The Good Stuff
~Monday, August 30, 2021~
Day 442 (Travel Day)
What a morning of wildlife display, as we saw a few wild turkeys and curious deer upon our exit from Buck Pond Campground. We say goodbye to New York and though we really didn’t get to see enough of you, especially those gorgeous Adirondack Mountains, we’ll see you again soon.
Today’s drive took us to a familiar state, but one we haven’t visited in a long time…..Vermont, specifically Montpelier. As we were driving along, we kept seeing ferry signs everywhere, when it dawned on us that we would be having to take an additional mode of transportation. Well worth the $45 fare to avoid a 2-hour 75-mile drive otherwise. So we took the Port Kent Ferry crossing Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT .….a beautiful 30-minute boat ride, and a first ferry ride for “Billie Jean” . Amazing how they just squeeze you in (I think we only had about 5 inches to spare between the wall of the boat
and the edge of our trailer (see photo). When we finally arrived at the town of Montpelier, also the capital of Vermont, it was like something out of a postcard. It is the smallest state capital in the country, with a population of 8,000. It’s known for its historic sites, great food scene and maple farms. So there was no way we were going to miss at least one of those, even if we were only staying 1 day. We were fortunate enough to be staying at the lovely Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, a Harvest Host, host.
We arrived at the maple farm around 3:00, which gave us just enough time to minimally set up, shower, and walk over to sample all things maple. We were told to park parallel to the open green field with the stunning White Mountain range in the distance.
Poor us! I think the amount of photos I took tells you just how impressed we were. Also, by the look of the puddles all around, it appears we just dodged a downpour.
We met Burr (the 2nd generation owner) and his faithful four-legged companion who apparently barks at everything. At 12 years old, she moves a little slow due to her arthritis. Yet, she had enough stamina to come over to welcome Sadie. We couldn’t resist a few maple concoctions from their small boutique shop. I had a maple/chocolate swirl cone and Jeff tried the rootbeer float. After our taste samples from lightest to darkest syrup, we selected #3 out of #4 (4 being the darkest and most robust).
They were ALL delicious and I can't wait to put it on our next batch of pancakes and brussel sprouts. And of course right next to the checkout line was a display rack of their homemade maple kettle corn. As most of you know, I never turn down popcorn, in any form. I think we’re set now.
Next, we checked out a short video of the owner explaining the maple sugar process. Even though Morse senior has passed, it’s wonderful to see Burr and his son’s carry on all the hard work he set in motion. Here are a few maple facts:
🍁Maple syrup contains 50 calories per tablespoon
🍁Maple sap is 2% sugar and weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon
🍁Maple syrup is 66.9% sugar and weighs 11 pounds per gallon
🍁One gallon of maple syrup makes 7 pounds of maple sugar
🍁It takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup
🍁Most years, they get a January thaw with its duration measured in one, two or three days. The sugar season, which occurs mid-March thru mid-April, always consists of one, two or three runs.
🍁They drill 1 tap hole in each of their maple trees, which gives 10 gallons of sap in an average year. So, 4 maple trees, 40 to 200 years old, are needed to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.
Jeff and I have always spoiled ourselves with the pure stuff, though I grew up on Log Cabin (sorry mom). But now you know why it’s so darn expensive because of the process and the labor of love that it is.
Behind the property next to the goat pen, was the “Maple Trail”. As soon as we walked up a few hundred yards from the shop, we knew we were in a sugar maple forest where they have hose lines
from tree to tree waiting their next harvest. You could even see the small holes drilled from prior years. Apparently boring into these trees numerous times does not adversely affect them. Though we’re sure some people do things the old-fashioned way with the collection buckets hanging off the tree, the Morse family uses more modern methods to obtain their delicious sap.
After closing, we were going to head over to downtown Montpelier but decided that our view was just too good to leave. So the two of us just sat, sipped a glass of wine while Sadie got a little ball time in, and enjoyed the stunning views.