Ronald and Irene White on their wedding day.
Farmhouse on the first day of "spring" in 1971.
In 1957 Ron and Irene White purchased 56 acres of land in Bethel, Vermont. On it was a pre-1900s farmhouse, fields, woods, and possibilities. There they raised their children along with chickens, pigs, and some cows. Kirk White was born in 1962 and grew up amidst animals and nature; he quickly learned that the land held a magic and resonance for him.
The early 1970s were an exciting time for Vermont. The interstate highway (I-89) brought modernity to Vermont in one fell swoop; Kirk, at 12, vividly remembers tasting pizza for the first time. It was also around this time that Kirk’s aunt introduced him to Wicca, sparking a life-long study and pursuit of spiritual and esoteric knowledge.
The White family faced many tragedies over the years, including the loss of their farmhouse in a fire, and emerged slowly but resolutely.
Ron and Irene purchased a small mobile home and built the new family house board by board as they were able to scrape together money for materials. The home they built is the yellow ranch house, here on the Farm at Laurelin Retreat.
Kirk continued his studies, both academic and spiritual, and graduated from UVM with a degree in psychology and religion. He began holding small Pagan gatherings at Laurelin Retreat in 1982. In the late 1980s he met Amy Danley. Amy shared many of his interests and added many more of her own. They had a daughter, Killian, and were married in 1992.
Laurelin Retreat takes its name from "Laurelin, the Golden Tree of Aman" in the works of Tolkien.
In the mid-1990s Kirk and Amy ran one of the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operations in the state. They grew vegetables, herbs, and sold items at the farm and farmer's markets. You might still encounter a patch of herbs, now growing wild, in the grass at Laurelin.
Laurelin has continually hosted Pagan gatherings, which have grown in size and breadth of offerings over the years. The community and traditions of Laurelin have evolved as well, and continue to do so. Currently Laurelin hosts a week-long celebration for Lughnasadh, with smaller events for Yule, Imbolg, Ostara, Beltane, and Harvest, in addition to community brunches and meet-ups. Laurelin community is an eclectic bunch; read more about the community and events here.
Many members of the Laurelin Community have chosen to hold their special celebrations, such as weddings and child blessings, at Laurelin Retreat. Word of the site's beauty and unique "feel" spread, and in 2009 the Firefly Arts Collective approached Kirk about renting the site for a week-long arts event. Laurelin was delighted, and this collaboration has continued for many years. Since then, Laurelin has also found itself the happy site of other events and retreats, including a live-action role-playing camp, as well as weddings and memorials.
Whatever the reason you are drawn to Laurelin, whether as a site for your beautiful special event, a place to explore your spirituality among friends, or the place to receive acupuncture or another healing modality, we hope you will find us soon, and be well.
Kirk White and Amy Danley-White on their wedding day in 1992.