Maple Syrup! The practice of making syrup from the sap of the maple tree began with Native Americans. This sweet idea took hold among the European arrivals. Today Vermont is the leading maple syrup producer in the Unites States. There are lots of ways to enjoy it as you drive the nation. Here are a few of them:
Smith Maple Crest Farm in Shrewsbury, Vermont, dates back over 200 years. It has been all in the same family, for eight generations. You can visit, and linger by staying at their bed and breakfast, a 27-room landmark built in 1808, with all the New England charm you could hope for, nestled in the Green mountains. The poet Robert Frost stayed there (stopping by woods on a snowy evening?), as did several Vermont governors.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center, Vermont, offers a store where you can buy maple products, visit their Mill, and have a meal in the Apple Core Luncheonette. The Apple Core offers a variety of cold sandwiches, wraps, salads, grilled paninis, and kid-friendly selections. In the Mill, you can see the doughnut monster, buy some fresh baked goods in the bakery, and see apple cider being made in the cider press room. They make pure cider using a traditional rack and cloth press built in the 1920s — and you can watch. They press year-round, and they are open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. till 6 p.m., closed only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is honey bee corner too.
Limlaw Family Maple Farm, in west Topsham, has stop by a sugarhouse you can visit at any time of the year. They have plenty of pure Vermont maple syrup for purchase in any size as well as maple cream, maple candy and pure Vermont honey.
Couture’s Maple Shop and Bed and Breakfast in Westfield, Vermont, has been welcoming maple sugar lovers since 1979. It is so true Vermont farm Bed and Breakfast experience, with an atmosphere of a small family farm, that the cows might even give you your morning wake up call!
At McBride Family Maples, in Westford, Vermont, Christopher McBride offers a combination of maple, magic and photography. Christopher has circumnavigated the globe, solo cycled across the US and Canada, and has been a natural history guide in many countries. He says, “When in northern Vermont, please visit my farm and studio to see some magic, have a cup of tea, and take a tour.”
Sugartree Maple Farm in Williston, Vermont, has maple products made with 100% natural Vermont syrup, straight from their trees. The farm consists of 49 acres, of sugar maple trees. The choices include blue ribbon winning maple sugar, and tempting maple lollypops.
The Dutton Berry Farmstands can be found three places in Vermont: on Route 30 in Newfane, Route 11-30 in Manchester, and Route 9 in West Brattleboro. They are well known for their Vermont maple items, Vermont grown produce and other unique local products.
Hidden Springs Maple Farm Store in Putney, Vermont, has a farm store with Vermont maple syrup, maple products from local maple farms, and a variety of carefully selected Vermont gifts. They carry maple syrup from a number of farms, including Black Bear Sugar Works, Major Maple, Steve Glabach and Sidelands Sugarbush, as well as their own Hidden Springs sugarbush. They also have Vermont gifts including maple cutting boards, wooden bowls, Vermont honey, and artwork. There’s a free maple syrup tasting table so you can try before you buy.
Merck Forest and Farmland Center, in Rupert, Vermont, is a nonprofit educational organization whose mission it is to teach and to demonstrate the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland. The Center comprises 3,162 acres, including a 3,100 acre managed forest, a certified-organic sugaring operation and a 62-acre farm. Go for their on-site demonstrations, and recreational opportunities, to connect with farm, forest and the working landscape. You can visit the farm, explore the forest, and stay in a cabin or lean-to. There are over thirty miles of hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding trails. Go to the Joy Green Visitor Center to learn more, and to shop for organic pure Vermont maple syrup and other farm and forest products. Merck Forest and Farmland Center is open to the public year round, 7 days a week from dawn to dusk; there is no admission fee.