The New York City metropolitan area is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. The region is most spectacular during the fall, September 1st to November 30th. That is when the leaves change color. First, the green leaves fade giving way to yellow and orange. Thus, nature declares the change of season has once again arrived. There is something special about being in New York at this time of year.
By far the most impressive vantage point from which to behold and appreciate that colorful display is from the air. Flying by in a 767 jetliner at 500 miles per hour from 32,000 feet is not what I have in mind. If you really would like to take in the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley, for instance, I suggest you do it from a hot air balloon.
I happen to know just the outfit for the job. You owe it to yourself to contact FAA certified Blue Sky Balloons. They are in Poughkeepsie, New York. A good 80 miles north of New York City. Blue Sky has been taking passengers up in the air for 40 years now, and they have a perfect safety record. Their balloon meister, Bill Hughes is a former pilot in the U.S. Navy with over 9,000 hours of experience flying all types of aircraft.
Kelly and I were presented with a Blue Sky gift certificate by a close friend for our 25th wedding anniversary. At first, I was not too thrilled, because to tell you the truth I hate heights. You might even say that I suffer from a borderline case of acrophobia. But I summoned the courage, and we went up.
First, let me say it was nothing like what I feared. Although a hot air balloon has the potential to soar miles above terra firma, we never went higher than 100 feet (10 stories in the air). The ride was smooth, stable, and even. It felt kind of like I was riding in a Cadilac or a Mercedes. Hot air balloons can only travel at the speed of the wind. I could hardly sense that we were moving, but for the scenery changing around us.
Looking out at the Hudson River Valley as we floated above rural homes and farms all I heard were ambient sounds. A dog was barking in the distance. In the woods, I saw several deer foraging. Above us a bald eagle was soaring through the cloudless afternoon sky, as the sun was beginning its descent. It was the most serene experience I’ve ever had.
So, my friend, I must recommend that you put it on your list of things to do in the New York metropolitan area before the season ends. Blue Sky does not fly once the weather gets cold. Furthermore, they operate on a first come first serve basis, so if you want to book them for a particular date or occasion do keep that in mind. Birthdays, graduations, and engagements are some of the most popular reasons for bookings at Blue Sky according to Bill. In my opinion, a hot air balloon adventure is an occasion unto itself. If you can’t think of something to celebrate, celebrate life and go up anyway. You can thank me later!
How to get to Blue Sky Balloons:
Take Metro North to Poughkeepsie from there you can either call an Uber ($30.00) or pre-arrange with Blue Sky for pick-up to the launch area.
IMPORTANT: The launch address is different from the business address for the company.
Flights originate from:
1697 Salt Point Turnpike
Salt Point, New York
Blue Sky Balloons (http://www.blueskyballoons.com)
102 Wilbur Blvd.
Poughkeepsie, New York 12603
(845) 473 - 6917