Friday, June 17, 2016. Such a beautiful day, a good day for a day trip. We set our sights on a hot air balloon festival in Vermont. Along the way we stopped at the King Arthur Flour Company in Norwich, Vermont. This is their flagship campus and includes a nice cafe, gift store, bakery, and school. They were just getting ready to close up for the afternoon for an employee appreciation picnic so we could not stay long. .
And then a stop to see the “grand canyon” of Vermont, the Quechee Gorge, a 165 foot deep gorge over a mile long on the Ottauquechee River. After a stop at the visitor center we took a short hike over the to Quechee Gorge Bridge that spans the gorge. Pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge allow views of the gorge in both directions.
Just down the road is the 37th annual Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft & Music Festival, a 3-day event. This little festival includes 20 hot air balloons that launch at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, too early for us to make that early morning drive. And they launch at 6:00 p.m. each of the three days. So we enjoyed the crafts and the music and the food while we waited. There was one partially inflated balloon for people to enter and play around inside. cool.
The wind wasn’t letting up, and the balloons could not inflate until the Balloon Master gave the OK. We waited ’til 7:00 and the inflation began.
We have never been this close to something like this before. It was fascinating, and fun! Once they were inflated they began to rise, one after another. They did not linger as the wind quickly carried them off over the festival and out of sight. It got exciting as each time one lifted a cheer from the spectators rose with it. Here are a few of the 200 pictures I took:
- Distance Driven: 135 miles round trip
- Gasoline: $11.59 @ $2.19
- Parking: free
- Admission to Balloon Festival: $15 each… good for 3 days