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Blog :: 02-2014

How to Make Vermont Maple Syrup

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Of all the things that Vermont is famous for, maple syrup is close to the top of the list. Vermont maple syrup has a long, rich history dating back to before the founding of the United States -- indeed, before the British even settled the continent.  As interesting as its history is, making Vermont maple syrup is even more so (and tastier, too).Making Vermont Maple Syrup

Legend has it that the first maple syrup in Vermont was made by Native Americans who thought the clear liquid flowing from maple trees was water. However, when they tried to cook with it they found that it left a sticky, sweet glaze on their food. They quickly refined their process -- according to early British explorers, some Vermont natives existed almost entirely on maple syrup through the long northern winters.

The process of making maple syrup today isn't much different than what those Native Americans did hundreds of years ago. To make Vermont maple syrup, you really only need three things: maple sap, heat, and plenty of time.

Vermont maple syrup makers start by tapping the trees in late winter or early spring, before the sap starts to flow. To tap a tree, a maple syrup maker (or sugarmaker, in the parlance of the industry) bores a small hole in the wood and inserts either a metal spout with a hook or a long piece of tube. As the weather warms, sap will begin to flow through the hole and either collect in buckets hung from the spouts or run through the tubing.

Once the sap is collected, the sugarmaker needs to reduce it into syrup, by boiling away the water in the sap to leave behind the maple sugars. The process takes many long hours over a hot flame: sap is only about 2% sugar, so it takes a tremendous amount of boiling to get it to the proper concentration. About 40 gallons of sap will boil down to one gallon of maple syrup.

Over the years, Vermont's sugarhouses have perfected this process. Technology has certainly made it easier - many sugarmakers use modern equipment such as evaporators, reverse osmosis machines, and strong vacuum pumps to speed up the process.

If you want to learn more about sugaring, you can always sign up for a tour of one of the sugarhouses while its in operation. Many sugarhouses throughout the state allow visitors to come and watch the process of how to make Vermont maple syrup. You can visit the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association to find sugarmakers in your area and information on visiting them.Visit Vermont sugarhouse

Or, if you want a simpler way to experience the glory of Vermont's maple syrup culture, you can attend the Whitingham Maple Festival in Whitingham, Vermont. This weekend-long celebration of everything maple includes sugarhouse tours, pancake breakfasts, sleigh rides, and a competition for the best syrup.

Are you craving pancakes and waffles yet? A Vermont rental home is a perfect place to make them for yourself. Now that's a sweet way to start a Vermont vacation.

Why Vermont is One of the Best Spring Break Destinations

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What do Cabo San Lucas, Daytona Beach, and southern Vermont have in common? They're some of the best spring break destinations you can visit this year. And if you think one of those things isn't like the others, well, this list of amazing spring break activities in Vermont should change your mind.

Spring Break skiing vermont

While everyone else is sunning on the beach, you can catch some rays on the slopes while carving turns at Vermont ski resorts. Spring skiing and snowboarding is a favorite part of the changing seasons in Vermont. The chairlift ride is warm, the snow is soft and, of course, you can work on that goggle tan to wear with pride. Plus, you can find tons of special deals that aren't available during the rest of the year. Just in southern Vermont alone there are four great mountains to choose from. Mount Snow is our local mountain of choice, but Stratton, Bromley Mountain, and Magic Mountain are all under an hour away.

If you do get tired of the slopes (can that really happen?) you can also enjoy some of Vermont's less traditional snowsports, including snowshoeing, nordic and cross country skiing, and tubing. There are plenty of activities for you to try out, without the lift lines and crowds of peak winter.

Want to get out of the weather? Nearby Manchester has great outlet shopping, so you can get a jump  on your summer wardrobe. The Manchester Designer Outlets are a perfect place to feed your inner fashionista - with shops and restaurants dotted around a picturesque Vermont town including J. Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, Orvis and more.

After all this activity, you'll probably want to get off your feet for a while. The Mount Snow Nature Spa is the perfect place to take a load off your shoulders, soak your muscles, and rejuvenate your mind after a long day on the slopes or in the shops. Massage therapy, special clinics, and even couples sessions make this one of the best spring break destinations you could hope for.

Once you're rested, you can hit up one of southern Vermont's many great local eateries. There are tons of restaurants in the area that feature cuisine to meet any taste. We've even compiled a list of where to eat on a budget for some suggestions - we promise you'll leave satisfied.

Live music at the Snow Barn in Dover, VTWhen the sun goes down, southern Vermont has some great nightlife - something no spring break destination would be complete without. We recommend checking out the Snow Barn for some electric live shows, or The Silo to catch the best local DJs and a long night on the dancefloor.

Even seasoned Spring Breakers have to rest sometime. Keep in the southern Vermont vibe by bunking in your own spring rental home with roomy accommodations, cozy amenities like a hot tub, and a true country feel you won't find in any other spring break destination.

  • P.O. BOX 415, 9 Haystack Road, Wilmington VT 05363