Up, up, and away. I love getting suggestions for a Music City Must, but this next idea took our series to all new heights! I never thought that I (someone terrified of heights) would end up soaring 2,000 feet above Tennessee in a hot air balloon. Thanks to Ace High Ballooning, I did. When you are thousands of feet above the ground in a little basket, it’s reassuring to know that you’re in good hands. Allow me to introduce you to the man who brings more than 40 years of Balloon Piloting experience to the skies AND even got me to try it – Bob Grimes. I truly do not think I would’ve attempted to fly if it wasn’t for Bob.
The man is so skilled that at one point during our flight he did a thing called a “splash and dash.” What does this mean? Well, Bob LITERALLY flies you over a pond and navigates the balloon so low to the water, the bottom of your basket barely sweeps across the top of the pond! The man is fearless and skilled! We all thought he was kidding when he warned us a “splash and dash” was coming, but he wasn’t. Bob mixes it up and would take us way up, and then he’d bring you back down, close to the ground. We were even able to yell “hello!” to people in their front yards. We saw deer running and could hear dogs barking. The most surprising thing to me is how smooth and peaceful the entire ride is, and of course the view is breathtaking.
Here’s what you need to know: Book your flight with Ace High Ballooning, and hope that the weather is on your side. Sometimes mother nature has plans of her own, so heads up that you may have to reschedule your flight based on ever-changing conditions. Bob is a pilot who cares, only taking his passengers up when the weather is just right. They take your safety very seriously, but the sport is overall extremely safe. The morning I flew, I met Bob and his two awesome crew members at a parking lot in Franklin, TN. Two other couples joined us that day. When I arrived, Bob was holding a small balloon he then released into the sky to check weather conditions. The weather agreed, so we all hoped in a van and headed to a nearby park to set up and take flight.
The team sets up the entire balloon in front of you. It’s an added bonus to actually get to SEE the hot air fill up. There were six of us in the basket, including Bob. His two crew members stay on the ground to monitor and help track our flight. The crew is in constant communication with Bob via walkie talkie. Speaking of the crew, Taylor and Cole are incredible! They tell you exactly what will be happening, and what is expected of you. You spend about an hour in the sky, with the whole experience taking around three hours start to finish. The flight ends with a triumphant landing and one final celebration including champagne, a pilot’s prayer and Bob reciting the story of how Ballooning came to be.
We enjoyed mimosas and bonded over the whole experience, because we all checked off a bucket list item. I had to conquer my fear of heights, but soaring above Tennessee in a hot air balloon will forever be one of my best memories. I also have a fear of spiders, but friends, that’s one fear I’m not quite ready to conquer. I’ll stick to heights for now! Flights range from $250 - $790.
Book your flight with Bob now on either website: