The first total solar eclipse in almost 40 years will happen on Aug. 21. And while New England isn’t in the “path of totality,” the region will experience a significant partial eclipse.
This summer’s event is historic: It will be the first total solar eclipse to cross the country from coast to coast since 1918, and the first eclipse to cross the territory of the United States exclusively since the nation was founded. “This might be the most watched eclipse in human history — that is the claim being made in astronomy circles anyway,” says Edward Gleason, manager of the Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.
In New England, you’ll witness a partial eclipse anywhere in the region, says Gleason, but some areas will see a better show than others. “The farther south you venture, the greater the magnitude of the eclipse,” he says. Hartford will experience a 70-percent obscuration (or the percentage of the sun blocked); Providence, 65 percent; Boston, 63 percent; Portland, 59 percent; Burlington, Vt., 60 percent; and Manchester, N.H., 62 percent.
Here are some packages to consider when making your eclipse viewing plans.
The Emerson Inn has taken care of all the details for eclipse viewing. Book the Dark Side of the Moon package and you’ll get a one night stay, $100 dinner voucher for two at the inn’s farm-to-table Pigeon Cove restaurant, two blankets, “hipster eclipsers” viewing glasses, and two craft brews from Cape Ann Brewing Co. to sip on the inn’s lawn. Double room rates start at $459 per night. emersoninnbythesea.com/dark-side-of-the-moon-package.html
This year marks the first summer Woodstock Inn & Resort’s Suicide Six Ski Area will operate the chairlift in the off-season, and you can ride to the top of the mountain for mouth-gaping views of the darkening sky. Or, hike the ribbon of 60 miles of trails — off-road trails take you to the summits of Mount Peg and Mount Tom. Double room rates begin at $319 per night. www.woodstockinn.com
Watch the star-studded event while sipping a signature Solar Eclipse cocktail on the pool patio at the Bethel Inn Resort. For adults, head mixologist Lisa Deherrara will mix old-fashioned moonshine, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, and orange juice. For kids, there’s the Partial Eclipse mocktail with orange juice, ginger ale, and a blood orange slice. Book the Solar Eclipse Day package for two, including breakfast. $149. www.bethelinn.com
A windjammer sail is an optimal way to spy the sky. The four-day “red-headed” Ketch Angelique departs Camden, Maine, on Aug. 20; rates start at $845 per person. National Historic Landmark Schooner Lewis R. French (homeport Camden) and Victory Chimes (homeport Rockland) both sail Aug. 18-22; rates start at $845 per person. Or reserve a bunk aboard the Mary Day’s three-day cruise, departing from Camden Aug. 20-23; rates start at $725 per person. Each of these cruises features six-hours of sailing daily, a new nightly anchorage, ccess to paddle boards, meals, and activities. www.sailmainecoast.com
The Omni Mount Washington Resort will host an exclusive eclipse event on Aug. 21 from noon to 3 p.m. Douglas Arion, professor of Physics and Astronomy at Carthage College, will simulcast the eclipse from his observing location in Stanley, Idaho. And, weather permitting, a telescope will also be set up to view the partial eclipse that will be visible over the skies of New Hampshire. Double room rates begin at $439 per night. www.omnihotels.com/hotels/bretton-woods-mount-washington.
The 1661 Inn in Old Harbor is partnering with Pond & Beyond Kayaks for eclipse viewing while kayaking on the Great Salt Pond. The inn is also home to a farm, with llamas and alpacas. Rates include a champagne buffet breakfast (including whole baked fish, homemade corned beef hash and, of course, bubbly) and daily wine and nibble hour. Double room rates begin at $199 per night. www.blockislandresorts.com
Canyon Ranch, a wellness spa destination in the Berkshires, will honor the celestial event with a Labyrinth Walk led by spiritual wellness director Sarah Vulgamore. The walk will take place from 2 to 3 p.m., as the height of the eclipse will occur at this location at 2:43 p.m. Participants will receive a crystal to hold during the walk (“which will gather energy along the labyrinth path”) and this energy-charged crystal is for guests to keep. All-inclusive room rates begin at $2,400 per person for a two-night minimum stay in a deluxe king room, including meals, snacks, 35-plus activities, classes and presentations, unlimited access to spa and fitness facilities, an allowance for spa, sports, and wellness activities (including the labyrinth walk) and airport transfers. www.canyonranch.com/lenox/