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Transformative Experience: Witnessing the 2024 Total Eclipse in NH’s North Country

Clear skies and mild spring temperatures welcomed crowds to witness the total solar eclipse in Northern New Hampshire on Monday. Towns prepared for an influx of tourists, and traffic congestion was reported on Interstate 93, Route 16, and Route 3 as people traveled towards the path of totality.

NHPR’s Mara Hoplamazian and Zoey Knox explored various locations in the North Country, engaging with both travelers and locals throughout the day.


A handful of eclipse watchers set up early on Monday, April 8 at Lake Francis in Pittsburg.

At Lake Francis in Pittsburg, a few eclipse enthusiasts gathered early on Monday, April 8.

Rob Maier, originally from San Francisco, altered his plans for a Texas road trip upon observing a favorable weather forecast in Coos County. Having witnessed the 2017 eclipse in Oregon, he expressed his eagerness to experience it once more, emphasizing the fleeting nature of the event.

Ray Markey and his family journeyed from Philadelphia, seeking a transformative encounter with the total eclipse after experiencing partial totality in 2017.

On Sunday, April 7, a team of students and professors from Plymouth State University sent up huge helium balloons carrying science equipment into the sky. The team is one of several dozen across the country working with NASA to study how the eclipse will affect the earth’s atmosphere.

On Sunday, April 7, a team from Plymouth State University conducted experiments with helium balloons equipped with scientific instruments to study the eclipse’s impact on the atmosphere. This project, in collaboration with NASA, aimed to analyze changes in temperature, humidity, and wind patterns during the celestial event.

Meteorology student Maria Cabrera, part of the research team, expressed her excitement for her first total eclipse experience, reflecting on her lifelong fascination with weather phenomena.


In Colebrook, parking lots quickly filled up in the morning as Tim Stevens, the town manager, accommodated the surge in visitors by opening up additional spaces for tents and RVs.

Colebrook Town Manager Tim Stevens.

Tim Stevens, the Town Manager of Colebrook.

Local restaurants extended their hours and simplified menus to cater to the influx of tourists, with food carts supplementing the demand. Despite not having a moment to anticipate the eclipse himself, Stevens acknowledged the economic benefits of increased tourism during the post-winter mud season.

Haley Rossitto, fundraising for high school events, operated a cotton candy stand using her grandfather’s carnival equipment. She anticipated a bustling day but noted the unprecedented level of activity compared to typical peak seasons like the Fourth of July.

Coleman State Park

Staff from Mount Washington Observatory observe the eclipse on April 8 at Coleman State Park.

Staff members from the Mount Washington Observatory observed the eclipse at Coleman State Park on April 8.

Coleman State Park anticipated around 400 visitors on Monday, with traffic gradually building up in the surrounding areas. Despite the unexpected sunshine, residents embraced the opportunity to showcase the park’s beauty to a wider audience.

The Maples family, visiting from Danvers, Massachusetts, marveled at the eclipse, with 10-year-old Ava expressing gratitude for the unique experience on Earth.

Amanda Stokley-Vierling, traveling from Maryland with her daughter and friends, described the eclipse as a surreal and awe-inspiring moment, emphasizing the profound impact of witnessing the celestial event.

The zenith of totality at Coleman State Park on April 8.

The peak of totality at Coleman State Park on April 8.

NHPR’s Mara Hoplamazian and Zoey Knox reported from Stewartstown for this story.