I can’t say that I’m one of those people who hate Mondays, especially if a Monday involves a hot air balloon ride in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
One of the biggest perks of being a travel blogger, as well as of being married to a creative, part-time freelancing girl, is that, instead of getting up in the morning to wait in traffic to get to some job, I have the fortune to be able to spend my mornings going for balloon rides.
Now, I realize that that’s pretty awesome, but, as I’ve said before, it’s nothing that you can’t do, too.
One of the reasons we moved to Charlottesville is the area’s beautiful countryside. Charlottesville and surrounding Albemarle County is definitely among the most peaceful, photogenic and lush rural areas in the United States. Even Thomas Jefferson considered it the most charming country anywhere in the world, which is, most likely, why he lived (t)here.
Made up of lush rolling hills, estates with perfectly manicured lawns, white-fenced farms and numerous vineyards, this is rural America at its very best. Let’s also not forget the fact that the county is flanked on the west by the Blue Ridge Mountains, home to major highlights such as Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I’ve been exploring a lot of the area in the past few weeks, including sunset photo shoots at the University of Virginia and sunrise drives in Shenandoah National Park, but nothing compares to what we did yesterday—a hot air balloon ride in Charlottesville.
Ballooning in Charlottesville
Charlottesville is home to a handful of ballooning companies. We went with Bonaire Charters, a company owned by Scott, who has been flying the skies of Albemarle County (and other destinations around the world) for almost a quarter century. I would like to refer you to the website of Bonaire Charters for more information about their flights, prices and background story.
Flights take place early in the morning and late in the evening, coincidentally also the best times of the day for photography. Seriously, a hot air balloon ride in Charlottesville is a photographer’s dream, particularly on a sunny morning in early summer.
In case you need more convincing that a hot air balloon ride is worth it during a stay in Charlottesville, just check out the selection of pictures below. It’s an absolutely brilliant travel experience and probably my favorite one of 2016 so far.