One of the sweetest things about living in New England is being able to experience maple sugaring firsthand. Bostonians don’t have to go very far to enjoy maple sugar festivals, take tours of farms, watch sap being boiled down in sugar houses, or learn to tap maple trees. Of course, the best part is tasting the final product – in syrup poured over pancakes, as candies, and even in hot dogs. Celebrate maple sugaring season with special events and visits to these local maple farms.
For more ideas for getting the most out of the season, check out our winter fun guide, sign up for our free newsletter, and follow our Facebook page. Have a sweet time among the maples!
Maple Sugaring for All at the Boston Nature Center—Mattapan
Help collect and boil down sap from the trees found around this urban nature center, and then sample some delicious maple treats.
Maple sugar buckets await at Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm. Photo courtesy of Drumlin Farm
Sugaring Celebration at the Mass Audubon Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary—Belmont
Families come together at this Mass Audubon-led event to identify maple trees, collect sap, participate in sugaring activities, hear stories, and see a boil down. There are two sessions to choose from (one in morning and one in the afternoon), and the fun starts indoors and moves outside. Mass Audubon Habitat is also hosting two additional maple sugaring education events just for kids later in March.
Littles enjoy a short stack at Maple Magic Day. Photo courtesy of Natick Community Organic Farm
Maple Magic Day at Natick Community Organic Farm—Natick
Visit the Natick Community Organic Farm for Maple Magic Day, where you’ll learn about current maple sugaring techniques as well as Native American and Colonial ways of making the sweet stuff. Go early for the Annual Pancake Breakfast, where gluten-free and vegan pancakes are available.
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary Sugaring Tours and Flapjack Fling—Ipswich
Saturdays and Sundays, March 2-17; March 23
Take one of the naturalist-guided Weekend Maple Sugaring Tours on March weekends through the 17th. Learn how to identify a sugar maple, observe tapping and sap collection methods, watch the sap being boiled down in the sugarhouse, and get a taste of the final product. After the one-hour tour, take some time to warm up in the barn by the woodstove, indulge in a hot dog cooked in maple sap, sample delicious soups and desserts made by volunteers, and browse through the gift shop. And don't miss the grand finale of the sugaring season: The Flapjack Fling, a pancake breakfast followed by a sugaring tour, on March 23. Advance registration is required.
See an old-fashioned boil down in Sturbridge. Photo courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village
Maple Days at Old Sturbridge Village—Sturbridge
Saturdays and Sundays, March 2-24
Old Sturbridge Village is celebrating history and the season with their Maple Days happening four weekends in March. Costumed historians are on hand to explain how maple syrup was harvested in the early 19th-century and even cook food made with it from that time period.
Sap-to-Syrup Farmer's Breakfast at Drumlin Farm—Lincoln
Bring your appetites! There will be sugaring demonstrations and a pancake breakfast with Drumlin Farm-made maple syrup, sausage, and potatoes.
Tap a maple with an antique drill. Photo courtesy of Groundwork Somerville
Groundwork Somerville Maple Syrup Project at South Street Farm—Somerville
Watch as sap from local maple trees is boiled down into pure maple syrup over a warm fire during the Groundwork Somerville Maple Syrup Project’s annual (and free) Maple Syrup Boil Down Festival. In addition to the syrup tasting, there are kids’ activities, tapping demonstrations, and live music.
Maple Sugarin' at Breakheart—Saugus
Hosted by the Friends of Breakheart Reservation, you can sample some syrup and then take a tour, which includes the history of maple sugaring, tree identification, wood splitting, and a glimpse of the Sugar Shack.
Maple Sugar Days Festival at Brookwood Farm—Milton
March 23 and 24
Join the Blue Hills Trailside Museum and the Massachusetts Department of Coservation and Recreation for the Maple Sugar Days Festival. On Brookwood Farm, in the DCR Blue Hills reservation in Milton, you can watch as maple syrup is made in the traditional way, complete with wood smoke and clouds of steam, and then taste the sweet results. There are activities for the kids, and you can get a bite to eat while you're there.
Maple Tree Tap-A-Thon—Southborough
Led by a Trustees of Reservations naturalist and ranger, during this event you'll learn how to identify maple trees, and explore the history of tapping. Each participant will have the opportunity to set their own tap.
Maple Farms and Sugar Houses Near Boston
What started as a hobby soon became an obsession, and now Woodville Maples, a family-run sugar house in Woodville, Massachusetts, a village of Hopkinton, has more than 100 taps. The family sells syrup, honey, maple and honey-coated nuts, gift baskets, maple candy and maple cotton candy. They welcome visitors during boil times – call ahead, email or check the Woodville Maples Facebook page to find out when they are boiling down.
Contact: 508-341-5108 or email@example.com
Collect sap for syrup. Photo courtesy of Appleton Farms
Appleton Farms—Hamilton and Ipswich
At "Sugar Shack Saturdays" on select Saturdays in February and March, families tour around the farm to see how sap is collected and turned into syrup, and also enjoy maple-themed crafts and a snack.
Contact: 978-356-5728 ext. 4117 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Quissett Hill Farm—Mendon
This maple syrup producer will open up its farm to the public on March 16 and 17 to demonstrate how their syrup is made and introduce their beautiful alpacas.
Contact: 508-954-9527 or email@example.com
At Matfield, tours include lots of information about the science of sugaring. Photo courtesy of Matfield Maple Farm
Matfield Maple Farm—West Bridgewater
Tours at Matfield Maple Farm include a hike through the farm and into woods where the trees are tapped. You’ll hear about the history, weather relationship and heritage of sugaring. Plus, you’ll get to see natural springs and visit with the farm’s furry llama friends. Tours usually happen select Sundays in March at noon and at 2pm for $9.50/person; children under 3 are free. Reservations are required.
Contact: 508-588-9858 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Post originally published February 2014