As winter’s chill settles over the Cape and Islands, the arrival of the Winter Solstice brings with it an opportunity to revel in the magic of the season and celebrate the return to light after the longest night of the year. From tranquil nature walks to cozy gatherings, the area transforms into a wonderland of activities that capture the spirit of this celestial event.
On this shortest day of the year, there are community events to mark this transition to the returning light or you can use one of our suggestions to start your own family traditions to mark this seasonal transformation.
Our Pick of Winter Solstice Events
1. Winter Strolls: Contrary to summer’s bustling trails, winter walks offer a serene escape. Sturgis Library is hosting a merry hike on the solstice at 9AM on the Great Marsh Trail in West Barnstable. Another option is a solstice sunset hike on Martha’s Vineyard hiking down to the beach over Menemsha Hills. Bundle up, feel the crisp breeze, and let the beautiful scenery center you on the shortest day of the year.
2. Make a Luminary: Illuminate the longest night of the year with a touch of magic by creating luminaries for the Winter Solstice. As darkness falls, place the luminaries along pathways or on your doorstep, creating a luminous trail that symbolizes the triumph of light over winter’s deep embrace. Barnstable Land Trust has some great ideas for making homemade luminaries on their website. Alternatively, if you are not much of a DIY-er, you could check out the beautiful holiday light displays in Sandwich.
3. Solstice Yoga Retreats: For those seeking a more reflective celebration, local yoga studios often host special Winter Solstice retreats. Orleans Yoga has a candlelit yoga class open to all to welcome the solstice on the 20th at 5:30PM. Engage in rejuvenating yoga practices that honor the changing seasons, promoting a sense of balance and harmony as you welcome the winter months with a centered mind and body.
4. Luminaria Walks: Cape Cod beautiful scenery takes on a magical glow during Winter Solstice luminaria walks. One such walk that is free for all to join is the Winter Solstice Labyrinth Walk hosted by the Center for the Spiritual Journey in Chase Park in Chatham at 4PM on the solstice. Luminaries and tea lights softly light the way, creating a warm and enchanting ambiance.
5. Ring in the Longer Days: Celebrate the Winter Solstice with rhythmic beats and positive vibes at an enchanting Drum Circle. As the longest night unfolds, gather around the warmth of the fire, and let the ancient rhythms guide your spirit. The Harwich Community Circle is hosting a drum circle led by the Drumma Queens on the solstice at 5PM and is open to all. Embrace the solstice energy, connect with the community, and experience the power of music as we welcome the return of light and longer days.
6. Stargazing Excursions: With the longer night, the Winter Solstice is an ideal time for stargazing. Cape Cod’s dark skies provide an excellent backdrop for observing celestial wonders. The Cape Cod National Seashore is a local favorite for stargazing due to its relatively low light pollution and undeveloped location.
Embracing the Light
The Winter Solstice on the Cape and Islands is more than just the changing of seasons; it is an invitation to embrace the unique offerings of winter and find joy in the warmth of community. Whether you are drawn to the tranquility of the beaches, the glow of bonfires, or the festive spirit of holiday markets, local Winter Solstice activities promise a memorable celebration of light, nature, and the promise of longer days.