6 Ways to Celebrate Maple Season in the Lakes Region
This picturesque New England destination has a lesser-known fifth season that comes right in between winter and spring – maple sugar season.
This sweet pre-spring treat draws visitors to the Lakes Region from all over the world. As the snow melts and the weather warms up, maple trees start to produce sap, which is then collected and boiled down to make smooth and delicious liquid gold.
The region boasts a plethora of maple sugar houses, offering tours and tastings for visitors to indulge in this sweet tradition. From pancakes drizzled with fresh maple syrup to maple candies and fudges, the Lakes Region’s maple sugar season is a true culinary delight. Don’t miss out on this quintessential New England experience, and plan your visit to the Lakes Region during the height of maple sugar season. Be sure to bring your appetite. Here are six ways you can celebrate the sweetness of the season with us!
1. Make Your Own Syrup at PRESCOTT FARM ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION CENTER
Every Saturday in March, you can experience the old-fashioned New England maple syrup-making tradition at Prescott Farm in Laconia. Get ready to get down to work – guests will participate in the process of making maple syrup, from tapping trees to taste testing. The farm’s environmental educators help guests identify the correct trees to tap, teach about the history of maple sugaring, share historical and modern tree-tapping tools, and educate on the chemical process and physical science that goes on during the boiling process. This 90-minute program starts off with a quick 20-minute walk to the farm’s Sugar House and ends with a hike back after, so pack proper footwear or borrow snowshoes or traction cleats from the farm. All ages are welcome. Preregistration is highly encouraged. Register here.
2. Sugar Camp Hiking Tour
Experience the flavors of maple syrup season with a Sugar Camp Guided Hiking Tour at Canterbury Shaker Village. This exclusive three-hour tour will take you on a two-mile out-and-back hike (4 miles total) to the Shaker’s remote sugar camp. Take a trip back in time through the remnants of what was once a thriving Shaker Village maple sugar camp and learn about the Shakers’ springtime routine of gathering sap, boiling maple syrup, and making candy throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. On this journey, you will discover the importance of maple syrup as both a sweetener for the Shakers and a cash crop for sale to the outside world. Explore the foundation remnants, compare the current site to historic photos, and hear an excerpt from a journal entry written in the late 1880s by Shaker Brethren Nicholas Briggs, who describes life at this sugar camp when it was at its height. Take advantage of this opportunity to make your maple syrup season even sweeter. Purchase your tickets in advance here.
3. Heritage Farm Pancake House
Since 2003, Heritage Farm Pancake House has been making, selling, and serving authentic wood-fired maple syrup and pairing it with their decadent pancake breakfasts. It’s one of the few major maple syrup producers in New Hampshire that still use a wood-fired evaporator, and you can taste the difference. See for yourself on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Order “The Adult,” which comes with two pancakes, two eggs, and two strips of bacon, all slathered in their remarkable artisanal maple syrup. Before leaving, stop by the petting zoo and pick up some local goods at the gift shop, like honey, soaps, candles, fresh eggs and produce – and, of course, maple syrup.
Sweet Eats & Treats
Other than learning the ropes yourself, one of the best ways to celebrate Maple Season is by indulging in it. From stacks of pancakes to maple-infused breakfast bowls and candied cocktails, here are some delicacies you can’t pass up.
4. Water Street Cafe
A bowl made for every maple devotee out there, the special Maple Lovers Breakfast Bowl at Water Street Cafe features a bed of hash browns, maple sausage, candied sweet potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and two scrambled eggs topped with bacon bits and gouda cheese. We’ll take two.
5. Ellacoya Bar & Grille
They have not one but two maple-soaked dishes on the menu available all year round! Start with a sharable plate of Maple Jamaican Jerk Wings or Tenders before diving into the main course: perfectly pan-seared salmon topped with a drizzle of maple cilantro cream sauce, served with jasmine rice and vegetables.
6. Woodstock Inn Brewery
What better way to end a day of sampling the flavors of New England than with a fresh brew infused with sweetness? The Woodstock Inn Brewery’s own Kanc Country Maple Porter contains maple syrup produced by Fadden Maple Syrup and General Store, located right in North Woodstock. Cheers!