A Hot Air Balloon Birthday

Ever since I was little, I always had a desire to ride in a hot air balloon. When I was young, I used to visit my grandparents in Quechee, Vermont, and we would go to the annual Quechee Balloon Festival. This festival always had 20 to 30 hot air balloons, and when they all took off into the sky at sunset, it was the most beautiful sight and all I wanted was to be in one of those baskets.

Last year for my 22nd birthday, Jesse set the bar high by taking me skydiving for the first time, and I LOVED it! Needless to say, I had high (no pun intended) expectations for this year, and once again, he failed to disappoint, by taking me on a sunset hot air balloon ride (with champagne!).

After two unfortunate cancellations due to weather (rain and too much wind), last night we finally headed up to Carlsbad for our ride!

When we arrived at the launching site, we got to watch all four of the balloons getting blown up by small fans. As you can see in the photo below, the balloons and baskets started off on their sides, then once they were almost completely blown up, the pilots turned on the fire, which pushed them upright. At that point, we had to jump in the basket immediately!


They even hung up a birthday banner for me!


I was surprised how many people fit in each basket. Ours had 15 people and the basket itself had four small sections with one larger section in the center for the pilot. Once we took off, the ride was incredibly smooth and so relaxing.




We flew over an area where there were these enormous, beautiful homes, that almost all had resort-style pools, tennis courts, and even small golf courses and horse barns. We even flew over one of Bill Gates’ homes!




Sad that the ride is almost over

20160417_184848 20160417_191838The sunset from the sky was gorgeous and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect birthday present!


3 Comment

  1. Bonnie Destakasi says: Reply

    Emma- I think you should make these posts into a book. There is such optimism and hope in your postings. You describe a picture -perfect young love story that I think others would benefit from reading. Too often we hear about difficult things that are happening in the world and in people’s relationships. Yours offers an antidote to all that negativity. Inspiring 🎈

  2. Pearl Ann Schwartz says: Reply

    If Jesse ever decides to leave the Marines, he could probably have a career as an event planner! He arranged another incredible birthday “present” for you. As usual, your pictures made your blog even better.

    Never realized that the Quechee Balloon Festival had made such an impression on you because there there were always rides, crafts, etc., that you liked..

    1. Emma says: Reply

      Jesse definitely always hits it out of the park with birthday gifts 🙂 Yeah, I loved the Quechee Balloon Festival. I hope to go back one day.

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