, and otherwise, allows anyone who wants to become a winemaker for a day. For a reasonable fee, you will be able to create three different blends to produce your own bottle of wine that suits your personal taste.

Wine lovers may also seek for some dash of adventure in their wine tours. Let Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) take care of that! With the combination of on-the-ground wine tours and exhilarating sunrise hot air balloon rides, you’ll never be left short of fun, thrill, and amazement!

Let your breaths be taken away by the picturesque Napa Valley landscape in a bird’s eye view while you relish the feeling of being up in the sky!

You don’t have to worry about the cost — BATV may offer the luxury of a hot air balloon flight over the Napa Valley, without the “luxurious” price tag.

Choose your own BATV adventure:

  • Flight and brunch ($245 per head) – enjoy nothing less than a Michelin-starred brunch after your one-hour hot air balloon adventure. (there’s also a pre-flight breakfast).
  • Flight brunch and wine tour ($354 per head) – Pre-flight breakfast, one hour flight, post-flight Michelin-awarded brunch with a sparkling wine, and tours to selected wineries.
  • Flight only ($219 per head) – Pre-flight breakfast and one hour flight. Optional round-trip transportation from your lodging in Napa (or even Sonoma).

With our high-quality and regularly maintained aircraft as well as licensed, experienced and friendly flight crews, you don’t have to think of anything else than enjoying your moment with the sky, the sunrise, and the world-famous Napa scenery with neat rows of grapevines spreading across the valleys. BATV’s reasonably-priced Napa wine tour packages will give you the kind of experience that’s simply like no other!

Guide for a Great Honeymoon in Napa Valley

Gorgeous scenery, endless restaurants for romantic dinner dates, and wines for toasting and drinking — these are few of the many things that make up for a great honeymoon in Napa Valley. It is little wonder that Napa Valley often makes at the top of every newly-married couple’s list.

Also, Napa Valley is a world famous enotourist spot, so it’s only natural to think that visitors would have high expectations there. They want excellence in almost everything: from wines to food to service and many other things. Traveling and staying in Napa should be more towards creating romantic moments and making great memories, and less towards the hassles and inconveniences that a lot of tourists would often encounter there.

In order to do that, it begins with choosing a great place to stay. Napa Valley has lots of accommodations that range from the cozy B&B’s to the deluxe hotels. If budget is not of a particular concern, you will be able to enjoy more options. Make sure to find a great place which also allows you to enjoy the company of your new spouse, since the point of this Napa Valley trip is a honeymoon. A hotel room with a king-sized bed and all the basic amenities is an absolute must. It wouldn’t hurt if it should also have an isolated balcony that offers spectacular sunsets and gorgeous Napa scenery, a private pool and a big hot tub near the fireplace.

For couples planning to have just a getaway, B&B’s would suffice. There is a lot of charming B&B lodgings in Napa that make you feel right at home. Quaint these lodgings may look, but they also offer the modern amenities and conveniences such as cable TV and Wi-Fi.

Napa obviously doesn’t suffer a dearth of restaurants and cafes — in fact, the region is one of the places with the most Michelin star-awarded restaurants in the world. Actually, everywhere is a good place to have a romantic dinner in Napa, depending on you and your spouse’s preference.

Whether you dine on a farm-to-table cuisine at 1313 Main Restaurant, shop for artisanal goods and have a meal at the Oxbow Public Market, or just enjoy a lunch at a picnic table near a winery and viewing the idyllic outdoors — great food and romantic ambiance are everywhere in Napa.

Taking your usual romantic dinners to the next level? Then go for the Napa Valley Wine Train and choose the “Romance on the Rails” dinner inside the two-level Vista Dome railcar, which is topped with a glass roof. Better reserve a table if you’re all for a unique “wine and dine.”

Couples massage are popular nowadays; most spas and wellness centers in Napa offer facial and full-body massages as well as saunas, mud baths and kinds of therapeutic treatments. Other couples may prefer outdoor massage gardens with heated pools, while some love dimmed lights and soothing music while they are being pampered.

Love is in the air in Napa, so take this opportunity to bring the air up even higher by a hot air balloon adventure! Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) are there to help bring your love to the next level. With our experienced, knowledgeable and friendly flight crew, you don’t have to think of anything else but enjoying the rare, bird’s eye view of the gorgeous Napa Valley landscape dominated by fields of neatly-rowed grapevines. You may also request a champagne flute for you and your spouse, and make a toast to celebrate the new chapter of your romance.

Our new line of packages mostly offers pre-flight breakfast and hearty post-flight champagne brunch. If you want to add it to wine tours choose the “Flight Brunch and Wine Tour” option for $708 per two persons. Chauffeured tours and a picnic lunch at one of the wineries visited are also included in the package.

A great honeymoon in Napa Valley has the combination of relaxing, intimate moments and a dash of thrill and excitement, highlighted by BATV’s hot air balloon adventure. It is the kind of honeymoon that you and your new spouse will surely find memorable for many years to come.

BATV Announces New Partnership with The Model Bakery

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV), Napa Valley’s hot air balloon ride specialist, is pleased and excited to formally announce its new partnership with The Model Bakery, located at Napa’s Oxbow Public Market.

You could say that The Model Bakery is one of Napa Valley’s most established culinary institutions. Having been in the business for almost 110 years, The Model Bakery still provides clear-sighted and eager residents and visitors only the finest quality baked goods and coffee.

From its original location in St. Helena, The Model Bakery branched out to the Oxbow Public Market in 2008, incorporating the latest and most state-of-the-art ovens and equipment to make their world-class pastries and bread. Now operated by the mother-and-daughter team Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen, The Model Bakery is devoted to the authentic baking traditions.

The Model Bakery now specializes in making artisan bread using only organic stone ground flours and other fine quality ingredients. It also offers a wide range of pastries and other baked goodies.

Both stores offer Stumptown Coffee, daily breakfasts that are delicious as well as lunch specials for both dine in and take out. You can also find other favorites like their classic English muffin (which was featured on Food Network and Oprah’s “Favorite Things” 2016), cinnamon buns, chocolate “rad” cookies, enormous luncheon pizzas, a variety of salads prepared fresh every day and distinctive sandwich combinations, as well as more other goodies.

The new partnership with The Model Bakery boosts BATV’s enduring partnership with C CASA also at the Oxbow Public Market, which provides daily Michelin star-winning post-flight champagne brunches to BATV guests.

C CASA is famous for its sustainable ideas and practices as well as their flavorful and delicious gluten-free menu. The fusion of Mexican, Spanish, French and American South cuisine has brought distinct and unique flavors to their dishes, which are prepared only from organic and sustainable produce.

Tortillas are hand-pressed for each taco and stuffed with a variety of fillings such as cumin-spiced rotisserie duck, spinach and goat cheese; citrus prawns with roasted corn, cabbage, and cilantro crema. Healthy eating has never been so exciting, mouth-watering and delectable at C CASA!

Balloons Above the Valley was founded 40 years ago by owner Bob Barbarick, who envisioned a unique and unforgettable experience for Napa tourists by offering them the best hot air balloon flights available as well as the finest Napa wine country culinary experience.

All BATV guests are welcomed every morning at The Model Bakery for the pre-flight check-in, where they will enjoy freshly baked pastries and freshly brewed Stumptown coffee before being driven to the hot air balloon launch site. Following a breathtaking one-hour hot air balloon ride over the Napa Valley, guests will go back to the Oxbow Public Market where they will enjoy great company over sparkling wine and a Michelin Star-awarded brunch at C CASA.

Things to Do in Napa During the Fall Months

After the frenzied summer months in Napa — endless food and wine festivals, a flurry of outdoor concerts and jam packed restaurants and tasting rooms — you may wonder: are there still any things to do in Napa when summer is over?

The answer: definitely yes! As the sweltering summer heat dies down and the cool winds start blowing the grape leaves as they turn golden, fall months may not be as busy as the summer months but it doesn’t mean a slowdown of activities.

In fact, the fall season may be the best time to go to Napa Valley due to many obvious reasons. Aside from the “buttoned-up” weather and lesser crowds, the valley floor will be covered with a gorgeous combination of green, yellow, red and orange foliage that herald the coming of the fall season. Plus, fall also means it’s harvest time — that’s where the grapes are fully ripe and ready for picking and making wine.

If you plan to visit Napa Valley in during the autumn season, here are the following fall activities you shouldn’t miss (besides drinking wine):

1. Have a picnic at Charles Krug Winery
Every September, Charles Krug Winery holds “Picnic on the Lawn” which kicks off every harvest season. Since 1951, “Picnic on the Lawn” has been the annual tradition from Napa’s oldest winery. Wine and food buffs gather together to sample and enjoy Charles Krug’s newly released wines as well as Italian-inspired fare, plus great live music to boot.

2. Celebrate Thanksgiving
If you want to celebrate Thanksgiving away from home, Napa Valley seems to be an ideal place to do it. You’ll be lucky to find restaurants, bars, cafes and of course wineries to be open on Thanksgiving weekend. Whether you are wishing for a Michelin-starred dinner or looking for family dinners, craving for home-style roasted turkeys or going for something non-traditional, you’ll never find a shortage of pigging out options in Napa during Thanksgiving.

3. Participate in a grape-stomping event
You’ll never leave Napa in autumn unless you try to get down and dirty by stomping grapes! It’s not just for a joke, but grape-stomping is actually an old and traditional step (pardon the pun) in turning grapes into wine. Nevertheless, this will certainly bring loads of fun for you and your friends! Don’t forget to bring your best selfie game while happily treading on ripe grapes inside a bucket.

Grape-stomping events are mostly held in certain venues such as Round Pond Estate, Grgich Hills, Villa Ragazzi, Rutherford Hill Winery, Raymond Vineyards and Judd’s Hill Winery, among others. Make sure to plan for this one-of-a-kind experience ahead because most grape-stomping events are arranged only by appointment.

4. Go on a hot air balloon ride
To really take advantage of Napa’s glorious golden colors during the fall season, take the views up in the sky — literally! Hot air balloon rides are done most ideally during early in the morning, especially just after dawn. It’s where the winds are stable and the temperatures are cool — the best time of the day to fly a hot air balloon. Plus, the seasonably cool weather may mean extra minutes to enjoy your hot air balloon journey!

A lot of tourists swear that fall in Napa is at its most beautiful because of the striking natural combination of green, yellow, orange, red and golden colors in the foliage. You will surely be enchanted by the fairy-tale like the beauty of the Napa Valley while enjoying uninterrupted, panoramic views of it from the hot air balloon in flight.

Balloons Above the Valley (BATV) operates all year round and will be glad to accommodate guests should they want a hot air balloon flight in the fall months. Guests will also be rewarded with the comfort and luxury of a chauffeured limo that transports them directly to the Wine Country, as well as a delicious after flight brunch with a sparkling wine.

These are only just a few of the things to do in Napa during fall months. Of course, there are also the exquisite wine tastings, endless sightseeing, food, wine, and arts and culture festivals, as well as other activities that celebrate the colors of the fall season and the bounty harvest in Napa.

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