Beat the crowds and head to the country to view the August 21 solar eclipse


If you can’t find your way into the path of totality for the August 21 solar eclipse, don’t worry. There’s enough darkness to go around.


Although a total eclipse will be visible across a mere 70 mile swath through Tennessee, the rest of the state will still be treated to a minimum 90 percent eclipse experience. Any open area is a great place to enjoy the event, and many of Tennessee’s farms and all of Tennessee’s wineries are ready to share their space with spectators who want to celebrate the phenomenon.


Cities along the eclipse route expect tidal waves of visitors, so choosing a rural location is a good compromise between seeing the eclipse in totality and navigating parking and crowds in areas where major events are planned.


A few places, like Tsali Notch Vineyard near Madisonville, are at the center line of the eclipse path. In fact, National Geographic has chosen Tsali Notch as its location to record and report this rare occurrence. With no admittance fee, the vineyard will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will offer live music.  Visitors may bring a picnic or purchase lunch from food trucks. Wine will also be available for purchase in the winery tasting room.


Shade Tree Farm and Orchard in Robertson County is also near the center line, with 2 minutes and 38 seconds of total eclipse visible from the farm. The orchard will open at 9 a.m. on August 21 with free admission. Orchard owners Tom and Sarah Head will have a solar telescope on site and eclipse glasses available for purchase. The orchard store will be open, featuring cider slushies in souvenir cups, and apples may be ready to pick.


The Grove at Williamson Place has teamed with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the celestial event, opening for lunch with food trucks. Nashville’s Green Door Gourmet will have Hattie B’s hot chicken and Jeni’s Splendid Ice cream on site, as well as the requisite eclipse eyewear. Leslie Liles of Hayshed Farms in Kingston Springs said that they will host a party that day, and Amber Falls Winery in Hampshire will be open and looking for company to join them as they watch the skies. All of Tennessee’s 70 wineries will be open for visitors on August 21.


To find Tennessee agritourism farms and wineries, visit or use the Pick Tennessee mobile app. A special Pick Tennessee solar eclipse picnic menu with eclipse-themed recipes is also available at and event updates will be posted on Pick Tennessee’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.