When I first planned our trip to Vermont, it hadn’t dawned on me that Vermont is famous for its maple syrup.* This is probably because I grew up pretty darn close to areas of Pennsylvania that also make maple syrup. I quickly added to our itinerary stops at two sugarhouses, whose primary work is the production of, you guessed it, maple syrup. Our stop in Burlington, VT postponed our first sugarhouse visit indefinitely, leaving our Sunday stop as the only true sugarhouse we would be visiting on our trip.**
*Don’t judge me, I had a lot on my mind.
**But as you and I now know, basically e v e r y w h e r e in Vermont offers some kind of local maple syrup for sale.
The sugarhouse was a twelve minute drive from our hotel. We had already traveled twelve minutes in what felt like every possible which way from our hotel, so it seemed odd we had failed to pass this sugarhouse or even a sign of advertisement.*
*Keep in mind, we were basically out of our minds because of the cold. Somehow the negative temperatures did what night time does to surroundings…it blurred them. It hid typically easy to spot things from sight.
It didn’t really matter though because the drive there was breathtaking. The drive anywhere in Stowe was breathtaking, which made every drive we took a beautiful adventure.
One of my favorite sights during all our drives were all the creeks we passed. Most were completely frozen and covered in snow, but some had a narrow opening that had somehow failed to freeze and continued to run.
When we reached the road with a sign directing towards the sugarhouse, we turned down with immense hesitation. For starters, the road hadn’t been plowed in days as was evident from the two to three inches of snow that covered it and the single car tracks that made their way in the middle of the road.
There wasn’t a building within sight, and after driving only a few feet we were faced with a car headed towards us. Though this was a problem in regards to whether we would pass one another unscathed, it held promise that there must be something worth reaching in the distance.
Since we were traveling in my Hummer, we waited as far to the side as we could for the tiny car facing us to maneuver his way on the car tracks before him.
Once through the danger of the tiny car slamming into us, we still had another stretch of snow covered road, now without any tire tracks, before we reached the sugarhouse.
As you might be able to read from the bottom of the above sign it says,”Parking in Front of the House” and the arrow is pointing further away from this first building. Also, please note that any parking that may actually have been in front of the house was completely covered in snow leading me to believe that either 1.) they were not open or 2.) this was a front for some kind of murderous organization trying to lure unaware tourists like ourselves into the depths of the woods unsuspectingly.
Intent on reaching this mystical parking, Lance continued to drive in the direction the arrow pointed. What you cannot see in the pictures is that around the first and then the following building, towards the supposed front of house parking, was the narrowest stretch of road which dipped down to a canyon of rock at the right.
It was this point when I made Lance stop the car. The narrow road on which we sat didn’t appear to get any wider towards the back of the building. The last thing I needed was for us to head the wrong way and end up stuck or unable to turn back around.
We were between two buildings, the second which, after noting the “Open” sign, I assumed must be where customers like myself should enter. Lance made a snarky, super observant comment about the sign looking like it was nailed to the door and that it might not actually mean that the sugarhouse was open, but I proceeded to go inside and check while he waited in the car.*
*It was freezing, remember. Therefore we methodically picked moments of getting out of the car. If there was no promise of purchasing maple syrup, Hubby wasn’t getting out.
To the right side of the room I entered was a wall with shelves and shelves of maple syrup. It was a maple syrup haven loaded with jugs sized small, medium, and large, tempting me to guzzle them down. To my left was a desk which reminded me of my own father’s office desk. It was covered in papers and piles of documents, and had a well lived in presence despite the fact that the room was not heated.
I waited a few minutes after calling out ‘Hello’. Each second of silent response made me decide it was against my best interest to remain standing alone in an abandoned maple syrup store of this nature. Though my heart desperately wanted to go down the short hallway that led from this room, my sensible side told me that syrup wasn’t worth it.
I’m sure Nebraska Knoll Sugarhouse is a perfectly dignified organization, but on this day, their lack of awareness and derelict presence made me decide that this was not the day to enjoy their sugary goodness.
Once back in the car, I quickly described the inside situation to Lance who looked blankly at me.
“So, you didn’t get any syrup?”
“No…(my wallet was in the car, but that is besides the point) but I could’ve taken a jug and no one would have known. But then again, maybe it was all poisoned. So, I wouldn’t have been able to eat it even if I did.”
It was at this moment that I was positive my husband regretted the road we had just painstakingly traveled for naught. Because of the cold and where the car was sitting, it wasn’t even an option for him to go inside and try to figure out what was going on.
Backing out of the spot our car was in was terrifying and something that I would never like to relive. We were in a situations similar to when a car needs to be backed up and turned around on a narrow mountainside road. I was certain we were going to back up too far, causing our rear tires to lose their grip of the road, and end up slipping backwards, tumbling into the depths below.
In spite of my cries of terror, Lance managed to back us up and turn around. If I thought backing up was nerve wracking, driving back down the snow covered road was even worse.
He couldn’t have been too aggravated with me, because he slowed down enough in his driving so I could capture the following sights:
Still, I don’t think Hubby will be taking me down anymore snow covered roads unless there is a guarantee of reaching our final destination.