This past weekend, I splurged a little and took Curtis, Olivia, and myself on a mini trip. We made our way to Nashville to meet up with my family and experience the Great American Eclipse in a location where totality was visible.
It was incredible!
My Dad loves astronomy. Years ago, during one of our many conversations about the wonders of the Universe, we began chatting about the total solar eclipse that was coming to the United States in 2017. In that discussion, we agreed we would make an adventure out of the occasion and go somewhere in the path of totality to experience the marvel together.
Five years later, that’s exactly what we did!
Since my sister recently moved to Florida with my niece and nephew (you can imagine my dismay), they drove up to join us for the spectacle and give us a chance to spend some much-needed time with the kids. It was a sweet moment to be back with them for such a momentous occasion – one that we all will surely remember for the rest of our lives!
Due to the fact that I have very little vacation time, I had to make this trip another long weekend excursion. While my Dad and sister chose to drive there, we opted to fly to make the most of the time we had. With an 8:25am landing, we were able to get our weekend away started nice and early!
Since the others weren’t scheduled to arrive until the following day, we were able to explore the city on our own and see a little of what it had to offer.
Our first stop: The Pfunky Griddle
This adorable little eatery has griddles in the center of each table so patrons can cook their own food. Under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t be that into a restaurant like this. If I’m paying to go out to eat, I want someone else to do the work for me! But since Olivia has recently been expressing her desire to learn to cook, we could not have found a better place.
All of the supplies you need to make your meal are brought over to the table for you: ingredients, toppings, plates, spatulas, etc. Liv went with chocolate chip pancakes so she was brought a pitcher of pancake batter, chocolate chips on the side, and a big ol’ spatula.
Moment of truth, here! Other than struggling a little with getting the pancakes to slide onto the spatula, Liv did a great job! She clearly agreed, as she touted, “I make delicious pancakes – like, the best!” for the rest of the trip!
The Rest of Day One
We meandered around Printer’s Alley, checking out some fantastic wall murals and a souvenir shop (for my obligatory tile memento). Nashville has some gorgeous street art. Liv was quite impressed that people are able paint such detailed pieces on an entire façade of a building – as was I!
Having some time to explore a new place with just my own little family was a nice touch to what was already bound to be a fantastic weekend. Because, you know, I’m a total sap at heart.
Belle Meade Plantation
Sunday arrived and I was thrilled to finally see the kids! They were on their way, but we had a couple hours to kill – off to the Belle Meade Plantation we went!
This is quite the property. It has a walking trail with informative signs that tell all about the history of the grounds. We got to use this as an opportunity to teach Liv some enlightening facts about black history. You should have seen her face when she was reading a little about life on the plantation on one of the posters – she was appalled.
“You mean only a few people lived in that gigantic house, and like 20 lived in this little one??”
Having her literally step inside the tiny houses and seeing what sort of living arrangements they had were so much more effective than anything she could have read about. Needless to say, we all learned some interesting facts from our little history lesson that morning!
Reunited and it Feels So Good
Both my sister and my Dad arrived right at the same time, around noon. I immediately scooped up those kids for the biggest bear hugs this auntie could muster up!
After getting everyone in and settled for a few minutes, we chose to keep it simple and get our sweaty selves right in the pool. To our amazement, we had the entire thing to ourselves! Is there anything better??
We didn’t do much exploring of the city that day, aside from a quick trip to Antique Archaeology. That was okay with us, though! We had some quality family time and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
If you haven’t noticed yet, I turn into a total softie when kids I love are involved!
The Great American Eclipse
It was finally time to head out to see what we came to Nashville for!
For an optimal viewing opportunity, we gathered at Centennial Park for the eclipse (along with THOUSANDS of others). Most of the morning felt like your typical hot, southern day. You couldn’t really see much of what was happening eclipse-wise during the first hour unless you put on the glasses and gave it a quick look. I do have to say that seeing a crescent sun was pretty awesome! Other than that, the first portion of the event was simply spent playing around the park and waiting for the show to start.
After the first hour, the more obvious phenomena started happening! The day was clearly light, but the brightness began to dull; it was almost alien-like. When you peeked towards the sun, it still looked like your standard day. However, the temperature was noticeably lower and the light intensity had dimmed significantly.
Before we knew it, the real show began. The sky went completely dark and EVERYONE cheered as if we were at some sort of concert or festival! You were able to look right up at the marvelous sight – a glimmery corona where the sun was shining brightly just moments before. It was truly amazing!
I had all of the kids next to me exclaiming that this was the coolest thing they’ve ever seen! I can’t even tell you how much those words made my heart melt.
In that moment, I realized that they would remember this for the rest of their lives. I was so thrilled to just be a part of it!
If you ever get a chance to witness a total solar eclipse, DO IT. In my opinion, it lives up to the hype!
We’re from Massachusetts (well, aside from my sister that moved to Florida two months ago). 95-degree weather is crazy hot to us northerners! And we were in it all day. We needed to find a place to cool off, STAT.
From my experience in Atlanta, I was aware that they had parks down there with water features that you can run around and play in. I immediately hopped on Google and set out to find one. Lo and behold, there was one two miles from us at the Bicentennial Park!
I love that we got to enjoy that playful moment together. THIS is what life is all about!
Onto the Next
Although this weekend was short, it was unbelievably sweet. What started out as a “splurge” turned into an unforgettable adventure that was well-worth every single penny spent. Not only that, but we have all agreed that now we will make this a tradition of sorts and get to any eclipses that we can all maneuver together! (If you’ve read my Holiday, Celebrate post, you know how I feel about traditions!)
The next one that comes nearby is on April 8, 2024, and you better believe we will be attending. We’re thinking of even heading to Montreal for it!
My family is everything to me. This weekend and the eclipse would have been good even if I had gone alone, but it was marvelous because I was surrounded by some of the people I care for most in the entire world.
What more can a girl ask for?
Make the time, embrace the adventure, and unfalteringly Decide Bliss.
Main photo taken by Prasant Pallikandi