I was 18 and in love. At the one year mark of the torrid affair, I visited a Books A Million in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama and bought the latest edition of Roadfood by Jane and Michael Stern along with a guide to the bed and breakfasts of rural New England.

Time to plan a roadtrip.

We saved our money from our supermarket and bagel shop jobs, and hit the blue highways for a week exploring New England. There always has to be a grail: For this trek-2400 mile round trip-Corse Farm for maple syrup and Curtis’ Barbecue, each in Vermont, were our ultimate destinations. I’d read an article in a Yankee magazine that Corse was putting out the best maple syrup in the nation and Curtis Tuff was reportedly a northern pit boss who could hang with the big boys whose pits I’d been eating off of since I was teething.

Nobody lied.

Corse Farm’s maple syrup is still the finest I’ve ever eaten and Curtis’ Barbecue put out one of the best pork rib/smoked chicken combo platters I’ve ever eaten.

Sometimes when I’m layed back woolgathering on the ancient Broyhill, I like to conjure up those old memories: racing along the county roads of Vermont, high on maple syrup and barbecue sauce, laughing our heads off with the heater on blast, the Datsun’s sunroof open and a Young Fresh Fellows cassete blasting.

Happy Maple Syrup Day y’all.

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