It’s certainly no secret that on Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse is happening across the U.S. — the first time such a phenomenon has occurred since 1918. Stretching from west coast Oregon and sweeping across the continent to the east coast of South Carolina, the 70-mile-wide “path of totality” will plunge a large swath of the country — including Salem, Ore.; Sun Valley, Idaho; and St. Louis — into several moments of complete darkness.
According to scientist Bill Nye, the experience can be transformative and awe-inspiring. “It becomes night — I mean night — for a few minutes. Birds start chirping their night stuff and it gets cold for two minutes on an otherwise hot afternoon — it’s crazy,” he remarked. The one-time Nick Graham runway model recommends not staring up with the naked eye as the moon passes in front of the sun. For the occasion, Nye teamed with American Paper Optics on a pair of branded UV and infrared blocking glasses available online.
“I also recommend looking at the ground because when the sunlight goes around the edge of the moon it creates these bands sweeping across the landscape at 1,500 miles an hour,” added Nye.
While many hotels and resorts have been long since sold out for the eagerly anticipated celestial wonder, last-minute amateur astronomers still have a wide array of options for enjoying the 2017 eclipse. Here are a few notable places throughout the country at which to celebrate the roughly two-and-a-half minute spectacle.
Four Seasons, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The resort has teamed with a group of astronomers to present an exclusive viewing party at Rendezvous Lodge, which sits 9,000 feet atop the Teton Range. No need for cardboard viewing glasses here. Guests will have use of state-of-the-art hydrogen-alpha solar telescopes while staff chefs will provide an array of culinary options. Because the phenomenon lasts only a couple of minutes, there will be plenty of time to enjoy the resort’s specially tailored spa offerings. Facials and full-body massages will use Luna Mystica body oil, which the spa claims to “harness the power of precious gemstones charged by the moon to restore the mind and body.”
The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Colo.
Perched in the Rocky Mountains, the resort’s Grand Lawn and Mountainside Terrace are perfectly positioned vantage points from which to take in the brief splendor. Guests can have a full-body experience by indulging in a five-minute outdoor chair massage during the eclipse. Raise a glass to mother nature with a libation from a menu of specialty cocktails including the “Solar Flare,” made with homemade blueberry vodka, simple syrup and garnished with eight blueberries to represent the number of planets (sorry, Pluto).
Hutton Hotel, Nashville
This boutique property in the heart of Music City offers two penthouse suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies boasting panoramic views of the sky and city, which happens to be the largest in the path of the totality. Viewing glasses will be on-hand throughout the pet-friendly hotel and each of the deluxe suites features a private dining room, living room and bar for those interested in experiencing this natural wonder from the comfort of the great indoors.
Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms, S.C.
The phenomenon will be nothing more than a memory for most of America by 2:48 p.m. EDT when it reaches coastal South Carolina — its last stop before traveling out across the Atlantic Ocean. A mere stone’s throw from Charleston’s historic streets, this beach-facing compound will offer reserved beach chair rentals and an umbrella for those looking to sit under a shadow throughout the day. For a more active eclipse experience, book a tee time on the property’s sprawling 36-hole seaside golf course or enjoy poolside cocktails at the “Night at Noon” celebration in the dazzling Grand Pavilion.