Tag Archives: Highland County Maple Festival

Mountains, maple syrup, sheep … 2016 Highland Maple Festival begins this 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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Mountains, syrup, sheep … 2015 Highland Maple Festival begins this 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 57th annual Maple Festival during the weekends of March 14-15 and March 21-22.

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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My photos used in Shenandoah Valley publication

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Katy, Colin magazine coverIn March 2014 Don Roadcap, who publishes the Shenandoah Valley tourist magazine that is distributed from Winchester to Lexington and over to Highland and Bath, used a photo I had taken at the Highland Maple Festival the previous year. It featured my sister and Fair Lawn Farm owner Tim Duff in his sugar house (see That’s my photo on cover of March 2014 ‘Things to do and see in the Shenandoah Valley’).

This year Mr. Roadcap again chose one of my photos for his March 2015 cover, this time featuring my daughter and son-in-law talking with Tim Duff’s son in the Fair Lawn Farm sugar house during the 2013 Highland Maple Festive which is coming up the second and third weekends in March (March 14-15 and March 21-22).

For links to other sugar camps and more photos about the Highland Maple Festival, see Duff’s Sugar House at Fair Lawn Farm … 2014 Highland Maple Festival.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

 

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Duff’s Sugar House at Fair Lawn Farm … 2014 Highland Maple Festival

By Lynn R. Mitchell

This is the 56th year of the Maple Festival held in Highland County, a celebration of the sugar maples that are prolific throughout this serenely beautiful western-most part of Virginia. Since the weather was great, we pointed our car west on the first day of the festival which presented an opportunity to stop at a familiar place and see familiar faces.Tim Duff (pictured above) is at home in the sugar house on his Fair Lawn Farm south of Monterey.

We’ve been visiting this twenty-year Coast Guard veteran since before he became sheriff of Highland County a few years ago. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, he demonstrates how to boil down sugar water to make maple syrup the old way. And second, he enjoys educating the public about the process that’s all done with authentic equipment. The flat pan used for evaporation is 135 years old (I believe he said it’s made of English tin), and other pieces of equipment are over a century old.

Always willing to answer questions as he interacts with visitors who crowd inside his sugaring house, Tim is at ease in the familiar surroundings. In fact, he’s downright jovial. This year was no exception. He was quick to credit neighboring farms for sharing sugar water since trees have not been as productive. Neighbors helping neighbors is the way it’s done in Highland County.

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