Vermont, Where We've Been

Goodrich Maple Farm & Rock of Ages

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Goodrich Maple Farm

Vermont is known for its delicious maple syrup that is tapped from the sugar maple tree. We stopped at a roadside maple farm to find out how they do it.

This particular farm was called Goodrich Maple Farm and they are multiple award winners for their tasty maple syrup.

On the tour, the owner explained that maple syrup was first discovered by Native Americans. They made their homes, known as wigwams, in this area from the bark of trees. Well, when they removed the bark, they found that the inside was covered with a sticky sap. They tasted it and discovered it to be sweet tasting. Using a process where they transferred the liquid between heated stones, they were able to boil away from water content from the sap, leaving the syrup behind. 

At some point, this knowledge was transferred to the settlers and maple farming began soon after.

Goodrich Maple Farm now owns over 150,000 sugar maple trees that they have tapped and several sugar house processing facilities, including the one on their store site shown here. None of these trees were planted, but grow naturally in the Vermont forests. Once the tree is tapped, they install tubing that channels the liquid down to their processing facility. There, they boil off the water and bottle it. 

I believe she said it takes around 30-40 gallons of sap to get just 1 gallon of syrup and the process of boiling it down in their machines takes only 30 seconds per gallon!

This tree shows the scars of tapping dating back to the 1800s. As the tree grows, new spouts are introduced to keep the sap flowing. The taps don’t actually hurt the trees, but they do leave scars in its bark.

The tubes coming from the trees are sometimes nibbled on by wild animals such as racoons, coyotes, bears, etc. and need to be replaced when damage occurs.  The maple season only lasts 2-6 weeks and usually occurs around March-April. Once the mapleing season is over, the tubing is unhooked from the trees and allowed to drain, clearing the lines.

At the beginning of the season, the sap that starts flowing in produces a more mild, lighter colored syrup. As the days progress, the syrup becomes darker and this is what is generally sold in stores.

We left with some maple syrup, maple sugar, and maple doughnuts!

Rock of Ages

In addition to maple syrup, Vermont is also known for its granite. New Hampshire is actually known as the granite state, but where we were in the White Mountains not many quarries exist, so we went to the Rock of Ages in Vermont.

“Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me…” Our tour guide explained that the people who started this quarry were familiar with the famous Bible song and so named the company after it when they began excavating in the 1800’s. 

I thought the kids might enjoy seeing a quarry since they’re very much into Minecraft. They explained to me though that the granite in Minecraft is actually pink and not gray. Silly mom!

This particular quarry is actually home to all the Barre Blue Gray Granite that exists in the world, so if you ever see that color, it must have come from here.

For a sense of scale, if you look at the cut sections in the picture below, each horizontal ledge is actually about 2 feet wide and do you see those tiny little cranes and trucks? Those aren’t hot wheels. This place is massive. 

Actually, the pluton that the granite is carved from measures 4 miles long x 2 miles wide x 10 miles deep. At the rate at which they are excavating, they have a mere 4,000 years left of granite in the pluton.

This yellow box was once used to lower people down into the granite hole. The trip took over 15 minutes to get them down into the bottom of the quarry. While in there they could begin the work of carving another slice of granite from the side walls.

To get down there safely though, all the water that is collected in the hole has to be pumped out. So unless you need a specific slice of granite from a specific location to match what you already have, it’s cheaper to go wider than deeper at this point. 

The company experimented with building granite bowling lanes. Unfortunately, it ended up with a bunch of cracked bowling balls and the project was scrapped. This one still exists though, but they had to change over to rubber balls.

Inside their large factory is the processing center. This is where they shave down the stones and create everything from grave markers to intricate statues. 

Interestingly, their leveling machine is so precise that it was briefly used by NASA in construction of the James Webb Telescope.

This is one of the diamond plated cutting devices that slices the granite in the quarry. It cuts through the stone like a knife slices through a cube of butter and pulls the stone away from the side.

Do you see the different colors in the lakes surrounding the quarry? Those are indiciative of how much granite sediment exists and are used as pumping stations for the quarry. The more milky it looks, the more the granite sediment.






We actually just drove right through Vermont with stops on the way. Ben took a day off work to be able to do it because we had to make it in time to our next destination. You’ll hear about that next!