How many of you can say you have flown in a Hot Air Balloon? Sure, you can drive to the top of the parkway and take in the magnificent 360-degree mountain views, but imagine floating over the peaks in a basket. It’s an experience unlike any other. Plus, a hot air balloon ride gives you ample time to take it all in, and snap all the insta-worthy photos you need.
Well, we did — and all we can say is WOW! We were simply blown away by how spectacular this balloon flight was for us, and 10 other passengers. Asheville Hot Air Balloons is the ultimate adventure and we cannot wait to tell you all about it!
On a chilly April morning, we arrived at the Starbucks in Candler at 7:00 AM to meet Addison, a seasoned Balloon pilot that would take us on an adventure of a lifetime! Little did we know how extraordinary even the prep work was for getting the basket ready and the balloon rolled out.
We loaded into a bus and took a short ride to Bethesda Church where Addison focused intensely on a little pilot balloon filled with helium. Once he released it into the air, he stood and watched it for several minutes. This would allow him to decide if this is where we would take off from and where our ride may take us.
Once our pilot declared this location to be perfect, his team unrolled the 91-foot long captivating balloon. This entire process of setting up the basket to rolling out the balloon was so fascinating, we couldn’t believe what we were witnessing.
With two volunteers to help, it was game on! Who knew all you had to do was hold open the bottom of the balloon while it filled up with air. Sounds crazy, right? It was, but we had full trust in this balloon team to show us how it’s all done. Impressive doesn’t even describe it. This operation was nothing short of astonishing, and all we could do was watch. With the flames finally turned on, Addison tipped the basket upright and we began to load in!
Land and Sky
Eventually, the flames and helium had built up enough momentum to stand the balloon upright where we hopped in and lifted off. As we began to lift off the ground, we could barely feel that we were ascending. The breeze we felt was actually us cutting through altitude layers
So, here we go — up, up, and away!
On this particular bright, sunny morning without a cloud in sight, the winds were calm and the view was clear. We could see well beyond Asheville, naming all the peaks for the vacationers onboard.
There are so many wonderful reasons why a person would want to adventure into the sky this way. But, for one of the passengers on this particular day, it was to bring his lifelong friend along for the ride over our beautiful mountains. It was such a sweet moment for all of us, even we teared up feeling the love this man had for his friend. RIP forever, Frank.
We were in the air for about an hour – when Addison had to make the decision about our landing. Descending is like diving into a pool in slow motion but 100x slower. It’s immersive and harmonious!
One of the peculiar things about being in a balloon? You have to plan your landing carefully. Something Addison has been doing for over 25 years. Every balloon landing happens when the conditions and landscape are right.
And, every landing experience is different. Sometimes the ride ends in a pasture, sometimes in someone’s backyard. It depends on which direction the wind took you and the pilot must be prepared to find the flattest, clearest land possible. Which, in our minds, made this adventure even more entertaining!
If you get to fly with Addison, he’ll tell you about the day he landed in a horse pasture. Of course, no animals were harmed — quite the contrary. They came over to the basket and treated him the best way they knew how. By sticking their noses into the basket looking for food. Silly horsies.
On this particular day — it was in a stranger’s yard. Thank goodness she was super excited about us landing in front of her house. We knew we were good when she came darting out of her house snapping selfies and shouting for joy!
Celebrate on a Hot Air Balloon Ride!
Take it from someone who really is afraid of heights…going about a mile above sea level on a balloon was such an amazing experience! We would do this over and over again!
If you have a big anniversary on the horizon, a milestone birthday, or you’re looking to do something out of the norm, booking a flight on a hot air balloon is worth every cent! We highly recommend this for bachelorette parties, wedding groups, locals, tourists, young or old – it’s a life experience you will never forget.
Want to pair it with something extra special? Call Asheville Picnic Company ahead of time and schedule an all-Asheville picnic. Ending a hot air balloon tour with a picnic is an upgrade you should definitely consider!
***AND – If you book a balloon ride between now and June 5th, 2021 using the code: DATENIGHT, then you will receive $25 off your ticket price. How’s that for hot air balloon motivation?