Here’s an awesome activity that can both give you the feeling of floating high above the clouds and offers a creative way to check out all the neighborhoods in Northern Virginia. Hot air ballooning!
List With Elizabeth’s Kevin and Elizabeth recently joined Balloons Unlimited for a stunning and peaceful ride with all of the incredible views of what’s known to many as one of the most scenic drop zones in America. Feeling lighter than air, these scenic rides soar high atop the Shenandoah Valley and Middleburg — or wherever the wind may take you.
WATCH THE VIDEO !!!
For many, hot air ballooning is an ultimate — and literal — bucket list item. Participants will be able to see sunrises or sunsets, clouds, mountains, land as far as the eye can see, and even other hot air balloons suspended in the air. For everyone who joins in the activity, air balloon rides are a truly special experience.
Ballooning has early origins. It actually started with Chinese floating lanterns in 220 AD. The first manned balloon flight, however, which came about for military strategy, happened much later in the late 1700s. But even now, centuries later, ballooning feels like a leap back in time.
“It is so peaceful, and the whole scenery looked like a little miniature village,” explained Elizabeth. “It was a very cool experience.”
Balloons Unlimited flights leave from several launch sites near New Market Airport or Skydive Shenandoah. The choice of launch site varies depending on the wind direction at the time of the flight. Launches usually take place in the mornings or evenings, departing within an hour of sunrise or the hours before sunset.
Safety is paramount. Balloons Unlimited won’t fly during rain, fog, high winds, or temperatures above 92 degrees as these conditions make the ride too bumpy or impair visibility, and are deemed unsafe.
You should also know that there are no seats or bathroom breaks, so plan accordingly. And pack light! Definitely bring your cell phone, camera, and water, but leave purses or other unnecessary and weighty items at home or safely in your car. Also — be sure to dress for the season, hot or cold, knowing temperatures in the air are actually quite similar to those on the ground.
Balloons Unlimited Founder Bob has decades — and thousands of hours — of piloting experience providing passengers the experience of a lifetime. So you and the other passengers in your bucket should feel safe and secure. But because ballooning is so weather dependent, timing and flexibility are important during your balloon adventure to keep everything running smoothly. Flights range from 45 to 90 minutes, so plan for the whole excursion to take around 2 and a half hours due to set-up and pack-up time, as well as travel time back to the launch site.
“Part of the adventure of ballooning is not knowing your destination prior to departure,” according to Balloons Unlimited’s website. “Balloons don’t have any means of controlling lateral movement so they go wherever the wind takes them.”
A hot air balloon flight is all about the direction of the winds and how strong they are. While balloons can fly year-round, the best weather for hot air balloon flying is blue skies, light winds, and little or no rain. In Northern Virginia, depending on the year, peak months for your experience may be March, April, May, June, and September, October.
There’s anticipation, especially during lift-off, but after the initial lift, participants all join in stunned wonder taking in the spectacular views. Kevin and Elizabeth’s path took them over Winchester, Virginia and was as comfortable and carefree as could be.
Memories are probably the #1 and most important reason to take a hot air ballon ride. You’ll always look back and smile at the beauty, amazement, and family fun. So balloon rides are perfect as a celebration, gift, or stress release activity. But in addition to ballooning, Balloons Unlimited offers balloon-themed parties, blimps, inflatables, and aerial photography.
List With Elizabeth enjoyed ballooning with our Balloons Unlimited crew and operator, Bob, all highly skilled and professional. Not only was the experience an easy-going ride with beautiful sights, but a memory to last a lifetime.