Posted 8/22/17

Some 300 people gathered at Morris Vineyard in Charleston on Monday afternoon, to take in the deemed once-in-a-lifetime event that was the “Great American Eclipse.”

The Cleveland/Bradley …

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Some 300 people gathered at Morris Vineyard in Charleston on Monday afternoon, to take in the deemed once-in-a-lifetime event that was the “Great American Eclipse.”

The Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce’s Solar Sip & See event, which sold out over a month ago, brought in visitors from all over, ranging from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan and even Ontario, Canada.

“I think that we (had) half visitors and half residents,” Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Tourist Development Melissa Woody said.

“We’re really excited to (have) hosted folks in our area.”

Morris Vineyard, which has been a longtime CBCC member, had wine and cheese tastings during the event, and attendees were able to relax along the property while listening to bluegrass music.

For Michigan resident Ruth Rivard, the 2017 total solar eclipse was a must-see event.

“I wanted to see the total eclipse and not the partial, which was all you could see where I live in Michigan,” she explained.

“It’s beautiful up here and was a nice day, which was good to see the sun.”

Northeast Alabama resident Sarah Wright drove up to Chattanooga on Sunday, and continued on to the Charleston vineyard for the Solar Sip & See. This was not the first total eclipse for Wright, who remembered seeing one in the 1970s.

“It’s been awesome,” Wright declared.

“I’ve been looking forward to seeing this one.”

Local mother and son duo Laurie and Thomas Graham decided to attend the event at Morris Vineyard at the suggestion of friends.

While Laurie could remember viewing a partial eclipse with the help of paper and a pinhole, it was the first time Thomas had ever experienced anything like it.

“Our science class didn’t talk about anything but (the eclipse),” the Walker Valley freshman commented.

A brief cloud covered the sun for a portion of the partial eclipse, but moved on in time for the crowd to observe the remainder leading up to totality.

Excitement vibrated throughout the crowd as the much-anticipated moment drew closer, and countdowns began around 2:30 p.m.

Totality was reached at 2:33 p.m., and for just over two minutes, those at the Solar Sip & See enjoyed a dusk-like darkness, which even included evening bugs and bats reacting to the midday phenomenon.

The total solar eclipse drew cheers from the crowd and proved to be a spiritual moment for some.

Toni Miles, director of organization advancement for The Caring Place, was one of the multitude of people who took in the eclipse from the vineyard, along with her mother and daughter, who was also celebrating her 35th birthday.

“I loved the beauty of the day and the science of the heavens,” Miles declared.

“After experiencing blood moons and now the solar eclipse, I am convinced God is speaking to all of us.”



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