Pure Vermont Gold: Maple Syrup

Welcome to Sugar Season! With the waning days of winter comes the prime time to turn sap into maple syrup. How about some fast facts? Maple trees release sap when the trees are below freezing overnight and above freezing during the day. Vermont produces more syrup than any other state in the nation and is responsible for 5.5% of the world’s syrup. Maple syrup is 100% natural and organic, the only ingredient is the sap which is boiled to evaporate the water. For just one gallon of the sweet stuff you’ll need to gather 40 gallons of sap.

Let’s dive right in to the start to finish. The process really starts in the summer as sugar produced from the leaves of the tree is converted to starch and stored within the tree. Spring ahead to the end of winter and that starch is converted back to sugar and trees are ready to be tapped. Tapping involves putting a hole and in the tree to either hang a bucket on to collect sap or string miles of lines connecting all the trees to flow the sap back to the sugar house. Once sap is collected it’s time to boil away. Sap is boiled in large trays over a roaring fire to evaporate all the water and reduce it down to a beautifully golden silky product. The syrup is then filtered and canned into jugs and sold.

A local favorite farm of ours is Corse Farm in Whitingham. They’ve been producing syrup since the late 1800’s! With an annual production of 4000 gallons, they really know their stuff! We recommend stopping in to their showroom for a peak into the process and be sure to take home some goodies!

Aside from the obvious choice of topping a stack of flapjacks, we think maple syrup is perfect in a salad dressing or marinade. What are your favorite ways to use it?

If We Were Olympians…

Let’s face it, every time the Olympics come around we all wonder what event we could see ourselves in. So we now interrupt your regularly schedule rental blog post with a little winter Olympic day dreaming…

There is no shortage of action packed  sports to cheer on in these winter games, truly something for everyone. Each of us took a look and came up with the event that we could see ourselves taking home the gold in. We pictured ourselves in the moment, if you will 🙂

Melissa: Speed skating! I could really get in to the competitive drive and methodical moves that pushes these athletes to the top of the pack. 

Megan: Curling! A game of strategy and finesse.

Karen: Figure skating 🙂 I would jump and twirl like no other.

Debi: Ski Jumping! How fun does it look to soar through the air?!

Bella and Fen: Of course we had to have a little fun with our resident office assistants. These two would be the perfect match for a doubles luge team!

Be sure to catch all the Olympic action when the games kick off tomorrow night in PyeongChang!

Locals Go for Gold!

We are 8 days away from the kick off of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang South Korea! The buzz around here is high and we’re keeping our eyes on a few familiar faces to watch. Help us cheer on these local ladies!

Kelly Clark (Halfpipe-Snowboarding): Arguably the pioneer of her sport Kelly Clark has been at the top of the podium in every snowboarding event at one point or another. Heading into her 5th Olympics, Kelly is a well seasoned pro in this event. Her Olympic medal tally stands at one gold (2002) and two bronze (2010, 2014) in addition to her impressive Winter X-Games medals. Ms. Clark is even the recipient of an ESPY. Kelly grew up in Dover and began her snowboarding career at Mount Snow Academy. Her family still owns and runs TC’s Restaurant in Dover, be sure to swing by for a drink or bite to eat and check out some of her memorabilia! Off the slopes Kelly heads up The Kelly Clark Foundation which strives to provide opportunities for younger generations to fulfill their snowboarding dreams. Kelly will drop in Tuesday Feb 12th for qualification and Wednesday Feb 13th for the final. *Photo courtesy of US Ski and Snowboard

Devin Logan (Halfpipe-Freeskiing and Slopestyle-Freesking): The reigning silver medalist from the Slopestyle event in Sochi is poised to take on Slopestyle and Halfpipe in PyeongChang. Devin Logan also got her start at Mount Snow Academy. Coming up to Mount Snow on weekends from Long Island, following her siblings around to ski competitions, she was destined to join in on the action. Following a season ending injury in 2012, Devin took a year off to rehab and even became a certified judge to further her knowledge of the sport from that perspective. Her hard work on and off snow clearly paid off as she walked off with the silver medal in the inaugural ski slopestyle event. You can catch Devin on Saturday Feb 17th in Slopestyle and Tuesday Feb 20th for the Halfpipe. *Photo courtesy of Team USA

A full schedule of all the events going down in PyeongChang can be found here. Tune in to the blog next week where we have a little fun and share what event we’d go for the gold in!

 

Cocktails to Warm the Soul

Oh the weather outside is frightful alright! This bone chilling cold snap has more than overstayed it’s welcome. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite hot cocktails for indulging in this time of year. How do you warm up in the bitter cold?

Melissa: Baileys Hot Chocolate

Megan: Hot Toddy, please!

Karen: Irish Coffee

Debi: Hot Buttered Rum, especially good with a drop of local Maple Syrup Liquor from Hogback Gift Shop

Stay thirsty (and warm!) my friends!

 

Winter Travel Tips

Winter has officially arrived in Southern Vermont, with a foot and a half of snow in the last week it’s shaping up to be a great season! Perfect timing to pass along some winter driving tips to keep everyone safe and get to where they need to be (VT!).

Who doesn’t love a good powder day? Fantastic for skiing in but not so much for driving. Here are some tips/resources to keep in mind when you’re making the trek up to the Deerfield Valley.

-We’re all big fans of snow tires for a that extra grip on questionable road surfaces. Kind of like trading your flip flips for snow boots.

-Always check the Vermont Dept. of Transportation website for any weather alerts or closures. The  “Plow Finder” is a very cool feature!

Waze is another great app for any road trip. Help out your fellow motorists and report conditions in real time.

-Lastly, be patient and go slow, these mountains aren’t going anywhere. Be sure to ask your resident rental staff for some great powder spots on the mountain! And if you’re snowed in in Vermont and need a doctor’s note for work, we can help with that too 🙂

See you in the valley!

 

Favorite Holiday Week Activities

Happy Holidays from the Rentals Only team! We hope to see you here in the valley to enjoy all or part of this festive season. Here are some of our favorite activities to partake in over the next few weeks.

Melissa– Aside from dashing her own horses through snow in her one horse open sleigh of course…Melissa loves taking a few runs down Mount Snow’s snow tubing park, especially fun in the evening under the lights!

Megan-After baking up some holiday treats, a snowshoe trek through the woods is top of her list to unwind during the holidays.

Karen– All about being cozy, watching classic Christmas movies at home or heading to our local theater to check out the latest Star Wars!

Debi– Once she’s done delivering food baskets to local families in need, she hits the slopes!

What are some of your favorite holiday week pastimes?

Most “Instagrammed” Location in Vermont 2017

Very interesting to stumble across an article that laid out the most Instagrammed location in each state this year. Of course The Grand Canyon, Magic Kingdom, and Times Square are sure bets. Any guesses for Vermont’s top spot??

Our very own Mount Snow of course!

See where your home state’s location is here.

Share your own Mount Snow pics with us!

Thanksgiving Feast Must Haves

We are t-minus six days from Thanksgiving! Today we have a round up of our favorite recipes for the big day. Check them out and be sure to let us know what you’re making or bringing!

Debi is all about contributing the “pickies” to her get together! “I’m a relish tray person. Black and green olives with sweet pickles and celery with cream cheese!”

Karen is team cranberry sauce (a divisive topic in our office!). “I don’t mean to stir up controversy but cranberry sauce must grace the table or it’s not Thanksgiving!” See one of her favorite recipes here.

Melissa is not afraid to go the semi-homemade route with her stuffing mashup. “I take a box of Stove Top stuffing prepared according to the box and add my own flare to it. I saute up onions, Granny Smith apples, and maple breakfast sausage. Once that has cooked about 5 minutes minutes I stir it into the stuffing mix and add in some craisins. Finish off in the oven for that crunchy top!”.

Megan likes to add one new recipe to the menu each year. “This year I stumbled across the most delicious Brussels sprouts dish I’ve ever tried! How can you go wrong with Brussel sprouts, onions, bacon, and avocado! Unconventional and delicious!”

Be sure to share what is going on your menu this year? Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

Rotary Winter Sports Sale

Looking to pick up or unload some winter gear? The Deerfield Valley Rotary Club is hosting a Winter Sports Sale this Friday November 11th from 9am-3pm at the Twin Valley Elementary School.

Every year the Rotary Club of the Deerfield Valley holds an impressive Winter Sports Sale. You will find new and used skis, boots, poles goggles, helmets and winter clothing for adults and kids. Ice skates and snow shoes also are available. With a large variety of items to choose from there is a price point for every budget and lots of bargains to be found. Come get your holiday shopping done early!

The Winter Sports Sale is a consignment sale and Rotary is encouraging everyone to gather up winter sports gear and clothing in good condition (straight skis are not needed). Equipment and clothing can be dropped off on Friday, November 10th from 4 to 7 pm at the Twin Valley Elementary School. Proceeds from the sale of consigned equipment will be split 70% with the owner and 30% with the Rotary Fund, which will use the money to help fund grants and scholarships.”

Insider tip: The Blue Dot sale runs from 1-3pm, items still available are marked down at this time.

 

Columbus Day Weekend Fun!

Planning a fall weekend trip to Vermont? Don’t miss Mount Snow’s Oktoberfest celebration October 7th and 8th!  Two days of fun for the entire family, Oktoberfest is both a celebration of autumn and of German tradition.  While children enjoy activities such as face painting, pumpkin carving and schnitzel tossing, adults can sample German beers and foods.  Over 40 New England artisans and vendors will be featured in the 44th Annual Harvest Arts & Crafts Fair. We highly recommend a scenic chairlift ride to check out the stunning views from the top of Mount Snow!

Fall in Vermont is marked by stunning foliage, and the Mount Snow area has some of the most gorgeous views in Vermont.  Here is a drive that we recommend as one of the most scenic in the area:
Take Dover Hill Road through the villages of East Dover, Williamsville and South Newfane. Keep going until you reach Route 30.  Take Route 30 South into Brattleboro, then take Route 9 out of West Brattleboro, over Hogback Mountain and into Wilmington.  Turn right onto Route 100 in Wilmington and follow that back to Dover.
On this drive, you will see some of the most beautiful historic villages in the area, as well as larger towns, rural areas, farmland, mountains and rivers.  Stop for lunch or a snack in Brattleboro or Wilmington on your way back up.