It’s a funny thing to say, but hot air balloons have been a part of my life since I was a child. As a toddler, I attended the largest hot air balloon festival in the world, Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Later in elementary school when I lived in Albuquerque, I would see balloons in the sky on a daily basis. Some would even land in the undeveloped lots near our house. While in Plano, we visited the Plano Balloon Festival.
So, when I got the invitation to check out the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic this summer with some friends, I couldn’t say no.
Russian River Brew Pub
Santa Rosa, CA
The first stop along our drive to Sonoma was at the Russian River Brewery Brew Pub in Santa Rosa. We tried a variety of their beers and food. It’s perfect for aficionados and foodies alike. A word to the wise: come early and prepare to wait in line before getting seated.
We stayed the night at a campsite in a local KOA. We pitched our tent as quickly as possible and hit the sack immediately as we would have to wake up a few hours later to be at the park before sunrise.
Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic
Most of us arrived before or during sunrise to watch the balloons launch and slowly rise up into the sky. It was a cold, but beautiful morning. As we huddled for warmth, the sky progressed from a breathtaking orange sunrise to a blue, nearly clear sky.
Rumba Cuban Kitchen
After we had our fill of balloon watching, we headed to Rumba Cuban Kitchen for breakfast. They were extremely accommodating even though we arrived rather early in the morning with a large group. I can’t speak to if the food was authentic or not, but it was delicious and I would certainly eat at Rumba again.
Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
Santa Rosa, CA
We split into multiple groups after breakfast. One group continued into wine country for wine tasting. Another headed south to Sausalito to grab ice cream at Lappert’s. Jeff, Natalie, Q and I went to the Schulz Museum.
I had already visited the museum with my parents a few years back, but it was still as good the second time around. They rotate out their first floor exhibit a few times a year and the rest of the exhibits are well curated.
It’s museum is a must visit for fans of Peanuts, cartoons, animation, design and art.
Natalie headed home from the museum and the the rest of us headed to Sausalito to try Lappert’s Ice Cream just as Ben and company had done a few hours before. I didn’t take any photos of the ice cream as I was thoroughly engrossed in eating it.
I’ll close out the post with some photos from our walk through Sausalito. Enjoy.