Hot air balloons predate all other forms of human-bearing flight technology except saddled eagles and the commercial jetliner built in secret by da Vinci. Get an eagle-eye view of the countryside with today's Groupon: for $330, you get a ride for two over Lancaster County's Amish farm country or Philadelphia's countryside from the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team (a $558 value). The typical flight hosts a total of six to eight passengers, and airborne baskets depart from locations in Bird in Hand and Pottstown.
The U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team's commercially certified balloonists captain sightseeing flights over Lancaster County or Philadelphia's countryside. Each balloon has been maintained, inspected, and twisted into animal shapes in accordance with FAA regulations, setting sky-borne passengers' minds at ease as they drift among the clouds. On the Lancaster County trip, passengers soak up views of the Susquehanna River and the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, and peer down at the area's Amish population dotting the farmland far below. Before alighting as gently as a moth with a sore toe, balloonists take in the skyline of Reading as well as the nearby towns of Intercourse, New Holland, Strasburg, and Ephrata.
Alternatively, customers can spend their trips sketching the forms of the skyscrapers that tower over Philadelphia or the enormous cheesesteak the city is built upon. Once firmly earthbound, each passenger can sip on a glass of champagne, munch on some light snacks, and meet the local farmers and neighbors who help deflate the balloon and pack it up. Sunrise and sunset flights typically last one hour.