2009 Spring

Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
Ph: 800-663-1273
Email: lhcvbnwct@aol.com
For Immediate Release

Among the sweetest signs of spring in the Northeast are the crackling fires and boiling kettles that mean maple syrup season. In the maple-rich Litchfield Hills, visitors of all ages are welcome to visit the many sugar shacks on farms and nature centers where fragrant syrup making will be in full swing. Demonstrations will show the ways it has been done from Native American times to the present, and there will be plenty of delicious pure syrup and maple candy to take home.

The weather has to be just right for the maple sap to begin to rise, with nights below freezing, and days in the 40s to 50s, so peak season can vary, but March is most often the height of the season in Connecticut. A phone call always is advised to be sure the sap is running before making a trip.

Those same first three weekends in March, visitors are invited to stand by the roaring wood stove on weekend afternoons and watch the action at the Sugar House of the Flanders Nature Center in Woodbury. Staff and volunteers are on hand to explain the history and science and the humor of syrup making. www.flandersnaturecenter.org.

Lamothe's Sugar House in Burlington, one of the largest operations in the region with some 4,000 taps, offers free tours on their farm every Saturday and Sunday from late February until the end of March. Visitors will see how maple syrup and sugar are made and enjoy samples. www.lamothesugarhouse.com.

The second weekend in March the 14th and 15th, is a busy weekend for special demonstrations.

The annual Maple Festival at Sweet Wind Farm in East Hartland takes place on March 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will feature maple syrup and sugar making demonstrations, sugarhouse tours, and a narrated slide show, live cooking demonstrations and a recipe class and story time for kids. Free syrup samples will be available for all. The farm also invites visitors to stop by for their Open House days to watch the action in the sugarhouse any Saturday that boiling is taking place throughout the season. www.sweetwindfarm.net.

Great Brook Sugar House at Sullivan Farm in New Milford will hold their annual Open Sugar House on March 14 and 15 celebrating the history of Maple Syrup from early Colonial times through the high tech present as interpreters demonstrate three centuries of maple syrup making.

An even earlier technique, the Native American way of tapping trees and making maple syrup will be shown at the Algonkian Village at the Institute for Indian Study in Washington on March 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with staff members serving pancakes topped with delicious local maple syrup from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. There will be games and crafts for the children in the afternoon. www.birdstone.org.

Guided tours of the working sugarhouse at the Sharon Audubon Center will take place all day at the annual Maple Fest the following Saturday, March 21. Demonstrations also include re-creations of Native American and early colonial sugaring methods. Samples of the fresh syrup are handed out to guests. www.audubon.org/local/sanctuary/sharon.

A list of the Litchfield Hills region maple sugaring demonstrations follows. For a free brochure listing all Connecticut sugar houses, more information on winter activities, and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.

Litchfield Hills Maple Sugar Demonstrations: (Demonstrations are subject to weather; phone to confirm before making a trip)

Flanders Nature Center Maple Sugar House, Church Hill Rd., Woodbury, CT 06098. Phone: (203) 263-3711. March 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Small fee.

Great Brook Sugarhouse at Sullivan Farm, 140 Park Lane, Route 202, New Milford, 860-354-0047, March14, 15, 10 a. m. to 4 p.m. Free

Institute for American Indian Studies, 38 Curtis Road off Route 199, Washington, 860-868-0518, March 14, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pancakes served 11 am to 1 p.m. Advance Tickets $8 Adults / $6 Children; Tickets at the door $10 Adults / $ 8 Children

Lamothe's Sugar House, 89 Stone Road, Burlington, 860-675-5043. Every Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. mid-February to March 29. Free

Sharon Audubon Center, 325 Route 4, Sharon, 860-364-0520, March 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fee.

Sweet Wind Farm, 339 South Road, East Hartland, 860-653-2038. March 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free

Warrup's Farm, John Reed Road off Route 107, Redding, March 7,8, 14,15, 20, 21, noon to 5 p.m. Free