Georgia mountain communities are expecting a tourism rush for next month’s solar eclipse.
Rabun County is Georgia’s most northeastern county and will see a total eclipse. Teka Earnhardt directs tourism there, and she said hotels and rental properties are fully booked.
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“We had one of our bed and breakfasts that booked up completely within two days of sending out an email to their folks 14 months ago,” Earnhardt said.
She pointed out that Rabun County has a great eclipse selling point.
“Of the 14 states that have a total solar eclipse, we have the second longest totality. We’re two minutes and 38 seconds. We’re only two seconds shy of the longest, and I believe that’s out in Carbondale, Illinois,” Earnhardt said.
The Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School’s athletic fields will host a viewing party. Two Jumbotron screens will be set up there to show the NASA live feed from when the eclipse enters the U.S. in Oregon, and exits in South Carolina.
People are reserving rooms and camp sites about an hour away from the prime viewing spots. Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes did not expect such a windfall.
“We were kind of surprised to have those calls since we’re not in the direct line to view it,” Haynes said. “At the same time, it’s so great for our hotels, especially since this after the majority of Georgia counties have already gone back to school.”
The eclipse takes place Aug. 21.