Monday, March 31, 2008

Sweet Stuff

The sweet stuff is flowing. Maple Syrup season is upon us. (a sure sign of the end Winter). The sap that has been frozen inside the trees all winter is now being released and will be turned into Maple Syrup to go with you pancakes.

I recently had the opportunity to visit our local sugarhouse in North Woodstock. Fadden's Suagrhouse is an award winning Maple Syrup producer. In January they won the award for best Maple Syrup in 2007 in New Hampshire. Fadden's has been producing Maple Syrup since the 1800's but only since the 1930's have they been doing it to the public. The Fadden family has a long proud history in the town of North Woodstock having settled there before it was officially a town.

In the above picture you can see a drop of raw Maple Sap. This is one drop and it takes 64,000 of these drops to make 1 gallon of Sap. This is what Jim Fadden uses to determine how the sap is running for the day. The tap is located right outside of his Sugar House and saves him a trip into the woods to his sugar bush. The picture also shows the old-fashioned way syrup used to be collected.

Today they use plastic taps and tubing. Fadden's has about 6,000 taps and about 12 miles of tubing which connect to pipes that guide the sap into holding tanks. A typical tree will produce about 1-1.5 gallons of sap per day. Ideal weather conditions are mild days with temperatures in the upper 30's or low 40's to help thaw the sap and then cold nights with temperatures falling into the teens to freeze the sap. Out of the 6,000 gallons he will collect in one day he will only generate about 120 gallons of Maple Syrup. It takes about 50 gallons of raw syrup to boil down to 1 gallon of Maple Syrup.

The sap is collected at a central location. It is then pumped into the back of a truck and brought back to the Sugarhouse. From here is t is put into a holding tank where it will then start the process to make Maple Syrup.

The quicker the syrup is sent to the evaporator the better tasting the syrup will be. Fadden's sugar house is a modern day producer. The next step is to send the syrup into the reverse osmosis filtering system where 70% of the water is removed from the sap. The discarded water is put into tanks to save for later when they clean the lines.

If you have had bottled water or have heard of reverse osmosis, usually the discarded product is undesirable, however in the sugaring, the discarded product is exactly what they want. The water is removed like normal, but the "dirt" is the sap that they need.

The sap is then put into another holding tank before it is sent into the evaporator where it is boiled down to syrup. I was able to sample some of the fresh made product and mmm it was sweet.

The sap is brought to a boil of about 219 degrees before it finally filtered one last time to be bottled. The process take s a little while to complete. They can boil about 1000 gallons of sap per hour.

If your in the area stop by Peg's Restaurant and enjoy some of Fadden Maple Syrup or look for them online at

Out like a Lamb???

Since this is an unusual Winter it should not surprise anyone that March is not following the the traditional weather folklore saying... In like a lion out like a lamb.

As of 10:15AM it has once again started to snow. We are only supposed to receive 4 inches today.

April promises to being us weather that is forecasted to be near 60. I hope Mother Nature isn't folling with us.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!!!

According to the Calendar and the news, today marks the official start of Spring. After a long Winter Season it is nice to know that the tulips and daffodils will soon start blooming. Oh wait, can they grow through 2 feet of snow? By the way we are under a Winter Storm Warning today through 9am Friday. Ahhh Spring so glad you are here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Random thoughts of an Adventure Concierge

I am fresh back after taking a week off. I didn't go anywhere, but ran a book fair at my daughters school. It was actually a nice break from dealing the day to day grind of work.

As I drove into work today I noticed that the snow pack is less than it was, but there is still at least 2 feet of snow on the ground in most areas. The Ski Resorts are still operating at or near full terrain so the skiing will be excellent for weeks to come.

There will be an Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday March 22, 2008 at the Village Shops from 1-3pm.

At the Monday Morning Meeting that I hold each week, we had families from Columbus, Ohio, Baltimore, Maryland, and St. Louis, Missouri. It was interesting to see how the different parts of the country handle snow. It is hard to explain that we have had close to 16 feet of snow this winter, but they said they read about it in the paper or saw it on the Internet.

This week will mark the start of Spring. In the years past we have had spring start on time, but this year Spring will only be a day on the calendar. When you still have 2 feet of snow you can't do much about any type of yard work. The local high school is getting ready because they did plow off the softball field so that they can try to start the season on time. The strong March sun should help melt away the snow and ice.

Last week when I was driving around I did see a gentleman shoveling all the snow off of his front yard. I guess he wants to get into the fell of green grass and fixing up his yard. The way I see it, if the snow stays long enough, I won't have to work on that Honey Do list for too long before I need to mow the grass.

The forecast does call for more snow this week. I haven't seen any amounts yet, but I can see people start to say enough already.

I hope we don't have a lot of snow because my almost world famous trip to Nowhere and Everywhere has only gone out once since February 1.

Keep an eye out for Itinerary ideas. I am working on Itinerary that you can take and spend a day doing different activities. If you want me to email you some please let me know.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Easter Egg Hunt March 22, 2008

On Saturday March 22, 2008 from 1pm to 3pm the Lincoln Village Shops will be hosting an Easter Egg Hunt for kids ages 10 and under. Come join us for a fun filled Easter Egg Hunt, face painting, crafts, games, coloring contest and a make your own stuffed animal workshop. You might even meet the Easter Bunny. This is sure to be a fun time for all.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A day in Vermont (part 2)

After we went to Cabot Creamery, we continued West into Vermont towards Waterbury and home of Ben & Jerry's. I asked the people at Cabot how long it would take and they said 45 minutes.
We piled back into the car and headed on our way. We didn't get very far when I thought I needed to go to take some pictures.

I am not sure what kind of cows these guys are on the right, but they were just lounging out by the road. If someone knows please let me know.

We continued driving West on Route 2 and found our way to the Capital of Vermont, Montpelier. We then hopped onto I-89 at Exit 8 and headed North. We got off at Exit 10 and headed straight for the ice cream factory.

We arrived there about 50 minutes from leaving the Cabot Creamery. The parking lot was not very crowded. In the Winter tours run on the half hour and last 30 minutes. In the busier times they go every 10 minutes. The tour is a 3 part tour. The first part is a 10 minute movie on the history of Ben &Jerry's. That is followed by a view of the production line. While we were there they were just finishing cleaning the line and restarted production. After watching them make ice cream we were taking to the tasting room.
At this point we were given a sample of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. The ice cream was fresh off of the production line which meant is was more of a consistency of soft serve ice cream. The tour was complete but our need for ice cream was incomplete. We did look around the gift shop and made a few purchases.
They were getting ready for a Winter Festival and had some snow sculptures being made.

On the way back I stopped to take some pictures at a place that had a gorgeous view of the White Mountains. I could see the Presidential Range, Mount Lafayette, Cannon Mountain and the Kinsman Range

Get your Ski Passes for 2008-2009 at Loon Mountain

Loon Mountain has announced their new Season Pass called the new England Pass for next winter. Buy now to save the most amount of money. This is from their website:

The 2008-09 New England Pass gives you convenient, direct-to-lift access to ski & ride at three of New England's premier ski destinations: Loon Mountain, Sunday River and Sugarloaf – all on one season pass! That’s access to a total of 305 trails; 1,644 acres; 13 terrain parks; and 5 super/halfpipes - all served by 45 lifts; plus you’ll get great benefits at other western Boyne resorts.

Please click below to be sent to their information page.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A day in Vermont (Part 1)

Every year during NH School Vacation Week, we always try to take a couple of day trips to somewhere within a couple hours drive from our home. This year we decided that we wanted to try and find some factory tours to see how things were made. After doing a little searching on the Internet we decided that would try out the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Waterbury, VT and the Cabot Creamery in Cabot, VT. My wife and I had been to the Ben & Jerry's factory about 9 years ago, but never to the Cabot Creamery. In the fall I send a lot of people to both places, but felt I needed to check them out for myself.

We started out the day driving North up I-93 and my wife snapped a quick picture of Franconia Notch.

The total driving time was quicker than what I anticipated. The drive from St. Johnsbury to Cabot was along Vermont Route 2, which is a very scenic highway that goes through some very picturesque Vermont Villages. The road as somewhat rolling and a little bumpy due to frost heaves.

When we arrived at the town of Marshfield, VT we turned right and followed Rt 215 for 5 miles and came upon the Cabot Creamery. The parking lot had a few cars parked there, but it was not busy. We paid our $4 (Kids were free) and explored the gift shop and sampled the cheese while we waited for our tour to begin.

The tour took us into a small little theater where they played a video explaining the history and the process used to make Cabot Cheese. The video lasted about 10 minutes and was very informative.

After the video our tour guide took us into the factory where we saw how they package the yogurt and blend in the different fruits. They were making blueberry while we watched.

Our next step was to see how they made cheese. They took us to a window that had 3 large deep tables. Pumped into the tables were the Curds and Whey. There was a large mixer type device that moved up and down the table mixing the Curds. Eventually this will be come unflavored cheese and then they add the different flavorings to make the cheese, such as sun dried tomato or garlic.

We were then taken down the hall to see their labs. A sample of the milk is taken when the truck driver picks up milk at the farm. If there is any type of drugs or protein issues with one sample, about the size of a Dixie cup, the entire load of milk is discarded. The farmer who has supplied the bad milk is responsible for the loss. This rarely happens, but it can happen.

Our tour was completed and we were brought back to where we started. We continued to sample some of the fine cheeses available. They also had some items which are only available at the Visitor Center, including Whey Butter and Popcorn Cheese.

All in all this was a great stop and we spent about 2 hours there.

Is it March Already???

Wow the time has flown by. We have had 2 different vacation weeks go by, I took a little mini vacation, and we are still standing. Since my last post we have had snow fall on at least 5 different occasions. This means that the conditions are great.

Over the next couple of days I will be putting some posts up about places I visited and things going on in the area during the month of March. Be sure to check back frequently for updates.