Ever since I heard about the upcoming solar eclipse in my 2011 astronomy class, I anticipated traveling to the path of totality to experience the celestial event for myself. When we planned our trip, Jacob and I choose to drive to Nashville out of convenience; it was the closest city to us in the path of totality, and neither Jacob nor I had ever been before.
I had no desire to go to Nashville before planning this trip around the solar eclipse. I had this idea that Nashville was nothing but a country-music city—not the type of place that really attracted me. Little did I know that by the time we left, Nashville would become my favorite city.
I did a lot of research through travel blogs, Yelp, and friend recommendations before the trip and compiled a list of places where we could eat, shop, walk, or hang out depending on what we were in the mood for. Researching the city up front and keeping my list on hand helped us save time and move from activity to activity smoothly. My quick-guide directed us to so many exceptional restaurants, trendy shopping areas, and quirky coffee shops. I'll link to it here. Everything highlighted in yellow are places we made it to and enjoyed, such as Mas Tacos Por Favor and Pinewood Social. Everything not highlighted are places we didn't get a chance to check out but great reviews or recommendations.
Our favorite restaurant in Nashville was undoubtably Hattie B's Hot Chicken. The line to get through the door of the restaurant overflowed into the parking lot. This wasn't the only place we ate at that had this kind of line, though. Waits were lengthy for most of the restaurants we went to in Nashville, and for good reason, too! Nashville has the best food of any place I've visited. Once we made it through the line, I ordered the medium-heat fried chicken with fries and mac n' cheese on the side. The hot chicken was to die for! It was a dream meal with my sweet tea on the side.
One morning, we left the city and took a short trip to Rutledge Falls. The hike to the waterfall was a short from where we parked on the side of the road but quite steep. We could hear the sound of the falls from the moment we stepped out of my car.
The waterfall was beautiful and breathtaking! I loved walking around the base and getting close to it. We were only out there for around one hour, but I could have stayed for many more.
Our outing made for a rejuvenating summer morning.
We watched the eclipse on the hill that the Tennessee State Capitol sits on. This location provided us with a phenomenal view of Nashville as the moon's shadow fell across the city. There were a great deal of people out to watch, but not so many that the area felt crowded, which was something I was concerned about before getting out there. Jacob and I put down a picnic blanket and had plenty of space around us while we were out. We used our eclipse glasses to watch the partial solar eclipse while we waited for totality. I loved being surrounded by other on-lookers and feeding off their excitement as we watched the moon creep across the sun together.
As totality approached, there were noticeable changes all around us: the air got cooler, cicadas started chirping, and the sky slowly turned darker as though the sun was setting mid-afternoon. Then all at once, at 1:27 P.M., a shadow fell over us and across the city as totality arrived. Everyone around us started hollering and jumping. I openly cried. We looked out across Nashville at all the building and street lights shinning through the darkness. Totality lasted 1 minute and 55 seconds. Then, just as quickly as it came, it went, and slowly the sky started to brighten up, the cicadas went to sleep, and the air grew warmer.
I heard a great comparison that afternoon while watching The Weather Channel. Someone said "it felt like Earth won the Super Bowl". I couldn't have described the experience better myself.
When it came time for us to leave Nashville, I was sad to go. I plan to go back as soon as I can and continue making more memories in the Music City.
Believe in Nashville, I do.