We embarked on a journey during the Eclipse 2024 weekend, starting from Nashville towards Paducah, Kentucky, a mere 2 ½ hour drive away. Situated on the southern banks of the Ohio River, Paducah’s strategic location near the junction of several rivers facilitated its early growth as a vital river port.

Our plans encountered a hiccup when we discovered that downtown Paducah typically closes on Sunday/Monday. Given the eclipse’s timing on Monday at 2 pm, we had to adjust our itinerary accordingly, a tip worth noting for future travelers.

Our first stop was at the Over/Under Bar, where we indulged in a delightful meal featuring Mexican-inspired tacos and refreshing cocktails. Afterward, we explored the charming streets of Paducah, where horse-drawn carriages and street musicians added to the bustling atmosphere. Visitors from across the country had flocked to the town for the celestial event, filling the air with excitement and curiosity. We meandered through various shops, including the Yeiser Art Center, soaking in the sunshine and the town’s unique southern charm.

A highlight of our visit was a stop at Lepa Jewelry Design Studio and Boutique, where exquisite custom jewelry adorned the walls. Karen and I couldn’t resist purchasing personalized eclipse-themed earrings and birthstone dangle earrings and engaging in delightful conversation with the owner before leaving. More of that to come.

For dinner, we treated ourselves to the renowned Freight House, where an eclectic cocktail menu and tantalizing cuisine descriptions elevated our dining experience. Satiated but content, we returned to our hotel for the night.

The following day began with breakfast at the hotel before attending a heartfelt service at Lone Oak United Methodist Church, led by my son, the Reverend Connor Williams. The service, accompanied by the melodious chimes of handbells, set a tone of hope and reflection for the day ahead.

Lunch proved to be an unconventional affair at Paducah Beer Werks, housed in the historic Greyhound bus station, where we savored sandwiches, hamburgers, and their famous Pepperoni Chips.

Our adventure continued at the National Quilt Museum, where we marveled at the intricate craftsmanship on display. A stroll down Paducah’s main street led us to the Eclipse festival, where vendors gathered for the momentous event. We paused for conversation and a cocktail at Castle and Key Distillery, savoring the vibrant energy of the festival.

Dinner that evening was at Doe’s Eat Place on Main Street. While the portions were generous and the menu extensive, the restaurant layout made conversation challenging, detracting from the overall experience.

Finally, Monday arrived, bringing with it the eagerly anticipated Eclipse. Despite initial weather concerns, the skies cleared, allowing us to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of science and nature in perfect harmony.  In that moment, I was overwhelmed by a mix of emotions, realizing my insignificance in the vastness of the universe. As totality rendered darkness, for a moment I was moved by the realization of my presence, my fortune, to experience this incredible phenomenon not once, but twice – in 2017 and now in 2024. Reflecting on the fact that the next total eclipse will occur when I am 83 years old, I was momentarily rendered speechless, simply taking in the experience as I breathed.

Yes, it was a perfect ending to a perfect weekend.  Paducah, Kentucky, thanks for your hospitality.  Thank you for giving me such a brilliantly inspiring weekend.  We’ll be back soon.