Last weekend was Maple Open House Weekend in Vermont, meaning all the local sugar houses welcomes guests, hosted pancakes breakfasts and sugar-on-snow tasting parties, and basically celebrated maple season. You gotta love living in Vermont.
So anyway, I simply had to go check one out. I wouldn’t have felt like my time spent in Vermont was complete without visiting at least one sugarhouse. Last Sunday, Wyatt (my dog) and I drove out to Dakin Farms. Now, Danielle says that Dakin doesn’t count, but you know what? They were the only ones to host a pancake breakfast on Sunday, while all the others were Saturday (and since I work Saturday mornings, that wasn’t an option). So, Dakin counts in my book. Besides, they were actively boiling while I was there, and isn’t that the whole point, anyway?
Wyatt hung out in the car while I ventured in. The line was super-long and snaked around the room with all the machinery in the middle. It was billowing smoke and water was dripping from the ceiling, which really just added to the whole experience. For ten bucks, I got an OJ, two huge pancakes, bacon, and fruit salad, plus, because Dakin wants to support local dairy farmers, they had huge vats of milk that were free to all visitors (quaint and quirky at the same time). Each table had jugs of fresh 2011 crop syrup to pour on to your heart’s content. Because I was there alone, I was kind of nervous about finding a place to sit, especially because it was so busy. But a group of old ladies welcomed me to their table and we all talked about Rachael Ray recipes that involved maple syrup. All in all, not a bad way to spend the morning.
Besides an operational sugarhouse, Dakin also has a store that I browsed through (you may be familiar with their catalogues; they are especially known for their holiday hams). I walked away with a piece of maple sugar candy – I mean, who could resist? – plus a jug of syrup, a maple-based cookbook, and a package of sweet Italian sausage. What’s not to like?
After I left the sugarhouse, Wyatt and I just went for a leisurely Sunday morning drive down to Middlebury and back, a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee and Frank Sinatra’s crooning serving as accompaniments. Life is good.