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Maple Festival

2024 Maple Festival LOGO PNG

 

March 9 - 10 & 16 - 17, 2024

County-wide • Highland County, Virginia

Check back often for frequent updates as the event draws closer!

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2024 Highland County Maple Festival Brochure

Take a step back in time to Highland County, “Virginia’s Sweet Spot.” Travel scenic back roads and majestic mountain byways to the annual Highland County Maple Festival.  Since 1959, visitors have been drawn to Highland County to tour real maple sugar camps for a cultural and culinary adventure! In 1999, The Library of Congress designated The Highland County Maple Festival a “Local Legacy.” In 2014, the Governor of Virginia signed a bill into law designating the festival as the “official maple festival of Virginia.” Each year, tens of thousands of visitors are drawn to this unspoiled, rural region of Virginia to celebrate the “opening” of the trees and observe the process of maple syrup-making. Sugar camp tours provide a unique and educational experience that portrays a rapidly vanishing way of American life. In 2024, there will be 10 open sugar camps with unique techniques and stories for you to explore for free. In addition to pancake and buckwheat cake meals, famous maple doughnuts and live entertainment, over 100 high-quality juried arts and crafts vendors take part in the festival each year. We’re glad to have you share the experience!

Hours: Saturdays 9 am - 5 pm and Sundays 9 am - 4 pm generally for the majority of the festival, including the Arts & Crafts/Food Vendors.  Get an early start, beginning at 6 am for Mill Gap Ruritan Club maple doughnuts or 7 am for all-you-can eat pancake and buckwheat cake meals at certain locations on Saturdays and Sundays (see "Food" section below for specifics).

Fees:  Almost everything at the county-wide festival has free entry!  There is a $5 admission charge for entrance to the arts & crafts in the school gyms and The Highland Center (Ages 12 and under are FREE)!  $5 gets you a collectible keychain that also allows entrance to daytime entertainment at The Highland Center in Monterey.  Keychains are available for purchase with cash at entry to school gyms and The Highland Center upper level.

Weather: Regardless of snow or rain or cold temperatures, Highland County welcomes visitors to enjoy the festival!  March weather can be unpredictable, with snow on one day and sunshine the next.  Highland County's mountain elevation means the temperature is often several degrees cooler than in the surrounding areas, so layers of warm clothing are recommended.  Much of the festival activities and sugar camp experiences are outdoors, so boots or comfortable shoes are highly recommended.

GPS Addresses: The festival is a COUNTY-WIDE event, with each rural town having something unique to explore.  Three main areas of interest are “165 W. Main Street, Monterey," "161 Mansion House, McDowell," and "2558 Blue Grass Valley Road, Blue Grass."

Traffic Tips: Our rural mountain community has two main roads of Rt. 220 and Rt. 250. No matter which way you enter, you can experience something new!  The center of Highland County is Monterey, and traffic often gets backed up and can cause long wait times.  Though we feel it is worth the wait, know that you are never more than 30 minutes away from the edge of Highland in any direction from Monterey using Rt. 250 or 220, so feel free to leave Monterey, visit a new sugar camp or other attraction, and come back in.  If you’re coming from McDowell to Monterey along Rt. 250, you can also take Rt. 629 (Strait Creek Road) to bypass Monterey and head toward Rt. 220 North to head to Blue Grass.  Rt. 629 is a rural road, so watch speeds.  We recommend viewing a map beforehand to plan your best route.  We also recommend an early start to your cultural and culinary adventure!  (*** Please note: Rt. 624, also known as Jack Mountain Road, is blocked off beyond Eagle’s Sugar Camp in the Doe Hill area for safety concerns).
CLICK HERE for an interactive Google Maps link to an alternate route that bypasses Monterey during heavy congestion from Rt. 220 or Rt. 250 to take you on your way to more sugar camps and other points of interest.  These are rural country roads, so take your time and enjoy the scenery for safe travels for all.

Complimentary Shuttle for Monterey: New for Saturday, March 9, 2024 ONLY!  B & L's Mountain Safe Transportation will be providing a complimentary pilot shuttle service during the first Saturday of the 20243 festival.  The shuttle plans to run from approximately 8:30 am to 5 pm on Saturday, March 9th.  Visitors can park for free at the Monterey Stockyard at 1367 Jackson River Road just south of Monterey off of Rt. 220.  From there, a 12-14 passenger shuttle will transport visitors north up Rt. 220 with a drop off/pickup area at the entrance to the Monterey Pool at 78 Highland Park Drive so they can take the Community Trail to either the Highland County Public Schools or downtown Monterey.  From there, the shuttle will travel to Spruce Street for a drop off/pickup area at The Highland Center at 61 Highland Center Drive in Monterey, and then continue on back to the Monterey Stockyard on a continuous loop.  Complimentary parking at the Monterey Stockyard is first come, first served.  No reservations needed.  Last shuttle runs at 5 pm.  Click here for a map of the route.

EMS, Cell Phone Coverage, and Communication: Verizon, T-Mobile (Sprint), AT&T, and U.S. Cellular carriers offer limited cell phone service. Payphones in McDowell and Headwaters dial 911 in case of an emergency.  The Highland County Department of Emergency Medical Services is located at 92 East Main Street in Monterey.

Lodging: Highland County lodging facilities fill up quickly, so we encourage you to book your stay early.  Check out our Chamber Member lodging page by clicking here.  Look for the "Maple Festival No Vacancy" icon to quickly see if space is available.  For lodging opportunities close by, Hot Springs, Virginia is approximately 45 minutes south of Monterey, Staunton, Virginia is approximately one hour east, Franklin, West Virginia is approximately 30 minutes north, and Marlinton, West Virginia is approximately an hour west.

Dog Policy: Leashed dogs are permitted in outside, public spaces during the festival.

COVID-19: Please stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and follow recommended guidelines for isolation/quarantine if you recently had COVID-19 or were exposed to COVID-19. Full current guidance for COVID-19 can be found with the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.

2024 Brochure with Sugar Trail Map:  Click here to view and download a PDF file of the brochureYou can find a physical copy at various Visitor Centers and locations within and without the county starting in January, including the Highland County Visitor Center at The Highland Center at 61 Highland Center Drive just off Spruce Street in Monterey.  (Please be sure to “scale to fit” if you want to print your own on a standard sheet of paper).  You can also use our online brochure order form to have a copy mailed by clicking here.

2024 Official Maple Festival Map:  The map will be available online in the days before the festival. Physical copies will be available for pickup at sugar camps, Ruritan Clubs, and other points of interest throughout Highland County during the festival.

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 Maple Festival Awards Seven Badges Logo SMALL

Awards:


Economic Impact: 

2024 Maple Queen Pageant:  Find out who will represent Highland County as year-round ambassadors at the 59th Annual Maple Queen Pageant, held at Highland High School on Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 7 pm.  Adults: $5  •  Children (6-12): $2  •  Children under 6: Free

Congratulations to our 2024 Maple Queen Emma Brower, 1st Runner-up Princess Mary Anne Rogers, and 2nd Runner-up Princess Sarah Liller!

2024 Maple Festival Information

Arts & Crafts Show

The Highland County Maple Festival Juried Arts & Crafts Show features over 100 contemporary and country artisans and crafters from around the region.  Meet our artists in their booths, and learn about the process of creating these handcrafted, unique, high-quality treasures such as jewelry, hand-tooled leather, photography, pottery, wood furnishings, and so much more.  Thank you for supporting local and for supporting small businesses!

The Juried Arts & Crafts Show is open from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and 9 am to 4 pm on Sundays during the festival. Locations include:

  • Highland High School and Elementary School Gyms (240 Myers-Moon Road, Monterey) ***
  • Local Highland County Artisans Showcase at The Highland Center (61 Highland Center Drive, Monterey) ***
  • Courthouse Lawn (165 W. Main Street, Monterey)
  • The Highlander [Previously Ernie’s Market Lot] (27 W. Main Street, Monterey at Intersection of Rt. 220 & Rt. 250)
  • North Water Street Food Court (31 N. Water Street, Monterey)
  • Stonewall Ruritan Building (Inside and Outside at 67 Bullpasture River Road, McDowell)

*** There is a $5 admission charge for entrance to the school gyms and The Highland Center (Ages 12 and under are FREE!)  $5 gets you a collectible keychain that also allows entrance to daytime entertainment at The Highland Center in Monterey.  Keychains are available for purchase with cash at entry to school gyms and The Highland Center upper level.

 

Looking to be a vendor for the 2024 Maple Festival?  Round 1 of the application process ended on October 31, 2023 and all spots were filled, but you never know if a space may open up.  Please email director@highlandcounty.org or call 540-468-2550 with details about your craft to be put on a prospective vendor list.  Thank you for your interest!

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2024 Keychain CUT FINAL
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Maple Sugar Camp Tours - FREE!

Visit local maple sugar camps throughout Highland County as they welcome visitors to view the process of syrup-making. The region’s higher elevations contribute to late-winter and early-spring weather patterns of warm, sunny afternoons and crisp, freezing nights – a perfect combination for maple sugar production!

The process begins with tapping maple trees to collect the clear, almost tasteless, sugar water. Gathered in buckets or by plastic tubing, the sap is boiled in kettles, pans, or evaporators until a barrel is finally reduced to a gallon of pure maple syrup.

Highland County is home to the southernmost commercial maple syrup producing industry in the United States. Our unique climate and elevation makes Highland County the prime location for maple syrup production in Virginia. Families in this area have been producing maple syrup for hundreds of years with some families even continuing the tradition into the sixth and seventh generations.  The Highland County Maple Festival is the second largest Maple Festival in the country and definitely the largest south of the Mason Dixon line!  At the sugar camps, you'll not only discover pure maple syrup but you'll also find barrel-aged and infused syrups, hickory syrup, birch syrup, black walnut syrup, and certified-organic syrup.  There's always something new to taste!

Pick up an official map or brochure of the Maple Festival (digital versions available to the right) at your first destination in the county, and watch for signs to point you in the right direction.  Warm clothing and boots are advisable for visiting the maple sugar camps.

If you find yourself in Highland County outside of our “Maple Season,” which can run from mid January through the end of March, we hope you’ll still stop in at one of our camps to learn about Highland County's pure maple syrup!

Back Creek Farms
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm, Sun: 10 am - 4 pm
www.backcreekfarms.com
7781 Upper Back Creek Road, Monterey
540-499-2302
info@welcometobackcreek.com
Back Creek Farms is a 5th generation maple syrup business which has maintained traditions but added a modern twist! Using both traditional and newer methods, they not only produce pure maple syrup, but they also create infusions and barrel-aged varieties. Tastings are always available. Enjoy watching sugar water flow through tubing and into buckets around the sugar house, browse their gift shop, and walk along beautiful Back Creek. Food and beverage vendors are available onsite with ample parking. Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible.
Food: Food by Dean’s Den with vegetarian and meat sandwiches, breakfast stout made with Back Creek Farms syrup, beers on tap by Pale Fire Brewing Co. & cider
Owners: Valerie & Pat Lowry

Duff’s Sugar House
Sat & Sun: 9 am - 5 pm
www.visitfairlawnfarm.com
3118 Mill Gap Road, Monterey
540-468-3094
tim@visitfairlawnfarm.com
Located at Fair Lawn Farm southwest of Monterey (4 miles south on Rt. 220, then 3 miles west on Rt. 84), Duff’s Sugar House is a small, family-run old-time sugarhouse where the trees are still “opened” by hand and the sugar water collected in buckets. Cooking is done in a wood-fired open pan and finished in an iron kettle. Hands-on participation is encouraged. Enjoy hickory and dandelion syrups, as well as onsite milled cornmeal and grits from Crooked Spur Farm.  Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible.
Food: Crooked Spur Farm, hot sandwiches, soup, apple butter, smoked cheese
Owners: Tim & Terry Duff

Eagle's Sugar Camp
Sat & Sun: 8 am - 5 pm .
5503 Jack Mountain Road, Doe Hill
540-396-6126
Follow signs to Eagle's Sugar Camp, located north of McDowell (off Rt. 654 on Jack Mountain Road) in Doe Hill. Syrup producers for more than 221 years, the Eagles still use open-pan, wood-fired evaporators, as well as the latest advanced computerized oil-fired evaporators. Observe sugar water collected in buckets. Browse local arts & crafts, local honey, maple products, buckwheat, cornmeal, and baked goods. Enjoy home-cooked food, as well as maple-glazed doughnuts. Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible. CASH/CHECK ONLY
Food: Home-cooked food, Maple-glazed Doughnuts
Owners: Jay & Betty Eagle

Laurel Fork Sapsuckers
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm, Sun: 9 am - 4 pm
www.laurelforksapsuckers.com
10677 Mountain Turnpike, Hightown
540-290-1676
laurelforksapsuckers@yahoo.com
Located 10 miles west of Monterey on Rt. 250 off Clay Hise Lane, Laurel Fork Sapsuckers is a family-run sugar camp and Virginia's 2019 Tree Farm of the Year recipient. Enjoy a 3/4 mile loop trail with interpretative signs explaining maple syrup research projects and forest management practices used to increase syrup yields. View various wood-fired methods of evaporating sugar water into maple syrup, including traditional and modern. Food is available with vegetarian options, as well as maple syrup, infused syrups, maple vinegar, ramp salt, and apple butter. Free samples are available. Owners: Ronnie & Sandy Moyers. CASH/CHECK ONLY
Food: Maple BLT, vegetarian chili, pinto beans, cornbread, mac & cheese
Owners: Ronnie & Sandy Moyers

Mill Gap Farms
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm, Sun: 9 am - 3 pm
www.millgapfarms.com
2760 Mill Gap Road, Monterey
540-468-2882
kevin@millgapfarms.com
Located within sight of Duff's Sugar House, Mill Gap Farms is the first and only producer that is certified Organic by the USDA in Virginia. Anything but old fashioned, they utilize the latest technology from Vermont and Quebec, including electronic monitoring of their maple trees, to produce delicious maple syrup. At the family farm, you can visit Merino, Finn, and Suffolk sheep along with chickens, alpacas, cattle, ducks, and turkeys. Enjoy our fresh organic coffee, roasted here on our farm along with maple cotton candy and a beautiful view of the southern Blue Grass Valley. Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible.
Food: Maple cotton candy, syrup tastings, freshly roasted coffee, soft drinks
Owners: Kevin & Emily Conner

Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard
Sat & Sun: 8 am - 5 pm
www.puffenbargersugarorchard.com
17 Maple Syrup Lane, Blue Grass
540-474-5712
puffenbargersmaple@gmail.com
On Rt. 637 {Maple Sugar Road) southwest of Blue Grass is Puffenbarger's Sugar Orchard. A vacuum pump is used to increase the flow of sugar water, and miles of plastic tubing make it easier to gather. The process of maple syrup-making is started by reverse osmosis and finished by oil-fired evaporators. Syrup and food available. Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible.
Food: Maple syrup & sugar candy, maple fudge, hot dogs, BBQ
Owners: Doug & Terri Puffenbarger

Rexrode's Sugar Orchard
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm, Sun: 9 am - 4 pm
www.facebook.com/RexrodesSugarOrchard
1564 Maple Sugar Road, Monterey
540-468-2351
jdr278@yahoo.com
Located north of Hightown on Rt. 637 {Maple Sugar Road), Rexrode's Sugar Orchard features large maple trees over 200-years-old. The Rexrodes use the wood-fired "open pan" system of evaporation with miles of plastic tubing to gather the sugar water for their maple products. Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible. CASH/CHECK ONLY
Food: Maple cotton candy and more
Owner: Derek Rexrode

Southernmost Maple
Sat: 8 am - 6 pm, *Closed Sundays.
www.southernmostmaple.com
7738 Big Valley Road, Bolar
540-468-2682
taphole@htcnet.org
Located 15 miles south of Monterey on Rt. 607 (off Rt. 220 on Big Valley Road,) sugar water is gathered with hundreds of buckets and miles of plastic tubing that funnel the sugar water into a piggyback evaporator. A rustic country store carries maple products, flour, honey, jellies, and baked goods. Food includes maple pit-cooked BBQ, Maple Doughnuts, and pork skins. Enjoy breakfast with buckwheat cakes and pancakes, lunch, and dinner with inside seating, vendors and crafts, and bluegrass music at noon on Saturdays. Food options are available Fridays. There are indoor restrooms. Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible.
Food: Maple pit-cooked BBQ, maple doughnuts, pork skins, breakfast, lunch, & dinner
Owners: Mike Puffenbarger & family

Sugar Tree Country Store & Sugar House
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm, *Closed Sundays
www.sugartreecountrystore.com
185 Mansion House Road, McDowell
540-396-3469
sugartree@mgwnet.com
Located near the center of McDowell, this operation employs a modern reverse osmosis concentrator and oil-fired evaporator. View antique maple-producing tools on display. This country store features local gifts, maple products, apple butter, birch syrup, pottery, jams, cookbooks, old-fashioned homemade bar soap, handmade rugs, and much more. Tour buses welcome. Wheelchair accessible (Sugar house can be reached via wheelchair, but general store cannot).
Food: Brunswick stew, maple doughnuts, & more
Owners: Glenn & Fern Heatwole

Tonoloway Farm
Sat: 9 am - 5 pm, Sun: 9 am - 4 pm
www.tonolowayfarm.com
9943 Highland Turnpike, McDowell
540-396-3328
tonolowayfarm@gmail.com
Located on the steep slopes of Bullpasture Mountain, Tonoloway Farm is famous for tapping black walnut trees in addition to producing hickory syrup, apple cider syrup, and classic maple syrup for a diverse taste of our Appalachian forests. Tonoloway's unique new sugaring workshop is constructed of heavy timbers from the surrounding forests, and visitors are welcome to hike on the farm and enjoy panoramic mountain views over McDowell. Limited parking is available onsite, with plenty of additional parking along Rt. 250 for those ready to enjoy a short hike to the sugarhouse. Tour buses welcome (parking along Rt. 250 and short hike to camp). Wheelchair accessible (limited parking close to sugar camp to avoid short uphill hike).
Owners: Christoph & Lauren Herby

 

Additional Sugar Stops:

Bruce’s Syrup and Candies
www.brucessyrupandcandies.com
Set up on Main Street in Monterey across from High's Restaurant and Hiner's Auto Garge
540-474-5661
brucesmaple@yahoo.com

Frostmore Farm
www.facebook.com/frostmorefarm
Set up on Courthouse Lawn in Monterey at 165 W. Main Street, Monterey
304-456-4331
frostmorefarm@gmail.com

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Food

A visit to the Highland County Maple Festival is a culinary experience!  All-you-can-eat regular and buckwheat pancakes smothered in Highland County maple syrup and famous Maple Doughnuts are “musts” on your Maple Festival to-do list!  Delicious food of all kinds can be found throughout the county.  Enjoy!

The following foods are available throughout the four days of the festival:

Maple Festival 24

Pancake Meals - All-you-can-eat Regular & Buckwheat Pancakes with Sides:

Indoor seated service. Prices usually range from approximately $10 - $15 a person with sides extra unless noted below. The Ruritan Clubs and the Monterey Lions Club are nonprofits that donate most earnings right back into the community. The school's proceeds benefit student activities year-round.

  • BLUE GRASS:  Blue Grass Ruritan Club Building.  Located on Blue Grass Valley Road, 7 miles north of Monterey (2724 Blue Grass Valley Road) • To-go options available, and buckwheat flour for sale • Credit Cards Accepted • 7:30 am – 3 pm
  • BOLAR:  Bolar Ruritan Club Building.  Located 15 miles south of Monterey at intersection of Routes 220 & 607 (23635 Sam Snead Highway) • To-go options available  • 7 am – 2 pm
  • MCDOWELL:  Stonewall Ruritan Club Building. Intersection of Rt. 250 and Rt. 678 in McDowell (67 Bullpasture River Road) • Sides include sausage cakes, sausage gravy, and sliced ham • To-go options available • Gluten-free buckwheat cakes available but need to specifically ask servers • $13 per adult, $9 per child under the age of 12 • 7 am – 4 pm
  • MONTEREY:  Highland County Public Schools on Myers-Moon Road, off Rt. 250 in Monterey (240 Myers-Moon Road) • Credit Cards Accepted • 8 am – 4 pm

Other Foods:

McDowell

  • Stonewall Ruritan Building: Baked goods, maple products, kettle corn, pork rinds • Rt. 678
  • McDowell Volunteer Fire Department: Trout, BBQ chicken, & country ham dinners, ham sandwiches, cotton candy, candied apples, & funnel cakes; crafts • Rt. 678, across from the Stonewall Ruritan building.

Monterey

  • Food trucks and vendors • N. Water Street Food Court
  • Mill Gap Ruritans' famous Maple Doughnuts • Located directly north of the Highland Medical Center and behind The Highlander [formerly Ernie’s Market] off Rt. 220 South (6 am - ? [usually sells out by mid-afternoon so go early if you can!])
  • Monterey Lions Club Pork Rinds and more • Main Street Monterey
  • Food options are also available at the Highland County Public Schools (Middle School Bazaar, FFA Milkshakes, Cheer & Dance Team Food), most sugar camps, and other locations throughout the county

 

Restaurants and Bakeries

  • Claire’s Cakes & Café: - Maple lattes, espresso drinks, hot chocolate, coffee, maple products, and maple baked goods. Gluten-free/vegan options available.  Handicap accessible. • 107 W. Main Street, Monterey VA - 540-468-1800
  • The Curly Maple - Restored general store, restaurant, local provisions, and gourmet coffee.  Specials include brisket nachos, maple bacon BLT, ribeye philly, butternut squash soup, and baked goods. Gluten-free options available.  • 174 W. Main Street, Monterey – 540-468-1250
  • Highs Restaurant - Free pancakes and buckwheat cakes with any order, "best darn meatloaf ever," country fried steak, trout, and desserts • 73 W. Main Street, Monterey – 540-468-1700
  • Hull’s Hideaway Restaurant & Tavern - Maple pork BBQ and tenderloin, pancakes and buckwheat cakes, trout, roast beef, and more • 37 Potomac River Road, Monterey – 540-468-3463
  • Monterey Inn - New! Dining and loding with breakfast, lunch, & Saturday dinner by reservation. Plus, private barn event space in back. • 32 W. Main Street, Monterey - 540-495-0070

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2024 Entertainment

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Music

Unless noted below, performances held at the at The Highland Center at 61 Highland Center Drive in Monterey are sponsored by the Highland County Arts Council and The Highland County Chamber of Commerce.  Daily 10 am and 2 pm shows are $5 at entry, which provides a collectible Maple Festival keychain that also gets you into the Arts & Crafts at the school gyms.

• Saturday, March 9 •

Live bluegrass music starts at noon on Maple Festival Saturdays at Southernmost Maple at 7738 Big Valley Road in Bolar.


Southern Rail Express (Bluegrass)
www.facebook.com/srebluegrassva

The Highland Center Auditorium
61 Highland Center Drive, Monterey, VA 24465
10 am and 2 pm
Admission: $5 or Maple Festival Keychain

Southern Rail Express is a popular bluegrass band based out of Hot Springs, Virginia.  DJ Willie Smith is the leader on main vocals and guitar, with Kenny Lowry on banjo, David Cannaday on guitar, Jim Almarode on mandolin and Jerry Wood on fiddle.


Robin and Linda Williams (Folk Duo)
www.robinandlinda.com

The Highland Center Auditorium
61 Highland Center Drive, Monterey, VA 24465
5 pm
Admission: $15 ($5 off with Maple Festival Keychain)

Robin and Linda Williams are outstanding contemporary artists with musical sensibilities deeply rooted in traditional country, bluegrass, and gospel music. Their repertoire includes original songs and those gleaned from the rich musical heritage of Southwest Virginia from artists like the Carter Family, as well as those from other iconic performers such as Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams. Robin and Linda showcase their exquisite harmonies and instrumental arrangements along with stellar songwriting and have had their songs recorded by other artists, Tom T. Hall, Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Tim and Mollie O’Brien, to name a few. They were featured artists on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion for over forty years and are co-writers of the musical Stonewall Country, which ran for over twenty years at the Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington, VA. Their 24th CD, “A Better Day A-Coming” was released in July of 2021.

Highland County Arts Council programs are made possible by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.


All entertainment at The Highland Center is brought to you with the assistance and sponsorship of the Highland County Arts Council

• Sunday, March 10 •
• Saturday, March 16 •
• Sunday, March 17 •

Additional Points of Interest

At the Highland County Maple Festival, the entire community gets involved.  It takes a village!  Support local and check out Chamber Member business and nonprofits in Highland County and the surrounding areas by category at our searchable Membership Directory at members.highlandcounty.org/member-directory.

Our “Things to Do” page has more fun activities during your travels in Highland County at highlandcounty.org/things-to-do.

In addition to Arts & Crafts, sugar camp tours, and pancake meals, here are just a few more local points of interest during the fesetival.

BLUE GRASS
Blue Grass Mercantile - Brunswick stew, Brisket, Pulled pork, local products

MCDOWELL
Grant’s Grocery - Homemade chicken salad, country ham, goodies
Hazy Hollow Farm - New! Working cattle farm tours just east of McDowell; 100% grass fed Angus beef, barn quilts, and apparel for sale
Highland County Museum - Exhibits on the Battle of McDowell, Uniquely Highland, There's an App for That, and Quilts of Highland
Mountain Oasis - Maple-cinnamon buns, maple chili, deli - 24-hour fuel • Closed Sundays

MEADOWDALE
The Church at the Old Oak - Arts & crafts vendors, baked goods - no entry fee and free parking
Highland Barn Quilts Studio - Discover the art of barn quilts from Margie Boesch • Saturdays only from 10 am - 4 pm

MONTEREY
Art on Main (at The 3rd Space) - New! Gallery of juried Highland art
Big Fish Cider, Co. - Award-winning local cider & tasting room
Charles Pinckney Joes Museum - New! Restored historic house museum • 9 am - 5 pm
Fast Break - Pizza, snacks - Fuel
Gutshall’s Exxon - Propane, tire repair - 24-hour fuel
Highland Inn - Learn about the historic Highland Inn renovation • 11 am – 3 pm
Highland Roots Market - New! Back to basics grocery store with local goods
Jenny Wren Gatherings - Eclectic treasures
Rockingham Cooperative - Farm store • Saturdays only from 7:30 am - noon
The 3rd Space - New! Local art demonstrations in this new workshop and studio space
The Gallery of Highland - Selling local art & books all year
The Highlander (formerly Ernie's Market) - New! Pizza, milkshakes, grab-n-go, souvenirs
The Highland Center - Entertainment, local art, Visitor Center
The Rock Shop - New! Gemstone mining for kids, gift shop with local crafts, & more
Twice is Nice - Gently-used clothing for the whole family

RT. 220 NORTH
Ginseng Mountain Store - “New time” country store, gifts
Rexrode’s Country Store - Breads, deli, pizza, maple products – Fuel
Virginia Trout Company - Come feed the fish, enjoy a trout sandwich and take home some frozen fillets

RT. 220 SOUTH
Valley AeroSpace Team - Saturday, March 9 model rocket launch for all ages • 11 am – 5 pm (March 16 weather delay date)

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Directions

GPS Addresses: The festival is a COUNTY-WIDE event, with each rural town having something unique to explore.  The three main town GPS Addresses are:

  • 165 W. Main Street, Monterey
  • 161 Mansion House Road, McDowell
  • 2558 Blue Grass Valley Road, Blue Grass

Traffic Tips: Our rural mountain community has two main roads of Rt. 220 and Rt. 250. No matter which way you enter, you can experience something new.  The center of Highland County is Monterey, and traffic often gets backed up and can cause long wait times.  Though we feel it is worth the wait, know that you are never more than 30 minutes away from the edge of Highland in any direction from Monterey using Rt. 250 or Rt. 220, so feel free to leave Monterey, visit a new sugar camp or other attraction, and come back in.  If you’re coming from McDowell to Monterey along Rt. 250, you can also take Rt. 629 (Strait Creek Road) to bypass Monterey and head toward Rt. 220 North to head to Blue Grass.  Rt. 629 is a rural road, so watch speeds.  We recommend viewing a map beforehand to plan your best route.  We also recommend an early start to your cultural and culinary adventure!  Safe travels! (*** Please note: Rt. 624, also known as Jack Mountain Road, is blocked off beyond Eagle’s Sugar Camp in the Doe Hill area for safety concerns).

FROM THE NORTH:  Travel south on I-81 to exit #225 (Monterey exit).  Follow Rt. 262 southwest to junction with US 250 (Churchville Ave.).  Turn right at the bottom of the exit ramp and follow US 250 west into Highland County.  Travel west on US 250 to McDowell (35 miles) and Monterey (45 miles).  From I-81:  allow approximately 1 hour’s driving time to McDowell and 1 hour and 15 minutes to Monterey (more, if you are driving or hauling an over-sized vehicle).

FROM THE EAST:  Follow I-64 west to I-81.  Travel south on I-81/I-64 in the direction of Lexington.  Take first exit (#220 to Staunton) onto Rt. 262.  Follow Rt. 262 northwest to the junction with Route US 250 (Churchville Ave.).  Turn left at the end of the exit ramp and follow US 250 west into Highland County to McDowell (35 miles) and Monterey (45 miles).    From I-81:  allow approximately 1 hour driving time to McDowell and 1 hour and 15 minutes driving time to Monterey (more, if you are driving or hauling an over-sized vehicle).

FROM THE SOUTH:  Travel north on I-81 to exit #220 (Staunton exit) onto Rt. 262.  Follow Rt. 262 northwest to the junction with Route US 250 (Churchville Ave.).  Turn left at the end of the exit ramp and follow US 250 west into Highland County to McDowell (35 miles) and Monterey (45 miles).    Or, if you are traveling from southwest Virginia, the Carolinas, or Tennessee, take exit #150 (just north of Roanoke) and follow US 220 north into Monterey (125 miles).  From I-81, exit #150:  allow approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes driving time to Monterey (more, if you are driving or hauling an over-sized vehicle).  This is the shorter route for those traveling from southwestern Virginia.

FROM THE WEST:  Travel east on US 250 or US 84 to Monterey.  Allow approximately 1 hour driving time from Elkins or 2 hours from White Sulphur Springs (more, if you are driving or hauling an over-sized vehicle).

* Rt. 250 is an excellent 2-lane road; however, there are a number of tight curves and steep grades as it crosses the mountains. Use extra caution if you are pulling a trailer or RV.  Use lower gears on downhill grades.

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Maple Sugar Facts

  • Pure maple syrup contains no preservatives, capsule artificial flavoring or color.
  • Pure maple syrup is FAT FREE!
  • Maple syrup is 33.5% water and 66.5% sugar.
  • Store opened containers of syrup in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Pure Maple Syrup is sold by shades of “amber.”
  • Light Amber has a fine, delicate flavor.
  • Medium Amber has a richer flavor and is most frequently used as table syrup.
  • Dark Amber is used for cooking, or as a table syrup by those who prefer a strong maple flavor.
  • A good tree will produce 20 quarts of “sugar water” in 12 hours.
  • It takes approximately 40 quarts of sugar water to make one quart of maple syrup.
  • Sugar water collected from maple trees is made up of approximately 98% water and 2% sugar.
  • Unopened containers of maple syrup should be stored in a cool, dry place.
  • Maple syrup can also be frozen.
  • Maple Syrup only has 40 calories per tablespoon. Honey has 45, white sugar has 55, and corn sugar has 60.
  • Maple Syrup contains iron, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It also has a higher calcium content than milk. It also contains small amounts of amino acids, proteins, and vitamins B2, B5, and niacin.
  • Correct tapping methods cause no permanent damage to the maple sugar tree.
  • Freezing nights and warm, sunny days make ideal weather conditions for harvesting sugar water.

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The year-round Virginia Maple Syrup Trail Passport Program is ending on March 31, 2024.  Physical passports are no longer being given out after December 31, 2023, but if you already have a passport, you must complete and send in your passport by March 31, 2024 to be honored.  No giveaways will be supplied after March 31, 2024.  Get full details at www.virginiamaplesyrup.com.

Want more information about our Chamber Member Syrup Producers? Just click here.

Photos courtesy:
Virginia Tourism Corporation
Crisp Pics, LLC
Sky Pics
Laura Honaker Photography
Highland County Chamber of Commerce

*** All events and information subject to change ***

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