March Means Maple Madness in the Highlands of Virginia

Two weekends in March can be the sweetest Virginia getaways you will have this spring! Stay at Steeles Tavern Manor B&B and Alpine Hideaway Cottages during the 61stAnnual Highland Maple Festival. The second largest Maple Festival in the U.S. is happening during the weekends of March 9-10 and 16-17, 2019 and is spread all over Highland County. It’s an easy, scenic drive to get to the festivities from our B&B. Explore the southern-most maple producing area in the country and tour some of the “sugar camps” to learn the process from opening the trees to the finished product of sweet maple syrup.

In our blog post from February 2016, we gave insight into and directions to a number “Sugar Shacks” that are open for tours during the Festival. In addition to the producers mentioned in our earlier blog, Mill Gap Farms must be a stop on the tour. Mill Gap Farms is the first Certified Organic maple syrup producer in the country. This maple producer is using the latest technology from Quebec and Vermont in their maple process. Visit their sheep and alpacas too!

This may be the first Arts & Crafts Show of the spring/summer season. The Highland Maple Festival Juried Arts and Crafts Show includes over 100 artisans and crafters from the Mid-Atlantic region. The show is set-up in six different locations – four outdoor locations and two school gymnasiums. Most locations are in the town of Monterey but one is in McDowell. There is a $3 admission fee to the indoor arts centers.

The entertainment for the festival is not just watching the maple syrup being made or watching artists demonstrating their work. The Maple Queen Contest will be on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 7pm in the Highland High School gym. After the Queer is crowned, the Maple Queen Ball will kick off the festival.  Other entertainment, from bluegrass, country, and traditional Appalachian music to Clogging demonstrations will be throughout the day each Saturday of the Festival.

The Maple Festival features lots of food! Think MAPLE SYRUP and that will lead you to PANCAKE DINNERS. But there is more! Maple donuts, maple-glazed chicken, and maple candy are some of the other specialty foods that will be featured during the event. There are special dinners being offered by several non-profit and service organizations too. The MsDowell Fire Department will offer a BBQ Chicken dinner from 11am to 5pm. In Monterey, the Church of God of Prophecy will offer Country Ham Sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. The Lions Club will be selling pork rinds in the food court.  Local restaurants embrace the festival and offer special items on their menus during the event.

After you use real maple syrup on your pancakes, you will be hooked on “the real thing”. Do you know about the different “shades” of maple syrup? Light Amber has a fine, delicate flavor.  Medium Amber has a richer flavor and is most frequently used as table syrup. Dark Amber is most often used for cooking, or as table syrup by those who prefer a strong maple flavor. Learn more about qualities of maple so you can make healthy choices to satisfy your sweet tooth.

We use only locally produced maple syrup here at Steeles Tavern Manor B&B.  Make your reservation for a March getaway to the Shenandoah Valley and include plans to visit the Highland Maple Festival so you can purchase your own maple syrup to take home with you.

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Join us as we celebrate Independence Day!

Book 3 nights in the Manor (arriving July 2, 3 or 4th) and receive (at No Additional Charge!)
– A 2 hour early check in (2 pm)
-A local cheese ball, crackers, and bottle of wine waiting for you in your room
-Inclusion in our annual pool side picnic with grilled brats, sides and beverages

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