Twice a day the balloons rise from Vermont's Village Green near Quechee's Simon Pierce Glass Works and float off towards the Ottauquechee River and the chasm called the Quechee Gorge.
The pilots know the winds as they ascend and descend to catch the air currents that course through the valley. Moving silently, the balloon settles down on the river's surface and hovers as you gasp to see water creep in to the basket.
Suddenly a throaty howl with a tongue of blue flame ends your baptism as the expanding air lifts the balloon from the water and takes you soaring over the treetops only to settle down again between vermilion hillsides and into the Quechee Gorge.
You lift again and soar high above the farms of Woodstock and then into a field rimmed by sugar maples to meet the chase team as it arrives for the traditional Champaign toast.
October brings the changing of the leaves to Woodstock. From the Village Green beside the river, balloons fly passengers all season down the river and into the Quechee Gorge. Morning flights usually follow the river southeast then fly up over route 4 and descend into the mile-long water-cut canyon billed locally as Vermont's Grand Canyon. Morning flights fly above the Gorge giving passengers a great view. Afternoon flights will follow the river through farm country and over the ski mountain to the northwest.
Colonial Woodstock with a population of 3,500 spends fall decked out in harvest time splendor with pumpkins and chrysanthemums lining the sidewalks in a village center that anchors farm country of rolling hills. Still supplying milk, cheese, and Maple syrup to nearby cities, the region will as often host crafts artists, equine eventing, mock fox hunts, and elegant shops.
Antique covered bridges and postcard-like farms attract artists and photographers, others come for the golf, tennis, and museums
Equestrian events attract horse owners to Woodstock. May and July see the Green Mountain Horse Association's Hunter Jumper shows in South Woodstock and weekends bring equestrian events.
The end of August brings the Annual Scottish Festival with bagpipe music, Scottish fiddles, Celtic harp, and Scottish dancing along with sheep herding dogs and a road race that requires the wearing of kilts.
The villagers have preserved the old houses and three covered bridges, two date to the mid 1800s.
The Billings Farm Museum built in 1878 still operates as a dairy while celebrating the farm life once so integral to Vermont life.
The Raptor Center of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science rescues and rehabilitates birds, particularly hawks and eagles. They have two Bald Eagles, two Golden Eagles and many hawks and owls that came to them too damaged for release to the wild.
In Quechee Gorge Village an old diner is one of a few left in the country and shares space with the Vermont Toy and Train Museum displaying toys, dolls, and lunch boxes dating from the 40s
The Simon Pierce Glassworks gives you a close-up look at the skills of glass artisans and potters creating artworks for sale in the showrooms. The building was once a water-powered mill with an electric generator within a sluice channel which architects saved for viewing when they remodeled the old building in the 70s. While dining at the Glassworks you overlook a waterfall and a covered bridge and might just see a balloon lift off from the green and glide by as it follows the river.
The rolling hills and cleared fields make for such great hot air balloon country that Woodstock hosts the annual Quechee Balloon Festival in mid June bringing live music to the green, craft shows and a host of micro-brews strutting their wares. Vermont farm country presents few wires, no tall buildings, and lots of room to land. Morning flights are the best but during the summer the riders will have to be ready by 6 am.
Although the changing of the leaves is as fickle as the winds that push balloons through the valley, usually the foliage season ends by the fourth week in October. Balloons fly year-round but the rush of visitors tapers in November as Vermont settles in for a long snowy winter.
Quechee Vermont's Hot Air Balloons soar over the golden Maples of Woodstock Vermont. Vacationers glide above the hills and meadows in a wicker basket hung from a multi-colored envelope of heated air.
Quechee Vermont Balloons Woodstock Vermont
Applebutter Inn, one of the Benchmark Inns of the Woodstock area. Link to Applebutter Inn
Pilot Darrek Daoust secures the balloon after a flight
Quechee Vermont, Balloons in Woodstock
Woodstock Vermont: with Balloon rides, covered bridges, and working farm museums, Woodstock has many attractions to keep a vacationer busy.
Balloons in Woodstock
Getting to Woodstock: Traveling by air, the nearest international airport is Boston's Logan Airport (BOS) where you can rent a car for the trip north. Follow Route 93 North as it goes through the city of Boston towards Manchester, NH. North of Manchester pick up Route 89 north to Lebanon NH and White River Junction Vermont. Then take Rout 4 to Woodstock, VT
Quechee's balloons take visitors above Vermont's foliage and bring excitement to an old theme as they sail over Woodstock's crimson hills and covered bridges as they make autumn in Vermont something special.
|Annual Hot air Balloon Festival and Crafts Fair,