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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Grateful Traveler: A Sweet Way to Enjoy Vermont

Maple Open House Weekend takes place on March 25 and March 26.

Maple Open House Weekend will take place on March 25 and March 26, all-day each day. What a sweet way to spend a weekend in neighboring Vermont. At the weekend-long event throughout the state, you can tour sugar houses big and small. Learn how the syrup is gathered, boiled down and made into fabulous syrup and treats, the modernization of sugaring as well as its more traditional and historic roots.

One maple house opening to delight of visitors is the Sugar Shack located in Arlington, Vermont on Historic Route 7A—aptly named Sugar Shack Lane in those parts of Vermont. Available will be pure Vermont maple syrup which is produced by the family right there in their on-site sugar house. Pure Vermont maple syrup is made by the Hawley family, who has over 90 years of experience producing the sweet substance. They take pride in making only the best quality, award winning maple syrup, in 4 grades. The family uses state-of-the-art equipment but still does tapping when the maple flows. There is currently a trend with some other professionals to tap early and continuously but that method is not embraced by everyone tapping the trees each year.

The Hawleys work during a 6- to 8-week season with an average 14 boils a year. The Hawleys do not store sap, they boil.

Ultimately, mother nature controls the season, for sure. Syrup for your weekend pancake extravaganza is great but the Hawleys explained to me that maple syrup in coffee and oatmeal, barbeque sauce and even ice cream can also be a treat worth enjoying. They use the sweet liquid for everything and are currently working on a maple soft-serve variety of ice cream. What else could you expect from the descendants of a great Vermonter who created the cocktail, the One Two, Three – shot of whiskey, a little maple and squeeze a lemon. I will bet that cures any ills as well!

Edward Hawley, owner of The Sugar Shack, works with his family including Rick Hawley who actually makes the syrup while wife Kimberly runs the retail shop. The retail shops will be open during the Maple Open House Weekend for samples and the purchase of the amazing maple products for your home. There is also a Norman Rockwell exhibit at The Sugar Shack that pays homage to Rockwell, an Arlington resident for many years. The Exhibition focuses on his work from 1939-1953. For a complete listing of participating sugar houses, the weekend’s activities and detailed information to plan your visit, follow this link: vermontmaple.org/openhouse.

Where to stay when enjoying The Maple Open House weekend
The Inn at Manchester, 3967 Main Street in Manchester Center, VT, is both comfortable and perfectly located. You will find loads of stores for shopping and strolling, breathtaking lights that illuminate the evenings throughout the town, and, of course, maple syrup and products everywhere you look.

While at the Inn, you will enjoy a warmly decorated and perfectly comfortable room that is quaint but with all the amenities you need to relax and enjoy during your Vermont stay. Breakfast is so well done and included each day of your stay. I have included one of their signature and most requested breakfasts for you to make at home. Unfortunately, making them and eating them at home will not include the ambiance of sitting below the mountains and gazing at the scenery that they offer from their many windows.

When the weather is warmer than it usually is for Maple Open House Weekend, the Inn offers a pool that invites you to plunge in and then relax in the beautiful setting. In the summer season, the classic front porch summons everyone with cozy seating, just perfect for watching the charming world outside. My favorite relaxation point would be one of the hammocks or Adirondack chairs on the grounds. For the weekends in early spring, you may just want to opt for sitting in front of the fireplace. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Besides the shopping and skiing that many families flock to Manchester for, there is also excellent golf, hiking and fishing, among outdoor activities (heck, Orvis is there for you), plus regional theatre, music, performances, local artisans and some pretty amazing restaurant choices. Your wonderful innkeepers can help you realize your needs and desires.
The Inn at Manchester has 21 thoughtfully appointed guestrooms, including 12 lovely suites, all with private baths. Another building on the property is called the Celebration Barn. Every aspect of the Celebration Barn and Inn is designed to give guests the quintessential Vermont experience. The classic main building fits right into the downtown Main Street setting. When you think of a Vermont Inn, this is the mental picture that would come to mind. The story of this historic Vermont inn began in September 1888.  Now it is the Hanes family’s turn at the helm and their enthusiasm for their property and the state of Vermont is captivating. The Inn in Manchester. 3967 Main Street, Manchester, VT. 802.362.1793.

Cottage Cakes from the Inn at Manchester
1 cup cottage cheese
4 eggs beaten well
4 tablespoons of melted butter
½ cup flour

• Whisk the first 3 ingredients.
• Fold in the flour and cook on a pancake griddle on medium high heat.
• Serve with Vermont maple syrup. The Inn adds some wonderful apricot jam as well.

Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran
Vikki Moran is a travel writer and the founder of the Grateful Traveler.

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