Mild Winter Brings Early Onset of Maple Sugaring Season to Coos County in New Hampshire ‘Grand North’

Maple sugar season has arrived in New Hampshire’s Grand North, a little earlier than usual, but every bit as sweet. According to the New Hampshire Maple Producer’s Association, the warmer than normal winter has caused maple season to arrive about a week to ten days earlier than expected; however, it is projected to last the typical 4-6 weeks with the current weather pattern.

“Northern New Hampshire is a special place to visit any time of year, but during ‘sugaring season’ it is especially sweet,” said Cathy Conway, Economic Development Director for Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC). “The maple sap flows and the sugar shacks are bellowing steam to produce pure, natural maple syrup.”

Five Coos County sugar houses are participating in this year’s NH Maple Weekend on March 24th-25th, among them, Fuller’s Sugar House in downtown Lancaster, a “Best of New Hampshire Grand,” where maple syrup has been a tradition since 1972. When the maple season begins, this fourth generation family-owned sugarhouse taps maple trees in four “sugar bushes” or “maple groves” in the Lancaster area. Each spring Fuller’s taps more than 9,500 maple trees, boils down more than160, 000 gallons of maple sap and produces over 4,000 gallons of maple syrup. Sap is collected by a plastic tubing system and hauled to the sugarhouse where it is boiled to golden smooth syrup.

Owner Dave Fuller says, “This year we’ll be offering visitors everything from syrup on snow to homemade dipping donuts to sour pickles, which are actually very traditional this time of year. After eating so much ‘sweet stuff’ people need to cleanse the palette so they can start eating more sugar on snow again!” Dave adds that he is optimistic about this season because the quality of the first sap and resulting syrup were very good; and winter seems to have returned for the time being, pumping “new life” into the maple sugaring season.

Bisson’s Sugar House in Berlin is another sugar shack located in the Grand North and it continues a third-generation family tradition that dates back to 1921. Although they’ve modernized their sap collection system to be more efficient, they still boil their sap on a wood fire evaporator. During the sugaring season, they also make their special maple butter, taffy and maple candy.

The Mountain View Grand in Whitefield features lodging specials during the maple season, which include a visit to Fuller’s, right up the road in Lancaster. One special celebrates the arrival of snow with two nights at 55% off. This includes a special promotion of $199.00 for two nights in a Grand View room plus a bottle of wine, and a $25 resort credit. For those not interested in snow activities, MVG offers horse-drawn carriage rides, sok tub sessions in the Tower Spa and more.

While staying at the Mountain View, visitors may want to treat themselves to its signature Maple Sugar Body Scrub. The treatment begins with a reviving sugar scrub and ends with a light massage with bio-maple moisturizing cream.

The New Hampshire Maple Experience is back on tap at The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem this spring. Maple tours are scheduled for March 12, 19-20, 26-27, and April 7-8, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. Reservations are recommended. Visitors learn how to identify the sugar maple trees that produce the sap for making syrup, hear the history of maple sugaring, and see part of the process demonstrated on-site. The Rocks also offers horse-drawn wagon rides through the scenic property as well as plenty of tasty treats. And for those looking to turn the springtime Maple Experience into a weekend-long North Country stay, The Rocks collaborates with local inns to offer weekend vacation packages.

Cathy Conway adds, “Whether visitors are looking for an educational experience – to learn how maple syrup is produced – or to simply sample all the delicious maple products produced in northern New Hampshire, they have many opportunities to experience that here in the Grand North.”

“Experience New Hampshire’s Grand North” is the brand of New Hampshire’s North Country marketing initiative – also known as NH Grand — and is the official visitor information source for New Hampshire’s Grand North and the Northern White Mountains.

For more information on NH Grand, visit www.nhgrand.com, New Hampshire Grand on Facebook, and NH Grand on Twitter. To sign up for the monthly e-newsletters, visit http://www.nhgrand.com/maps-and-guides/email-sign-up.aspx

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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