My wife received a call about 8:30 a.m. from Theresa Gross who told her that a Hot Air Balloon had landed in the meadow just below gifted road. So with pajamas, housecoat, winter coat and tuke, I took off with my camera and first snapped the above photo.

The passengers (4) had not yet gotten out of the balloon basket. They had been riding about an hour and had left the parking area near the Inn At Essex, travelling about 5 mph and enjoying what they said was the most beautiful sight they had ever seen. People were waving to them from the ground and one woman even invited them to drop down for breakfast. When they passed the Westford Graded School, they said they were greeted warmly by all the students waving to them on the ground.

Among the onlookers, which were about 4, was Steve Ratte who also took some photos. I was just feeding the cat and getting ready to have my morning coffee - I know its a little late, but retirement is just great - Steve, meanwhile said he was getting ready to take a shower, but this being an unusual sight here in Fairfax, we both decided "what ta heck?"
The above photo shows the operators beginning to take down the balloon as this was the end of the ride. When I mentioned to the owner of the balloon, Oh, you give balloon rides, he quickly explained that he did not "GIVE" rides. The longer Steve watched, the more enthused he got about going for a Hot Air Balloon ride. I told Steve that when he took one, he definitely would have to land in Fairfax. I did get the impression however that whether he landed in Fairfax would be very dependent as to just what direction the wind was in.

The balloon is followed by a truck and the balloon operator is in constant contact with them by both radio and cellular phone. Above they are shown rolling up the balloon in preparation for packaging it to bring it back to Essex Junction

The owner explained to the passengers that part of the ride included their help in packing the balloon into what appeared to be a black bag.

The huge balloon is in the large black bag that the two guys are closing up ready to be placed on the back of the pickup truck

The cell phone rings and Jeff Snyder, the owner, answers - Someone else wants a balloon ride and another trip will be made this afternoon as the owner makes the arrangements.
Jeff Snyder is from Jericho and his business is Above Reality. He can be reached at 802-899-4007, just in case you are interested in using this method to view Fall Foliage in Vermont. He also has a web site at

Henry A. Raymond
October 7, 2003