Eclipse 2024 in Vermont

two pairs of legs and feet of people laying down next to each other, feet, one in hiking shoes and one in boots. There is a pond viewable in the background
I wasn’t sure until Monday morning that I was going to venture into the totality area of the total eclipse. Despite it being literally two towns away and me never having seen one before, I was just feeling iffy on it. Jim was ALL IN and we had gone back and forth on what our plans were going to be. Our 16th anniversary was on Friday and I didn’t want to spend a day on our anniversary weekend stuck in traffic. Jim cared less about traffic and very much wanted to see the longest possible total eclipse. We’d both had a fairly hectic set of months in the lead-up which probably affected both of our outlooks. On the night before, our loose plan was “Drive to someplace lovely in Randolph and see the partial eclipse.” When we woke up after a good night of rest on Sunday and it looked like traffic wasn’t yet a disaster, we changed our minds and decided to hop into the car.

We drove north on Route 12 and stopped a few times feeling out possible vantage points, pulling out the gazetteer when our cell signal dissolved. After somehow running into no traffic we scooted sideways and went to one of our favorite outdoor places, Berlin Pond. We parked the car at around 2 pm, took out the weird blanket I keep in the car for no reason (no, not the Emergency Winter Blanket, more like some fake sheepskin thing I keep meaning to get rid of) and sprawled out in the grass and listened to music, watching other people arrive. We got up every now and again to marvel at the traffic on I-89, just a few dozen yards away, which was thickening up quickly. We took some goofy photos.

The first sign that things were starting was the temperature dropping. We could see the moon’s shadow moving across the sun with our eclipse glasses–thanks local library!– but without them it still felt like broad daylight. We could not have had better weather. There were maybe 30-40 people there all told. The last thing that happened before the total eclipse was a group of people showed up and started looking at the sun, sounding dejected that they’d “just missed it.” We got to tell them “No you’re just in time, keep watching!” They’d driven eleven hours from Maryland. We counted license plates from twelve different states either parked or driving past there. I’ve seen three more in the 48 hours since.

I was surprised just how cool the total eclipse looked and could see why Jim was really pushing to be in the place with the longest totality (we weren’t, but we had a good chunk of time in the dark). It was truly amazing, seeing the little coronal ejection areas, the diamond ring thing, the Bailey’s beads thing, the weird quieting of the birds, the cheering of the people around us all of whom seemed equally delighted. Some people started driving home pretty soon after the sun started re-emerging. The weather was still good so we decided to hang out for a while. I remembered that I had my goofy bear head in the car and so Jim and I stood next to the highway–what had been nearly-stopped traffic going north turned into nearly-stopped traffic going south within thirty minutes–taking turns wearing the bear head and waving goodbye to the people on the highway. People honked and waved and took our picture and yelled “We love Vermont!” out the window; it was a joyful event.

After about ninety minutes of this, we had no more arm strength left and hopped in the car to go home. We took a series of back roads ending up on Route 14 which was mostly smooth sailing all the way to Randolph. We stopped in at the pizza place which was slammed (thank you Village Pizza!) and got some dinner while talking to a lot of people who were clearly in from other places. We discussed the merits of staying an additional overnight in the woods just to have a maple creemee with some kids from New Jersey (we were supportive). Got home, ate some food, looked at our photos, looked at other people’s photos. My phone rang and it was the local police (?!) saying that I’d apparently left my wallet in the pizza place and someone turned it in. I offered to go get it but our police chief said he was out and about anyway and would drop it off. When he rang the doorbell around 8:30 I chatted with him about how the day had gone. I guess Waze routed a LOT of people through the center of town and traffic was snarly but people were generally in good spirits and his day hadn’t been too bad. My wallet still had all the money in it.

Jim did go home Monday night and hit the wall of traffic we’d all been hearing about but he was in pretty good cheer about it and his trip home was only about 45 minutes longer than it would have been. I spent some time chatting with local and internet friends about the whole event. I realized, at some point, that I’d fractured my telling of this story across maybe five different platforms, so I figured I’d put it here as well. Thanks for coming to Vermont, people who came, come back soon! Here are a few more photos.

a woman in a bear head stands by the side of a highway waving at traffic

What do you think?


  1. Lovely!

    The bear head though!!

    At home here in Elmore the coyotes all started yelling right in the totality!

  2. Utterly fantastic write-up, even if it was thrown together.