It begins in the middle of January and continues through the beginning of March. Here at The Inn On First, a luxury Napa Bed and Breakfast Inn, we call it “Napa Snow”. The trees bloom in spectacular glory with these white blossoms and when the wind comes the blossoms come flying off and there is “snow” everywhere. It is stunning. Admittedly our winters are mild compared to the East Coast and elsewhere in the world, and for this reason we live here. Oh, we have our share of frosty mornings with an occasional powdered sugar dusting of hail or light snow on the hilltops, but nothing like the inches of white cold others experience. It’s a great time to be in Napa, to see a different kind of beauty on the streets.
In the vineyards the mustard is growing up between the vineyards. Pruning has begun which means you will see long lines of black stumps surrounded by bright green vegetation of yellow flowers. It is our second favorite time of year here next to harvest. Standing in the tasting rooms, looking out the windows onto the vineyards,with a large glass of luscious Cabernet Sauvignon in your hand- this is winter in Napa.
The Inn On First, a romantic Napa bed and breakfast inn, is happy to say that ballooning is absolutely worth the money. Jamie is afraid of heights, was still willing to go, and would do it all over again. Granted he won’t look over the edge of the basket and down to the ground, and yet admitted the views are stunning and incredible. On a clear day you can see all the way to San Francisco to the south and to Mt. St. Helena to the north. The vineyards dotted below you are just magnificent in the morning sun.
Our preferred vendor is Balloons Above The Valley. You can be picked up for a fee, or meet at a nearby location. They ride you out to the site (Yountvile was our starting point) and you ride for a full hour. It is so much fun! The largest basket holds 24 people, and even though it is tight quarters, you are not overcrowded. It is gentle on the way up and you just float, float, float- why, just like a balloon!
They follow up their ride with a lovely champagne brunch with scrambled eggs, potatoes, bagels, sausage, bacon, cold cuts, rolls, waffles, and so much more. Know that it requires an early morning rise (anywhere from 5:30 am to 7:00 am depending on the season) as the morning is the only opportunity they have to fly.
To contact the company visit http://www.balloonrides.com
For those who want more, watch a 4-minute Flip Video on YouTube we created: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phgUfF9S-wI&feature=g-upl