Daily Escape – Sunrise Balloon Ride Over Napa Valley


Saturday morning, the bloggers previewing the Hilton HHonors Your Ticket to Dine Sweepstakes and I rose bright and early to hop in a hot air balloon basket and float above Napa Valley with the sunrise!


The company we rode with was Balloons Above the Valley, and after meeting with the staff for a safety briefing at cough 5am, we drove out to to a local vineyard where our balloons were already being inflated.


My fellow food & travel bloggers Deb, Matt, Gaby, Chris, Katie, and Doni (unpictured) and I piled into the basket, posed for a quick pic…


Then it was up, up, and away! :D

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I was able to go on a balloon ride a few years ago at the National Balloon Classic in Indianola, but there is SO much to say about rising with the sun over Napa Valley!


The feeling of effortlessly rising to 2,200 feet with the wind is absolutely unmatched.


The way the sun rose, illuminating the mountains, peaks and valleys was simply breathtaking. I made sure to pause long and hard in between snapshots to really soak it all in.



From 2,200 feet in the air we were not only able to see the stunning landscape of the area, but also the INSANE houses that dot the landscape.


Our balloon pilot – JP – knew many people in the area (Napa’s pretty tight knit from what I gathered) and was able to tell us the stories of who lived where, what they did, and how much some empty lots were going for. Apparently the going rate for an acre in Napa Valley is $400,000, if that tells you anything!


The ride lasted for about an hour before we began our descent from the morning skies.



Then just like that we had reached the landing site, and our ground guides were pulling us back down to earth.




What a RIDE!!!!


Afterwards, the company treated all the riders to a champagne brunch. Don’t mind if I do!


Everyone was still riding the high (pun indented) and we enjoyed mimosas and a hot breakfast while chattering about the experience.

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If you ever make it to Napa – I highly recommend Balloons above the Valley! Thank you Hilton HHonors for the incredible experience!



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  1. that is amazing. I went to the Ballon Fiesta (Oct) once in Santa Fe and saw the ballons take off at sunset (a lot coler than I thought it would be! brr!) Seeing them take off was amazing in the morning mist, but I’m sure being on one would be a million times cooler!

  2. Wow! How fun…..and scary. The beautiful view might just be worth the fear I would feel. Great pics!

  3. ladysaotome 07.23.2012

    Oh boy – I got vertigo just looking at the pictures! Balloon rides look fun but definitely not for me! ;)

  4. Ann 07.23.2012

    OMG! Our cars might have passed one another in Napa! I am an Iowa girl and was in San Fran this past weekend for a funeral. I traveled with my parents (from Toledo) and took them to Meadowood in St. Helena for lunch. I highly recommend Meadowood for lodging. Rustic, but upscale, tree-lined cottages. Wonderful food, wine, and recreation – pools, golf, tennis, croquet, biking, etc. St. Helena is a favorite of my family. It is about 30 minutes from Napa towards Calistoga.

  5. Ruth 07.23.2012

    What a fun way to start off a Saturday.

  6. Marie B. 07.23.2012

    What a fun, exciting life you live, Ms Iowa Girl! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Linda 07.24.2012

    So happy for you that you were able to experience Napa in the way you did.
    Now you will have to go back with Ben for a romantic get away. Look into Napa Cottages online, a delightful place to stay and unique.

  8. Becky Potter 07.24.2012

    A-STINKING-MAZING! Incredible pictures! I’m a foodie and I travel a lot! People often say “do you ever run out of energy?”
    You inspire me to learn how to use this expensive camera and writing skills to share my adventures!



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