A hot air balloon ride has been on my bucket list since I was a child. Fun fact: I’m extremely afraid of heights. And yet I still had this at the top of my list.
Upon moving to the Boston area I discovered you could drift over the trees in New England. This sounds ideal in any season, however, I knew I had to jump aboard for the fall foliage.
I teamed up with Jeff, owner of Above Reality Hot Air Balloon Rides, located in Jericho, Vermont. Jeff is a paradox of sorts. He is a no-nonsense pilot, completely serious about his flights, and the safety of his passengers. If the conditions are not right, you aren’t flying. I was scheduled for the morning flight, and a front over Lake Champlain delayed us for 45 minutes, and I was thankful Jeff was on top of things. On the other side, once in the air, Jeff is full of witty jokes that make for great conversation between passengers and sets anyone with a fear of flying at ease during the flight.
I couldn’t have picked a better time frame for my first hot air balloon ride. Lake Champlain was a beautiful sight from above the tree line. The trees were just starting to turn to brilliant yellows and reds. The regular sight of rich evergreens with flashes of amber and garnet was a delight to see.
Jeff is constantly looking for the best path and takes you high above the tree line, but the best views are when he takes you so close you can reach out and grasp the leaves. You get a true sense of Vermont from the air, with a birds-eye view of working farms, ruby red barns, and horses prancing through their pastures. You can even catch sight of deer, and if you are very, very lucky a moose.
The flight was about an hour long and it went by so fast I just wanted to go right back up. The crew was incredible and landed us with such skill there weren’t any bumps or rough spots. Just soft and steady in a beautiful large field.
Above Reality Hot Air Balloon Rides operates all year round, although in the winter months the flights are very few. For Autumn flights I highly suggest calling a couple months ahead of time to book your flight. It’s definitely a New England Experience you don’t want to miss!