It will be easier to get around during Maple Weekend events in Lewis County this year.
Lewis County Maple Producers Association and Cornell Cooperative Extension are sponsoring rider fares aboard Lewis County Public Transportation buses that will take visitors to Maple Weekend sites March 21-22 and 28-29.
Bus schedules will be posted at the American Maple Museum in Croghan and at the five participating sugarhouses. The handicapped-accessible buses will start at the American Maple Museum in Croghan, and leave the museum about every 30 minutes.
|Buckets at a Lewis County sugarbush|
Another bus will travel the Long Pond Road Loop from the museum to the Oswegatchie Educational Center both weekends and to Yancey’s Sugarbush in the Belfort area of Croghan March 28-29. The Long Pond Road Loop bus begins at 9:20 a.m. and runs throughout the day.
Pancake breakfasts and maple coffee will be available for purchase at the museum each Maple Weekend day from 7 a.m. to noon. The museum will be open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. complete with three floors of exhibits (accessible by elevator) showcasing a collection of sugaring artifacts from across the United States and Canada.
At the sugarhouses, visitors will see different types of maple operations from buckets to the most modern equipment. There will be syrup and maple confections tasting, products for purchase, and walk-it-yourself or guided tours. Some producers may be demonstrating how they make sugarcakes, maple cream or hard candy.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball will be at Moser’s Maple for a tree tapping ceremony at the sixth-generation maple farm at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 21. Visitors will see sap ladders that raise sap 18 feet in height and carry it overhead to the collection tank.
Pierce’s Sugar Spigot is a Maple Weekend sweet treats wonderland with everything from maple syrup, sugarcakes, maple cream to maple butter, lollipops and hard candy, maple-coated peanuts, maple cotton candy and snocones. Karen and Carl Pierce operate the business with three generations of family with more than 40 years of maple experience. They built their sugar shanty in 2004.
Swiss’er Sweet Maple is a Zehr family tradition more than 100 years old. Jason and Barbara Zehr, named NYS Young Sugar Makers in 1999, manage 1,500 taps of their own and process syrup from another 2,000 taps managed by other sugarmakers. They package confections individually, in gift baskets, and as wedding favors and custom-branded corporate gifts. Their latest specialty product is maple walnut cream cheese.
The Oswegatchie Education Center will open its Maple History Trail on Maple Weekends for hands-on activities including using deer antlers to move hot rocks used by Native Americans to heat sap, wearing a yoke to carry sap buckets, and measuring trees to know which are ready to tap. The Center is operated by NYS FFA Leadership Training Inc. as a youth camp and year-round retreat and educational center for all ages.
Yancey’s Sugarbush, established in 1844, will be open only on March 28-29. The operation is beloved for maintaining maple traditions, collecting sap in buckets and drawing it to the sugarhouse by horse-drawn wagon or sled. Some original maples are still on the property. Jane and Haskell Yancey are in their 33rd season of making syrup and maple confections. Haskell says, ‘People tell us they enjoy the way we make syrup with the wood-fired evaporators, maple aroma and quiet family atmosphere that lets you hear the jingle of the horses bringing the sap in.’
Moser’s Mapleridge Farm in Copenhagen will be open for visitors March 21 and March 28. This family operation since 1981 uses buckets on more than 5,000 taps. Visitors can try snowshoes and gathering sap here. There will be syrup, sugar shapes, granulated sugar and maple cream for purchase. Aspiring sugarmakers can purchase equipment here.
Maple Weekend enthusiasts can also drive themselves or follow the Lewis County Maple Trail on ‘The Adirondacks Tug Hill Region. Our backyard. Your Adventure.’ App to sugarhouses in the county. The app is available for download at http://www.adirondackstughill.
Maple Weekend hours of availability are posted at www.mapleweekend.com or contact the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce at 376-2213, 800-724-0242.