Near and Far: Traveling for the Eclipse

As the 2017 solar eclipse travelled across the United States, it also pulled people to the path of totality from different ends of the country to see this phenomena.

Hartwell, Georgia was one of the small towns along the path that would be one of the last places to see the total eclipse across the country and as a result, people came from as close as Athens, Georgia, and as far as Florida.

“I drove six and half… no seven and half hours hours to get here,” said Susan David, a resident of Alligator Point, Florida. “I made it in short trips, but the traffic wasn’t worth it for me to try it all at one time.”

David wasn’t the only one who traveled for totality. People from all over Georgia came to Hartwell to witness the phenomenon. Some thought Lake Hartwell wouldn’t be as busy as other areas.

“We figured it just wouldn’t be as full as somewhere maybe in the mountains,” said Jason Brown, who traveled from his hometown of Elberton, Georgia.

It appeared to be dusk in Hartwell, GA at 2:38pm when the highly anticipated solar eclipse occurred.

However, the small town of Hartwell was feeling the burn of the sun earlier than mid-afternoon. Traffic in the small town was at an all-time high. We sent out our reporter Allison Atkins to the streets for investigation. She discovered that the time it takes to get through the mere six-block historic downtown usually clocks in around 3 minutes.But not on solar eclipse Monday. We clocked our 6-block travel around 12 minutes.

Although traffic usually leads to an uptake in business, the parking around the shops of the downtown square were all empty, as the cars passing were making their way to the respective viewing spots.

Not only did the small town experience a 100% solar eclipse on this iconic Monday but it saw a brief influx and outflow of traffic within a few hours. What could Hartwell do to alleviate such traffic? Well, we’ll just have to wait for the next eclipse.


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