How to get there
Manchester, Vt., is approximately 190 miles from Boston, 40 miles north of Williamstown. Take the Massachusetts Turnpike to exit 2 in Lee and continue north on Route 20 and then Route 7 into Vermont. Once in Vermont, take exit 3 and pick up scenic Route 7A into Manchester or take exit 4 into town.
Both provide general information on the Manchester area.
Participating sugar houses
Merck Forest and Farmland Center
Route 315, Rupert Mountain Road
Working farm and sugar house set on 3,100 acres preserved for environmental education. Vacuum pipelines and some buckets, wood-fired evaporator, Steamaway. The Sugaring Celebration on March 25 includes a pancake breakfast with farm-raised sausage, 10 a.m.-noon; Celtic music 11-3; tree-tapping and boiling demonstrations. From Route 7A, turn left at Northshire Books onto Route 30, drive through Dorset then left onto Route 315, Rupert Mountain Road. At the crest turn left at Merck Forest sign.
Bob's Maple Shop
733 Richville Road
Vacuum and gravity-fed pipelines, some buckets, reverse osmosis, oil-fired evaporator, Steamaway. Sample maple products, games, demonstrations, learn how to check density and grade syrup. From Route 7A in Manchester, take Routes 11 and 30 east. At second light, turn right onto Richville Road. Sugar house is on the right in 3 miles.
2083 Depot St.
Vacuum pipelines, buckets, reverse osmosis, oil-fired evaporator, Steamaway. Demonstrations, sugarbush walk, syrup and cider samples. Take Routes 11 and 30 south 2 miles from center of town; Dutton's is on the left.
Ennis Family Farm
2546 Sunderland Hill Road
Modern technology: vacuum pipelines, oil-fired evaporator, Steamaway. Tours, demonstrations, door prizes, pancakes with syrup. East off Route 7A at Battenkill Canoe onto Hill Farm Road for a half-mile. Turn right at the T. Ennis is the third house on the left.
Skinner Hollow Farm
1703 Main St.
Old-fashioned technology, gravity-fed pipelines with some buckets, old-fashioned wood-fired evaporator. Tractor-drawn hay-wagon rides through the sugarbush, demonstrations, samples. Sunday only. Take Route 7A three miles south of the intersection of Routes 11 and 30. Skinner is on the right.
What else to do
Southern Vermont Arts Center
West Road, Manchester
The Yester House galleries are in a Georgian Revival mansion on Mount Equinox. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday noon-5. Sculpture garden at trailhead for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
3567 Main St., Manchester
This historic inn on the village green offers recreational activities including The British School of Falconry, an off-road driving school with a course and trails, and the new Avanyu Spa, plus golf and fly-fishing in season. Behind the resort, a network of trails sprawls across the face of Mount Equinox, including a loop to the Southern Vermont Arts Center.
Where to stay
Hill Farm Inn
458 Hill Farm Road, Arlington
One of Vermont's oldest farmhouse inns on historic riverfront land with walking trails. Goats, sheep, and chickens; family-friendly. Suites (two with kitchenette) $125-$190; doubles $110-$160; cabins available May-October.
A Maple Sugar Open House Weekend Special, March 19-21, includes country breakfast with maple items, discount certificates for purchase of maple products at local sugar houses and a guided Botany Walk through the inn's wetlands on Sunday.
Manchester Highlands Inn
Highland Avenue, Manchester
A rare Victorian in an area of Colonials with period decor. Residential hilltop location, five-minute walk to town center. Families welcome in Carriage House accommodations. Suites $139-$154; doubles $115-$130.
Maple Open House Weekend Package, March 19-21, starts at $249 for two nights (single or double occupancy), includes maple-themed breakfasts, afternoon tea, Saturday evening wine and hors d'oeuvres hour, and gift bottle of maple syrup.
West Mountain Inn
River Road, Arlington
Gothic-revival country inn with comfortable country antique furnishings nestled on mountainside; 150 woodland acres with hiking or cross-country ski trails. Llamas and rabbits, family-friendly. $198-$275. Two-bedroom townhouses with full kitchen in historic millhouse, $131-$299 depending on meal plan.
Maple Madness Weekend packages from $179 for two per night, includes full country breakfast, five-course dinner featuring maple products, and discount vouchers for purchases at local sugar houses. On-premise tree-tapping and open-fire boiling.
Where to eat
Marsh Tavern at the Equinox
Route 7A, Manchester
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Tory tavern established in 1769. Regional cooking and spa menu items using local products when possible. Lunch $5-$14; dinner $18-$28.
Candeleros Southwestern Grill
5103 Main St., Manchester
Lunch and dinner menu features authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, and new-Mex. Lunch $7-$9; dinner $9-$21.
More about maple
New England Maple Museum
Route 7, Rutland
Thirty-three miles north of Manchester. Explore the heritage of New England maple sugaring from its introduction by Native Americans to the present. Historical photos, murals, antique sugaring artifacts, demonstrations of maple candy making and sap bucket construction, samples, gift shop. Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; adults $2.50, children 75 cents.
Open House Weekend
Jackson Gore Inn and Resort, Okemo Ski Area, Ludlow(32 miles northeast of Manchester)
Governor's tree-tapping ceremony, educational program for children, world's largest sugar-on-snow party using fresh man-made snow, syrup-making demonstrations. Friday 9:30 a.m.-noon.
Sugar-on-Snow and Chili Cook-Off
Motel in the Meadow
936 Route 11 west, Chester(31 miles northeast of Manchester)
Music, Easter egg hunt. Win the ''Golden Ladle" for best chili or vote for the People's Choice Award, sample sugar-on-snow. Benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Saturday noon-2.
More information on the Maple Open House Weekend, including participating sugar houses, available at www.vermontmaple.org.