I really don't even know where to start with this blog post. I guess I'll start with my personal experiences with stargazing and viewing celestial events. When I was younger my father had a love for stargazing. He bought me a telescope when I was around 10 years old and he would help point out the planets and of course the moon. When I was about 11 years old, we were able to witness a full solar eclipse where we lived in Venezuela, South America. I still remember that day but I know now that I didn't fully appreciate what I had witnessed. When I first read about the 2017 eclipse, I decided I wanted to witness one more in my lifetime.
I started planning about 8 months prior. At the time, hotel rooms were already filling up. I had chosen Columbia, South Carolina and hotel rooms within downtown were completely booked. I was lucky to find one in the suburbs 15 minutes from downtown. This was 8 months prior!! I checked prices the week before the eclipse date and the scant few rooms available in Greenville and Columbia were going for $800 / night!!! Tip: Plan well in advance!!
Personal commitments and the start of the next college semester prevented my husband and son from coming with us so it was another mother-daughter adventure. The trip down was uneventful and traffic was not too bad. Seven hours later on Sunday, 20 August, 2017, we made it to Columbia. I had been watching the weather diligently for a week and the cloud cover was questionable. I decided late Sunday evening that we would travel to Greenville, SC, 104 miles northwest, since the predicted cloud cover was approximately 25-30% while Columbia, SC was predicted to have 50% cloud cover. Tip: Be as flexible as possible and have a back up location.
I'm so glad we chose Greenville. It is a beautiful and quaint city. There is currently quite a bit of construction in the downtown, Main Street area so that detracted a bit from the overall scenery. But we weren't here to see the city. This was a down and back trip. In and out. Catch the eclipse and hopefully photograph it in all its glory
I knew there would be an influx of people so I researched available parking lots. We left Columbia by 9am and arrived before 11am. The paid parking lot closest to the downtown river park, Falls Park on the Reedy was only a 2 minute walk away and only half full when we arrived. The parking meters were under maintenance and parking was free for that day! Bonus!