It’s going to be a sweet weekend in Vermont.
Vermont, the nation’s leading producer of maple syrup, is gearing up for its biggest maple event of the spring, Maple Open House Weekend. Several dozen of the Green Mountain State’s hundreds of sugar houses will open their doors this Saturday and Sunday for special activities that include tours, demonstrations, breakfasts, wagon rides, wine tastings, baking contests, and more. Of course, there will be plenty of free samples and maple-y treats to go around.
“We get a lot of people [during Maple Open House Weekend],” said Henry Emmons, owner of Red Rock Valley Maple Farm in Starksboro. “They like to see the steam and see us boil, and they like to have somebody tell them what’s happening. A lot of people don’t know about syrup.”
For the first time, the event will also include Vermont businesses that sell and serve maple products. For a complete list of sugar houses and businesses taking part the celebration, click here, and read on for a peek into what six sugar houses have planned for the weekend.
For complimentary coffee and maple-frosted doughnuts from the farm, head here. You’ll also have the chance to take a tour of the sugar house, see how their syrup is made, and treat yourself to maple cotton candy, sugar on snow (a taffy-like maple candy made by pouring hot syrup over snow or finely crushed ice), fried dough, and maple hot dogs. (Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Red Rock Valley Maple Farm, 160 Sugarhouse Lane, Starksboro)
You’ll want to bring your appetite to Limlaw Family Maple Farm, where you can order a maple breakfast buffet on Sunday from 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. (The farm recommends making reservations by calling 802-439-6880.) You’ll also be able to take a tour of the farm’s sugar house, buy maple syrup and candy, and sample maple treats. (Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, March 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Limlaw Family Maple Farm, 246 Vt. Route 25, West Topsham)
At Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, you’ll find sugar on snow and sap-boiled hot dogs, plus Vermont-made cocktails and wine by Bar Hill Gin and North Branch Vineyards. If you like a little competition, you can take part in the farm’s second annual Maple Bake Off by preparing a baked good—receive a free pint of maple syrup just for participating and a prize if you win. (Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, 1168 County Rd., Montpelier)
Eat sugar on snow and pick up fresh-from-the-farm syrup, maple creme, and maple sugar inside the Goodwin Family Maple store. Then tour the grounds in an oxen-pulled wagon between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (Saturday, March 25 and Sunday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Goodwin Family Maple, 460 Mooney Rd., St. Johnsbury)
Take a tour, taste the syrup, enjoy a wagon ride, and get a closer look at the syrup-making process by watching a syrup boiling demonstration at Smith Maple Crest Farm. For a full-on maple syrup-filled breakfast, cross the street from the sugar house and visit Shrewsbury Meeting House, where a pancake breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to noon. (Saturday, March 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Smith Maple Crest Farm, 2450 Lincoln Hill Rd., Shrewsbury)
You may want to bring along apples or carrots if you head to End O Road Maple—you can use them to feed the farm’s baby lambs and ponies. You’ll also have the chance to take a tour of the sugar house, watch syrup-making demonstrations, enjoy free maple samples, and browse maple goodies. (Saturday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; End O Road Maple, 89 Fields Rd., Jericho)