Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hot Air Ballooning in NJ

I've already lost the debate, but I never remembered saying that I wanted to go hot air ballooning.  So you could imagine the surprise on my face when I got it as a birthday gift from my gf (I was trying to figure out if it was a gift for me or her....hmm, the plot thickens).

She scheduled it for sunrise so we had to wake up at the crack of dawn and drive out to Clinton, NJ (55-60 miles from NYC).  We got to the meeting area (a field behind the Spain Inn II restaurant) and helped set up.  They unfurled the balloon, laid it on the field, and reality set in.  Was I really going to go up thousands of feet in the air in a wicker basket, flame thrower, and balloon?  We took a few set up pictures, signed a waiver, and hurdled our way into the basket.

We were up in the air in no time and there wasn't much room in the basket for 5 people (turning around in place was not an option).  You better bring a camera along because you're going to get some nice shots of the sunrise, the morning fog in the valley, other balloons, the NYC skyline, and as far out as Pennsylvania.  People waved to us as we hovered over their house (there is a French tradition of giving a bottle of champagne if you land on someone's property).  We were up in the air for about 45 minutes to an hour, landed on a school's playing field, and were shuttled back to the starting point for mimosas and danishes.

We met the owner (Tom) after we landed and he was very nice.  He showed us his photo album of balloon festivals around the world and his travels with Malcolm Forbes.

Its definitely something to put on your bucket list. 

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