Take a Nature-Based Maple Tour this March

Factory tours are quite popular with tourists. In the northern tier of Pennsylvania, March marks a time to visit nature’s factory and learn how maple syrup is harvested and produced along the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor.

Maple producers are a key part of the history and heritage along PA Route 6. These skilled craftsmen have passed along traditional production methods and developed an extensive product line that proves that maple syrup is just not for breakfast anymore. Declaring that Pennsylvania has the best maple syrup and products in the country, the PA Route 6 Alliance is recognizing March as Maple Month across Route 6.

March, when the sap is flowing, is the perfect time to visit these producers and their neighboring sugar houses to learn more how each producer collects and processes a little different and to taste the array of new maple products being developed each year. Most of the awards winning producers are part of a regional maple open house being held over the weekend of March 18th and 19th. The PA Route 6 Alliance encourages travelers to make a get-away out of it by staying at one of the nearby bed and breakfast or local inns. See the PA Route 6 website for lodging choices – www.paroute6.com.

One place not to miss to learn about the heritage of maple production is Hurry Hill Maple Farm and Museum, 11424 Fry Road, Edinboro, Erie County (between MM 17N-18N), Pennsylvania’s only museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the art and craft of making pure maple syrup and related products. The museum is open on Sundays from 2-5pm throughout the spring, but tours can be arranged privately. For more information, see www.hurryhillfarm.org.

One sweet event is Sugar on Snow at Mt. Pisgah State Park – Satisfy your sweet tooth with a taste of real maple syrup at Mt. Pisgah State Park. The 7th annual Sugar on Snow Day, hosted by the Friends of Mt. Pisgah State Park, will be held on Saturday, March 11th, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Visit the Sugar Shack to tap a maple tree, discover some facts about the history of maple sugarin’ and to gather the raw sap to be boiled down into maple syrup in our sugar shack. Marty Roloson, Roloson Brothers Maple Syrup, will be demonstrating the “boiling down” process with the wood-fired evaporator in the sugar shack. Friends of Mt. Pisgah volunteers will then finish the maple syrup to a taffy-like substance to make “sugar on snow.” The Friends of Mt. Pisgah will also be making homemade ice cream, setting out geocaches, a plant hitchhiker exhibit, and creating crafts. This program is FREE and open to the public. Mt. Pisgah State Park is located 3 miles off Route 6 between Troy and Towanda. Contact the office at (570) 297-2734 for more information.

Northwest PA Maple Association Taste & Tour Weekend

(Sites are near Mile Markers 00N – 27N and 23 – 98)
Fifteen sugarhouses in the northwestern counties of Crawford, Erie and Warren, including How Sweet It is Farm and the Hurry Hill Maple Museum, open their doors to the public for the 14th Annual Taste & Tour Weekend. Come and visit with your local maple syrup producers and see “how it’s done.” See firsthand the process of tapping the maple tree, collecting sap and boiling it down to make delicious syrup. Many maple sugar makers produce additional confections from their syrup. Most have free samples available, as well as products for sale. For more information, call 814-333-1258 or visit http://www.pamaple.org/tour.html

Northeast Maple Weekend
(Sites are Wayne, Pike, and Lackawanna Counties)
8th Annual Self-Guided Maple Tour, a tour of maple open houses in the Northeast PA region, predominately in Wayne County but also with stops in Pike and Lackawanna Counties. Enjoy locally produced maple products and learn more about today’s producers of maple syrup. You can tour area sugar bushes at your leisure, following the maple syrup making process from the tree to your table. Along the way, pick up some locally produced pure maple products. This event is free to the public. www.facebook.com/Wayne-Conservation-District

Endless Mountains Maple Weekend
(Sites are near Mile Markers 234- 275)
A driving tour of maple open houses in the Endless Mountains Region of Bradford, Sullivan, Wyoming and Susquehanna Counties. Watch sap being boiled down, sample maple treats and learn the old age tradition of “sugaring” combined with some new technology.

13th Annual Maple Weekend, Potter and Tioga Counties
(Sites are near Mile Markers 175 – 244)
The Potter/ Tioga Pennsylvania Maple Weekend is a true tribute to all things maple. The Maple Weekend is a “traveling festival” that allows visitors to observe tree tapping, sugar boiling, and other maple-related activities in Potter and Tioga counties. Fifteen members of the Potter/Tioga Maple Producers Association open their sugar shack doors during Maple Weekend for a deliciously educational experience. For more information, visit www.pamaple.com.