“Did you buy any maple syrup while you were there?” asked far too many people whenever we mentioned our trip to Vermont. So…yes. Yes, we did. WE HOPE YOU’RE ALL HAPPY.
I mean, we do hope you are. Sorry if it sounded sarcastic.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Since 1999 Anne and I have taken one road trip each year to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home. We’re geeks more accustomed to vicarious life through the windows of pop culture than through in-person adventures. After years of contenting ourselves with everyday life in Indianapolis and any surrounding areas that also had comics and toy shops, we chucked some of our self-imposed limitations and resolved as a team to leave the comforts of home for annual chances to see creative, exciting, breathtaking, outlandish, and/or bewildering new sights in states beyond our own, from the horizons of nature to the limits of imagination, from history’s greatest hits to humanity’s deepest regrets and the sometimes quotidian, sometimes quirky stopovers in between. We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.
For 2022 we wanted the opposite of Yellowstone. Last year’s vacation was an unforgettable experience, but those nine days and 3500 miles were daunting and grueling. Vermont was closer, smaller, greener, cozier, and slightly cooler. Thus we set aside eight days to venture through the four states that separate us from the Green Mountain State, dawdle there for a bit, and backtrack home…
After the boating museum we headed north toward Burlington, but screeched to a halt along the highway when we found Dakin Farm, one of numerous farms around the Green Mountain State with their own storefronts selling goods and goodies directly to the public rather than relying solely on middleman grocers. The family’s roots trace back to the very first Dakin to settle the place in 1792. After some unspecified vicissitudes over the intervening centuries, the family reacquired the property in 1960 and have kept it running ever since.
But the important thing here is they make maple syrup, among other foodstuffs containing varying degrees of maple-ocity.
The storefront wasn’t huge. For us it didn’t need to be a full-on supermarket anyway. We couldn’t indulge too heavily in their wide selection of refrigerated goods — maple-tinged meats, unmapled cheeses, and so on. We never bring a large enough cooler that would preserve multiple meats over the course of days. Hotel ice machines can be unreliable or nonexistent on the go. Nonperishable condiments such as maple syrup are another story.
The nice thing about stopping at such a farm so early into our Vermont experience is it allowed us to cross all the other Vermont farms off our itinerary. This sounds harsh in hindsight, but we didn’t really need to come home with twenty pounds of maple goods from six different maple farms. I don’t know if we should’ve held out for another, larger, more prestigious Vermont farms. It’s not like we had a basis for comparison, though, or a handy website listicle comparing, contrasting, and ranking all Vermont farm stores. Even Yelp and TripAdvisor have their qualitative limits. But in Dakin Farm’s favor, they can boast they’re a genuine “As Seen on TV” property.
(…for what that’s worth.)
After much pondering, we showed self-control and only bought two bottles of maple syrup. I tried their dark flavor and can recommend it enthusiastically. Anne bought a more standard maple variety, which we haven’t opened yet. We’re working our way up to it so we can savor it in the future, as opposed to gulping it all down too quickly, which was the fate of all our other purchases that day…well, except the jelly. It was admittedly a gamble to try, since I’d never had red currants before. It’s not my favorite topping, and doesn’t hold a candle to black currant jelly. Maybe it just needed more maple.
To be continued!
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