It may look like a prehistoric stone circle randomly erected along the shores of Lake Champlain, but this structure is actually a modern compass, calendar, and clock. Stand smack dab in its center, and you, too, will become part of the timepiece.
Like any sundial, the Burlington Earth Clock uses shadows cast upon the ground to tell time. But this particular sundial is different, as it only really works if a person steps into its center and acts as the gnomon.
The 14 granite stones do more than tell the hour of the day. The whole circle also acts as a compass, with particular stones aligned with the four main cardinal directions. The artwork is a calendar, too. While standing in the center, if you look westward, you’ll see stones planted to mark the point on the horizon where the sun sets during the equinoxes and solstices.
The stone circle was erected by a grassroots nonprofit called Circles for Peace. The aim of the piece is to help people find a sense of inner calm by syncing with the rhythms and cycles of the natural world.
Know Before You Go
When you enter Oakledge Park, park in the first lot to your left, then walk back toward the entrance. The path to the Earth Clock is actually the Burlington Bike Path. Walk north along the lake shore, toward Burlington. The Burlington Earth Clock is about 1,000 feet or so from the road. There may be a charge for parking. The City of Burlington says metered lots at Oakledge Park are $2/hour.