Top places to see next week's solar eclipseBy Damien Martin
Monday’s total solar eclipse will cut a path across the continental U.S. from the Northwest to the Southeast, a once-in-a-generation event. The path of totality is a band about 70 miles wide and will pass by a few major cities. While you’ll certainly have to fight traffic in the prime viewing areas, here are a few spots you can see the eclipse in style. Don’t forget your glasses!
Virtuoso-preferred The Nines hotel is offering a solar eclipse package that includes tickets to the OMSI Planetarium, a map of the eclipse path and a blanket for maximum comfort while watching. From Portland, the sun will be 99.4 percent obscured. If that’s not enough for you, you can head out to wineries of the Willamette Valley and drink in the totality. Yes, the show will begin before 10:30 a.m. local time, but this is a special occasion.
Yellowstone National Park
The sun’s corona won’t be visible, as totality will range between 96-99 percent in the park’s boundaries. But what a great venue, surrounded by the stunning beauty of nature, and what better way to remind yourself of the enormity of time and space than to be among ancient geysers while watching a phenomenon that has captured people’s imaginations as long as people have been around. Assuming clear skies, most spots in the park will offer good views. The national park service advises visitors to arrive early to beat traffic and stake out a good spot, and to be mindful of wildlife crossing your path as you focus your attention upward.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Virtuoso-preferred Amangani and Four Seasons Resort are smack dab in the path of totality along with a prime location in the Tetons. The Sweetwater Gondola will be shuttling visitors 1,300 feet up to the Casper Restaurant for a watch party. Grand Teton National Park will have official viewing areas set up to make sure you don’t miss the action. Be sure to bring food, water and sunscreen if you’re heading to the park, as facilities are limited.
Nashville and Walland, Tennessee
Nashville -- home to Virtuoso-preferred Hutton Hotel and The Hermitage Hotel -- is the largest city directly in the eclipse’s path, and it’s a safe bet there will be songs written about the event in the Music City. There is of public viewing locations and city parks waiting with open arms. The partial eclipse will last almost 3 hours, with totality hitting at 1:27 p.m. Central time. While the sun will be back to normal by 3 p.m., the party will last well into the night, and the city tourism board has put together an official 14-son playlist featuring the likes of Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” At Virtuoso-preferred Blackberry Farm in Walland, astrophysicist Michael McElwain will lead the observation and share stories from his time at NASA.
Charleston and Kiawah Island, South Carolina
On the eastern end of the eclipse’s overland path is beautiful Charleston, which will experience 100 percent totality. Virtuoso-preferred Belmond Charleston Place will have a VIP viewing area set up and an exclusive dinner featuring Dr. Jon Hakkila, a professor of physics and astronomy at the College of Charleston. Just to the south of Charleston, Kiawah Island will experience “only” 99.9 percent totality, but that’s more than enough to make the Great American Eclipse Float a great idea. Hosted by Virtuoso-preferred The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, the float will have guests on kayaks and paddleboards head out to Captain Sams Spit with a team of naturalists from 1-4 p.m. Eastern, with the eclipse peak coming at 2:47.