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Montpelier Turns Skyward

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Watching the April 8, 2025 eclipse happening, viewed from the Statehouse steps. Photo by John Lazenby.
MONTPELIER — April 8 finally arrived, and locals and people from around New England and much farther afield met on the Vermont Statehouse lawn and at the Vermont College of Fine Arts green to share the once-in-a-lifetime experience of a total solar eclipse.

Miraculously, it was one of the sunniest days in weeks. On State Street, Woodbelly Pizza sold slices to a long line of buyers and cotton candy was available at the college green. Kids performed their customary antics, running on grass, zooming remote-controlled cars, sliding off the Statehouse cannons from the Spanish American War. Telescopes and cameras on tripods and thousands of pairs of eclipse glasses turned skyward as the drama unfolded.

On the steps of the Capitol, from under a Montpelier Alive awning at the Statehouse, DJ Xav Jimenez from Buch Spieler Records spun out ethereal sounds that fit the mood, and stopped as the eclipse started and the skies began to darken. Up the hill at the VCFA green, DJ Msd3k curated an eclipse playlist that ended 90 seconds before totality.

The sky darkened, shadows lengthened, temperatures dropped, and the wind picked up as the moon finally settled into position for the total eclipse. At that point safety glasses could be removed, and gasps, cheers, and tears ensued at the otherworldly sight of the moon fully blocking the sun, surrounded by a halo of light. Minutes later, the moment passed and sunlight again peeked around the edge of the moon, and the day’s warmth slowly returned.

In short order every road out of town that could reach the southbound entrance ramp of I-89 was jammed with out-of-state cars and a few Vermont drivers, inching their way home. It was a long wait just to get onto the Interstate. And then a multi-hour crawl for anybody to get anywhere south. Traffic was calmly gridlocked on State Street, Memorial Drive, Bailey Avenue, Taylor Street, Main Street, basically anywhere that could get you to I-89. The stalled bumper-to-bumper line on Elm Street went on for miles as people who had been in northern Vermont headed down Route 12 into the city. Eventually, like the eclipse, they were all gone. 

Most of the photos below are by John Lazenby. See more of his eclipse photos here.

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