Get Thee to A Sugar Shack: Places to Visit During Maple Sugar Season

Maybe I read too many Little House on the Prairie books when I was young
(remember the maple syrup covered snow Laura’s grandmother made) but the
idea of visiting a maple sugar farm has always been high on my to-do list. I dig the rustic settings, the old fashioned techniques used, and the sweet amber syrup that nature gifts us.

Photo Credit: Sterling College
Photo Credit: Sterling College

A Few Fun Facts About Maple Syrup

  • The Maple harvest season begins in late February and ends in late March or early April depending on the location.
  • A maple farm is called a sugarbush or a sugar wood.
  • Maples are usually tapped beginning at 30 to 40 years of age and can continue to be tapped until they are over 100 years old.
  • Canada produces over 80 percent of the world’s maple syrup. 91% of that is produced in Quebec.

Sugar Shacks and Maple Farms You Can Visit

Sugar houses are great places to visit. You can tour sugar houses, learn
how to tap trees, buy pure maple syrup and even eat a hardy sugar house
breakfast. I’ve handpicked a few awesome sugar houses & farms but be sure to
check with local maple associations in New England, the Midwest, and
Canada if you are looking for one in a specific area.

Photo credit: Érablière Charbonneau
Photo credit: Érablière Charbonneau

Érablière Charbonneau in Mont Saint-Grégoire Canada

Érablière Charbonneau is a family business started in 2004 by the Charbonneau family.  Visitors can dine in the sugar shack, take horse-drawn carriage rides, visit a petting farm, go on an aerial canopy tour and more.

I’m a bit smitten with their beautiful dining area and their menu which includes such goodies as maple sausages, pea soup, sugar pie and crepes with maple coulis.

southfaceSouth Face Maple Farm  in Ashfield MA

According to yelp users, South Face is one maple farm you don’t want to miss.  A scenic drive over country roads will bring you to this classic New England maple farm.  The sugarhouse itself is around 50 years old but built out of 19th century barn wood.  Visitors can get their fill of pancakes at the farm restaurant or view the boiling operation from a few feet away.

Insider tip: the least busy times to visit are Saturdays and the first and last weekend they are open.

Photo Credit: Krystine Lovett
Photo Credit: Krystine Lovett

Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, Vermont

If you want to be wowed by the Vermont countryside while learning how maple syrup is made, Sugarbush Farm is the place for you.  The farm is situated on a hillside in central Vermont and covers 550 beautiful acres.

Guest can sample four grades of Pure Vermont maple syrup, learn about the difference in the grades, sample 14 cheeses (they make cheese here too), visit the sugarhouse and so much more.  There is even a farm chapel available for weddings and personal quiet time.

Photo Credit:  Elizabeth Thomsen
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thomsen

Gould’s Sugar House – Shelburne, Massachusetts

You have to respect a business that has been producing something for six generations and this is just that type of business. Gould’s is known for wonderful pancakes and it’s log-cabin like charm.  And the home-made pickles…don’t ask, just try.  They even have maple soft serve.

One thing to note, be prepared for a wait, this is one popular restaurant, but that will just give you more time to soak in the ambiance!

Photo Credit: Sarah Severson
Photo Credit: Sarah Severson

Sucrerie De La Montagne in Quebec, Canada

This is one of the few sugar shacks that is open year round and where you can spend the night and after watching some of the videos on their site I am totally sold. Sucrerie De La Montagne looks lively, fun, and cozy.

Activities include riding in a horse drawn sleigh, visiting the sugar shack and fieldstone bakery, dining on an all you can eat sugaring off feast, maple taffy on snow tasting and shopping at the general store.

What are your favorite sugar shacks to visit?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *