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Secret Sighting: Why Fredericksburg, Texas Is The Place To See The Solar Eclipse On April 8

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Fredericksburg is nestled in the stunning Texas Hill Country, just 75 minutes from San Antonio, along the path of totality for solar eclipse. Surprisingly, they’ve been keeping that tidbit under wraps for years, quietly planning for this epic event without drawing attention to their prime location.

Why was it kept a low profile? Although Fredericksburg is accustomed to having visitors come in droves to see its award-winning wineries and quaint shops and enjoy its excellent restaurants, it wanted to ensure this authentic German-American town had enough resources to manage an additional influx of visitors for the once-in-a-lifetime event.

“With 1.5 million visitors a year, we know many of our visitors return to see us,” says Brady Closson, President and CEO of the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“We have left the planned events to each business.” City officials are more focused on the logistics of managing an estimated 50,000 – 100,000 visitors next week.

Fredericksburg, Texas: The Place To See the Solar Eclipse

According to NASA, on Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross North America, passing over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The first location in continental North America to experience totality is Mexico’s Pacific coast at around 11:07 a.m. PDT.

The path of the eclipse continues from Mexico, entering the United States in Texas, and traveling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

In a YouTube video titled “Total Solar Eclipse: Expectations & Preparations,” Mayor Jeryl Hoover states, “With the anticipation of a massive wave of visitors, we want to encourage everyone to work together to make this a memorable experience for all.” He notes that the totality will hit Fredericksburg at 1:32 pm CDT and last for approximately 4 and a half minutes.

This city of 11,257 people takes sky-watching very seriously.

An International Dark Sky Community, Fredericksburg is a great place for stargazing year-round. Every night, the city encourages residents, businesses, and visitors to respect its Dark Sky commitment by turning off unnecessary lights so that you can see the stars in the sky for all their glory.

The city hosts two International Dark Sky Parks: Enchanted Rock Natural Area and Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.

Accommodations To Consider

With a history of welcoming visitors, Fredericksburg has plenty of accommodations and activities to support guests. Options range from rustic cabins to luxury accommodations in Fredericksburg. The city boasts more than 1,500 vacation rentals, B&Bs, guesthouses, inns, hotels, and motels.

The Vine at Middle Creek

Located about 15 minutes from downtown Fredericksburg, The Vine on Middle Creek is the perfect location for stargazers and solar eclipse enthusiasts. Far enough away from city lights and other visitors, surrounded by a vineyard and cattle grazing in the pasture, the property provides privacy and spectacular sky views. Each unit has two separate suites with gas fireplaces, large soaker tubs, and a comfortable porch swing.

The Hoffman Haus

Michael C. Upton, of All Ways Traveller, a freelance arts & leisure writer, loves to talk about his favorite accommodations. “Billed as a ‘bespoke event venue and lodging in the heart of Fredericksburg, Texas,’ Hoffman Haus is a compound of traditional Sunday Houses and other buildings converted into Bed & Breakfast style lodging. There are nine two-person rooms, eight suites, and six houses. The Evening Star room is a converted circa-1840s log cabin with a private porch, spa tub, and private front porch.”

The Peach Haus

The Peach Haus offers various accommodation options, from a large farmhouse to a tiny house. You can also rent three Airstreams, and a large stocked pond is just a short walk away. Deitz Distillery and the Fischer & Weiser market are also within walking distance. You can purchase sweet and savory products and even take a cooking class. Its proximity to the city makes it an ideal location.

Special Events for the Solar Eclipse

  • The municipal viewing area is Marketplaz. Vereins Kirche Museum will be closed. Located in historic downtown Fredericksburg, this 5-acre park will be available as a public viewing area for the April 8, 2024, total solar eclipse.
  • Bill Nye, the Science Guy, will be in the Texas Hill Country for the solar spectacle. Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, will be in Fredericksburg for the April 8 Eclipse-O-Rama 2024. Eclipse-O-Rama 2024 is a two-day camping festival that starts on Sunday, April 7. Guests will enjoy science, art, music, and space at The Lodge at Country Inn Cottages, a 200-acre private ranch hosting the Planetary Society member meet-up.
  • The Best of Texas hosts a one-of-a-kind eclipse festival, complete with Live Music, wine Tasting, a VIP Farm-to-Table Dinner, and a Polo match, all followed by a Hot Air Balloon glow and rides. The event, billed for those who want a more high-end eclipse experience, will be hosted from noon to 8 p.m. on April 8 at the Grapetown Vinyard and the Fredericksburg Polo Club.
  • Fischer & Wieser Private viewing party. Food from F&W shop, beverages from Dietz Distillery. Live music by The NiteOwls from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wine, food, and other beverages will be available for purchase. Food provided by F&W’s Culinary Adventure Cooking School.
  • 2024 Eclipse in the Flowers at Wildseed Farms—The farm will be closed to the general public for a private all-day eclipse viewing. Admission includes entry to the farm, eclipse viewing glasses, two drink tickets, one meal ticket, and access to the famous field of poppies.
  • A limited supply of eclipse glasses will be available at the Visitor Information Center (302 E. Austin St) starting March 18, 2024. For your protection, solar filters are used that meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2. Visit the Safety page to see more about organizations distributing free eclipse glasses and businesses selling eclipse glasses.
  • Various wineries are holding private view events, which include wine tasting, food, and entertainment.

Other Things To Do in Fredericksburg, TX

City officials anticipate the peak of visitors will be between Thursday, April 5th, and Tuesday, April 9th. If you are staying those few days for rest and recreation, consider these activities or attractions:

Hiking Enchanted Rock State Nature Area

“Enchanted Rock offers a unique outdoor adventure that is both strenuous yet not overly challenging. The area has over eleven miles of trails around, but the one that goes up to the top of the rock is perhaps the most rewarding,” says Megan Johnson, Senior Editor, SmarterTravel Media, after a recent hike. “Take your time going up, and once at the top, enjoy the stunning panoramic views- which will be perfect for viewing the total eclipse.”

Visiting the National Museum of the Pacific War

If you spend a few days visiting Fredericksburg, do not miss The National Museum of the Pacific War and the Japanese Peace Garden. On USA Today ‘s 10 Best History Museums in the U.S. list, this history museum provides the nation’s most comprehensive account of World War II in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.

Visit Rhinos and Giraffes

Longneck Manor is the home to a “Crash” of three rhinos (Fred, Barney, and Justin) as well as a “Tower” of four giraffes (Kafele, Betty, Tana, and Kili). Visit, learn, and feed these beautiful animals. Find out why Longneck Manor combines the best elements of a good zoo with that of a good conservation organization.

Visit a Winery

With more than 100 wineries and vineyards in Fredericksburg and surrounding Gillespie County, there are plenty of opportunities for wine tasting and vineyard visits. This area boasts award-winning vintners that have earned honors around the world. Check out Meierstone Vineyards’ 2021 Wrecking Ball at the family-owned vineyard and ranch. Other recommendations include Barelle Vineyards, Signor Vineyards, and Ab Astris Winery.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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