Kathleen Nichols describes experience of going from Dublin to Vermont for the eclipse

Mark Nichols of Dublin, John Black, Mary Black and Sam Black of Stowe, Vt., and Tracy Lambert of Stowe watch the eclipse.

Mark Nichols of Dublin, John Black, Mary Black and Sam Black of Stowe, Vt., and Tracy Lambert of Stowe watch the eclipse. PHOTO BY KATHLEEN NICHOLS

The moment of totality, as seen from Stowe, Vt.

The moment of totality, as seen from Stowe, Vt. PHOTO BY KATHLEEN NICHOLS

By KATHLEEN NICHOLS

For the Ledger-Transcript

Published: 04-11-2024 8:48 AM

My husband, Mark, and I moved from Vermont to New Hampshire in 2006. Last month, my sister, who lives in Stowe, Vt., invited us to come there to see the totality of the eclipse.

Our original plan was to stay overnight, but Mark needed to travel to Maine on Tuesday, so we decided we’d do a back-and-forth. We’ve done this before for holiday visits, special meals, funerals, etc. It’s a 2½-hour trip, doable in a full day.

We heeded the traffic alerts and left Dublin about 7:30 a.m. We arrived at 11 a.m., as we encountered one area of slow congestion between Sharon and Middlebury in Vermont. We felt pretty confident.

We’d experienced partial eclipses before and did not anticipate the awe of totality. In our family’s Stowe backyard, with neighborhood families in nearby fields and yards, the cheers rose as the sky darkened, temperatures dropped and the lights on barns came on. Birds had quieted, and we were struck by a once-in-a-life time event of nature.

As daylight returned, I watched the cars from a gathering at Stowe High School slowly pass the house heading home. We waited a little longer for the skiers who’d enjoyed the spring snowstorm weekend to head out. Just before 6 p.m., we headed south to I-89. It is about eight miles, but took nearly two hours.

As many have shared on social media and news outlets, the traffic home was something unseen in New England ever. We were amazed at the courtesy and civility of all the drivers in Vermont and New Hampshire. People allowed mergers from side roads and lane-to-lane with no horn beeps – never mind blares. We saw no one sneaking down a breakdown lane.

Our country, state and local communities may have differences on political and financial issues, but the "spiritual experience” of this total or near-total celestial event touched thousands in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in a special way, evidenced as they spent hours in vehicles safely driving home in our beautiful states late into the night.

I am glad we did it. We arrived at our home in Dublin at 1:30 a.m.

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