Tag Archives: Blue Grass Valley

Mountains, maple syrup, sheep … 2016 Highland Maple Festival begins next weekend

By Lynn R. Mitchell

That’s my child bonding with a sheep.

It is known as Virginia’s Switzerland, this rural, mountainous, southern-most location for gathering maple syrup, and it is right here in our back yard. Just 45 miles west of Staunton, picturesque Highland County hosts its 58th annual Maple Festival during the weekends of March 11-13 and March 18-20.

Make plans to meander back roads, stuff yourself on pancakes drenched with locally-harvested maple syrup, or fill up on mouth-watering maple chicken. Be entertained by local cloggers and bluegrass bands while enjoying the wildly popular fresh maple donuts made by the local Ruritans. Stroll the main street of Monterey, population 150, to check out the many vendors peddling crafts, maple products, and Kettle Korn. Take in the beauty of this rural setting populated with sheep and cattle. Relax. Slow down. Breathe the cold, fresh, mountain air.

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Back roads, sheep farms, mountain vistas of Highland County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

32Highland County is also known as Virginia’s “Little Switzerland” because of its mountains and sheep. Sparsely populated, the vistas year round are exceptionally stunning but in the fall vibrant oranges, reds, and golds make the mountain slopes come alive with color. These photos were taken on September 30 when only the far western part of the county was at peak but the next week will see big changes as the autumn color show moves east. (For more photos see Fall colors brighten western Highland County.)

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