Star Trek

Prime viewing of a rare celestial phenomenon puts a different kind of spotlight on Nashville.

For the first time in nearly a century, Americans can view a coast-to-coast solar eclipse. What’s so stellar about the August 21 event? When the moon passes between the earth and sun, it will block almost all light from the latter, save for a fiery halo, casting a shadow along a “path of totality” for about 2 minutes. For most, it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The best viewing will be within a 67-mile swath from Oregon to South Carolina. Nashville is the largest city in that path, and it’s planning lots of eclipse-related activities. Starting August 19, the Adventure Science Center will screen the locally created film ECLIPSE: The Sun Revealed, which explains the phenomenon and how to observe it safely. Expect lots of live music, as well as food trucks, science demonstrations, and telescopes available for public use. NASA scientists will be on hand at the weekend Italian Lights Festival, presumably talking astronomy between forkfuls of pasta, a live concert of Sinatra music, wine tastings, and a meatball-eating competition.
The on-trend Acme Feed & Seed restaurant has planned an eclipse-watching party with a house-music soundtrack at its rooftop bar. The $200 ticket includes a lunch buffet and special viewing glasses. An apt alternative is “the George,” a rooftop bar and restaurant at the George Jones Museum. The opening pitch at the minor-league Nashville Sounds baseball game at First Tennessee Park is scheduled not long after the eclipse, and the team is planning some special pre-game activities for fans. City parks in Nashville and Tennessee state parks will host eclipse-related activities; Cedar Hill and Peeler parks have the best and longest views.
The 2-minute event leaves plenty of time for more-traditional Nashville stargazing. Ryman Auditorium was built as a tabernacle in the 1800s. If you hang around town until August 24, you can catch Loretta Lynn. That’s what we call a celestial event.
Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish serves fried bird nearly as scorching as the sun itself.
Robert’s Western World pours $5 beer to world-class country.
The Hutton Hotel has well-appointed rooms and an amazing concierge staff.