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Balloon Ride Makes Ideal Last Minute Gift


It’s on everyone’s Top 10 list of things to do someday. Your pilots Ken and Gary Lovell have a perfect safety record in 3,500 flights. And this is the perfect last minute gift. So why not send a champagne hot air balloon ride gift certificate via email today? 




Lovell Brothers Hold World Records

Imagine yourself (or friend) floating in a hot air balloon. Actually, you can’t imagine the euphoria. You have to experience it. Ballooning is a nature walk in the sky.

You know that Balloons Over New England offers a unique scenic adventure. And in 25 years, they hold a perfect safety record. But did you know our team holds several world records too?

A little balloon history

In 1783 the first balloon took flight in France with a dog, a goat and a chicken. Back then the builders thought the smoke, not the heat, made the balloon rise. Within the year a human braved the unknown skies. By the end of the 18th century a hot air balloonist had traveled to Portsmouth NH – a challenging place to ride even today.

We have a proud history of our own. Ken Lovell of Balloons Over New England and Alfred ME was part of a special group gathered in Anomaly France in 1983 to celebrate the 200th year of flight.

In the late 1980's Ken and his dedicated crew built what was then the LARGEST balloon ever constructed. It required 2000 yards of fabric and five miles of thread. Ken and two co-pilots set a record for flying across the United States. They started in San Clemente CA and landed in a field on the eastern side of Route 95 with the ocean in view! Ken and crew took 23 days and 12 flights to accomplish the record.

Their balloon took off at dawn each day (weather permitting) and landed just before dark each evening. As balloons cannot steer and spent most of the day over 15,000 feet in the sky, the ground crew had to find them each day. Then they had to get a propane truck to the landing site to refuel each night. The balloon did wander into Mexican airspace and over the Gulf of Mexico, but then floated safely back on course. The team’s biggest challenge was surviving three days under a blue tarp in the pouring rain in the middle of Nowhere, Louisiana. They averaged 300 miles, although one day the balloon advanced only six miles in nine hours aloft. Now that was a waste of propane!


Giant Miss Chanpagne

A year later the Lovell brothers joined the team that built "Miss Champagne" -- a giant balloon recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was 3.2 million cubic feet and made of Tyvek panels glued together. Yes, that is the same material used to wrap new houses to keep drafts out. It sounds sketchy, but we sent a sample to MIT for testing and the glued areas were stronger than the material itself.

Miss Champagne was inflated on Sebago Lake in southern Maine on a sub zero day in February. It was a majestic sight on the clearest day one can imagine. By noon the crew was drinking champagne and toasting their success. And wondering exactly why we did that!.

Over Mount Washington

The following year Gary Lovell and two pilots (veterans of the Miss Champagne project) waited two months for the right winds to take off from the Mt Washington Hotel and fly over the mountain. It was February again. We took off in perfectly calm wind and 14 minutes later were crossing the top of the mountain at 60 miles per hour. We left a margin for error and used it all! Up. Several hundred feet off or a few minutes slower and we would still be in Tuckerman's Ravine. Two hours later we landed in Augusta, Maine with calm winds. When the local TV station finally caught up with us, one of the pilots summed up the adventure perfectly.

"It was fun. It was exciting. AND WE WON'T BE DOING IT AGAIN!" he said.

The following February Gary and a fellow pilot from Quechee VT took off at 8 am in Quechee and landed in Sanford, ME in exactly two hours. They averaged 50 mph and it sure looked like the Atlantic Ocean was coming up fast. How calm the winds on the surface were once again. It was such a clear day we could see the sun gleaming on the ocean from Vermont, or more precisely, from 10,000 feet above Vermont. Lake Winnipesauke didn't look all as large from above.

Why Fly with Us?

Balloons Over New England has been offering rides around New England for nearly 25 years by the Lovell brothers. Passengers have ranged from a 101 year old fellow in Greenfield MA to a five-year old who never stopped asking questions about physics.

So what do you want – another toaster oven, or the ride of your life?

Customers love the Champagne Balloon Adventure out of Quechee VT with its famous Gorge. It sits at the junction of the White River Valley and the Connecticut River Valley. Most flights rise above the hills and float into the valleys beyond with stunning views to Killington, Mt Ascutney -- and on clear days -- Mt Mansfield in Stowe!

No steering wheel

One rides the morning zephyrs with the destination unknown. Some land in the many valley fields, some in a friendly driveway, All are exciting! The experience takes a couple of hours and includes a wonderful champagne reception upon landing – to celebrate the adventure of YOUR life.

It’s not a ride, it’s an adventure.

To learn how you can put a hot air balloon certificate into your special someone's gift box contact Balloons Over New England at 1-800-788-5562 or visit BALLOONS OVER NEW ENGLAND online today.  


DISCLAIMER: The above essay is advertising content provided by Balloons Over New England and edited for publication by  


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