Yountville Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn

Best Rated Things to Do in Yountville

  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    Float like a butterfly.......

    by Geisha_Girl Updated Oct 11, 2003

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    Ballooning over Napa Valley is one of the most romantic, exhilarating, and enchanting things you can do when you visit this area. Seeing the valley from a different perspective.

    I grew up right near the Napa Valley and still go there often with visitors who are in town. But not once have I ever seen the valley from 2,000 ft above.

    I would highly recommend this activity to anyone wanting to add a *twist* to their wine tasting outing in the Napa Valley.

    It was well worth "waking up with the roosters" for!

    Related to:
    • Hot Air Ballooning

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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    All that hot air......

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

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    Who brought the giant PICNIC BASKET?

    Lots of preparation is required to take every precaution and ensure a safe ride during the one hour journey.

    The immediate reaction upon seeing these "wicker picnic baskets" and deflated parachutes was "How the heck is that thing gonna hold us?"

    Once you get over the initial skepticism......it is all smooth sailing......er I mean balloooning!

    Related to:
    • Hot Air Ballooning

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    The Preparation

    by Geisha_Girl Updated Oct 12, 2003

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    Whatcha see there Inspector? Dead pigeon??

    Before takeoff, you are advised to arrive at 6am to the Napa Valley Grille in Yountville. There is a reserved dining area in the back where you are greeted with a light breakfast, registration information, and an introduction to what lies ahead of you in the journey.

    The morning we arrived (a crisp Autumn morning in September), the dining area was full of fellow "balloon travelers"...... who were all informed that there was a thick layer of fog across the Napa Valley.

    Under no circumstances are the balloonists allowed to lift off in such conditions.

    What's this? No flights over vineyards and wineries? What's the point?

    Our option? They would shuttle us over the valley to the other side where the conditions are much clearer and we are guaranteed a beautiful ride. The name of the location?

    PARADISE

    So off we go......the guests are piled into several vans for a 50 minute (that's five zero) ride to Paradise.

    So we didn't see vineyards and wineries, but we did see walnut groves and horse ranches......No matter, we were in PARADISE!!!

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Hot Air Ballooning

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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    What to wear?

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

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    Fillling up the

    When you take a "walk through the clouds" in a hot air balloon, the main advice that is mandatory for any ride is "KEEP IT LIGHT." You must come on the journey with as minimal as possible.

    No backpacks, no heavy camera bags........and layering is key. When you are on the ground on a crisp autumn morning, there could be a slight chill, but as the journey progresses and you are up in the air, the temperatures rise as the balloon rises.

    Men are advised to wear caps since we are in such closed quarters near the propane tanks and the hot air from the canopy could potentially "thin out the top" so to speak!

    Also, for the smokers out there, you better get the nicotine fix way before you enter anywhere near the balloons. No smoking is allowed at any time during the 60 minute flight.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Hot Air Ballooning

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    How Do They Do That?

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

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    Flight of Fancy

    What are hot air balloons made of?

    A reinforced fabric called rip-stop nylon (some balloons are made of acron). The material is very lightweight, but is very strong. The fabric is coated on the inside to prevent leaks.

    The envelope is stretched out and attached to the basket. A powerful fan is used to cold inflate the envelope. When partially inflated, the air is heated by a burner and the envelope rises above the basket. With further heating, there is sufficient 'lift' for the balloon to fly.

    Related to:
    • Hot Air Ballooning
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    The View from Above? BREATHTAKING!

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

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    Is it okay to look down now, Inspector?

    As we are lifted off from the ground, you can feel the hot air pulsating on the tops of our heads.......as we stand cozily together in the wicker baskets.

    For someone like moi (who's afraid of heights!) there is none of that vertigo feeling; because you are moving with the wind drift, there is no wind blowing. The basket does not rock or sway, so there's no fear of falling out!

    Related to:
    • Hot Air Ballooning

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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    Rush Hour!

    by Geisha_Girl Updated Oct 12, 2003

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    Balloon-to-balloon traffic

    I suppose there is such a thing as "Rush Hour on Cloud Highways....."

    The skies were painted with fellow balloon travelers.

    Our pilot has been guiding these balloons for decades. Piloting a balloon is an art and certainly requires a lot of skill and knowledge about the sky, the winds, the earth, and which neighbors down below are the most ANNOYING!

    In "Paradise" we passed over private homes, ranches, and lots and lots of nut trees!

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    The Neighbor Nuisance

    by Geisha_Girl Updated Oct 12, 2003

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    If you can't stand the heat.....MOVE!

    Our pilot made it a point to show this particular home that was in the middle of a private orchard. He mentioned that these were the neighbors in Paradise konwn as "The Meanies." They were residents of this town that are in their element when they're COMPLAINING.

    Always complaining about the air traffic above them.......

    My question is, wouldn't it be much better to be living below a sky full of silent, floating balloons, then it would be to live underneath incoming and outgoing 747s?

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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    The Descent

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

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    The Mayflower Landing

    After an hour journey through the skies over paradise, it was time for our descent.

    Some facts about balloon riding:

    How high do balloons fly?

    Most balloonists enjoy low level flight. The typical balloon flight would be anywhere from tree level to approximately 2,000 ft. The world record for altitude in a hot air balloon is 64,997 feet.

    Do passengers ever get airsick?

    No.

    How is the balloon steered?

    It's not! Some directional control is possible by ascending or descending into air currents going in a different direction. The pilot can raise or lower the balloon by controlling the temperature inside the balloon.

    How fast does it go?

    Since the balloon has no forward propulsion system, its speed is determined entirely by the speed of the wind. That's why balloon races are strictly races of accuracy, not speed.

    How long can it stay up?

    It varies. Factors like outside air temperature, weight being carried in the basket and weather determine the duration of the flight. Normally, the balloon carries enough fuel to remain aloft for 2 hours.

    What kind of fuel is used?

    Propane, kept in pressurized tanks on the floor of the basket. Passing to the burners through flexible hoses, when the valves are opened, the propane atomizes and is ignited by a pilot light in the burner. The flame may shoot up as much as ten or twenty feet, making a loud "whoosh".

    How do you get it back?

    With the help of a chase crew which follows the flight of the balloon (as closely as the existing roads allow) and is on hand to make the recovery when the balloon touches down.

    Upon our descent, we were advised:

    "Hold on, lock your knees, and stay inside until you are instructed otherwise....."

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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    And where do the Baskets go to rest?

    by Geisha_Girl Updated Oct 12, 2003

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    Let's pack 'em up!

    The wicker baskets are propped up and loaded onto the trucks then whisked away to its next destination.

    The Napa Valley Balloon Company usually do no more than 2 rides per day.

    As you can see, it is a whole entire process to get the balloons safely up and running.......then taking them down and preparing them for the next journey.

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    Mutual Rewards!

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

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    Once again....IMPECCABLE SERVICE, indeed!

    Warm *props* were given to our lovely volunteer from France........as we were whisked back to the Napa Valley Grille to enjoy a wonderful "Welcome Back Brunch" our pilot/driver says to our Inspector:

    "Job well done, sir! I shall call ahead to have your cocktails served for you at brunch........would you like CHAMPAGNE or MIMOSAS with your brunch?"

    The Inspector's response?

    "Why waste the orange juice?!"

    Aaaaahhhh, spoken like a true Frenchman

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    Here comes the BALLOON CHASE CREW

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

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    The crew takes over

    The "Chase Crew" consisted of 3 ruggedly petite women who come in and immediately take over the transport once the passengers disembark.

    What we watched in the last 10 minutes of the ride was an amazing display of strength and skills.......

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  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Cakebread Wine Tasting

    by blueskyjohn Updated May 7, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

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    This is one of my favorite wines so I searched them out when I arrived in wine country. It is a very modest winery with no signage at all of their location. They are wight on route 29 only minutes from Yountville. Wine tasting is by appointment. They only take 6 people at a time but our wine tasting had 8. They have a few different options to choose from. A 10-15 minute tour of the facility and then into a courtyard for the wine tasting. The cost is $15 and is one hour long.

    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Road Trip

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    Wine Tasting at Domaine Chandon

    by orcoastgirl Written Apr 12, 2007
    Entrance to Domaine Chandon
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    Domaine Chandon offers a nice variety of wines, sparkling wines and champagne for tasting and purchasing. The grounds are very pretty, there are outdoor tables set up to enjoy your tastings. We enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir out on the outdoor patio.

    This is a nice place to linger, they also do tours and there is a nice restaurant there called Etiole for fine dining in Yountville. A very nice way to spend time in the area!

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Wine Tasting
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    Flight of THE MAYFLOWER

    by Geisha_Girl Written Oct 12, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There's our PICNIC BASKET!

    Here they are preparing our balloon. We were assigned THE MAYFLOWER.

    Typically there are 6, 8 or 10 passengers (and the pilot!) per balloon. We had only 4 passengers and the pilot.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Hot Air Ballooning

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Yountville Things to Do

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