One of the last things we did in Hebron before we left Connecticut was to take part in the Hebron Maple Festival. The town, and those who live in it, offered many events, some of which I enjoyed more than others. While we didn’t go down to the big intersection to walk along the sidewalks, we did visit two sugar houses and a few exhibits at Country Carpenters, a carpentry outfit that creates and delivers cabins, barns and houses. The festival really opened my eyes to what New England has to offer and I’ve been thinking of it ever since. As I’ve said many times, it’s just a shame we didn’t visit the folks who lived around us more often throughout our five year stay in Connecticut.
I’ll tell you though – I really liked the sugar houses. There’s nothing like standing inside a small wooden structure on a chilly day, only to hypnotizingly watch the water being boiled out of maple tree sap. The feeling of the steam and the flames from the logs burning in the evaporator were like nothing I’ve ever felt. Here’s a video I took of the Wenzel sugar house in Hebron.
Wenzel Sugarhouse In Hebron, CT
What Laura and I experienced that day brought me back to my childhood, a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time.
Every so often, I search for videos that show various sugar houses throughout the world and as you may guess, many of the videos I find are filmed in Vermont. Some are from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Maine, but most are from Vermont. I think Vermont has taken the lead when it comes to making pure maple syrup.
Last night, I visited Youtube and was presented with a few “suggested” videos to watch. One of them was called, “Sleeping Around at the Sugar Shack.” I thought that was an interesting title, so I clicked the thumbnail. I was surprised at what I saw. Perhaps distant relatives of mine working, eating and getting drunk.
Sleeping Around at the Sugar Shack
Take a look at that video and be sure to watch it in its entirety. Check out the evaporator this fellow uses and look at all that wood inside. Amazing. Can you imagine sitting out in that sugar shack on a cold winter’s day? Now that’s what I call living.
Starting at around 2:15, take a look at the food that’s prepared on the sugar shack’s property. What first caught my eye was the cast iron pans and then after that, the real glass containers and the real wood decor. Just like the old world.
What also struck me was how everyone was smiling. It seemed as though they got drunk and then worked. And as I watched, I thought about how I could get drunk and work. Right? Can’t you do that? Get all liquored up and jump around in the snow making maple syrup? I’m sure it’s not a party all the time, but I’m also sure that lifestyles are created, not simply handed to people.
After I finished watching the video, I asked myself who these people were. Then, I remember the lady in the video saying the word, “Québec.” Ah, Québec. So I started looking up videos about our friends up north and one, in particular, struck me.
(You’ll have to click that link because embedding wasn’t allowed for the video. Don’t worry, I made it so it opens in a new window.)
What a fascinating city. When I was a kid, I remember my mother taking my brother or sister up there to visit, but I never got a chance to go. I’m thinking I was better off, because at that age, I wouldn’t have appreciated anything and would’ve been kicking and screaming the whole time. Mother, the city of Québec thanks you.
But now, I do appreciate such things and am quite interested in all the history that can be found in that part of the world. History, mixed with sugar shacks – what more can a guy want?
Let me know what you think. Have you ever been to Québec? What are the people like? Is the city as nice and interesting as it seems in the videos? Please leave your comments down below.