My husband has had Hot Air Ballooning on his bucket list for a long time and had talked me into doing it in Napa Valley. We had friends who had gone with Napa Valley Aloft in February and had a wonderful time so it made us feel comfortable to choose them for our trip in May. Both of us were excited but a little nervous about our balloon ride. The whole process couldn't have been easier or more perfect!
We called to make reservations ahead of time and were told to call the morning of the flight to make sure that it was good day for a flight. The weather was perfect and we were headed off on our adventure! We had a bit of a drive in from our hotel in American Canyon but it was an easy drive and there were lots of places to park. The hardest part was actually finding where we were to meet. There is an area of shops and the desk is just inside the door to the shopping area. We checked in and paid for our trip. There was a pre-flight briefing with some drinks and snacks if you wanted anything. During the briefing we were told what to expect during our ride. The tips and information were very good and made the trip enjoyable. We were then called with our group and headed out to the balloon. Getting into the basket is not an easy task for someone who is short like me! The pilot was very nice and told me that there is no graceful way to do it and we just laughed. There are holes for your feet on the side of the basket and you actually climb into and out of the basket! Once in there are compartments where you stand. It all works out well! Just a tip....We had some people in our basket who wore dresses and heels..I would suggest that it is a little difficult to climb into the basket with either of those things on and it also is a little difficult to walk back to the van for the return trip depending on how far you land from it.
Once you are in the basket you take off and smile at the photographers and before you know it you are in the air. It honestly feels like riding a bubble! There is no wind (unless you turn). It feels like you are standing on the floor in your house but with a great view! The views were amazing. It was a great day for flying and being Memorial Day weekend it was busy. What a gorgeous sight to see all the balloons in the blue sky. We went for a little over an hour and then landed in the park and walked back to our van for our return for our champagne breakfast. Those 60 plus minutes were some of the best of my life! Our pilot, Jason, was informative and told us stories and did a great job piloting us that morning.
We came back to the starting point for a nice breakfast. We were able to talk to others in our balloon as well as our pilot. The breakfast was optional but was very good and a very nice way to end the adventure.
I can't say enough about the professionalism and excellence of Napa Valley Aloft. If you have a chance to go...don't hesitate...call them up and book the adventure of a lifetime!
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