January 18, 2022
It’s Maple Sugaring Season Again!
If it’s March in Vermont, it’s maple-sugaring season! And that means it’s time for a Green Mountain vacation centered on this age-old tradition, still such a vital part of our heritage.
An excellent opportunity to observe the syrup-production process firsthand is just around the corner: Maple Open House Weekend on March 22 and 23. And the Mountain Top Inn and Resort gives you the premier “base camp” out of which to enjoy it.
A Little Background
Vermont lies smack-dab in the world’s maple-syrup heartland. American Indians have been tapping maples in the northeastern U.S. and adjacent Canada (as well as the Upper Great Lakes) since time immemorial. Indigenous legends about the initial discovery of the trees’ delectable nectar are numerous. One well-known story tells of a chief tossing his tomahawk into the trunk of a sugar maple. The sap leaked into a birchbark vessel at the base of the tree and the chief’s wife, assuming the liquid was water, used it to cook venison—leading to a delicious surprise.
Euro-American settlers in the Northeast adopted the practice, which remains a major industry in the Northeast. While the technology has been inevitably tweaked to sustain larger-scale operations, the basic techniques haven’t changed much across the centuries.
Sugar-makers tap trees in their “sugar bush”—a maple grove exploited for syrup production—in the late winter, affixing a bucket or a pipe to the spout. The alternating below- and above-freezing temperatures of spring create a pressure gradient within the tree that starts the sap flowing out, where it’s routed to storage containers to prepare for boiling.
The sugar-maker boils the sap to distill it down to syrup. According to the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association, 40 gallons of raw sap bubbles down to a gallon of maple syrup.
Come Experience the Season Over Maple Open House Weekend
The Mountain Top Inn & Resort provides bewitchingly beautiful—and incomparably convenient—accommodations for a little regional maple-syrup touring. Many of the locations participating in the Maple Open House Weekend are within an easy drive of us, including Sugar Bush Farm, Baird Farm, and Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice as well as the New England Maple Museum.
During the open house, these and other sites will give you an up-close glimpse of the syrup-making process (with plenty of final products on hand for tasting). It’s a fantastic way to experience this magical season—to know intimately what maple-sugaring time in Vermont really means. This is as authentic as it gets: Some of these family farms have been tapping maples for generations, and some of these munificent trees are centuries old.
When you’re not enjoying the boiling vats and the sweet samples, you can luxuriate at the Mountain Top—dining at our restaurant, taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride, exploring a cross-country ski trail, or just relaxing.
Visit our website or give us a call today to book yourself a room—and your ticket to a one-of-a-kind vacation amid the stately sugar bushes and rolling hills of Vermont!