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The Sap is Running, the Skiers are Still Skiing, in Vermont

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March, in Vermont, means the sap is running and it's maple sugar time. Vermont maple season serves up events and packages in addition to the syrup, and after that, the snow is still good, the Olympics are over, and ski competitions continue here.

You can experience maple immersion in "Sugar Maker for a Day" or stay overnight in a restored sugarhouse, take a sugarbush snowshoe tour and dine at restaurants featuring maple flavors.

Vermont is the nation's leading producer of maple syrup, generating more than 40 percent of the USA's maple syrup. Warm days and cool nights cause the sugar maples' sap to begin to flow again, and sugar makers collect 40 gallons to create one gallon of maple syrup, and this they celebrate in a variety of ways.

At Vermont Maple Open House Weekend March 22 and 23 more than 80 Vermont sugar makers invite you to visit their farms and sugarhouses. Some offer tours and horse-drawn wagon rides and others welcome you with tastings of this year's crop, sugar-on-snow, and maple donuts. Because no two sugarhouses are the same you should visit more than one. Check out VermontMaple.org.

On April 25 through 27, the 48th Vermont Maple Festival offers three days of celebrating all things maple, with a craft and specialty foods show, cooking demonstrations, a parade, a pancake breakfast, maple buffet dinner and more. Visit www.vermontmaplefestival.org.

For adults seeking more maple indulgence, there are maple massages and libations. At Lake Morey Resort you can have a maple and honey scrub, and at the Spa at Stowe Mountain Lodge experience a maple and brown sugar scrub.

Vermont gold Vodka is pure, delicate, unflavored vodka, handmade in small batches from the sugar of maple sap. Vermont Gold is triple-distilled and lightly filtered to allow the quality of the maple fermentation to come through. visit the distillery and store in Quechee.

At Boyden Valley Winery you can sample Boyden's Vermont Maple Reserve and Maple Creme Liquer. The reserve is crafted from a blend of apple cider and maple syrup. The liquer is a premium cream liquer enhanced by blending in Vermont maple syrup and apple brandy produced from Vermont grown apples. Samples, tour and events take place at the Boyden Valley family farm in Cambridge.

At Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard & Winery in Berlin the vintners draw off the remaining maple sap to produce a limited batch of maple wine, and welcomes visitors in its post and beam tasting bar.

Maple is available by the pint, too, in Vermont beer. Sample beers infused with Vermont maple syrup from Long Trail Brewery, Lawson's Finest liquids, 14th Star brewery and Rock Art Brewery. Visit VermontMaple.org for more information.

Stowe will be transformed into a mini Olympic village for the first week of March, with junior youth nationals, cross country championships, U.S. nationals snowshoe championships and back-country ski tours. On March 9 at Smugglers' Notch, junior and adult freeskiers are invited to show their stuff at an extreme skiing challenge on an ungroomed steep headwall with a double fall line descent filled with cliffs, bumps, trees, chutes and stumps. And on March 14 at Stowe the 2014 U.S. Ski-Orienteering championships will be held, with a race with a series of checkpoints. For locations, go to VermontVacation.com.

Chili festivals, symphony orchestra concerts, Latin music, Mardi Gras jazz concerts, classical quartets, and to celebrate Vermont's notorious mud season, a Mini Mud variety show celebrating young talent from across the region takes place in Randolph on March 29. The month begins with Vermont Vaudeville on March 1 in Burlington.

For more information on any or all of these events, go to VermontVacation.com

To see a maple sugaring video, go to : http://vermontvacation.com/vermont-by-season/Spring/sugaring-season.aspx...

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