The Sweet Smell of Maple in the Morning!

Syrup BucketsThere is almost nothing better than the smell of walking into a sugar house and smelling boiling maple sap! The best thing after smelling it, is tasting it! Drizzling real maple syrup on the delicious pancakes and waffles that you will wake up to while staying at Hilltop House!

While you are here for a visit, check out some of the local Sugar Houses! Maple Weekend and the Sugaring Festival is coming up soon, and what better souvenirs to bring back to friends and relatives (and keep a tasty stash for yourself!) than good maple syrup and other maple goodies!

Annual Maple Sugaring Festival
March 4, 2017
11 a.m.-3 p.m. Adults $15, children $10.
The Institute for American Indian Studies (About 45 minutes from the Inn)
38 Curtis Rd. Washington, CT 06793
Enjoy an afternoon celebrating the taste of Maple Sugar. Enjoy pancakes, local maple syrup, coffee and more (served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.), and learn how Native Americans traditionally made maple syrup. Learn about the technique of collecting sap and boiling it down into syrup, and its importance to Native American culture. Connecticut Valley Siberian Husky Club’s dog sledding and mushing demonstration from 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
For more information visit

Maple Syrup on Snow (Also called Sugar on Snow)

Soukup Farms (About 12 minutes from the Inn)
271 Halls Corners Rd., Dover Plains, New York
Maple Weekend will be held on March 18th & 19th and March 25th & 26th from 10 to 4 each day at the sugarhouse. They will have ongoing tours and explanations of how they make maple syrup from tree to bottle. They will also be offering samples of all four grades of their maple syrup and will have it for sales as well!

Soukup Farms is a third generation family farm, producing and selling pure New York Maple Syrup. It was started as a hobby in the early 1950’s and expanded to 800 taps in the 1990’s and today has more than 2,000 taps.

Crown Maple (About 20 minutes from the Inn)
47 McCourt Road, Dover Plains NY 12522
Winter Hours of Operation: Open Saturdays and Sundays: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Tours at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. The Crown Maple Estate will resume regular hours of 10:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday March 18th.

Celebrate New York State Maple Weekends at The Crown Maple Estate. They will be featuring complimentary tastings, maple inspired lunch, tree tapping demonstrations and more! Free admission.
The Crown Maple Estate is located on 800 acres at Madava Farms in New York. All products are certified-organic.

Some fun facts about maple syrup:
It takes 40 to 50 gallons of tree sap to make one gallon of syrup.
A tree takes about 40 years before it’s big enough to tap
A quarter-cup of maple syrup is high in minerals
Stored properly, a sealed container of maple syrup can keep for several years
If you put a glass of water and a glass of maple sap side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
A gallon of maple syrup weighs 11 pounds
The sugar content of sap averages 2.5 percent; sugar content of maple syrup is at least 66 percent or more
Tapping does no permanent damage and only 10 percent of the sap is collected each year. Many maple trees have been tapped for 150 or more years.

Did you know what the different grades of maple syrup mean and what’s best used for?
• Light Amber or Fancy Grade has a mild maple taste and is made early in the season. This is considered best for fine maple candy.
• Medium Amber has a little more maple flavor and is made about mid-season.
• Dark Amber, although slightly darker and with a stronger maple flavor, is fast becoming a favored table syrup.

There are many additional sugar house around the Hudson Valley in NY and Litchfield County in CT, to find out more information please visit, and


Two Night Getaway at Hilltop House B&B, Weekday or Weekend!

A scrumptious breakfast awaits you!

Book this Two Night Midweek Getaway (Tuesday and Wednesday Nights, or Wednesday and Thursday Nights) in one of our charming and cozy rooms OR a Weekend Getaway (Friday and Saturday Night)!

Package Includes:
A Four course breakfast on the porch, or by the fire (weather dependent)
A $100 voucher for Monte’s Restaurant
Overnight stay at the B&B
Use of the B&B’s Bicycles
Includes 2 Metro North round trip tickets from Grand Central Station to Wassaic and back
Price: $559 two nights (double occupancy) plus applicable taxes for Midweek Getaway
Price: $639 two nights (double occupancy) plus applicable taxes for Weekend Getaway

Check out the amenities our B&B offers, as well a suggested itinerary for your stay: biking, shopping, dining and more!

To book this B&B overnight package, call the B&B directly at 845-789-1354 at least ten (10) business days in advance and mention the Midweek B&B Getaway package.


Take a Walk with a Llama!

Photo courtesy of Country Quilt Llama Farm

Photo courtesy of Country Quilt Llama Farm

Country Quilt Llama Farm and White Memorial Conservation Center (about 45 minutes from the inn)

The Llama walks are held at White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, CT. Country Quilt Llama Farm is working together with the Conservation Center to offer the walks on any one of their 35 miles of walking trails. Llama Walks can be scheduled year around and all ages are welcomed. Please contact Debbie Elias at 860-248-0355
for rates and to arrange a walk.

Country Quilt Llama Farm is proud to offer over 20 years of experience in entertaining and educating people of all ages about llamas. In 1992, Debbie Elias, the owner of Country Quilt Llama Farm, started a children’s program called “Hooked On Llamas”. Children can pet the llama, then listen to the story “Is Your Mama a Llama?” Children learn the many uses of llamas and get to see llama fiber products which they can see and touch. Elias also developed Therapy program which does over 100 programs a year, where she takes her llamas to work with adults at rest homes and assisted living facilities and other Adult centers.

Featured on WFSB’s Better Connecticut!

From the Register Citizen:
“I started out as a breeding farm but I didn’t make a very good llama breeder because I had to sell the babies and I didn’t want to,” Elias said. While she didn’t have the heart to keep giving the new llamas away, she did have the ingenuity to find a way to create a new business with the llamas that utilized her admiration of the animals.”
Read the full article here:

Photo courtesy of Country Quilt Llama Farm

Photo courtesy of Country Quilt Llama Farm

Country Quilt Llama Farm
Cornwall, Connecticut

White Memorial Conservation Center
80 Whitehall Road
Litchfield, CT

Directions to White Memorial Conservation Center



Some Tips on Winter Hiking

Winter Hikers

When visiting Hilltop House B&B, the area abounds with some terrific places to hike! But hiking in the winter months adds an extra level of caution to both planning and going on your hike. Prepare for the unexpected!

To make your hike safer:
Never hike alone, use the buddy system.
Make sure someone knows where you are going and when your estimated return time is. Day hikers should be prepared to spend the night in the woods if necessary, a hiker may get injured sliding on ice, or an unexpected snow storm may come up. Be sure to tell the B&B where you are heading if going out for a winter’s hike and an estimated time when you will be back.

Some essentials to bring with you:
• A trail map
• A compass
• A first aid kit
• A flashlight or headlamp
• A multi-tool like a Leatherman with a knife
• Waterproof matches
• A space blanket or two (they take up very little room)
• Hand Warming Packets
• Waterproof boots, plastic is recommended as Leather freezes in cold weather.
• Vapor barrier socks
• Food and water, your body burns more energy hiking in winter then it does during the summer
• Dress in layers
• Avoid cotton
• Sun screen and chap stick
• Bring backup chargers for your cellphone (but be cognizant of the fact you may not have cell service) most smart phone have flashlights and there are some terrific outdoor apps that can be downloaded for use such as digital compasses and colored light flashing apps that may help a rescuer find you in the snow.

Additional Tips:
Carry your canteen upside down, Water freezes from the top down, if you carry the canteen upside down, it is actually the bottom where the water will freeze, not the mouth of the canteen.

White birch bark will burn even when wet and makes some of the best emergency tinder. A small container of Vaseline with several cotton balls serves double duty, cotton balls covered with the oil make excellent fire starters and the Vaseline is also very useful for protecting against windburn and skin chapping.

Some great additional winter hiking tips can be found at:

Snow Walker Bushcraft has some great winter survival videos at:

Some additional tips if you are stuck outside on your hike unexpectedly:
• Build a fire for heat and to attract attention.
• If you need to rest, try to gather tree branches and boughs to sit or lie on, so your body doesn’t make direct contact with the snow.
• Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
• Prepare a lean-to, wind-break, igloo or snow cave for protection from the cold.
• If you don’t have time to prepare anything elaborate, try at least to make a shield from the wind.
• Do not eat snow. It will lower your body temperature. Melt it first when possible.
• Make yourself visible to rescuers.
• Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers and toes to keep the blood circulating and to keep warm.

A really terrific list (and instructions) on building wilderness survival shelters: Many of these can be made using space blankets, ponchos and tarps.

Some additional references:
Diagnosing And Treating Frostbite In the Field

Survival Skills: How To Make Ground-To-Air Signals in Snow

Winter Hikers