News and Updates from the Land

Annual Winter Solstice Celebration

Note: Please note that the Solstice Celebration will take place on Monday the 21st. While Winter Solstice may be listed on Tuesday on some calendars, in Vermont it ‘strikes’ at 11:48 PM on Monday, December 21st this year. We’ll see you then!


The year’s long night has fallen and the forests and fields of the world’s far northern climes lay waiting for the sun’s return to warm the land and deliver summer’s bounty. Its journey paints a long story across a waiting sky, and that tale begins on Monday, December 21st at the Watershed Center’s annual Winter Solstice celebration at the Waterworks property on Plank Road in Bristol. All are invited to join the festivities and welcome back the light from the southern horizon.

Featuring a welcoming fire and a surprise or two, it’s a joyful evening of food and music that brings together families of all ages to share some midwinter cheer and marks the year’s deepest night and the start of the sun’s slow rise toward its longest day.

The Watershed Center solstice celebration harkens back to an earlier time in human history when the natural cycles of the Earth formed the calendar’s most important milestones. Yule, the original winter solstice holiday, marked the rebirth of the sun in the sky and the return of the life it brings to the world. Bonfires would be lit, and mistletoe, which represents the seed of the divine, would be hung. Baskets of evergreen boughs symbolizing eternal life were placed in the home to receive gifts from visitors, and the traditional yule log would be lit to represent the resurrected sun.

The Watershed Center’s festivities honor these traditions and this symbolic ancient fire, and provide a wonderful opportunity for everyone to get outside and experience the magic of the winter forest while making memories with friends and neighbors old and new. From pot-luck snacks and drinks to the Bringing of the Light, it remains one of Vermont’s most unique holiday get-togethers held in one of it’s most beautiful locations.

Join the fun as the Watershed Center summons the sun. The all-weather snow-or-shine celebration begins at 5:00 pm on Monday, December 21st at the picnic area on the Norton Brook Reservoir at the Waterworks Forest in Bristol (about a 1/2 mile walk from the parking area, which is off Plank Road 1/2 mile east of North Street.) Please carpool if possible and heed the parking restrictions on Plank Road. Bring food and drink to share and dress warmly. The Watershed Center reminds everyone to keep pets at home and remember to take your flashlight and watch the path—it may be icy!

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