The Summer Solstice is always a reason to celebrate. A lot of people take the time to enjoy the longest days of the year, while others set out to partake in solstice-related activities that abound.
Starting on Friday, June 18, and running throughout the weekend, Graycliff will be hosting an all-ages program series that intends to shine a very bright light on the magnificent Frank Lloyd Wright-designed property located on Lake Erie in Derby, NY.
You might say that Graycliff was built with the solstice in mind – the story goes that Wright designed the corner window in the “view room” of the main house to view the setting sun on the solstice. Everything that Wright did was intended to pay tribute to the natural surroundings of his landmark buildings. Graycliff embodies this sentiment perfectly, which is why it’s the ideal place to program events during the solstice.
Graycliff’s Executive Director, Anna Kaplan, explains, “The Summer Solstice is a very special time of year on the property—the setting sun paired with the incredible design of the houses and landscape is not to be missed. We made sure to craft several programming options this year to engage the entire family and are thrilled to be collaborating with Tifft Nature Preserve and Yoga Parkside. No matter what you choose to participate in, after the year we’ve all had, Graycliff’s serene setting is sure to be extra restorative.“
Programming includes (full details follow):
Friday, June 18th 4-8pm: Opening Night of the Market at Graycliff
Saturday, June 19th (options starting at 5pm and 6pm): Twilight Adventure With Graycliff & Tifft Nature Preserve – advance booking required
Sunday, June 20th 6:30-8:30pm: Solstice Yoga & Celebration of the Sun With Yoga Parkside – advance booking required
Friday, June 18th 4-8pm: Opening Night of the Market at Graycliff
After a pause due to the pandemic in 2020, the popular Market at Graycliff is back for the 2021 season running Friday evenings June 18th – July 30th. This producer-only/ handmade-only market will feature over ten unique vendors each week including crafts, bath and body products, flowers, wine, pantry items, and much more. Later in the season, there will also be a produce stand set up by Graycliff sourced with vegetables from the recently expanded historic vegetable garden! Each Market evening will also feature a different food truck as well a cultural partner—the Cheesy Chick food truck and the Roycroft Campus being the first on June 18th. There is no charge to attend and patronize the vendors, which will be set up in Graycliff’s parking area. There will be $10 self-guided tours of the property available on all Market evenings, that will allow guests to explore the historic grounds and inside the first floor of the main house. Children under 17 are free of charge and children 5 and up are welcomed inside the main house. Please also note that while strollers are allowed on the historic grounds, they are not permitted inside in order to maintain the carefully restored wooden floors. Graycliff’s Pavilion Shop is also open on Market evenings with a wide selection of beautifully designed housewares and gifts.
“After a brief hiatus, we are so excited to welcome guests back to our Market at Graycliff! This is an excellent opportunity to bring your family out to spend time casually on our historic grounds, grab a bite to eat, and shop fine quality products. Plus, we can’t wait to welcome guests aged 5 and up inside the now restored main house to see the completed restoration effort,” said Graycliff’s Director of Operations Ryan Gravell.
Saturday, June 19th (options starting at 5pm and 6pm): Twilight Adventure With Graycliff & Tifft
Twilight Adventure is a collaboration with Tifft Nature Preserve and involves family programming on both nearby sites over the same evening! The event combines nature and architecture and begins with a family-centric 45-minute docent-led tour that explores the historic grounds and first floor of the main house at Graycliff. Then you get in your car and head to Tifft (approx. 20 min north) for a twilight hike: watch nature getting ready to rest and awaken at night and enjoy the sun setting on a guided informative one-hour twilight hike. The Cheesy Chick food truck will be on site at Graycliff and families are encouraged to pre-order and eat in between—either outside at Graycliff, or on the drive over to Tifft (at Tifft, participants are asked to drive down the driveway and park next to the Darling Education Center to meet their guide). There are two timing options, the first starts at 5pm at Graycliff, with the twilight hike at Tifft beginning at 7pm, the second option will start at 6pm at Graycliff and 8pm at Tifft. This program is recommended for families with children aged 5 and up and is an excellent activity for Father’s Day weekend. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for children, with members of Graycliff or the Buffalo Museum of Science saving $2 per ticket. Booking is through Graycliff at experiencegraycliff.org under “Special Events.”
Sunday, June 20th: Solstice Yoga & Toast to the Sun With Yoga Parkside 6:30-8:30pm
On the longest day of the year and the first day of summer, this collaboration with Yoga Parkside offers the opportunity to connect with nature and celebrate the sun on Graycliff’s historic grounds. The experience will involve a 60-minute exterior yoga practice on the lakeside lawn followed by a kirtan (call and response chanting) timed with the setting of the solstice sun and paired with a tasting toast of wine from Leonard Oakes Estate Winery. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore the first floor of Graycliff’s main house on a self-guided experience. Tickets are $40/person, with Graycliff members saving $5. Each ticket includes a Leonard Oakes wine glass and wine tasting, with additional bottles available for purchase that evening. This is a 21+ event open to all levels of yoga experience. Booking is through Graycliff at experiencegraycliff.org under “Special Events.”
All Solstice Weekend special programming is weather permitting and will be rescheduled if necessary. Graycliff is also running their regular guided tour program that weekend. Visit experiencegraycliff.org or call 716-947-9217 to book.
COVID protocols: Proof of vaccination will not be required for any of the solstice weekend events. While participating in a guided touring event (exterior and interior), all guests are required to wear masks. Vaccinated guests may remove their mask when they are not in the tour group, while outside at Graycliff and Tifft, if at least six feet apart. Under all circumstances, masks will still be required at both properties while indoors.