Hot Air Balloon Experience With Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides
When we talk about the most romantic and memorable trip of our life, different people share differen...
Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides is a family owned business which is situated inside V-Marketplace in Yountville, the heart of Napa Valley. The hot air balloon ride cost $220 for each adult which includes the brunch too. Once the booking was made online, we received the confirmation via mail immediately. All the necessary information regarding the flight and pre-flight necessities were mentioned in the email along with the waiver form which is a part of the flight formalities. We were also asked to call an hour before the departure time to confirm about the weather conditions. Fortunately, everything worked in our favor that day as the weather was good. The take-off time of the balloon was 6:50 AM and we were asked to arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the flight. We reached V-Marketplace at around 6:30 AM and the weather was pretty cold. But we were prepared as the Aloft team told us to wear layered clothing to keep ourselves warm in the chilly mornings. As we entered V-Marketplace, we were welcomed and greeted by smiling faces of the crew. There were some muffins, coffee and quick bites to savour in case you feel hungry in the early hours. We were given a quick brief about the flight and the precautions before boarding the balloon.
There were around 35-40 people and we were divided into different groups to join on this early morning adventure. We were picked for the Foxtrot balloon and our pilot was Jason, who happens to be one of the founder of Aloft Balloon Rides. He was super enthusiastic and a perfect pilot one could ask for. As we headed out, I was amazed to see the big colorful balloons which were being inflated in the parking lot. The weather became a bit warm by then. The bright look of the balloons was a treat to the eyes. In no time, the balloons were ready to take off and we were asked to board the basket. The basket is about 4 feet in height and you can jump into the basket easily without any expertise, provided you wear appropriate clothing and shoes.
Once we were in the basket, Stephanie clicked some pictures of us and she made sure to take many beautiful shots. The basket was not crowded and there was enough space inside to move around. We were 8 of us in the basket and then we had our pilot which makes it 9 altogether. Our pilot introduced himself to all of us. He explained us the principle of a hot air balloon. As the air is heated inside the balloon with the help of the burner, it becomes lighter than the cooler air around and makes the balloon float upwards. If the air is allowed to cool, the balloon comes down slowly. The best time for a balloon ride is early morning as the temperature and wind are at its best to cooperate. This is how a hot air balloon allows us to catch a special glimpse of Napa Valley landscape. Once we were high in the air, we didn't feel cold as the burner was keeping us warm enough.
In a moment, we were high in the sky with breathtaking views of the valley, beautiful agricultural surroundings, the green vineyards, neighbouring balloons etc. The panoramic view of the wine region is truly stunning when viewed from the hot air balloon. We reached about 1000 feet high in the air and were coming down whenever there was a view worth watching from near. The balloon ride was so smooth that we didn't feel as if we were travelling at a higher altitude. We observed the sunrise and it was a beautiful sight to watch while we were high in the air surrounded by greenery everywhere. Our pilot, Jason shared some of the very interesting facts about ballooning and we enjoyed every bit of the ride.
After a good 60 minutes, we were about to land in the middle of some field. No, it wasn't an unplanned landing! Our pilot was coordinating with the crew throughout about the direction, height and the place of landing. By the time we reached the landing spot (which was decided based on the travel direction instantly), the crew was already present waiting for us to land. The landing was safe and smooth. We didn't feel a jerk or even a bump. All thanks to the awesome pilot and crew who were well-versed with their job. There were about 3 people who were ready with the setup and once we landed, they deflated the balloon and wrapped it. We were then taken to the V-Marketplace in a van.
Afterwards, we enjoyed a champagne brunch at Pacific Blues, an award winning restaurant of Yountville. The brunch was arranged in an outdoor seating and was hosted by our pilot. The brunch was a combination of omelettes, french toast, coffee and mimosa. Everything tasted yummy and we were munching the delicacies while having a heartfelt conversation with our co-passengers and pilot. In the end, our pilot Jason presented us the aloft badges and it felt ecstatic. When we thought it's time to bid farewell, there came Stephanie, who shared with us a cd of our photographs which she took during the ride. Though the photographs cost additional 40$, it was worth the spending. It was a token of remembrance of this grand trip and we were delighted with the overall experience.
Not just a plain balloon ride, but you can also make this adventure more special by proposing the love of your life or by planning a wedding or celebrating your anniversary! It's time to get romantic and experience how it is to watch everything from a bird's eye view. Make your bookings right away by visiting Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides official website here.