The New England tradition of boiling sap to make maple syrup and sugar originated with the region's Native American population. Today, New England continues to produce some of the sweetest syrup and maple products on the market. The maple sugaring season only lasts about four to six weeks, from mid-February through late March when days turn warm, nights remain cold, and the sap starts to flow.
One of the best places in New England to learn all about how maple syrup is made and to see the process for yourself is Lamothe's Sugar House in Burlington, Connecticut. Lamothe's is open daily year round, but business really booms on weekends during the sugaring season when you can not only purchase lip-smackingly sweet maple syrup, candy and other gifts, but take a sugar house tour and soak up the sweet aroma of syrup steam wafting up from the evaporator. A visit to a sugarhouse makes for a perfect family outing, but if you can't get there, I'll take you on a photo tour.
Lamothe's Sugar House is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday throughout the year, but to see maple syrup being made, you'll need to visit on weekends from 1 to 4:30 p.m. mid-February through March. The Sugar House is located at 89 Stone Road in Burlington. Call 860-675-5043 for directions and more information.
Lamothe's Sugar House is just one of several Connecticut maple syrup producers that opens its doors to the public for a glimpse of the maple sugaring process. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture's Guide to Connecticut Maple Sugar Houses is available online in .pdf format.
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