There are a few things I have come to learn and accept since I married into a French Canadian family: (1) they always run hot (our A/C bill is out of control); (2) meat pie, or tourtière, is a perfectly acceptable meal for holidays (I refuse to eat it though!); (3) gifts must be opened on Christmas Eve; and (4) they take their maple syrup (maple sugaring) VERY seriously.
Every March, my husband’s family carves out a Saturday for our annual “maple sugaring run”. We start the morning in Worthington, Massachusetts for a buffet breakfast at a small wooden sugar shack called High Hopes Sugar Shack.
Then we head even further north to Williams Sugar House in Deerfield for a very Canadian tradition, called sugar on snow. Basically, you are given the following random items: maple syrup, snow, pickles, plain donuts, a fork and some water. It sounds and looks really strange.
But it all works. You pour the hot syrup over the snow, and it turns into a taffy. You then twirl the taffy up with your fork, and eat it. The pickle and the plain donut help cut the sweetness of the taffy. If you have never had this, you are totally missing out!
We have been doing this for years, and it is something we are teaching our children. Maple Sugaring is our family tradition!
Since we love maple sugar so much, I wanted to share with you some of favorite places to go maple sugaring; as well as a list of events and other sugar house throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts.
I hope you enjoy this list and maybe even start your own New England (and Canadian) family tradition of Maple Sugaring!
Events throughout Connecticut & Massachusetts
Throughout the weekends in March (March 7, 8 14, 15, 21 and 22) come see how maple sugaring was done in the early 19th century in rural New England. Demonstration of tapping and boiling the syrup will be shown. Included with standard daytime admission.
On March 7, 2020, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., come experience a New England tradition of turning sap into syrup! Tap a tree, take a maple syrup test, learn about different methods of making syrup, and of course, sample the Farm’s very own syrup. The event is free and open to the public.
On March 7-8, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (on both days), enjoy maple syrup making demonstrations, family activities, face painting, arts & crafts, close up views of farm animals and more. Admission is $12 per person (for non-members or $6 for members). There is also a pancake brunch on Sunday for an additional $6 per person.
On March 8, 2020 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., come learn about how to make maple syrup the easy way! The cost is $5 per person for members (or $18 for a family of four); $9 per person for non-members (or $32 for a family of four). See our Blog Post.
On March 14, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., bring the whole family for a great breakfast, tree tapping demos, a real maple sap “boil down”, campfire with marshmallows and tons more! General admission is $8 per person for members; $10 for non-members.
On March 14, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy live demonstrations of sap boiling, syrup drawing off and tree tapping, special classes and tours, live music, pancakes, and a traditional maple treat: sugar on snow. Free admission. See our Blog Post.
On March 15, 2020 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., see live demonstrations of how sap is transformed into syrup, explore the property and see where the trees are tapped, tour the house and barns, and sample the final product on pancakes cooked over an open hearth. Admission is $5 per person.
- Maple Harvest Day & Pancake Breakfast at Storrowtown Village Museum in West Springfield, Massachusetts
On March 15, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., enjoy breakfast by the West Springfield Lions Club for just $5 per person, and then learn about maple syrup, how it is made and more.
On March 21, 2020 at 10 a.m., come see how maple syrup is made by watching tree tapping and syrup boiling. Kids can tap spouts, hang buckets and collect sap. You can also enjoy a horse drawn hay ride. There will be food for purchase, including traditional a maple treat: sugar on snow.
On March 21-22, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (on both days), enjoy this popular local event full of food, live music, face painting, live demonstrations, a quilt show, sugar house tours and more. See the full schedule of events on their website.
On March 28, 2020 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., enjoy a full breakfast of pancakes and sausage, smothered in maple syrup made right at Northwest Park. Located in the Warming Shed. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children (children under 3 are free).
Sugar Houses in Connecticut:
Ambler Farm is known in Wilton for its community events including their maple syrup open houses! The farm is owned by the Town of Wilton and celebrates the community’s farming heritage through hands-on learning programs and sustainable agricultural practices. The farm also sells their own bottled maple syrup.
Durham Sugarhouse is a local sugarhouse offering pure New England maple syrup. Their syrup is so good it won first place at the Durham Fair in 2010! The sugarhouse is open on weekends in February and March for free tastings and sales.
Enjoy maple syrup demonstrations held on weekends throughout March and be fascinated by the whole maple sugar making process! Flanders Nature Center uses land to promote an understanding and appreciation of nature, art and the environment! Make sure to check their calendar for dates and times for the demonstrations! Donations are appreciated, $3 per person.
Open for visits while boiling, follow the sugar shack’s Facebook page for posts to see when they will be boiling. Children and families are welcome to watch the syrup making process. Syrup is also available for sale!
Lamothe’s Sugar House will be offering tours to watch how maple syrup is made, try a sample, and enjoy hot coffee or cocoa on the weekend throughout March, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The store is open daily and will be selling maple syrup, maple candy, and more (store hours vary, please see website). To book a tour, visit their website.
A small family owned farm that has produced their own maple syrup since the 1990s, Sweet Wind is famous for their annual Maple Festival held every year in March. In addition to the festival, the farm has open house boiling days every Saturday during sugaring season where visitors can learn about the maple making process and bring home their own bottle of liquid gold! See our Blog Post.
Sugar Houses in Massachusetts:
A family favorite of This Connecticut Mom! Enjoy an all you can eat breakfast buffet of pancakes, French toast, eggs, bacon and more. The rustic sugar house has boiling on site, a fire to warm up by during breakfast and a quaint gift shop with pure maple products and local crafts for sale! Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the weekend until April 5. See our Blog Post.
Enjoy breakfast on weekends until mid-April. Tours of the sugarhouse and maple museum are available. Maple products available for purchase.
Open every day at 7 a.m. for breakfast (waits on the weekend can be up to an hour). Enjoy tours of the evaporator room, kid’s activity area, and walks around the grounds to find the tree taps. Call for tours available and boiling dates. Maple syrup and other specialty items for sale in the store.
Enjoy pancake breakfasts served daily. Traditional maple sugar on snow is also available. Tour the sugar house and see how maple syrup is made. Maple products (including syrup and candy) are available for purchase.
For more information visit:
Connecticut Department of Agriculture here
Massachusetts Maple Producers Association here