Get ready to sweeten your visit to the northern reaches of New Hampshire in March and early April. During this time of year, warm sunny days and freezing nights signal the sap to flow in our sugar maple trees.
Throughout the region, sap is collected in a run that lasts for about six weeks. In times past, buckets were affixed to taps on trees to collect the sap, but the 21st century method for most producers involves miles of tubing that run through the sugar bush. Once the sap is collected, steam rises from sugarhouses as the sap is boiled down into flavorful maple syrup.
An early spring weekend is a perfect time for a sweet getaway. Visit these sugarhouses to take a walk through a sugarbush, see a tree being tapped, watch maple syrup being made, taste the delicious syrup (always our favorite part!), and linger in the sugarhouse, taking in the sweet maple fragrance as the sap is reduced to syrup. And don’t forget to take home some of that delicious goodness to enliven your pancakes and waffles and other recipes!
At Fuller’s Sugarhouse (www.FullersSugarhouse.com), maple syrup has been a family tradition since 1972. When the maple season begins, the family’s sugarhouse at 2021White Mountain Highway (Route 2) in Jefferson welcomes visitors to watch the process and taste some of the sweet syrup.
Fuller’s taps more than 26,000 trees and boils half a million gallons of maple sap to produce 11,000 gallons of syrup! During Maple Weekend in mid-March visit the sugarhouse for tours, watch the sap being boiled into syrup, indulge in some sugar-on-snow — a taste treat not to be missed — and enjoy the camaraderie of other like-minded maple aficionados. Don’t miss a visit to their Country Store in Lancaster; you can also order their products online — they ship around the world.
The Rocks Maple Experience
The Maple Experience at The Rocks Estate (www.TheRocks.org) in Bethlehem is a hands-on experience with an array of activities to help visitors understand the history of maple sugaring and how maple syrup is made. Learn how to identify sugar maple trees, take a horse drawn-wagon ride around the beautiful estate, tap a tree yourself to collect the sap, visit the maple museum, and take a tractor-drawn ride to the sugarhouse to watch the process of sap being boiled down into syrup. The maple tastings include fresh donuts! Maple syrup made from sap gathered at The Rocks is available for purchase.
Maple tours are offered on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day from mid-March through the first weekend in April. The cost is $15 for adults and $12 for kids. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (603) 444-6228.
The Rocks Estate is the North Country Conservation and Education Center of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. www.forestsociety.org