Last weekend was Maple Weekend in Massachusetts. And it happened to coincide with our family’s annual maple run.
Every year we head to the same place for a breakfast buffet, because it is just the best there is. Everything is freshly made, and then you get to douse it with their delicious maple syrup. You can’t ask for a better meal.
Worthington, Massachusetts and it is a bit of a drive from the Connecticut border. Almost an hour in fact. Yet, here I am telling you that we do this every year. It seems crazy, I know. What makes it so great to drive that far? Everything. The food. The atmosphere. The people. The maple syrup. It’s all good. It’s our tradition. And it’s something I felt I had to share it with you, and tell you all why you should make this trip to High Hopes Farm Sugar Shack.
As I mentioned, Worthington is kind of a hike, but when you look at the map it’s really not that far from us. The drive is long because it’s all back roads. But they are beautiful back roads. I wish I could have stopped for a photo, but with last week’s storm in the area, the scenic pullover areas were impassable, and my husband gave me that “are you crazy” look when I suggested I’d be fine with my boots on.
High Hopes is located on Rte. 112 in Worthington, and is actually really easy to find. They have a sign hanging right out front, so you can’t miss it!
As you can see, they are pretty proud of their breakfast buffet, as they should be!
The sugar shack is very rustic, but charming. It’s a small building, and it houses their whole maple production including their evaporator, the kitchen, two eating areas and their country store.
They have a pretty good sized parking area, but beware:after a rain or snow storm, it’s muddy!! And if you have a child like mine, puddles and mud are just the best thing ever! If the main parking area is full, (which when we arrived it was pretty bustling) they have an overflow area right along the main road.
Before we entered the building, we had to stop to take the obligatory funny pictures!
Inside when you first enter, you’ll find the evaporator. They make a lot of maple syrup at this shack! In fact, the whole farm runs over 20 miles of sap line between as many as 4,000 trees!! On the day we visited, because of the wicked cold snap we were experiencing, they were not doing a heavy boil. But as you can see, the evaporator was still hard at work!
In the entrance, we were welcomed by the owner of the farm, Mr. Rowe himself. He and his wife actually built this operation all on their own and run it with their family. He is a really nice guy and a gracious host! We had a good laugh when my husband explained why his crazy wife had a camera… blogs aren’t really his thing but he appreciated that I would be writing about his farm!
In the foyer, they had signs explaining the breakfast buffet (the cost, the food served), as well as their hours for the 2017. They serve a standard fare of pancakes, french toast, eggs, various meats, home fries, and lots of syrup! Their hours are weekend only, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. As for their operating months, maple season is a very fluctuating thing, cold weather can bring everything to a halt or at least a delay. This year, the season started in February, and is expected to run until April. High Hopes is planning to be open until April 9, 2017 (again, this changes every year, so if you are planning to visit, always check their website or Facebook page for current conditions). They also open for a short time in the fall! The cost for breakfast is $11.95. Children ages 6 to 12 are $8.95, and under age 6 are $6.95. They accept cash, Mastercard and Visa.
The seating area is very rustic. There are two rooms: the first room is right when you enter from the foyer. It has several tables, and contains the food as well.
The back room has more seating, as well as little picnic tables for the kids. There is a wood stove in the room, so it gets nice and toasty back there. On less busy days, you can usually get your pick of tables, but since we went on Maple Weekend, we were lucky to get a table with no wait!
The tables are picnic style tables and sit upon a floor of rocks. The whole sugar shack floor is covered in rocks, minus the bathrooms and the store. You can bring in a stroller, we have done it, but it can be tricky to roll through it. This year, the two kids were able to walk in finally on their own so we skipped the stroller. Unfortunately, my child is obsessed with rocks, and he would rather dig in them versus eating! They offer high chairs that attach to the table, as well as padded booster seats. My child is at the age where a high chair is a little too small for him, but he is not disciplined enough to sit in a booster seat… There was a lot of “I sit in momma’s lap… I sit in dada’s lap… I sit in grammie’s lap”. As everyone keeps telling me, “it’s the age”.
Once you find yourself a seat, the buffet is open and you can help yourself. They offer trays for you to load up with your breakfast! It’s a great spread! Everything is cooked from scratch in the back kitchen. There is french toast, pancakes, eggs, home fries, ham, sausage, bacon, and an assortment of cereals.
They also have a station where you can make toast or English muffins spread with jam, peanut butter, maple sugar and maple cream.
Drinks include coffee, milk, juice, water and hot water to make tea and cocoa.
My husband definitely gets his money’s worth… Here’s plate number one.
And then number two.
There may have been a third somewhere in there, but I missed it while chasing my child around… The “age”, right?
After you have had your fill of food, if you have not yet checked out the back room, definitely take some time to go look at the gorgeous view out the windows. High Hopes’ property is incredible!!
We spent about an hour having breakfast, waiting for my father in law to finish his 17th plate. Okay, not really, but I think he refilled that plate at least five times! He was making up for my child’s lack of eating… The crowd was still pretty bustling considering it was almost noon. Our table was quickly filled with a new family once we left!
We headed to the country store which is located right on the other side of the main room. It’s actually the only way to exit. You’ll need to go this way anyway since this is where you’ll pay for that food you just ate. There is no waitstaff in the dining area, and as such, you’ll need to stop by the cashier’s counter on your way out to pay. While you’re in the store, take some time to enjoy the maple products, as well as the handcrafted items. We grabbed a big jug of maple syrup (I freeze it! Did you know you can do that?). This year I had to get the Curious George Makes Maple Syrup book for my George-obsessed child, as well as some maple cotton candy!
High Hopes will be open for the rest of the 2017 season until April 9. That leaves you with just three weekends to get up there for a great breakfast, and a fun time. The owners are wonderful people, and they have created a really special experience. You’ll enjoy the drive through Worthington as well!
I hope you get the chance to experience what we consider our favorite family tradition. New England is home to some of the greatest sugarhouses, and High Hopes is one of the best. So pack up the kids, and take a little road trip up to Hampshire Country in Massachusetts, and enjoy one of the most charming, rustic sugar shacks you will ever find in New England!
This about sums it up…
1132 Huntington Rd. (Route 112) – Worthington, Massachusetts
Maple season varies year by year. The 2017 season will run from February 25 to April 9. They are open on weekends from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
See their website for an up to date schedule.
Price (for breakfast):
Children ages 6 to 12: $8.95
Children under age 6: $6.95.
- Sugar Shack – maple syrup and other maple products for sale
- Self serve Breakfast buffet served during open hours
- Mastercard, Visa and Cash accept
- Family friendly
- Highchairs and booster seats available
- Strollers can be difficult to maneuver in some areas
- When visiting during snow season, dress accordingly and wear boots.
- Free parking area
- Bathrooms on site (no changing tables)
- Events can be held at the sugar shack (contact High Hopes for more information)