Balloons Above The Valley

June 2002

Amadeus Spa and Salon
A Day Spa Adventure
Napa Valley Grille
One of Yountville's Best Dining Locations
Now Open in Historic Geyserville, CA
Napa Valley Lodge
A Perfect Retreat
Balloons Above the Valley
What to Do in the Wine Country
Wine Country Inspired Recipe
Aunt Kitty's Flank Steak
Events for June Info
Enter to Win Your Wine Country VIP Pass!!

From all of us at FreeRun - Thank you for using our sites!
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Cypress Gardens Resort InnEmbraced by California's beautiful shoreline, Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary is famous for the Aquarium, Surfing, Golf, Dining, and more… Monterey offers a wide variety of leisure activities for all. A great way to start off the summer in Monterey is at the 17th Annual Monterey Blues Festival on June 21-23.

While enjoying Monterey's breathtaking scenery, exquisite dining, and exceptional wine, stay with us at the Cypress Gardens Resort Inn. Built on the site of tree nursery overlooking the peaceful Monterey beaches, our Inn sits under the ancient Oaks and classic Monterey Cypresses.

The Cypress Gardens Resort Inn features a large heated hotel pool in a serene atmosphere. The Inn was renovated in 2001 with all new furnishings. We offer Aquarium packages, Golf course packages, and more. A deluxe continental breakfast is served fireside in our breakfast room. Reserve your room online or call 877-922-1150 for summer rates and packages.


6 Unique Wineries in One Room

Locals – 6 Unique Wineries in One RoomWhen envisioning a trip to wine country, many of us picture discovering little, unheard of boutique wineries and delicious handcrafted wines. Yet, most of us don’t have the time or ‘scoop’ on how to ferret them out. Locals Tasting Room has done the work for you!

Representing 6 wineries in one room Locals specializes in flight tastings, which allows you to parallel taste 5 pinots for example, made by different local winemakers. The experience is not only fun, but also gives you a fast education. In one relaxing and spirited stop, you can learn more than you usually do in an entire wine country vacation

Virtually all of the 41 wines are open and available for tasting on weekends and a vast majority during the week. Most tastes are complimentary with a $10. premium flight being offered which includes a Riedel logo glass. Click here to find your coupon for a free premium tasting.


Beau Wine Tours
"Experience The Difference"

Beau Wine ToursBeau Wine Tours offers visitors an excellent chance to truly see Napa Valley like an insider! From special VIP tour appointments to a catered picnic lunch among the vineyards, their service is unsurpassed. Each wine tour is customized to meet the needs of your indiviual group (2-30) and can include cave tours, barrel tastings, and stops at small family owned "boutique" wineries off-the-beaten-path.

Couples can enjoy the luxury of touring in one of Beau Wine Tours chauffuered driven Lincoln Navigator SUVs, or splurge and experience the pampering lifestyle of riding in a fully custom stretch limousine. Larger groups can choose from limousines, club vans, or luxury tour buses.

You can visit the Beau Wine Tours web site at to find out more information, or their friendly staff can help you with reservations at (800) 387-2328.

Remember, don't drink and drive!

Amadeus Spa and Salon

A Day Spa Adventure

An elegant new spa, the Amadeus Spa and Salon, has opened as part of the Napa Valley Marriott's $20 million expansion and renovation. The 8,500 square foot facility features a whirlpool baths and steam rooms in each of the locker rooms, a rest area with a fireplace and 13 treatment rooms, including two outside garden areas where couples can enjoy side by side treatments. There is also a large fitness center with state of the art equipment for guests to enjoy.

For its Wine Country debut, Amadeus Spa has created a number of signature spa treatments reflecting the characteristics of the region. One such treatment, the Champagne Bubbly, begins with a grape seed scrub to exfoliate and cleanse the skin beneath a Vichy waterfall shower. Following the scrub, guests are immersed in a hydrotherapy tub where the aroma of sweet, ripe strawberries and sparkling champagne creates a quintessential essence befitting the Wine Country.

The elegant atmosphere of the Amadeus Spa is bright, with an open-air feeling that is comfortable and relaxing. When you walk through the glass doors into the lobby you feel as if you are about to embark upon an enchanted journey! A soft robe and slippers await you in the locker room. After changing you move to the beautiful rest area tastefully decorated with a fireplace and comfortable chairs, sofas, teas, waters, fruit, and an abundance of reading material are available for your pleasure. The rest area is where your aesthetician, therapist, or manicurist will greet you and take you to the treatment rooms.

Recently, a staff member visited Amadeus Spa and experienced two treatments. For her facial she chose the ECHO 2 pure oxygen gas treatment, which uses a cooling mist of 87 different vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids blended with pure oxygen gas gently sprayed on the skin. This patented, relaxing treatment was unlike any facial she had ever experienced and she reported the results as sensational.

Our staff member also selected a pedicure: the Aromatherapy Hydro Spa Pedicure. This treatment consisted of accupressure massage of the feet and lower legs with soothing, aromatic oils, culminating with a moisturizing treatment and polished toenails, leaving her feet feeling very soft - and very happy!

Check out the many treatment choices at Amadeaus Spa, located at the Napa Valley Marriott. or 800-228-9290

Napa Valley Grille

One of Yountville's Best Dining Locations

After a long morning of shopping in Yountville's boutique shops, lunch at the award winning Napa Valley Grille is the perfect place to treat your palate, rest your toes and gear-up for a fabulous afternoon.

Recently, members of had the pleasure of lunching at the Napa Valley Grille. The appetizer was a Tuscan Walnut Bread Salad with baby artichokes, tomatoes, candied walnuts and goat cheese. The first lunch entrée was an Oak Grilled Atlantic Salmon served with warm spinach salad, Yukon gold potatoes, and a bacon brown butter vinaigrette. Also ordered was the award winning Mustard Festival People's Choice Wild Mushroom and Pine Nut Raviolini, which were served with shiitake mushrooms, Dijon mustard cream and fried mustard seeds.

One of the best aspects of the Napa Valley Grille is that the menu items are absolutely packed with diverse flavors and textures which compliment each other while making the dining experience exciting and filling. Paired with the Oak Grilled Atlantic Salmon was a buttery and soft Godspeed Vineyards Chardonnay. The Elyse Vineyards Rosé turned out to be very complimentary to the Wild Mushroom and Pine Nut Raviolini by cleansing the palate and not overpowering the mushrooms.

Our lunch was made complete with seasonal fresh fruit gelato on top a bundle of fresh berries, and strawberry shortcake, both finished with homemade pastries and coffee - absolutely delicious and refreshing.

With an exhibition kitchen and patio dining with vineyard views the Napa Valley Grille is perfect for lunch or dinner any day of the week. The restaurant also boasts an award winning wine list that features over 800 different selections including a complete vertical of Opus One dating back to the first vintage in 1979. The décor is Wine Country inspired with theme artwork and fabrics. The view from the restaurant, both from indoor and outdoor seating is beautiful looking out onto the Napa Valley hills lined with vineyards, which surround the restaurant.

As you plan your next shopping trip, or wine tasting experience at Vintage 1870, be sure the Napa Valley Grille is on your itinerary - you won't want to miss it! The Napa Valley Grille is conveniently located off of Highway 29 at Madison in Yountville, CA and perfectly comfortable from any seat in the house.

Visit the Napa Valley Grille at:
(Vintage 1870:


Now Open in Historic Geyserville, CA

Locals is the newest addition to the quaint Wine Country town of Geyserville, CA. This new wine bar is a collective tasting room featuring the wines of up to six local boutique wineries. During your visit to Locals you will have the opportunity to taste over 30 unique wines from talented and noted neighborhood winemakers. These featured winemakers are small-scale producers making premium quality and hard to find award-winning wines. Locals currently feature wines from Eric Ross, Camellia Cellars, Crane Canyon, Hawley and Russian Hill.

While you sample the diverse and unique selection of wines, you will have the opportunity to discover the works of area black and white photographers, listen to cds from Geyserville musician, Charlie Mussellwhite, and be intrigued by Locals' whimsical collection of art moderne wine accessories. The location, the wines and the people all combine to create an eclectic and tasty environment.

Located in Geyserville, Locals sits at the gateway to the Alexander Valley. Embracing new trends while preserving history, Locals is located in The Odd Fellow Building, which was built in mid 1800s. Locals' specific tasting room space was a former community diner noted for its Mickey Mouse pancakes and early morning winemaker Liar's Dice games.

As you travel between Napa and Sonoma counties during your Wine Country adventure, be sure to stop in at Locals to taste fabulous wine, experience fantastic photography and mingle with the locals.

You will find Locals at the crossroads of scenic Highway 128 and Geyserville Avenue, or you can visit them online at

Napa Valley Lodge

A Perfect Retreat

On a recent early summer day, members of the staff had the exclusive opportunity to stay an evening at Yountville's first and most luxurious hotel, the Napa Valley Lodge.

In January the Napa Valley Lodge celebrated its remodel which included a complete redesign of the overall exterior incorporating classic, Tuscan-style architecture that features arched loggias, decorative iron railing and limestone details, as well as a new clay-tiled roof and limestone and terra cotta walkways. The original limestone fountain that was located in front of the Lodge has been relocated to the garden pool courtyard and as been replaced by a new fountain featuring a bronze sculpture of Hebe, the Goddess of Youth and Spring and the cup bearer to the Olympian Gods. The statue, which stands five feet tall, on a green marble base, is an Italian-made replica of the original Hebe created by Danish Sculpture Bertel Thorvalosen in the 18th century.

When approaching the Lodge a sense of glamour and attention to detail is obvious, beginning when you walk into the lobby, and adjacent sun-filled guest library. Each luxury suite measures to nearly 600 square feet in size, overlooks the garden and pool courtyard and features a travertine entry, limestone fireplace, spacious bathroom with separate shower and a two-person soaking tub. The room had the pleasure of experiencing faced the northwest which allowed the sunset to spill into the room making for a lounge on the sofa absolutely perfect. Also, central heating and air conditioning with digital thermostats in each guestroom makes the Lodge the only hotel in the Napa Valley (Yountville) to offer this wonderful and much-needed amenity. The suite's details such as lush linens and mosaic tile counter tops demonstrate the care and consideration that is taken into each guests' stay. It is undeniable how special and pampered each guest feels when entering the room where a card and bottle of wine await, or during the poolside Champagne breakfast complete with singing birds and morning Napa Valley sun.

The Napa Valley Lodge was built in Yountville more than two decades ago when the town was home to just a handful of pioneering vineyards, bars, a post office and a veteran's facility. Over the last 24 years, the Lodge has welcomed world-renowned restaurants, shops, and wineries to Yountville and led the wave of businesses that made the Yountville a destination within the destination that is the Napa Valley.

Located only one hour north of San Francisco, and with its Four-Diamond rated hospitality, 55 luxurious guestrooms, private outdoor pool and whirlpool spa, and exceptional conference facilities, the Napa Valley Lodge is the perfect place to stay while exploring the Napa Valley. Surrounded by vineyards and spectacular vistas, the Napa Valley Lodge offers visitors the opportunity to indulge themselves in the flavor of the local culture and activities, while still enjoying the amenities of an exclusive resort.

Visit the Napa Valley Lodge at:

Balloons Above the Valley

What to Do in the Wine Country

Just south of Yountville in the Napa Valley is Balloons Above the Valley, a first class hot air balloon company that will take you on an unforgettable journey lasting approximately one hour and followed with an expertly prepared champagne brunch in their Vineyard Gardens. A staff member recently had the opportunity to experience this extraordinary adventure first hand.

Upon arrival at Vineyard Gardens at around 5:30 a.m. you are served coffee, assorted muffins and scones, then shuttled to the launch location at Domaine Chandon to observe the inflation of the's Kathy Mooreballoons and begin your tour. The colors and magnitude of the inflating balloons is an awesome and beautiful sight.

Step into the basket and you are off! Peacefully floating above the beautiful Napa Valley you are presented with unique 360-degree views, as can only be seen from a balloon. You will drift over rows of lush green vineyards, sometimes low enough to see jackrabbits playing among the vines, and then gently rise 1,000 to 3,000 feet to take in fabulous panoramic views of the Napa Valley and other hot air balloons.

Our adventurer flew with expert pilot, Bob Barbarick, in the largest style passenger hot air balloon made. There are only about 16 of these grand balloons in the USA, and Balloons Above the Valley has four of them. A native of the Napa Valley, Bob has over 5,500 hours of flying balloons since he started 1977. He has extensive knowledge of the art of ballooning and narrates your journey, pointing out landmarks and interesting facts about ballooning, making his passion for flying and for the Wine Country obvious.

Upon landing you will find Balloons Above the Valley's shuttles and friendly staff waiting to take you back to the Vineyard Gardens and your Champagne brunch. The tasty buffet features local products from Napa and Sonoma Valleys, including a variety of local fresh baked breads, fresh fruits and salads, roasted meats and smoked salmon, local and imported artisanal cheeses, fabulous crepes, roasted potatoes and so much more. What a great way to end a spectacular ballooning adventure! Compliments to the chef Joseph Trez and his staff - brunch was excellent!

A balloon ride with Balloons Above the Valley is an exceptional way to view the Wine Country. For more information check out their web site at or call at 800 - GO HOT AIR (800-464-6824)

Wine Country Inspired Recipe

- Courtesy of Sheridan Forbes, San Francisco, CA

Aunt Kitty's Flank Steak

  • 2 flank steaks
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, minced (if you are increasing the recipe DO NOT add more)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard (I use Coleman's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 Tablespoons chutney (I use Major Grey)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • Combine the ingredients.
  • Pour over steaks and marinade at least two days. (Three is better!)
  • When ready to cook, strain the marinade, reserving the liquid, but toss the solids.
  • Do the steaks 5 minutes per side on a hot grill.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes and pour the resulting liquid in with the reserved marinade.
  • Thinly slice across the grain and put the meat back in the reserved marinade.
  • Warm the meat in the marinade in the oven.

To Serve: For a cocktail buffet serve with tea rolls for sandwiches. You
don't need any condiments with it. After grilling meat and placing back in
the reserved marinade, you can put in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Just warm in an oven before serving.

Carmelized Onions

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (3 cups)
  • Heat the oil in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally.

If the pan is too hot, the onions will turn dark brown quickly, so make sure
the heat is reduced to low as soon as the onions are added. You can't start
with low heat because initially the oil must be hot, though not sizzling.
The onions are done when they shrink to one third their raw size and are
golden brown.

Store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Note: Don't be fooled by the simple ingredients. Caramelizing onions is a
slow process, but definitely worth the wait. The sharp onions transform
into tender sweetness. I serve with Aunt Kitty's Flank Steak or on open
faced portabella mushroom sandwiches. Also, the onions are wonderful as an
appetizer on top of fresh crusty French bread and goat cheese.

Events for June


June 7 - 8 -- Mendocino Wine Affair
The Mendocino Winegrowers Alliance presents the 2002 Mendocino Wine Affair, a food and wine extravaganza and auction to benefit Mendocino Search and Rescue. There will be a wine tasting and auction with dinner, and live music. Featuring all Mendocino Winegrowers Alliance wines and packages. At Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland. Call for additional information.
Fee: Varies - Please Call Time: 2:00 PM - 11:00 PM Phone Number: 707-468-9886

June 21 -- 14th Annual Taste of Downtown
Join the fun, take a walking tour of Downtown Ukiah, and enjoy a "Taste of the Bounty" of Mendocino County on Friday, June 21st 2002! Taste dozens of world-renowned local wines, microbrews, bandies, root beer and more. Glasses are sold in advance at Mendocino bounty 200 S. School St. for $12.50 or pick up a glass the day of the event for $15.00. Our unique and quaint Downtown Ukiah shops host the tasting. Enjoy this festive social event from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Enjoy strolling musicians along with dance and listening music sit back and relax, or get up and dance along the streets of Downtown Ukiah.


June 21 -- Wine & Cigar Dinner at Chateau Julien Wine Estates
Join owner Bob Brower for a simply fun evening at the Chateau. Hand rolled Dominican Republic cigars are paired splendidly with each course in the winery's Conservatory. An evening of delectable food, smooth cigars and excellent wine. At Chateau Julien, 8940 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel.
Fee: $75.00 Time: Reception 6:30 PM; Dinner 7:30 PM Phone Number: 831-624-2600

June 22 -- Carmel Art & Wine Festival
Taste the wines of local wineries, stroll the gardens and visit exhibiting local artists, listen to live music and sample food. Downtown Carmel.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Call Phone Number: 831-624-8886


June 9 -- Napa Valley Wine Auction Open House at St. Clement Vineyards
Donation requested for "Make-A-Wish" Foundation. Location: St. Clement Vineyards, St. Helena.
Fee: No Admission Fee - Donations Appreciated Time: Call Phone Number: 800-331-8266

June 20 -- Domaine Chandon June Concert Series
Enjoy an evening with the Banditos (Salsa, Samba, Rock) and Chandon bubbles on the East Lawn of the winery. Tickets are available online. The Restaurant at Domaine Chandon will offer a special pre-concert 3-course menu at 6 PM. Call 800-736-2892 for restaurant reservations.
Fee: $15.00 Time: 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM Phone Number: 707-944-2280


June 26 - 30 -- Lompoc Valley Flower Festival
The Lompoc Valley Flower Festival features a parade on Saturday with bands, equestrian units, drill teams, clowns, and floats made of flowers and other organic materials grown in the valley. Additional highlights include a carnival, commercial center, self-guided tours of the flower fields, and 37 food booths run by local non-profit agencies. Call for additional information.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: Parade at 10 AM; Carnival to follow Phone Number: 805-735-8511

June 30 - Music Academy of the West Summer Festival
All Day Pacific Daylight Time Description The Music Academy of the West's 56th Summer School & Festival features performances by outstanding young musicians, faculty and guest artists. Location Music Academy of the West, Lobero Theatre and other locations. The eight-week season includes: orchestra performances, faculty chamber music concerts, opera, master classes, the Canadian Brass, Takács Quartet, picnic concerts on campus with young artist chamber musicians, community concerts and lots more. Many events are free. To receive a season brochure call, 805.969.4726 or visit


June 14 -- Los Lobos
Come see Los Lobos perform at The Mountain Winery, 14831 Pierce Road, Saratoga. Parking is available at the winery for $10 per car. Carpooling is encouraged. Call for ticket information.
Fee: $28.00 - $42.00 Time: Gates Open 5:30 PM - Showtime 7:30 PM Phone Number: 408-741-0763

June 21 -- Class Rock All Stars at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Featuring band members from Sugarloaf, Rare Earth, Iron Butterfly, and Cannibal & the Headhunters, this all-star group knows how to rock! Returning to the Boardwalk for the 6th time, we are excited about opening our summer season with this beach audience favorite! On the beach at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Fee: No Admission Fee Time: 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM Phone Number: 831-423-5590


June 8 -- Welcome Summer at Valley of the Moon
It all starts here! Swing into summer at Valley of the Moon Winery and spend a relaxing afternoon with us. Exceptional discounts on selected wines, music, food and wine pairings. We will also have local vendors and artists displaying their products and art. 777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen.
Fee: $5.00 - Includes a logo glass Time: 12 Noon - 4:30 PM Phone Number: 707-996-6941

June 17 - 18 -- Summer Cooking Class at the Depot Hotel
Come join this informative class on Sauces of Southern Italy. Cooking classes are held in the restaurant kitchen of The Depot Hotel and taught by our Chef Michael Ghilarducci. This is a one-day class and there are two dates from which to choose. Tuition fee includes the class, the dinner, the wines, and the recipe workbook. Call for reservation information. 241 First Street West, Sonoma.
Fee: $60.00 Time: 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM Phone Number: 707-938-2980 Info Contest

Congratulations to Allison Jurado, the winner of the Napa Valley Wine Tasting Extravaganza Contest!!

The next winner could be YOU!!!

An Insider's Day with Beau Wine Tours!

Win an exclusive VIP Napa Valley wine tour for up to 6 people and get an inside look at some of the hottest producers in the wine industry today! Your 6 hour tour begins around 9:30AM (at any Napa Valley location you choose) as you board your own private, customized Stretch Limousine. Your knowledgeable tour guide will greet you and your friends with complimentary champagne and begin escorting you through the valley.

Your first winery stop takes you 2000 feet up to the top of the Mayacamas mountain range in one of Napa's most celebrated appellations. Your morning tour of the winery will walk you through lush vineyards, experience cool-climate wine caves, and taste some very limited production wines. Afterwards you will be treated to a catered gourmet lunch overlooking the most scenic vistas in wine country!

Your next stop will be a tour and tasting in the famed Oakville District (home of big Cabernets) at a private winery just off the Silverado Trail. This elegant property has been built adjacent to a "ghost winery" (closed and abandoned after prohibition). Tastings will include highly rated Chardonnays, very rich Merlots, and delicious Cabernets.

Finally, you will be taken on an extensive barrel tasting tour through the caves of one of Napa's hottest new producers. Get ready for sensory overload as you sample several different barrel types that are aging the same Cabernet! This is a true wine connoisseur's experience, but it doesn't end there. A final tasting of the finished product (current releases) takes place in the "back room" along with a variety of aged cheese.

Tour includes: All tasting and tour fees, lunch, limousine, and 15% gratuity (valued at $846)
Restrictions: Subject to availability. Info...

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