The Rocks Estate
The Rocks is a place to visit during all seasons. The property donated to the Forest Society in 1978 has many experiential experiences for all of the family. Hiking, snow shoeing and Nordic skiing can be done without a guide on well-marked trails, but a private tour experience can be reserved as well. Visitors can learn about maple sugaring, wildlife habitat or the gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead’s Company. During the maple season guests can tap a tree, learn tree i.d. and go home knowing that they can make their own syrup. At Christmas time the property opens its Christmas tree farm for Cut-Your-Own sales. Families have been coming to the farm for over 25 years to experience the views, the horses, and the s’mores and of course the buy local theme.
The gift shop has locally made, New England made and USA made products which have become popular with visitors over the past 15 years. Come and enjoy a tour, see the views or visit with the knowledgeable staff while you experience The Rocks.
During the New Hampshire Maple Experience — weekends from mid-March through the first week in April — take a guided tour of The Rocks’ sugaring operation that features horse-drawn and tractor-drawn rides, tapping a maple tree, learning tree IDs and the history of maple sugaring, attending a chef’s demo about cooking with maple, touring the Maple Museum, and sampling maple syrup, pickles and donuts.
Maple sugaring has been a sweet tradition for centuries in New Hampshire, where smoke rising from sugar houses tucked into the woods signals spring’s arrival. As the days warm, sap begins to flow through sugar maple trees, ready to be crafted into sweet maple syrup, sugar, and candy. New Hampshire sugar makers produce some 90,000 gallons of maple syrup each year – no small feat when you consider it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!
The New Hampshire Maple Experience explores and demonstrates this maple tradition, from the techniques used by Native Americans and early European settlers of the region to the operations of the modern sugar maker.
Housed in a 1906 building on the historic Rocks Estate in scenic Bethlehem, with stunning views of the White Mountains, The New Hampshire Maple Experience includes a working sugar house and interactive museum housing maple artifacts from the extensive collection of legendary sugar maker Charlie Stewart of nearby Sugar Hill.
Springtime guests at The New Hampshire Maple Experience are treated to a hands-on demonstration of the sugaring process, helping to tap trees and talking with fourth-generation sugar maker Brad Presby as he boils the clear sap into sweet syrup at the Maple Experience sugar house.
Visitors of The New Hampshire Maple Experience during summer and fall months, when the sugaring operation is dormant, take a virtual tour of the sugaring process, filmed in the sugar house and narrated by Presby. They’ll also explore the adjacent museum and learn about making maple syrup and sugar, from identifying a sugar maple tree to tasting the finished product.
The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, is best known as a popular New Hampshire Christmas tree farm. But as the North Country Conservation & Education Center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the 1,400-acre property offers much more.
Beyond the neat rows of Christmas trees lined by perfect stone walls lies a world of history, wildlife, and experiential learning. Choose a beautiful tree at Christmas time, discover the sweet process of creating maple syrup in early spring with the hands-on Maple Tours, enjoy the revival of vernal pools as the snow melts, the full bloom of summer, and the kaleidoscope of color in the fall.
Originally the summer home of the well-heeled Glessner family, The Rocks Estate includes several buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A maintained trails system welcomes visitors year-round, meandering through the Estate, leading guests on short, easy strolls or longer hikes, past magnificent views of the Presidential Range and preserved wildlife habitat.
Visit The Rocks — to find a tree, enjoy a picnic in the formal gardens, look for wildlife, or just enjoy the view!