around your town // knoxville, TN

12:26:00 PM

It's been a while since I've explored some place new. Summer put me in a routine of consistent and static movements. The extent of my adventuring was taking a new route to work and maybe stopping at a new cafe along the way.

There is something so rewarding by watching and witnessing a town crank-out its everyday routine with its everyday people. Getting to know a place is getting to know its people and there are few things more thrilling (at least to me) than figuring out what makes people tick.

Knoxville was a spur of the moment decision. With high spirits and adventurous attitudes, my best friend and I decided that the total solar eclipse was worth making the four-hour drive. Luckily, she had friends who were already planning on making the trip and had planned accordingly with a hotel room. They were so very kind to us and completely and kindly welcomed us to join in on their adventure.

Callan and I drove to Knoxville from Blacksburg, Virginia, on Sunday afternoon after taking five minutes to pack our bags and triple-check that our eclipse glasses were the real deal. We spent the four hour car drive weaving through RV's of all sizes, blasting music of each genre from Timbaland to Led Zeppelin, and eating Tostitos with sparkling water.

Upon arriving, we spent our afternoon wandering through the main streets and back alleys of downtown Knoxville near Market Square. We popped in and out of bohemian boutiques that filled the city square and eventually made a pit stop for beer and cider in a pub with live music, the band: Danimal Planet.

We bobbed our heads, whistled and wooed at the end of every song and then met up with our generous hosts for dinner at Soccer Taco. As one could guess, this restaurant had two things - mexican food and soccer. We laughed and shared stories, adding to the conversation with whatever knowledge we had about astronomy and the spectacle that would come tomorrow.

Monday morning couldn't come quick enough. We were so excited to see totality and we spent two hours of our morning planning which locations and viewing parties would be best for us to visit. Callan and I decided on the local library that was just inside the path of totality.

After saying goodbye and thank you to our humbling hosts, we drove the twenty minutes to the Maryville library, parked the car, and grabbed our cameras. We did some light astronomy reading, walked along the small river, explored the quaint downtown, and spent two hours in a coffee shop, downing cold brews and complaining that we woke up way too early.

But, just as expected, the eclipse began its show at 1 p.m. and Callan and I took turns walking out to look at the sun and then return to the shade.

The eclipse itself was unlike anything I have ever witnessed. To see the stars at 2:30pm is something I will never forget, and to share the moment with someone that is equally as intrigued and inspired by the universe is beyond special.

After a minute and a half, the sun crept out from behind the moon again and the show was over and Callan and I sprinted back to the car to get on the highway before the traffic would get too brutal. We spent the entire drive home singing and laughing and swooning over the once-in-a-lifetime sight we had witnessed. We were so simply happy. Knoxville was so sweet to us, even if it was just for a little under 48 hours.

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