Winter Solstice Solo 2019

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The solstice tradition continues in force. Thanks to all who came for the love, laughter, music, and joy.

Tiki lighting

Tiki lighting


Deck the bridge


Sophie prefers parties indoors, thanks..

Sophie prefers indoor parties, thanks.


The barn in party mode




More before


Sundown on the solstice

The lighting was as spectacular as ever.


Turn sun turn!






Meanwhile in the barn…Sophie takes a party nap.


Do not party like Sophie.




Solstice potluck disco center


Burn hot

Alec and the fiddle player


The solution to cold butts


2am coals

I know, lets do it again. See you at the summer solstice!

Summer Solstice 2019: Bodacious Bonfire


First a story of the lighting through the photography of Amy Barley.

Prepare to Burn


Light it Up

Fire Maiden

And that is how you turn the sun.

Things looked pretty much like this before we started

Then there were several undocumented hours in the river with the special beer float courtesy of Aubrey. We’re still not sure where he is.

The most popular guest of all was baby Cora. (Yes, that is the three McGraw brothers in kilts.)

Panorama by jackie


A video of the lighting.


This shot by my brother walt (at his first solstice) is one of my favorites.

From the bridge


When the fire burned down enough to get within 100 feet, we started the music.

Burning pile

Joel Winstead created some great sketches in real time.

Music by firelight

The fire

Gary and Gina

The the thunderstorm moved in around 11pm and we shifted the music to the barn. We played until 4am. What a joy.

Gary and Gina in the barn

Allen behind his hat

There are a few more pictures on the evite page. Thanks to all who came to the 2019 summer solstice fire!

Thanks for coming to the summer solstice!

The 2018 Solstice Fire


The weather cooperated spectacularly for the 2018 solstice party. The rain cleared for a day or two. The moon was full. It was a crisp cold night with a beautiful sky.

Our ritual of gathering good friends from all walks of life every six months took place again without a hitch. Thanks to all who came to help us turn the sun.

Sunset before the party

This year, the fire lighting was cheered on by a rising full moon. The fire caught quickly and burned hard and fast.

Full moon and unlit pile


Lighting (time to run away)

Lots of people arrived for the lighting this year

Every solstice party is different in interesting ways. This year lots of people showed up for the lighting at 5:45. Then the BOILO got the party rocking.  The lighting is always a sight to see.

The fire gets going

2018 solstice fire



The moon was incredible and lent a silver tinge to everything.

The barn was alight in party mode

This year the unplanned potluck food supply was great with chilli, meatballs, sloppy joes, fried chicken, and even krispy kreme donuts. The barn bar took a licking. Gonna need some serious restocking before summer!

Sorry about the terrible Christmas music in the barn. That’s just how it goes. At least there is a disco ball.

Marco. BOILO! There’s nothing quite like extremely local product.


A violin burns

Possibly the most ridiculous and surprising part of the evening was the violin sword fight instigated by Josh Henry (my trusty and talented violin and bow repair guy). Unbeknownst to everyone, Josh brought three dead rental violins to the party. So when we got them out and started sword fighting vigorously with them and then threw their remains into the fire, the 20 somethings who were already wondering just what those old people across the fire were all about, freaked out. They thought just for the smallest moment that I was destroying my actual violin.

LOL! Got you.

There was lots of music this year.  It started early and went late.  Thanks music makers!  We love playing with you all.


Late night the music continues


Ember glow

I know, lets do it again this summer!!

Moonglow (picture by Amy Barley)

Marco. BOILO!


This is how a tradition is born. First a seemingly innocuous cocktail article. Then edition one. Then fun. And here we go down the slippery slope to BOILO.

Step 0. Gather ingredients.

The makings of BOILO

What is that fancy ass ginger beer doing in there? And mace from Grenada?! Yeesh.

Step 1. Combine and boil down for 30 minutes or so.

Boil the BOILO

Step 2. What are we missing?

No really, what are we missing??!

Step 3. Eureka.

Step 4. Let the BOILO steep overnight (or 5 hours, whichever is longer)

Final product steeps

Now we are ready for the solstice! Yes we are.

Burn, baby, burn. Solstice fire 2017.

Burn Baby Burn: 2017 Winter Solstice Fire


Cerbe meets mogli before dark

Music. Great food. Huge fire. Friends. Boilo. What more could you want?

Early birds get to see the lighting

Mmmmmm. Beer.

The lighting

Put it in perspective: 100 feet of flame.

This year the fairy ring of osage oranges turned into a warning line for fire spread. We had to get water buckets and a hose out for the first time ever.

The fire spreads

View from the field

The two (or three) pods making up the solstice party are always a good mix. Food and cheesy Christmas music in the barn. Fire and live music in the field. This year some of the real music moved into the barn during a brief rain.


Boilo causes time warps



Turn sun turn

Thanks to all who came. An excellent iteration.

Summer Solstice Party 2017

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81 in July

The summer solstice weather could not have been finer. 81, sunny, perfect river weather.

kerosene distribution

Post river, it was time to light the fire.

2017 solstice fire


The fire was perfectly constructed by JC.

The moon was full.

Children of the fire

Thanks to all who came.

Perfect Weather Window for the 2016 Winter Solstice Party

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Cold and rainy weather was a real possibility during the winter solstice party. But a day that started with a coating of ice everywhere turned warmer and beautiful before the party started. The next day was rainy. So boy are we lucky!

Before (a fat one)

Before (a fat one)

The sunset was outstanding.

Impressionist evening

Impressionist evening

Impressionist Shenandoah

Impressionist Shenandoah

Party prep complete! Ready for the hard core solstice revelers. It’s way easier to come to the summer solstice!



Newly resurfaced footbridge

Newly resurfaced footbridge

Tiki trail across the creek

Tiki trail across the creek

Get lit: Winter Solstice fire 2016

Get lit: Winter Solstice fire 2016



After lighting, it was time for music. The music lasted all night, right up to 5am when the weather shifted and it started to sprinkle.

Music at the solstice

Music at the solstice



We decided that due to rampant political disgust we would burn some flags. Real ones. This is a new thing. Thanks Trump.

Flag burning time

Flag burning time

Into the fire with you nazis!

Into the fire with you nazis!

Burn baby burn

Burn baby burn

And we’ve had it with racism too.

Flag two for the flames

Flag two for the flames

Down with racism

Down with racism

Burn baby burn

Burn baby burn

Warning: exuberant potty mouth host on a mission (with a nice buzz) in this video!

Then it was back to the keg of dogfish head 90 and the fantastic potluck dinner in the barn. Super fantastic.


Thanks to all who came.



Turning the Sun 2016 (Summer Solstice)

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A gorgeous Virginia summer evening was just what the doctor ordered for the summer solstice party this year. Food, friends, fire, and all night music. Thanks to all who came.

This year featured lots of next gens (over 30) wandering the property. Needless to say, the keg ran dry around 3am. And they ate ALL of the cookies.

So orderly

So orderly










Absinthe hour ran from 4:45-6:15. We were ushered to bed by the blue.


(Special thanks to Micheal Hobert for some of the photos above.)

One Week From Solstice: Where is Winter?

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Tacking Willie

Tacking Willie

Tacking Paloma

Tacking Paloma

Not coming

Not coming

What? 70 degrees on December 13th?



Riding by the Shenandoah

Riding by the Shenandoah

Well, the solstice is coming anyway!

Solstice fire is ready

Solstice fire is ready

Apothecary shed?  Ready!

Apothecary shed? Ready!

Red shed?  Ready!

Red shed? Ready!

Muddy face

Muddy face

Sometimes the Couch Must Burn

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Very late at night during a solstice party mysterious and inscrutable things happen. Like couch burning. And/or spontaneous song spouting. You never know.

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