1 When I'm home, I often get up early and look at the beautiful vistas of my farm from my terrace parterre. The other morning, I did just that, and from the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar sight... can you see it on the right side of this photo?
3 It was such a glorious and calm morning - the conditions seemed perfect for a balloon ride.
4 As it turned out, Michael took a flight from Bedford Hills, a hamlet in the town of Bedford, New York. The wind carried the balloon east over my farm and toward the Cross River Reservoir. We were taking pictures at the same time from opposite vantage points.
5 Michael's photos from the balloon were so delightful to see. Here he was over my cutting garden and main Greenhouse.
6 Once he passed over the cutting garden, Michael turned back for another photo. You can see the spectacular foliage beginning to turn here in Bedford.
7 In this photo, Michael was a bit higher up. You can see the shadow of the balloon - called the envelope - in the trees across from my Summer House. In the distance, the morning fog.
8 At this point, Michael was moving northeast at about four miles per hour. The shadow of his balloon was still very visible in the trees. To move upwards, Michael opens the valve to release hot air from the burner into the envelope.
9 The balloon and its shadow continued to fly by past my stable, the boxwood allee, and my horse paddocks. The fencing is made from old Canadian white spruce that I imported. It surrounds all the paddocks on the farm. What a gorgeous image.
10 The balloon continued to move northeast toward the Cross River Reservoir. Here, you can see more of the changing foliage - simply breathtaking.
11 From my view on the ground, Michael seemed to be "floating" over my hay fields.
12 Because hot air balloons move with the wind, its pilot usually has a chase crew, or a ground crew that follows the balloon, throughout the flight, from a car. It's this same vehicle that transports the balloon, and its passengers back home after the flight.
13 The hot-air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. The very first untethered manned hot-air balloon flight took place in Paris, France in 1783, with a balloon made of paper and silk. Today, hot-air balloons consist of three main parts - the envelope, the gondola or wicker basket for carrying passengers, and the flame.
14 The balloon was moving farther and farther away toward the Cross River Reservoir. Hot-air balloons travel as fast as the wind blows; however, balloon pilots prefer flying when winds on the ground are between three miles and eight miles per hour.
15 Michael says within the next week or so, the changing leaves will look even more captivating from the balloon - he's keeping a constant eye on the weather to see when he may be able to go up again.
16 It was about 8am when this photo was taken. In the distance, the Cross River Reservoir was covered with a sheet of fog. The balloon's shadow was still seen in the trees just past my chicken coops.
17 What a beautiful wide photo of my farm taken by Michael from the basket of the balloon.
18 From back on the ground, it was just as beautiful to see the changing skies over the balloon as it flew past my fields and paddocks.
19 When it is in the sky, it is hard to tell just how large a hot-air balloon is, but typical sport balloons range in size from 65-thousand to 105-thousand cubic feet in volume, and stands about 80-feet tall and 50-feet wide.
20 Hot-air balloons can go thousands of feet into the air, but tend to fly from about 500 to up to two-thousand feet above the ground. The highest recorded height of a balloon in flight was nearly 70-thousand feet up over Mumbai, India in 2005.
21 Michael was probably just nearing the skies over the reservoir by this point.
22 The closer he got to the Cross River Reservoir, the more fog was seen. During fall and early winter, the most common form of fog is radiation fog when the land cools after sunset by radiating the heat up into the atmosphere. The more calm the air, the lower the fog.
23 At this point, Michael was over the reservoir.
24 And when this image was taken, Michael had flown across the reservoir - these trees were on the other side.
25 And, look at the shadow of the balloon in the fog.
26 As the light changed, so did the color of the fog.
27 Once he landed, Michael decided to take a couple of pictures of the reservoir from the ground.
28 Here, Michael was looking west.
29 On this morning, I had also planned to go for a horseback ride with a group of friends. On the way, I ran into Michael after he landed. I took this photo from around the same location where we saw each other - such a gorgeous image of the fall foliage and tranquil waters.
30 Here was my handsome Friesian, Rinze, waiting for me at my friend Muffin Dowdle's home. It was also a perfect day for a horseback ride.
31 Muffin led the way on her Palomino pony, Biscuit.
32 Lara Ward was on Ollie, Muffin on Biscuit, and Jenny Eckerson was on Remington.
34 But first, we visited a very special property.
35 Muffin led us on the tour - here were the owner's chickens, well protected by their enclosure and a beautiful coop built with a slate tile roof.
36 I took a photo of this large, flat rock - I wonder what is under there...
37 These stone pillars marked the entrance to the owner's specially built yoga area.
38 As we rode up toward the stone entrance after the chicken coop, we saw one of several willow huts. At first glance, it looks like just a pile of wood, but it is actually a man-made dwelling made from curly willow branches.
39 In this photo, the doorway is visible. The owner of this special home is a yogi and often uses these huts for meditation.
40 This was a bigger willow hut - with a wooden bench nearby. Such a beautiful and serene place for contemplation.
41 Look closely, and behind this willow hut was the owner's guest house.
42 Betsy and I rode a bit closer to take a look at the beautiful guest house.
43 Here was one of several outdoor fire pits on the property.
44 We stopped at this location to look at the beautiful view through the woods of the Cross River Reservoir.
We are looking at it from a special yoga platform built on the grounds along with another fire pit just feet in front of us.
45 Later, during the ride through Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, we stopped at a popular spot called "Point Lookout".
46 "Point Lookout" is known for its beautiful views. My stable manager, Betsy, who grew up in this area, has visited this spot since she was a little girl. We are so fortunate to live in an area where we can see views like this one.
47 Here we were trying to turn for a quick photo - Muffin and Biscuit, Betsy and Ramon, myself and Rinze.
48 A fun photo of Lara on her mount, Remington.
49 It was a beautiful day and a fun ride with good friends.