Apples Peel into Cider – Fiddleheads Brew into Beer – Trees Melt into Syrup and Spoons Stir into Instruments

Welcome to a Magical, Mystery Tour in Vermont!

Vermont is steeped in Yankee tradition. Come and savor the flavors of yesterday and discover how they have emerged into some of the most sought after tastes of today.

Your first stop is at the University of Vermont’s Horticultural Research Center, fondly called the “UVM Hort Farm.” More than 700 kinds of ornamental trees and shrubs, many of them uncommon or unique, are planted at the Hort Farm.  One of the largest known mature ornamental crabapple collections in the Northeast is located here. For over 50 years, University horticulturists have been testing new and unusual plants for their adaptation to the Vermont environment, especially to the cold winters. Meet with the farm’s head gardener and learn about the ongoing research that is being conducted on organic and IPM apple production systems.  You will have a chance to test the flavors when you “bob” for your own apple.  Depart with your own peck of Hort Farm Apples.

While at the farm, meet representatives from Woodchuck Cider.  This is a brand of hard cider produced by the Vermont Hard Cider Company in Middlebury, VT.  In 2011 it was the top selling hard cider in the US. All Woodchuck ciders are naturally gluten-free because the product is made from apples only, without any grains. The company sells several types of cider under the Woodchuck name, including core flavors, limited releases which are sold at particular times of year, private reserves which are produced in limited batches, and "farmhouse select" which is produced in small batches and sold in 750ml bottles. Woodchuck has promoted "Woodchuck Wednesdays," encouraging consumers to enjoy a Woodchuck on the day. Woodchuck has also dubbed 2 February "Woodchuck Day" in honor of Groundhog Day (since woodchuck is another name for a groundhog.)

Board the coach and travel to your next destination.  Along the ride, enjoy a refreshing bottle of Woodchuck Cider.

Once in the Town of Shelburne, you will be surrounded by locally produced libations. At Fiddlehead Brewing, their mission is to produce full flavored beers with the true beer connoisseur in mind.  They focus on depth of flavor, freshness of ingredients and incorporating local products when possible.  Renowned brew master and owner Matthew Cohen (known industry wide as Matty O) is on a continual quest to craft the perfect pint.  While several seasonal selections are always available on tap at the brewery, their flagship beer, the Fiddlehead IPA, can be found on draft lines all over Vermont.  You will learn about the brewing process and sample from their rotating selection of specialty beers.

Across the road sits Shelburne Vineyard.  From vine to glass, Shelburne Vineyard strives to make the finest quality wine from Northern Varietal Grapes grown right on the vineyards and regionally sourced from other Northern growers.  With a lush Vermont landscape as its backdrop, the state of the art winery and tasting room sits nestled among the vines.  Try the award winning wines and experience a taste of place.  As a pioneer in Vermont wine making, they are committed to sustainable agriculture and responsible vineyard practices and take pride in the stewardship of the land. They have been honored by being named 2009 Sustainable Agricultural Farm of the Year by the University of Vermont and winner of the 2010 Historic Preservation Award –Commercial Category by the Chittenden County Historical Society. Enjoy the tour, the samples and a souvenir glass!

Both Fiddlehead Brewing and Shelburne Vineyard will be serving their wines and brews at dinner this evening.

Arrive at Palmer’s Sugarhouse, a family run business for over 50 years.  When you arrive, meet the family and learn about the process of sugaring. Then, roll up your sleeves and learn how to turn the sticky, sweet syrup into maple candy and Indian sugar.

By now you will have surely worked up an appetite. The traditional “sugarin’ season” menu features home-cooked foods enhanced with the flavors of fresh boiled maple syrup.  Save room for dessert-----delicious, fresh-baked apple pie topped with maple whipped cream!  Wines from Shelburne Vineyard and Brews from Fiddlehead Brewing will be available on a hosted bar (drink tickets) basis. Coffee and tea are included with dinner.

After dinner, let the entertainment begin! Local musicians invite you to get in the rhythm as you learn to play one of the oldest instruments on the planet……the musical spoons. And, in keeping with the traditional folk music genre, you will also learn to play the triangle!  And, you thought it was just used to call folks to supper!!