Merck Forest and Farm Center Farm Management Rupert Vermont
Teaching and demonstrating the benefits of innovative, sustainable management of forest and farmland

News & Events

Sleigh Rides
December 20, 2014 through March 2015

Tis' the season for sweaters, carols, mugs of hot cider, and... one (and two) horse open sleighs! The Merck Forest sleighs will run this winter, starting just before Christmas, on December 20, 2014. With ample snow and great views, a sleigh ride is a wonderful way to see Merck's farm and forest. Wool blankets are provided for extra warmth, and hot drinks and a cozy fire are available in the Visitor Center at the end of the ride. We have two options for you to choose from:

  1. Sweetheart Sleigh
    The Sweetheart Sleigh seats two adults, and costs $150.00 for a forty-five minute tour. This sleigh travels through the forest and around the farm—on a clear day, you'll be afforded wonderful views.

  2. Group Sleigh
    The Group Sleigh is available for groups as large as twelve people. There is a flat fee of $185.00 to reserve the sleigh. Tours last for approximately forty five minutes and travel wooded paths and across the open pastures on the farm.

If you plan on reserving a sleigh ride, call ahead. We cannot guarantee that walk-ins will be able to be accommodated.

It's always best to come dressed for the cold! Usually the mountaintop is colder than down in the valleys, and the weather at Merck Forest can be variable. Merck Forest reserves the right to cancel a sleigh ride ride due to inclement weather or lack of snow--We will notify guests at least an hour prior to reserved time. We strongly encourage guests to call ahead, just to double check the sleigh will run.

For more information on the sleigh rides and how to reserve your sleigh, please call the Visitor Center at 802.394.7836.

Introduction to Lightweight Winter Camping
January 24, 2015, 9 am - 5 pm
$40.00/person, $36.00/member

Have you ever dreamed of winter camping with your family or friends, exploring the beautiful winter wilds on skis or snowshoes, then watching the sunset from your tent—but thought it would be too cold and uncomfortable, the snow too deep, the gear too heavy? Well, this is the perfect time to dispel those myths!

Join the staff of at the Merck Forest and Farmland Center for an Introduction to Lightweight Winter Camping, These experienced winter campers will show you the lightweight gear, clothing, and accessories (even packable woodstoves that run on dead twigs and branches!) for safe, easy, comfortable winter camping.

The day will begin at the Visitor Center where your instructors will take you through the basics of safe winter camping. You'll get to assess the gear you already have for winter suitability. Then we'll pack up and hit the trail (on snowshoes, if necessary) to our "campsite". Together, we'll set up complete winter camps, with heated tipis and conventional (unheated) tents.

Throughout the day, we'll show you how to safely and comfortably ease into winter camping as you grow your confidence and skills. We'll teach you step-by-step how to stay warm, dry, and comfortable, even in unexpected weather.

The class will be limited to no more than 10 participants. Come prepared for a day outside in any weather conditions. Bring snowshoes if you have them.

Instructors: Tim Jones and David Shedd,

Tim Jones is Founder and Executive Editor of, an on-line magazine devoted to encouraging people to get outdoors here in the northeast. Tim's motto is "Life isn't a spectator sport. Get out and enjoy!" and he practices what he preaches. He wandered from the back yard of his rural New Hampshire home as a toddler and has been exploring outdoors ever since. He started skiing at age 4, was still in grade school when he started camping, hiking, and paddling canoes, and taught both Alpine and cross-country skiing while in high school and college. A full-time journalist for nearly 40 years, he has published over 1,500 feature stores and thousands of newspaper columns on outdoor pursuits. Winter is his favorite season and he enjoys camping; snowshoeing; Alpine, AT backcountry, Telemark and Cross-country skiing; Nordic skating and winter mountaineering. When there's no snow, he hikes, paddles sea kayaks, rides bikes, camps and climbs mountains. He is also an avid fly fisher and hunter. Tim's experience in the outdoors has taught him that the best way to safely learn any new skill is in incremental small steps and with expert instruction from someone who knows, not only how to do, but also how to teach.

David Shedd, is Publisher & Senior Editor of, an on-line magazine devoted to encouraging people to get outdoors here in the northeast. His specialties are carrying insane weights in big backpacks over rough terrain to test packs, boots, snowshoes, and himself, and sleeping comfortably warm when the temperature sinks well below his sleeping bag's rating. David grew up in the Vermont woods far from neighbors (which explains some of his eccentricities) and started learning outdoor skills early. Much to his parent's consternation, he always found his way home, even before GPS. David loves pedaling road, mountain and cyclocross bikes all year and has raced on all three. He's survived the Mount Washington Hillclimb three times. He also enjoys backpacking, paddling kayaks, and has recently taken up "adventure obstacle course racing" which, he admits, is a form of institutionalized self-abuse. In winter, he camps, snowshoes, and enjoys every type of skiing that doesn't involve terrain parks. Enthusiastic about all these pursuits and the necessary gear, he places a strong emphasis on teaching people how to do things safely; he knows the right way to do things precisely because he's probably already suffered the consequences of doing it wrong the first time!

Apple Tree Pruning Workshop at Merck Forest
Saturday, March 7, 2015, 9 am - noon
Cost: $20/person, $18/members

Come learn to how to prune your apple trees! For the second year running, Rico Balzano, of Little Lake Orchard, Wells, Vermont will teach participants how to care for, prune, and maintain apple trees. Please, bring your own tools and gloves, and come prepared to be outside. Registration is required.

For more information call 802.394.7836

Back to Top

We are not affiliated with, nor do we receive annual support from Merck & Co. Inc.
We are not part of any government agency. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent
allowed by law and are greatly appreciated!

Banner photo courtesy of Dan Sullivan
© Merck Forest and Farm Center, all rights reserved