Almost everyone dreams of flying. In those dreams, landscapes unravel below like patchwork quilts, and high, soft breezes brush past your face while mountains and hills jut out of the earth to form peaks and valleys. They're gentle dreams, and ones that Calistoga Balloon Co can make real with high-soaring balloon rides.
During sunrise launches, their rainbow-hued balloons flit above the north end of Napa Valley, gliding passengers along scenic grapevine corridors and mountain vistas unique to the region. The area is also home to landmarks the likes of Mount Saint Helena, the Palisades Cliffs, and the Napa Valley Castle?all sights to be savored from the basket of a hot air balloon. To celebrate collecting such lifelong memories, passengers can enjoy a champagne breakfast after touchdown followed by activities such as leisurely picnics or bike tours through the wine country.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum pays loving homage to the life and career of the legendary creator of the Peanuts comics. For 50 years, Schulz illustrated the adventures of Charlie Brown and his friends Snoopy, Linus, Pigpen, and Lucy in hundreds of U.S. newspapers. The museum maintains six permanent exhibitions, including a re-creation of Schultz’s studio, a morphing Snoopy timeline, the Peanuts–themed wall of his daughter’s nursery, and a flying Red Baron who constantly pelts customers with pepperoni slices. Rotating exhibitions last for about six months, featuring such curiosities as a 13-foot-tall Charlie Brown sweater and an examination of Schulz’s evolving pen line. Museum memberships give patrons a discount on all museum stores, complimentary admission, and invitations to members-only events.
A work of art relies on many components to maintain its integrity. Aside from the canvas and the struggle the artist went through to get Billy to stop hogging all the blue paint, the piece will require a frame to be respected as a finished product. At Ringseis Designs, the framing crew works with custom mouldings and archival techniques to protect and enhance artwork, analyzing each piece before selecting matting and frame combinations that draw attention to intended focal points. They also protect 3-D objects, protecting keepsakes in shadowboxes and preserving sports jerseys in textile cases.
A nonprofit organization dedicated to the celebration of the art, history, and science of pinball, the Pacific Pinball Museum welcomes hardcore enthusiasts and casual fans alike to learn about and play the popular game. Over 85 operational machines—all set to free play—line the walls of the museum, including electro-mechanical, wood-rail, and wedgehead models, as well as the newest digital machines. Along with historic games on display, such as an 1879 Montague Redgrave Parlor Bagatelle and a Gottlieb 1931 Baffle Ball, three playable clear cabinets reveal the inner workings of the engineering marvel, from the wires feeding the lights to the tiny steelsmiths forging new balls between every play. Enthusiastic guides conduct regular tours of the facilities, whose walls feature hand-painted murals celebrating the game’s diverse colors and symbols.
Art Works Downtown's story begins about seven years before its founding. Back in the early '90s?when local businesses started closing down en masse?Phyllis Thelen got an idea. Rather than let Fourth Street go to shambles, the cultural-affairs advocate filled empty store windows with artwork to make them more attractive to passersby and bored security-camera monitors. That's when she discovered the building that would become Art Works Downtown, located on Fourth Street. Built in 1878, it was once known as Gordon's Opera House. Phyllis just knew this rundown yet beautiful building would make the perfect art center. So she and four peers founded the Art Works Downtown nonprofit organization and set to work remaking the 40,000-square-foot space into a community jewel.
They started by remodeling 13 rooms, turning them into studios for local artists to rent, and eventually opening a storefront gallery to showcase their work. Nowadays, Art Works Downtown strives to keep the heart of the area's art scene beating. The center houses 35 art studios for rent, three galleries, a caf?, a jewelers guild, a frame shop, a ceramic center, other arts organization, and 17 affordable apartments that help professional artists keep working. Aspiring artists of all ages, meanwhile, can attend classes, and art lovers can find inspiration by visiting constantly changing exhibits in four galleries.
Long visited by dreamy visions of starting their own tour company, Jewels Wine Tours owners and Napa Valley residents Julia Young and Ryan Raes utilize their regional intimacy to construct guided tours to the finest wineries, distilleries, and restaurants the area has to offer. The team takes great joy in customizing packages to their guests’ preferences, whether customers are looking to taste-test a certain hard-to-find vintage, or just want to be driven around by someone other than the family dog. A dedicated driver handles navigation for the duration of each tour, allowing the grape gurus to focus on enriching the tour experience by answering in-depth questions and providing insights into Napa and Sonoma Valley history.