The Photo Garden Bee Lifts off in a Hot air balloon over Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

Lewis Ginter's GardenFest of Lights and Balloon Ride!!!! © Britt Conley
Lewis Ginter's GardenFest of Lights and Balloon Ride!!!! © Britt Conley

Last night, Steve and I headed down Rt. 95 with great expectations of a wonderful time visiting the GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter.  Thanks to Lewis Ginter I had the opportunity to head up in the evening’s hot air balloon to get some shots of the property from the air.  They offered rides from 5-7 and it was great!  I am desperately afraid of heights, (which is fairly ironic for a Bee), but there you have it.  I was so nervous I could barely contain myself.  I even had to walk away at one point to try to steady my nerves.  We rounded the corner of the grand Conservatory and there was the crew of Balloons Over Virginia, ( www.balloonsovervirginia.com ) filling up the balloon with air.

Firing up the Air! © Steve Conley
Firing up the Air! © Steve Conley

Getting the chance to shoot Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens from the air was amazing enough, but doing it days after being laid off from 13 years at USA Today was, well, a great way to take my first solo flight as the full time Photo Garden Bee.  Despite being deathly afraid of heights it was liberating and wonderful.

Getting ready to lift off! © Steve Conley
Getting ready to lift off! © Steve Conley

And did The Photo Garden Bee manage to fly?

Things are looking up! © Britt Conley
Things are looking up! © Britt Conley

Tethered but YES!  And frankly I loved the training wheels!

The Bee has been launched! © Steve Conley
The Bee has been launched! © Steve Conley

The views were tremendous and great fun!

The Children's Garden across the lake © Britt Conley
The Children's Garden across the lake © Britt Conley

The view into the Conservatory itself was lovely and breath-taking for a first time balloonist!

Indeed, the holidays are here! © Britt Conely
Indeed, the holidays are here! © Britt Conley

It’s been a truly amazing week for me.  An unexpected layoff, a great opportunity and of course just the excitement of working on this site, which I fondly call The Bee.  I wanted to give an extra special thanks to Beth Monroe of Lewis Ginter who has been fantastic to work with.  I have to say this Garden was the best personal tip so far.  I have a full feature on the GardenFest of Lights up today as well!  Check the home page for Today’s Featured post!

‘Til Tomorrow!

Britt : )

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