Sunday, March 16, 2008

Highland Maple Festival Part 1 ... almost heaven

I could see the snow-covered Alleghany Mountains this morning from my house after cold rain fell in Augusta County last night. Everyone else was busy so I decided to head west to the Highland Maple Festival this afternoon ... it was the last day and my schedule had prevented me going earlier ... and the mountains were calling me. The air was crisp and in the 40s when I threw a sweater, coat, and gloves in the car and headed out.

Top of Shenandoah Mountain. This is the line between Augusta County (Pastures District) and Highland County.
View of Highland County from top of Shenandoah Mountain. Many of the Virginia and West Virginia mountains were snow-covered.
Entering McDowell in Highland County.
Heading north toward Eagle Sugar Camp. I was getting closer to the snow....

Eagle Camp is about 10 miles north of McDowell. Driving to the little village of Doe Hill, turn left and follow the signs up the mountain.Driving toward Eagle's, there was the snow....
Although there are a number of sugar camps in Highland, Eagle's is my favorite because it is nestled in the woods and looks like a mountain camp, the family members who run it are friendly and they still gather sugar water the old-fashioned way ... by tapping trees and attaching buckets like in the photo above. Inside the building are evaporating units which are wood-fired to boil down the sap. There is also a newly-constructed room for purchasing maple products as well as local crafts. They have a snack area selling lunch items as well as maple donuts.

Eagle's Camp is set on a wooded mountainside....
Eagle's is the closest camp to Augusta County which makes it convenient ... and avoids the crowded areas of McDowell and Monterey.
The bucket on the right is filled almost to the rim with sap. The trees were working overtime today in the upper 30s temperature....
Firewood is stacked to fire the evaporating units.
Trees along the creek were tapped with buckets attached to collect sap.
Eagle's has a picnic area in a wooded area for those who want to buy lunch from them or have a cup of hot chocolate or just take a break.

Photos by SWAC Girl

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice post and photos. We just returned from a week at Massanutten during which we bought a quart of Eagle Camp's Grade A Dark Amber syrup at a market near Harrisonburg, and appreciated being able to find this info here - thanks!