Let’s enjoy maple season in all the ways New England provides. Closest and easiest, maybe, is a trip to an old-fashioned diner for pancakes and syrup (see below). If you want to travel farther afield, journey to a maple farm and see workers process the sap into syrup. Also, all northern state host a maple weekend, when most sugarhouses are open to visitors to watch, taste and buy. And the maple festivals also are plentiful, even into April in the northernmost areas. This post describes our favorite maple establishments in Vermont; watch for info on the other states in the days ahead!
April’s Maple, 6507 Route 114, Canaan, VT — Prepare of a sweet welcome at April’s Maple, a family-owned maple farm, restaurant, and gift shop in Canaan, in gorgeous and quiet mountain country just a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. April and her crew harvest sap from thousands of maple trees, make syrup and many other maple treats, and host guests for lunch at a large, bright, building where all the maple inspiration comes together.
Lunch menu includes pancakes (all day), sliders, chili, soups, hot dogs, sides, ice cream, sundaes, maple pie, maple pudding, maple cookies, and a famous maple creemee. April’s Maple is a wonderful place to stop for refreshments and gift-shopping while hiking, driving, or riding nearby ATV trails in northern Vermont and New Hampshire grand country. Open daily, except Tuesdays, starting at 10 a.m. Closes at 5 p.m. on weekdays and at 3 p.m. on weekends. 802-266-9624. Map.
Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, 1168 County Road, Montpelier, VT — You cannot more authentic than this Vermont maple farm, managed for eight generations by members of the Morse family, whose earliest ancestors in America learned how to tap maple trees by Native Americans. In winter, sit a spell in front of a fire and enjoy a Vermont breakfast and delicious natural snacks. Savor a favorite regional treat, “sugar on snow,” which is a taffy-like substance that firms up with maple syrup is drizzled over shaved ice – served with a donut and a dill pickle.
The farm hosts multimedia displays in a real woodshed theater, a nature trail, country store, and an outdoor Vermont farm life museum. Throughout the grounds, meet whimsical carved folk life characters created by Burr Morse. Monthly events happen all year. At the gift shop, you’ll find maple syrup, pies, jams and jellies; recipe and story books; apparel; and gifts. Tour groups are welcome. Open daily. 800-242-2740. Map.
Country Girl Diner, 46 Route 103 South, Chester, VT — The Country Girl Diner is a 1940s-period Silk City Dining Car built in New Jersey. Its slogan is “great food and great friends; that’s what we’re all about.” Breakfast and lunch are served using local Vermont foods – for instance, pancakes with Cabot butter and Vermont maple syrup. Usual hours are daily, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., but on summer Fridays the diner serves dinner, 5-8 p.m., including prime rib, beer battered fish, and other specialties. Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; Fridays, 5-8 p.m. for dinner in the summer; Sunday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Miss Bellows Falls Diner, 90 Rockingham Street, Bellows Falls, VT — Built in the 1920s by the Worcester Lunch Car Company, Vermont’s only surviving barrel-roofed diner was moved here from Massachusetts in 1942. Look for part of an earlier name painted on the back. Try the beefalo burgers with sweet potato fries! Hours: 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
Blue Benn Diner, 318 North Street, Bennington, VT — You are in the soul of Vermont, so, clearly, the first choice for breakfast is blueberry pancakes and Vermont maple syrup. (Ok, the blueberries may have come from Maine.) The Blue Benn also is vegetarian-friendly, serving scrambled tofu, veggie enchiladas, and raspberry crunch french toast, nut burger, and vegetarian meatloaf. Portions are big and tasty. Plenty to entice full-fledged meat-eaters, too. Enjoy the nostalgic jukebox. Hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
Chelsea Royal Diner, 487 Marlboro Road, Brattleboro, VT — At the foot of Vermont’s Green Mountains, the Chelsea Royal is a vintage 1938 Worcester Diner. The Royal Diner’s cuisine is high-end home style, with daily Blue Plate Specials, generous portions, and EASY pricing. Mexican fare is served Friday and Saturday evenings; prime rib is served Friday and Saturday nights with real mashed potatoes, homemade soups, breads, pies and desserts. Breakfast, featuring homemade pancakes and Belgian waffles, eggs Benedict, and the Cajun Breakfast Skillet, is served all day. Classic eats include foot-long hot dogs with fries, and double cheese burgers. Take-out is available for every item. April through October is the season for the Royal soft serve stand. Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Henry’s Diner, 155 Bank Street, Burlington, VT — Treat your taste buds to a delicious meal at Henry’s Diner with entrees including Belgian waffles. This family-friendly diner is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with almost everything made from scratch. This diner has been around since 1925. With several years of restaurant experience, our skilled chefs have been serving up the freshest food in the downtown at prices you can afford. Affordable prices, carry-out services. Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-4 p.m.
Parkway Diner, 1696 Williston Road, South Burlington, VT — The Parkway (a Worcester Lunch Car No. 839, for aficionados of the architecture) is a Vermont establishment, so that means, first, you will find Vermont maple syrup, and, second, lots of the food will be locally sourced. Great breakfasts, eggs benedict on cheddar biscuits, corned beef hash. Popular with the local folk (always a good sign) and equally welcoming for first visitors. Open for breakfast and lunch.
Birdseye Diner, 590 Main Street, Castleton, VT — The Birdseye Diner is a 1940’s Silk City Dining Car manufactured in Patterson, NJ. It spent 18 years in service before returning to the factory for a face lift, adding more chrome to cover up the old fashioned wood. After the rehab it was brought to Castleton Vermont to replace the former Birdseye, a wooden diner that had burned. Today, the Birdseye chow is a staple of the community. Among the highlights on the menu are Birdseye meatloaf, Philly cheese steak, jumpin’ pepper jack flash, eggs Eenedict, buffalo wings, puddings and much more. Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Putney Diner, Main Street, Putney, Vermont
Serving classic Vermont cooking with a few surprises, like the Cajun Skillet Breakfast, a short, tasty trip from sugar maple forests to the Gulf Coast bayous. Also displays the work of local artists. Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-3 p.m.