My husband and I had been going back and forth on whether or not we wanted to travel and experience the total solar eclipse. The town we live in falls in the 85% range, but there is something about experiencing a total solar eclipse that we did not want to miss out on. So, the Saturday before the eclipse we decided to head south.
All hotels in the path of totality were completely sold out (as expected), so we had to come up with an alternative plan. We searched around for a while and discovered there were still some rooms available in Wilmington, North Carolina on Sunday evening. So, Sunday morning we packed a bag and headed south.
We arrived in Wilmington around 4 in the afternoon and checked into the Best Western Plus Coastline Inn. We had a wonderful view of the Cape Fear River and the USS North Carolina from our hotel window! We didn’t have much time to explore the city, but we did head our for some dinner and drinks. The scenery in Wilmington is beautiful. They have this scenic river boardwalk that leads into town so visitors can stroll right along the river and take in the views.
After arriving in town, we noticed a lot of the stores and restaurants were closing down as it was Sunday evening. But we did eventually find a place to eat- The Front Street Brewery. They have an excellent selection of beers and whiskey flights, as well as an extensive menu. We opted for split a plate of nachos instead of entrees and each tried one of the brewery’s recommended beers. I had the Riptide Raspberry Ale and my husband had the Port City IPA. After a few beers, my husband decided to try one of their whiskey flights.
After dinner, we walked around some more in town. We ended up in this little coffee shop where we each got a latte. We then decided it was time to walk back to the hotel and turn in for the evening as we had a long day of driving on Monday.
On Monday morning, we got up and hit the road around 8. We weren’t exactly sure how far south we would have to travel, but we knew we had to drive at least an hour. We were also concerned with cloud cover. The forecast called for more cloud cover on the coast, so we headed towards Columbia instead of Charleston. After about an hour or so, we found ourselves in a town called Sumter, South Carolina.
We found a park that was already filling up with eclipse enthusiasts, so we grabbed a spot and got ready for the show. A few hours later, the whole sky started to darken and people began to cheer. We watched the Sun disappear behind the moon and suddenly it was twilight! It was the most surreal experience. The heat from the sun’s rays were suddenly gone. The hot air was suddenly cool. The people around us were cheering and fireworks were going off on the horizon. It was definitely the coolest natural phenomenon I have ever experienced first hand.
And just as quickly as it started, the sun peeked back out on the other side of the moon and the total eclipse was over! We got in our car and headed home.