Winter Institute 2024

Event format: On-site

Date & time:

  • Passed: Friday, February 16, 2024, 3:00 pm - Monday, February 19, 2024, 12:00 pm EST

Type of event: Retreat

Sponsor: Central East Region of the UUA

Mountain stream in winter, snow upon ice.

Winter Institute (WI) is a long held tradition of gathering over President’s Day week-end for a mid-winter retreat at Salt Fork State Park in Cambridge, Ohio. This retreat was the brainchild of a group of Summer Institute (SI) attendees who wisely determined that a year between SI gatherings is just TOO LONG to wait to gather with extended Beloved UU Community!

We have 2 years of post-pandemic gatherings under our belts, and the renewed awareness of how sacred it is to be in community, raising our voices in song, sharing meals together, and enjoying togetherness has continued to heighten the poignancy of our time in community. The WI Planning committee is delighted to invite you, once again, to join us in-person for Winter Institute at Salt Fork, and hope that even more of you are ready to venture out with us!

What to Expect

Over the years, this relaxing weekend has been an intimate gathering for UUs of all ages. There are frosty outdoor activities like sledding, hiking and cross country skiing. For those who choose to stay in their slippers all weekend, there is a beautiful lodge with its many cozy corners and fireplaces. The pool and hot tub are truly a wintertime treat. There are fellow UUs always ready to play board games or to join in the community jigsaw puzzle(s). We have wonderful community worship services in the morning and evenings. Check in to the lodge Friday after 3:00 pm.

The Salt Fork State Park is the flagship lodge of the Ohio State Park System, located near Cambridge, Ohio. It is 2 hours from Columbus, Cleveland or Pittsburgh. The park has a beautiful lodge with an indoor pool, game room with pool tables, ping pong tables and video games, lounge and hiking trails. The lodge is handicap accessible. Directions will be sent with registration confirmation and can be obtained on the Salt Fork website.

Need more details? Check out last year's welcome letter (google doc) to registrants for details on packing, planning, and interacting.

COVID-19 Considerations

The UUA and the Central Eastern Region COVID protocols will continue to evolve and are subject to change as evidence-based guidelines and best practices are communicated for in-person events. For the safety of all:

  • All attendees must be vaccinated against COVID if they are of an age able to be vaccinated and may be asked to show proof of vaccination status.
  • Stay tuned regarding the practice of wearing masks indoors for gatherings. Likely we will require them during worship services.

As usual, we will have a hospitality suite which will be available for fellowship beginning after the opening night worship service, and throughout the week-end. Bring snacks and beverages to share as you like! Feel free to arrive early at the lodge and enjoy a meal in the restaurant. We will have masks available, as well as rapid COVID tests should anyone need them. The WI Planning committee will be communicating with folks who register, as well as sharing updates on our Facebook group. Please join our Facebook group to connect virtually with our Winter Institute community, view pictures from past years' gatherings and ask questions/get help.


Lodge at Salt Fork State Park, OH

Registration is a two-part process.

First make your hotel reservations at Salt Fork at 740-435-9000. Please tell them you would like to book a room under the UU Winter Institute 2024 block. Rates are Deluxe King- $175 a night, Standard Double Queen- $143 a night, Standard Double Queen Bunk Beds $175 a night, Standard King- $143 a night. Rates did go up this year, but had not done so in over a decade!Reservations at this rate are only available by calling Salt Fork and identifying yourself as part of our group. These rooms and prices are only guaranteed until Jan. 15th, so don’t wait!

Second part is to register for Winter Institute. The registration fee covers meals (Breakfast and Dinner on Saturday and Sunday, Breakfast Monday,) rental of spaces used for registration, worship and hospitality, and administrative costs associated with the registration process, venue negotiations and staff support.

Costs: Save if you register early!

  • Early Bird Rate through January 15: $160 per person 11 and up, $80 for children 4-10
  • Regular rate January 16 - February 12: $180 per person 11 and up, $90 for children 4-10
  • 3 and under are free

Register Now 
Registration deadline is February 11.

We hope you can make this a new (or continuing) midwinter tradition and join fellow UUs gathering in community.

Copy the Google (ICS) or Outlook (ICS) link address to subscribe to this event (or download the file to import it) in a program which supports the iCal format.