Edited by Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com
A gigantic swath of New York State will be in the path of totality of the April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse. The total solar eclipse will begin around 3:20 pm (the time will differ depending what part of the state you are in), and last up to 3 minutes and 38 seconds depending on your vantage point, with about an hour before and after totality when you see the moon begin to cover and then recede.
The regions, cities, towns and villages where the viewing is most ideal – a 124-mile wide path stretching from Chautauqua-Allegheny to the majestic Niagara Falls in Greater Niagara, over the pristine Finger Lakes, mighty Adirondacks, and magical Thousand Islands-Seaway are taking on a festival atmosphere, and attractions, from the Adirondack Sky Center & Observatory to the Rochester Museum & Science Center are hosting events even days before.
Best Eclipse Viewing Spots in Greater Niagara
Curated by Emma Frisbie, Digital Content Coordinator for ILOVENY.com
Imagine viewing the total solar eclipse while overlooking the roaring waters of Niagara Falls, surrounded by the 14,000-acre “Grand Canyon of the East,” or enjoying all kinds of festivities leading up to lively celebrations on the big day. At most of these sites, trained staff will be on site with proper equipment for safe viewing including telescopes with specialized filters and eclipse glasses.
Niagara Falls: Elevate your total solar eclipse viewing experience from one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, Niagara Falls State Park. The park itselfhas 400 acres of stunning landscapes, so you’re sure to find a prime location for this once-in-a-lifetime event. Prospect Point and Goat Island offer waterfall vistas with unobstructed skies. Not only will Niagara Falls prove to be an exceptional vantage point, but whenthe eclipse is viewed through the perpetual rainbow that lingers just above the falls, the color of the light will change from rainbow to monochromatic pink. About a 10-minute drive north is Whirlpool State Park where you can watch the event alongside the roaring Niagara River Rapids. On the days leading up to the eclipse, NASA will be providing free public programming and exhibits throughout the area, including Niagara Falls Public Libraries, the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, the Aquarium of Niagara, the Niagara Power Vista, the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, and Niagara Falls State Park.
Beaver Meadow Nature Center: Watch the eclipse surrounded by the natural beauty of the Beaver Meadow Nature Center with 324 acres of meadows, ponds formed by glaciers, boardwalk trails and wooded forests. Significantly, this spot is known for its breathtaking clear skies, ideal for viewing our galaxy at night throughout the year so is sure to be an amazing spot for the bigday-turned-to-night event. The center will also be hosting a family-friendly viewing event so everyone can safely admire this celestial phenomenon. Book a stay at the rustic and cozy Beaver Meadow Cabin on-site for a more secluded experience. For the days leading up to theevent, check out the Buffalo Astronomical Association Observatory’s schedule for monthly public nights where you can learn more about the eclipse, take a tour of the solar system, and pick up solar eclipse viewing glasses for a $2 donation.
Fort Niagara State Park offers unobstructed skies combined with waterside views of the Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario. The 504-acre park is home to gorgeous scenery, woodland hiking trails, year-round living-history programs and the historic Old Fort Niagara, which controlled access to the Great Lakes during monumental wars. Check out the museum and 18th-century military architecture including the oldest building in the Great Lakes area: the French Castle. (Parking: $8/car.)
Buffalo Harbor State Park, 10 minutes from Downtown Buffalo, offers gorgeous viewing spots from sandy beachside vistas of Lake Erie to the outdoor patio at Charlie’s Boatyard restaurant. Also, the 264-acre Tifft Nature Preserve is next door with five miles of hiking trails, boardwalks, and hands-on exhibits.
Genesee County, with its sprawling rural landscapes and low light pollution, makes for an ideal eclipse viewing experience, plunging the county into a deep twilight revealing stars, planets, and a level of darkness larger metropolises won’t be able to rival. Plan to spend the weekend for four days of eclipse festivities throughout the county. The Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel is planning an eclipse-themed party complete with on-site hotel packages, themed menus, live music, gaming promotions and giveaways and viewing glasses to watch the eclipse from the infield race track. The Genesee County Park, Forest, & Interpretive Center will be presenting informational videos, self-guided activities, crafts and activities for the kids, and a telescope with a solar filter special for eclipse viewing.
Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at Buffalo State College, which has been holding public programs focusing on the eclipse’s main players – the sun, moon, and earth, and the mythology, history, and safety behind it all – is hosting a watch party complete with special viewing glasses.
At the 14,000-acre Letchworth State Park, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East, you can revel at totality alongside one of the three magnificent waterfalls, named Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls. Scenic views are accessible by bike or car throughout the park and on 66 miles of hiking trails.Make it an eclipse weekend and stay at one of Letchworth’s 19 cabins and cottages, which can be booked now at ReserveAmerica.com. The Glen Iris Inn is also within the park and provides a special viewing experience next to Middle Falls where it might even get a little misty. (NOTE: While Letchworth State Park will be open for public viewing, space will be limited. For public health and safety, no new visitors will be admitted once capacity is reached.)
Best Eclipse Viewing Spots in Chautauqua-Allegheny
Curated by Marta Zielinska, Managing Editor of ILOVENY.com
Chautauqua-Allegheny region offers the chance to experience solar eclipse totality amid enchanting mountains, tranquil lakes and bountiful vineyards.
Allegany State Park Red House and Quaker areas: Allegany State Park offers 65,000 acres of primitive forested valleys, two sandy beaches, pristine lakes, miles of hiking trails, and picnic spots under the open sky for viewing the celestial spectacle. With 165 campsites, cabins and cottages open for booking, you can turn your eclipse adventure into an extraordinary eclipse getaway, giving you more time to experience the park’s natural beauty and its two museums and restaurant.
Griffis Sculpture Park, one of America’s oldest and largest sculpture parks, features 250 enormous structures of steel and other materials that set in the woods, fields, and even ponds of this sprawling 450-acre art wonderland, creating a spellbinding setting to witness the cosmic dance of the sun and moon. Typically open from May through October, the park will welcome visitors for this rare celestial spectacle.
The 360-acre Long Point State Park, a moraine left long ago by a retreating glacier, juts peninsula-like into Chautauqua Lake and is popular for fishing, hiking, and picnics. Head over to the marina or beach on April 8, 2024 for the park’s best views of the total solar eclipse over Chautauqua Lake. After the main event, explore the quaint shops, restaurants, and charm of the lakefront village of Bemus Point.
Jamestown Riverwalk: Jamestown, the hometown of the iconic comedienne Lucille Ball, is the first city in New York State to achieve totality on April 8, 2024, happening justseconds shy of 3:18 pm. Experience the cosmic phenomenon from a bridge or bench on the Jamestown Riverwalk, a five-mile urban trail system that winds its way through downtown along the Chadakoin River. The trail connects to the National Comedy Center and is an easy walk to the Lucy Desi Museum.
Views from Lake Erie: The 355-acre Lake Erie State Park in Brocton is located on a high bluff that offers breathtaking views of the sky and water. Evangola State Park’s beautiful arc-shaped shoreline and natural sand beach lined with low cliffs of Angola shale makes for another great spot for eclipse and Lake Erie views; the park has 25 campsites that can be reserved for eclipse weekend. The historic Dunkirk Lighthouse has some of the most stunning views of Lake Erie. Pick up lunch from the Boardwalk Market in Dunkirk Harbor and settle in for an eclipse watching picnic in the park grounds surrounding the 60-foot tower.
Scenic Vineyards in Lake Erie Wine Country: The oldest and largest Concord-grape-growing region in the world, is where you can raise your glass as you raise your gaze to the skies at any of the more than 20 wineries nestled along the southern shore of beautiful Lake Erie. Toast to the total solar eclipse at any of these fine choices including Johnson Estate Winery, Sparkling Ponds, and Noble Winery, which delivers stunning panoramic views of Lake Erie from its expansive porch.
Audubon Community Nature Center, a 600-acre wildlife sanctuary, has five miles of easy hiking trails that wind through fields, woods, and wetlands with observation towers and an accessible overlook offering ideal views of the natural landscape and spectacular celestial show.
Best Eclipse Viewing Spots in the Thousand Islands-Seaway
Curated by Emma Frisbie, Digital Content Coordinator for ILOVENY.com
Thousand Islands-Seaway offers awe-inspiring lighthouses, historic battlegrounds, and celebratory atmosphere in which to experience this once-in-a-lifetime cosmic phenomenon on April 8, 2024. Here are some of the best places to view the total solar eclipse from the Thousand Islands-Seaway.
Historic Thompson Park in Watertown. has a Total Eclipse of the Park weekend of festivities starting April 5 with the grand finale viewing event on April 8. The park is 574 acres and sits atop a hill that overlooks the city of Watertown which means you’ll be able to look up and look out across the city (www.watertownnewyorkeclipse.com).
Tibbetts Point Lighthouse: Frame your eclipse experience at the point where the sparkling St. Lawrence River meets the powerful Lake Ontario at the Tibbetts Point lighthouse in Cape Vincent. Get a closer look at the lake and river through the telescope or explore the historic lighthouse which was built in 1827 and features the only working fresnel lens on Lake Ontario.
Witness this star-studded celestial occasion from the star-shaped fort dating back to the 1840s at Fort Ontario State Historic Site. This clear sky viewing spot is right on Lake Ontario and offers 36-acres of open air and waterside views. The fort was the site of many monumental battles from the French and Indian War and War of 1812, as well as a WWII US Army base. Take a guided tour where you’ll get to see officer quarters, the Enlisted Men’s Barracks, and the Storehouse. (Admission: $4/adults, $3/seniors 62+ and students, free for children under 12 and active military.)
Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, 70 acres of open fields and lookouts of Lake Ontario makes for excellent eclipse viewing. Afterward, follow the Battlefield Historic Trail through Centennial Grove and the Navy Yard, with sweeping views of Black River Bay. For more history, follow the trail to the village’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Trail connection for a six-mile circuit.
Robert G. Wehle State Park offers 17,000-feet of Lake Ontario shoreline from which to view the eclipse. The 1,100-acre parkfeatures unobstructed skies and waterfront views, some visible from 80-foot limestone cliffs overlooking the lake. Once the estate of Robert G. Wehle, who was an avid conservationist, sculptor, and lover of English pointers (hence the canine sculptures you’ll find throughout the park), you can explore the Wehle residential compound and even make a reservation for up to eight people to stay at the cottage overnight for the ultimate secluded eclipse weekend.
Peer up at this cosmic event while you peer out at the sparkling waters of the St. Lawrence River at Wellesley Island State Park, with 2,600 acres boasting sandy beaches, miles of scenic hiking trails, and breathtaking Thousand Islands views. Plan an eclipse weekend at the campground with 21 cabins and cottages (book your reservation now at ReserveAmerica.com). Stop by the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, one of the largest nature centers in the NYS park system.
You can also view the eclipse at Fort de La Présentation/AbbéPicquet Trail.
More information at iloveny.com
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