I'm surprised that I'm the first to write a review, because this was a great experience.
Things to love about Blue Ridge Balloon:
1.) They're professional. My wife and I were surprised (and pleased) when Blue Ridge contacted us four days in advance (due to a bad weather forecast calling for 100% rain on flight day). Blue Ridge asked whether we wanted to fly a day earlier--which we surely did. We were planning anyway to ask Blue Ridge if we could do this, so we were pleased and impressed with this sign of professionalism on its part.
2.) They're efficient, organized, and nice people. Our pilots were friendly (answering lots of questions), punctual, and drove us in their truck to a second launch site when the morning winds dictated a move. We landed in one of the chase crew's own fields, and it was clear from the way they spoke with some children that tumbled out of a nearby house that they were genuinely friendly. Though they offered us the opportunity to buy photographs, we felt none of the pressure/obligation that other reviewers encountered with other balloon companies.
3.) the trip was amazing. The ride itself was glorious--bright, and smooth, with remarkable color in the trees for so late in the year. The highlight of the trip was the pilot's ability to take us down to water level, just grazing the surface with the gondola/basket. The pilot warned us that the flare would be loud (which it was), but it was infrequent and intermittent once we got into the air. As other reviewers have complained about with other balloon companies, there was some chatter from the pilot's walkie-talkie, but it wasn't much, and since the communication was with a nearby airport and with the other pilots about wind conditions, I certainly didn't mind. Despite what other reviewers said about other companies, our touch-down was feather light. (Maybe the winds were light, or we got lucky?)
4.) Good balloon mates. Though the gondola/basket looked small, and we had five people in it (me and my wife, another couple, and the pilot) it didn't feel cramped. It helped that we really liked our balloon mates, who we thought were intelligent and adventurous.
I'd recommend this trip, and this company to anyone (unless you're afraid of heights).
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