Highland County has found a new way to further “tap” into what it is most known for – maple syrup – by introducing the Virginia Maple Syrup Trail. This passport program offers the public the chance to visit eight sugar camps in Highland County throughout the year to experience each one.
Visitors are invited to call ahead to the participating sugar camps, schedule a visit for a tour, taste their syrup and get a stamp on the official Virginia Maple Syrup Trail Passport. After all eight camps are visited and the passport is complete, there is a free gift, but the real incentive is to have a one-on-one interaction with the unique people and places that produce pure Virginia maple syrup.
Maple syrup can only be produced in late winter and early spring, but visitors can discover what happens on these farms and in Highland County year-round. This is a fun family agritourism opportunity to educate individuals on where this delicious product comes from.
Participating sugar camps include Back Creek Farms, Bruce’s Syrup and Candies, Duff’s Sugar House,
Laurel Fork Sapsuckers, Mill Gap Farms, Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard, Sugar Tree Country Store and Sugar House, and Tonoloway Farm. Each sugar camp has something that makes it stand out from the rest, whether its their traditional or modern equipment and techniques, the size of their operation, or their farm offerings.
On the trail, customers will get not only get a chance to learn about pure maple syrup, but also barrel-aged and infused varieties, as well as hickory, black walnut, and birch syrups. Some of the camps offer additional activities like hiking, interaction with farm animals, and shopping for unique gifts.
More information about the Virginia Maple Syrup Trail can be found at the newly created website of www.virginiamaplesyrup.com. Official passports can be picked up at the sugar camps themselves, at local businesses in Highland County and at select Virginia Welcome Centers. Participation in the Virginia Maple Syrup Trail will exclude the busy Highland County Maple Festival weeks and weekends in March.
However, visitors can experience the trail at other Highland County events, such as during the upcoming Hands & Harvest Festival with in-person offerings during October 9 – 11, 2020. Visitors are asked to follow the current CDC (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/) and Virginia Guidelines (www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/ and www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/) for preventing the spread of coronavirus.