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Memories of Sugar on Snow (4/03)

Spring in Vermont means mud season and, far sweeter, sugar-on-snow. The GMC has a long tradition of sugar parties. From the mid 1940's to the 1970's, the annual sugar party was a major social event on the Burlington Section calendar. These were no ordinary sugar parties. First, there was a short hike or afternoon visit to a sugar house. Then came dinner with ham, scalloped potatoes, salads, rolls and beverages. Dessert was, of course, sugar-on-snow. The evening closed with square dancing and socializing. And all for $2 or $3. Attendance rivaled the annual meeting, with usually 90 to 150 people.

The parties were put on by the Colchester United Church Youth Fellowship. At first, they were hosted in homes, then at the Colchester Grange and, for one or two years, at the Malletts Bay School. Most of the food was donated and the youth group made about $200 per year.

When the Youth Fellowship no longer put on these parties, the Green Mountain Club had several smaller parties. For a couple of years, we held them at the home of Fred and Betty Smith. Fred was active as Outings Chair, Trails Chair and Shelters Chair. One year, Corky Magoon organized a party at a Long Trail shelter. She carried up the syrup, boiled it, then poured it over snow. That was the most delicious year. Twice, we attended the Audubon party. They hold these on several weekends throughout the spring to support a good cause. However, it was crowded and the few GMC members were hard to find.

After a few years’ hiatus, we revived the tradition last year in a small way. A group of us hiked to Taylor Lodge in the morning, then stopped at a Nebraska Notch sugar house for a sweet treat. Syrup was poured on a trough of snow and we scooped it with wooden forks in an old-fashioned way.