Archive for October, 2011

Last Weekend of 2011 Flying Season

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Well, it’s a wrap. The weekend weather forecast brings an end to my 2011 flying season. Baker, Todd and I will see you in the Spring of 2012.

Time to put the balloon away. See you in 2012!

10/18-25 Trip to Charlottesville VA

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Recently back from a trip down south to visit w/bro Richard and his bride Vicky in Charlottesville VA. It’s a bit of a drive, around 9 hours, but it’s all interstate highway driving, so it’s rather painless, other than the heavy truck traffic on I-81. The worst is when you get stuck behind a snail race of passing trucks up a hill when there are only 2 lanes. Anyhow, the scenery from the highway is somewhat interesting to keep you entertained. One travel tip for anyone who is driving 81 north through Scranton & Wilkes-Barre PA, you may want to consider a go-around if you can, there is a construction back-up between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton that looked rather nasty. Heading back home, we took 80 off 81, to 380 N to 84 to the NYS Thruway. This route took around a 1/2 hour off our drive-time. Our trips to Virginia usually involve visits to wineries, good eats and a Hoos (the Virginia Cavaliers, WaHoos-don’t ask) football game and tailgate.

Here's the first winery on our multi day tour - Keswick


The view inside the tasting room. Virginia wines are similar to New York wines, good but not great; usually better whites than reds. The Viognier is the popular VA white.


Next up was a fav, Horton Cellars. Both wineries are near Gordonsville.


The happy tasters with their Horton souveniers.


Last winery on the day 1 tour is White Hall, near Skyline Drive. I bought a bottle of white, but not worth the drive in my opinion.

That night, we ate out at a Tapas style restaurant, Mas Tapas. It was an interesting place in an out of the way, funky part of town. The building is converted old industrial, with a modern decor. Sorry, no pics, but our food was good, as was our service-we went early. The next morning, we wanted to sample some local diner grub for breakfast. Brother’s bride Vic asked some co-workers at UVA what they would recommend, and they sent us off to The Tavern.

Roof sign says it all!

Portion sizes are huge. Of all the grub on the table, bro's sweet potato pancakes were the best of the lot, and no we didn't eat it all.


On day 2 of the winery tour, we visited Ash Lawn at Highland, the home of the 5th President, James Monroe.


Front of the home, that was an add-on to the original home built by Monroe. The big ash tree to the top-left was around 200 years old.


On the tour, the original part of the home built by Monroe is the white part on the left.


Wifey and Vic checking out the gardens.

For info, click on the link for Ash Lawn-Highland. Next we continued down 795 to the Trump Winery. We checked-in, then checked out-good grief, what an ego! Fortunately, on the same road was the Blenheim Vineyards, which we were told is owned by Dave Mathew’s of the Dave Mathew’s Band. They had some very nice wines and generous pours for tasting.

The Blenheim Vineyards.


Yes, we enjoyed our tasting.


On the way back into Charlottesville, we stopped at the Jefferson Vineyard, across from Monticello. The original vinyard was developed by Thomas Jefferson.

That night, we went out to eat at Orzo Kitchen and wine Bar. The food was good, but I enjoyed a place more that we went on a previous visit, Bang.

Orzo at the Main Street Market.


On next day we started low key with just some Kashie cereal, waiting for Vic to get her work chores done for her boss before we could continue with our food, wine and now Micro Brew Pub tour. We headed toward Crozet on 64, Afton and Wintergreen along 151. Our first stop was The Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton for lunch.



They had a fine selection of brews to sample. Miss Vicky was our dd for the day 3 tour.


Interior look of the brewery.

Next up, we visited a rather small winery, Flying Fox Vineyard. So, so wine, but got a couple of bottles anyway-don’t ask me why, just did?

At the Flying Fox Vinyard.

Heading down 151 for Wintergreen, and a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we came across a real nice Micro-Brew Pub, Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland.

The Devils Backbone Brewery


We sat out on the patio to sample their wares. Brother and I had a real nice Porter, and the girls had coffee and cookies.


A very fine brew.

Next on the day 3 tour, was a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, back toward 64, Charlottesville and leftovers for dinner from the 1st night’s barbecue take-out.

The girls and the view south-west from the Blue Ridge Parkway.


Overlook view to the west, northwest.

View to the east.

On day 4, no more touring cause it’s Hoos football day and tailgating. We start the day with breakfast at the Bluegrass Grill and Bakery in Downtown Charlottesville, and a visit to the farmers market and a walk down the downtown pedestrian mall.

The Bluegrass Grill


A very tasty breakfast, a bit more upscale than the fare we sampled at the Tavern a couple of days ago. I got corned beef hash again, but w/a poached egg this time, and a side of biscuits and gravy. My one concession to healthy eating (the poached egg that is;-).

Yam art at the farmers market.

View down the pedestrian mall from a previous visit.

 Now, it’s time for some Hoos football and tailgating.

Some folks getttin' in the mood for some football.


Here's our party.


Time to get into the mood.


It's time for some football.


The view into the stadium from the students end.


It's game time!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the Jackson’s 2011 eating and drinking tour of the greater Charlottesville VA area. We did!!

Hot Air Balloon Ride Flying Weather for last Week of the Month

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

The weather forecast for the rest of the week is not looking the best to get any flying done, at least as of this evening. The weather is starting to transition toward our winter season, and this morning, national news was showing snow from Golden Colorado. Our son Grant was living in Golden back in 2009, now living in Grand Junction on the other side of the mountains. On our visit in early November in 2009 we also experienced snow. We got snowed-on in mid April of that year also when we visited his family in Golden, so early/late snow isn’t unheard of. But, it doesn’t last.

The view down main street in Golden CO 11/13/09


This was at the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum up in the hills above Golden on our April visit


The same April snow in Golden

And the next day, it looks like this on the Front Range in Golden. That's not North East weather.

If I don’t get to do my Saturday flights, that will be it for this year for my hot air balloon rides.  I will start flying again in the Spring of 2012.

Recent Hot Air Balloon Rides and Weather for the Week

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

The Columbus Holiday Weekend featured the best flying conditions that we have seen all season. Unfortunately, our weather looks to return to it’s wet ways for this week and into the coming weekend. We did a lot of flying over the long holiday weekend, starting with Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning, I flew Paul and Laura from Broadalbin, celebrating Paul's birthday.

On Saturday afternoon, I flew Keith and Alexandra from Rotterdam. Keith proposed to Alexandra on the flight.


On Sunday morning, it was Chris and Maria from Ridgewood NY on-board.


On Sunday afternoon, it was Tim and Todd from New York City, and Jason and Samantha from Clifton Park.

On Monday morning, Bill and Kathy from Hagerstown MD flew. We took the afternoon off.


Tuesday morning, I flew Peter and Echol from Gloversville, the last of our string of flights.

I told you we had good flying conditions for Friday through Tuesday. Now, we rest and plan our trip to Virginia. Cheers everyone!


Latest Hot Air Balloon Ride and Weather for Columbus Day Weekend Balloon Flights

Friday, October 7th, 2011

The weather forecast for the Columbus Day Weekend is spectacular, and just in time for fall foliage flying. The weather looks good right through mid week, before we have a chance to see any more rain.

This is Brenda and Wayne from Galway on our early morning flight.

This is John from Lake George and Jay from Nanuet, also on the morning flight


Looking south in the valley, with the fog over the Hudson River.


Our balloon shadow

It’s going to be a great weekend to get out and enjoy some fantastic fall weather and sights.

Weather, Flying and Fall Foliage Updates

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Our weather forecast for this week improves for the 2nd half of the week, into the coming Columbus Holiday Weekend. Due to the extended wet weather we’ve been experiencing, we’ve gotten over 9 inches of rain last couple of months at the airport, I will not be scheduling any flights until the end of the week to allow our flying area to dry some before we head out to fly.

So, with another wet weekend for the first weekend of October, wifey and I headed north on Sunday to check-out the fall foliage. We took 87 north to exit 29, North Hudson where Frontier Town use to be, and headed west on Boreas Rd, County Hwy 2B, through the Blue Ridge toward Newcomb.

A view on 84 on the drive toward Newcomb. The foliage is somewhat muted this fall.

At the end of Tahawus Rd, looking toward Adams and Allen Mountain with Mt. Marcy in the clouds.

A deserted beach on Harris Lake.

The view just south of Indian Lake, of Adirondack Lake at a pull-off on Rt. 28.

We stopped for a late lunch in North Creek at Trappers Tavern.

A bowl of stew for me and a smoked chicken salad samich w/fries for wifey, and a good micro brew. All were very tasty.

A lady working on a mural in North Creek.

North Creek is a small, unhurried Adirondack Mountain Village, with some interesting things to check-out. Follow the highlighted links for info on the places we visited on this drive – Tahawus, Long Lake, Indian Lake, and Trappers Tavern.