Don’t be left in the dark when the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years parades across American skies on August 21. Venues along its path are hosting special events and hotels are offering promotional rates for this astronomical phenomenon. Although reservations are already booked for the big day in August, many of these sites are also great places to hold meetings another time.
The eclipse will pass over portions of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, but research what specific locations will get to enjoy totality, some of which are very remote and uninhabited. Many areas, including numerous major cities, will only see a partial eclipse.
Smart Tip: If you plan to watch the eclipse, be sure to wear proper eye protection to prevent blindness and vision damage. Custom eclipse glasses with a brand, company or event name printed on them would be a great promotional item to give out at meetings leading up to August 21.
Brooks Winery (Amity, Oregon)
Pop the cork on a great meeting held at Brooks Winery. The vineyard’s hospitality team and executive chef will work directly with meeting professionals to customize an experience at the estate. Packages can include wine tasting, a tour of the winery and a history lesson about the area.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole (Teton Village, Wyoming)
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole has approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 125 guest rooms. Its beautiful Cottonwood Ballroom has a large wood-burning fireplace, wood paneling and stone finishes. The Four Seasons offers year-round activities from skiing in the winter to swimming in the summer and everything in between.
Lone Tree Ranch (Glendo, Wyoming)
Lone Tree Ranch offers meeting and conference rooms in a distraction-free environment from Mondays through Thursdays. There is an on-site commercial sized kitchen or you can choose to have meals included in your package. Lodging is available for an additional fee. One of the housing accommodations is a remodeled train caboose. Choo-choo! Lone Tree Ranch is owned by Fire Rock Church.
Moonrise Hotel (St. Louis)
Get ready to blast off at Moonrise Hotel. What better way to remember the eclipse than at a space-themed boutique hotel? Meeting rooms are named after the Apollo missions and the hotel also offers a boardroom, rooftop terrace under the stars and an elegant dining room. AV and sleeping accommodations are available as well.
Cheekwood Estate and Gardens (Nashville)
Have an event of galactic proportions at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens. The lush 55-acre estate dates back to 1929 and became an art museum and botanical garden in 1960. Guests at a private function can enjoy a leisurely stroll through its 12 gardens and take advantage of complimentary admission to the art exhibits.
Adventure Science Center (Nashville)
Take your attendees out of this world to Music City’s Adventure Science Center, offering a beautiful view of the Nashville skyline. Besides a meeting room, classroom and theater, the science center rents out its planetarium for lectures and presentations. You can also host a function inside their Space Chase exhibit to mix and mingle amongst the solar system.
Smart Tip: Rent out the entire facility for groups of up to 2,500.
Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro (Townsend, Tennessee)
Tucked in the Smoky Mountains, the 36-acre Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro added a new event center in 2015 for corporate events of up to 150 guests in conjunction with renting its adjoining restaurant. If weather cooperates, the lawn and outdoor pavilion can be used for larger groups of 250. Dancing Bear also offers AV equipment, on-site catering and over 20 guest rooms. The resort is within close proximity to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee and home to one of the coolest observation decks in the world, according to Travel+Leisure. Additional accommodations are available four miles away at their sister property, Changes in Altitude, a four bedroom, 4,200-square-foot luxury house with a lot of bells and whistles.
Chattooga Belle Farm (Long Creek, South Carolina)
Chattooga Belle Farm is situated on 138 acres of land. The working farm is located in what was once the largest apple producing region east of the Mississippi in the 1950s. Groucho Marx owned the orchard at one time and its 5,000-square-foot barn is available for events. The rustic barn features a covered patio offering 270 degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Smart Tip: Ask about farm-to-table dining experiences.