The Balloon Experience

The Balloon Experience

Flying in a basket underneath a hot air balloon cannot be compared to anything in the world.

Hot air ballooning guarantees the adventure of a lifetime with postcard-perfect views, like poetry in motion. It's exhilarating for adults and children alike. You ascend into the bluest of skies and traverse beautiful Lancaster County Amish Country for about an hour. It is a peaceful experience, so serene, like angelically floating on a cloud. Fear is not a factor, as it is not like looking over an overpass, riding an elevator, or doing anything that causes instability or discomfort. Patches of idyllic farmland are visible for miles. Flights only take place during sunrise and just before sunset; there are no midday flights due to thermals, which is uneven heating that affects the balloon. Both the pilots and the crew, who work other jobs, love the adventure so much that they dedicate their free time to bringing this one-of-a-kind experience to all, an experience which is safer than driving in a car but vastly more exciting.

The experience starts with passengers watching set-up at any one of their three launch locations: Harvest Drive Family Inn in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, when the winds are coming from the west; Red Run Camp Ground in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, when the winds are coming from the north; and Gap Family Center in Gap, Pennsylvania, when the winds are coming from the south or east. A fan blows air into the envelope or balloon. As air billows into the envelope, causing it to expand, it rises in a wondrous display of color. Then, a propane burner will lift the balloon upright. At this point, everyone hops into the basket and enjoys floating over the lovely terrain. As the flight ensues, your eyes open wide to behold what appears to be a gently moving canvas.

Because safety is paramount, flying only occurs in the calmest of winds and best of weather conditions for your optimal ballooning experience. Every passenger is like family, and safety is always top priority. Interestingly enough, the balloon does not steer in any direction except up or down, while the pilot thinks ahead, monitoring weather and landing conditions. The experience ends with Amish children running after the balloon, getting candy, and sometimes tethering in the balloon. The balloon often draws crowds from the traffic and houses below. People wave and then chase the balloon. It’s an unforgettable slice of fun that life offers to anyone willing to dream of it. It is a perfect way to experience and capture the beauty of Lancaster County and its peaceful Amish.