Sunday, February 24, 2002

We just got back from a three-day mini-vacation in Napa. We love to go up there, but it's been too long since we've had the time to do it.

This came about because of a contest I won back in December. I'm on the mailing list of a local PR firm called "Marketing Maniacs" and in their December newsletter it said, "click onto our website and enter to win a weekend for two in Napa." I clicked, a couple of weeks later they called to tell me I won. Not too bad, eh?

The prize package included two nights at the Yountville Inn (value, over $200/night) and a hot air balloon ride for two (value, over $350). So, not only did we have a nice weekend in Napa, we did it in high style.

Wineries visited: Turnbull, Folie a Deux (one of our favorites for Zins), Dutch Henry, Wermouth (we actually don't like Wermouth's wine, but we had to go visit with Ralph Wermouth, who's the coolest, funniest, bad wine makers around), Rombauer, Prager (another favorite, for Ports), Sutter Home, and Hakusan Sake.

Restaurants: Mustard's Grill (California cuisine), Bouchon (French), Gordon's Market (lunch cafe), and (on the way home, in Vallejo) Earl's Texas BBQ.

Highlight: The balloon ride was incredible. Leslie was nervous at first, and almost chickened out of going at a couple of points, but once we were up in the air she quickly loosened up and we both loved it. The weather was perfect, and the visibility was great. We could see all the way up the Napa Valley, up past Calistoga, into Sonoma, and southward to the tip of the San Francisco bay. The flight was smooth and easy. Definitely a great experience.

Other Big Activity: Hanging out in the pool and hot tub at the hotel.

We're tired now, so I'm just going to turn on the closing of the Olympics. Just wanted to get all this down before I forgot.

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