Visually extinguishing the sun, a total solar eclipse is one of the most dramatic astronomical events seen by the naked eye. It generally only happens once or twice a generation, and the next one is coming on Monday, August 21. This is the first total solar eclipse touching the continental United States since 1979. For those of us living in Santa Barbara, a partial eclipse will be visible at 10:18 am. If you want a more dramatic look, you’ll have to travel.
Labeled the Great American Eclipse, it will only be witnessed in its totality along a small swath of the continental United States. For this reason, there are only a handful of locations across the country where you can witness the full effect along a descending path that traces from Oregon to South Carolina.
Best Viewing Spots
Eclipse-chasers from around the world will be joining millions of Americans to witness this incredible natural phenomenon. Here are some spots to view this unique and unforgettable event:
- Terra Vina Wines, Oregon
Oregon is the first state where the total eclipse will be visible, in Mt. Hood Territory, in the heart of wine country. Stay on the farm at the Terra Vina winery, about 25 miles south of Portland.
Terra Vina Wines, 33750 SW Ladd Hill Rd, Wilsonville, OR 97070; +1 503-925-0712.
- Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Amangani means “peaceful home,” a resort on a private mountain overlooking Jackson Hole in Wyoming, a natural setting to inspire awe even without the bonus of an eclipse. While there, check out the sky-gazing activities led by University of Maryland University College astronomer Matthew Bobrosky.
Amangani, 1535 NE Butte Road, Jackson, Wyoming 83001; +1 307 734 4870.
- Jefferson City, Missouri
The Missouri capital of Jefferson City is located near the center of the arc, and the city has big plans for celebrations to include carnival and educational events. The most eye-catching: the city’s “Total Eclipse of the Park” party with music, sci-fi movies and the Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” tribute concert on the lawn in front of the state capitol.
Call +1 (573) 634-6482 for reservations.
- Brasstown Valley Resort, Young Harris, Georgia
A two-hour drive from Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee, this mountain resort offers log cottages and one spa suite to put the romance in the eclipse experience.
Brasstown Valley Resort, 6321 U.S. 76, Young Harris, GA 30582; +1 800-201-3205.
- Eclipseville, aka Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, normally has a population of 30,000. But as the “Point of Greatest Eclipse,” the community is preparing to welcome tens of thousands of visitors. The town is also hosting NASA scientists and Brother Guy Consolmagno, chief observer of the Vatican Conservatory.
Check www.eclipseville.com for area hotels.
- A Walk in the Woods, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains are an ideal location and A Walk in the Woods is hosting an all-day boat trip on Fontana Lake with naturalists and an astronomer as your guides.
A Walk in the Woods, 4413 Scenic Drive East, Gatlinburg, TN 37738; +1 865 436 8283.
- Gorges State Park, North Carolina
The only North Carolina state park in the path of totality, Gorges State Park will open at 5 a.m. — two hours early — to accommodate day-trippers who want to stake out prime viewing spots. Park rangers recommend arriving by 11 a.m. at the latest.
Check the eclipse package offered at Candlewood Suites, http://www.charlestoncvb.com/special-offers/packages/eclipse/
- Greenwood, South Carolina
The town of Greenwood in South Carolina is toward the end of the eclipse’s arc across the United States and will experience more than two minutes of darkness in the afternoon.
Lake Greenwood State Park, 302 State Park Road, Ninety Six, SC 2966; +1 864 543 3535.
- Cascades and Coast Tour, Intrepid Travel
To maximize your time around the summer eclipse, pick one of Intrepid Travel’s six itineraries. One nine-day road trip around Washington and Oregon takes in Mount Rainier, rugged coastlines and scenery, and vibrant Seattle and Portland.
Airlie Farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, will provide a perfectly peaceful backdrop for eclipse gazing and contemplating one’s place in the universe.
- Berry Islands, Bahamas
The Berry Islands in the Bahamas is an ideal spot. With a population of just 400 — and no light pollution — Great Harbour Cay offers the promise of clear skies. The four-bedroom CarriEarl property offers an on-site restaurant, freshwater pool and plenty of rum punch.
CarriEarl Boutique Hotel, Great Harbour Cay Drive, Great Harbour Cay, Bahamas; +1 242-367-8785.
Where are you going to be for the 2017 total solar eclipse? If you act quickly and with my assistance, you might find your new home in Montecito or one of the other upscale Santa Barbara communities just in time. Give me a call at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com right away!