Spring fever have you feeling restless? Yearning for fresh air and new surroundings? Plan a spring getaway to the Endless Mountains region of Pennsylvania to experience a delicious rite of the season with a history that dates back over two centuries. The weekend promises scenery, syrup and serious indulgence.
Move Over Mrs. Butterworth
Maple producers are having a major moment. The renewed interest in pure maple sugaring is thanks to a movement toward all-natural sustainable foods. In Northeast PA, many farms are returning to the age-old family tradition of tapping trees and turning the sap into all kinds of maple goodness. On March 16 and 17, nine area farms will welcome visitors for the Northeastern PA Maple Producers 2019 Maple Tour. Guests on the free, self-guided tour can get a first-hand look at the maple sugaring process, from tap to table.
Down on the Farm
Enjoy a scenic drive through northern Lackawanna County, southern Susquehanna County and around Wayne County to participating farms such as Burke’s Maple in Carbondale, Shemanski Maple Syrup in Waymart and Morning Sun Farm in Honesdale. Watch for the maple leaf signs, which guide visitors along the route. It takes roughly 40 gallons of tree sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup. Each farm utilizes a different method of maple production- whether it’s tapping, collecting, boiling, filtering or bottling, so there’s something new to see at each stop. “Each sugar house is unique in their syrup process and in the products they offer. Variations in color and flavor give each sugar house a distinctive syrup,” explains Wayne County Conservation District Forestry Specialist Kelley Stewart.
Taste the Tradition
Maple syrup is one of the oldest natural foods made in North America and the Northeastern United States and Southern Canada are the world’s largest producers. Sap may only be harvested from late February to early April. Optimal conditions call for days above 40 degrees and nights below freezing. In addition to getting a close-up look at the process, visitors can enjoy maple syrup tastings and purchase farm-made products. “You can purchase maple syrup, cream and sugar as well as many maple flavored items such as coffee, dressings, granola,” says Stewart.
Pour it On
There’s no better way to enjoy maple syrup than poured over a stack of piping hot pancakes. The tour will include a complete pancake breakfast each day. Stop at Newfoundland Moravian Church on Saturday and American Legion Post 964 in Pleasant Mount on Sunday for a hearty serving of pancakes, eggs, sausage and of course locally-made maple syrup. The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children. Breakfast will be served Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m.-noon.
Enjoy the View
For those who want to enjoy the experience and avoid the drive, the Wayne County Conservation District is offering a bus tour. The bus will leave Park Street Complex in Honesdale each day at 8 a.m. and return by 3 p.m. The tour will visit a sampling of sugar houses and leave ample time for tastings, shopping and the pancake breakfast. The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children and includes the pancake breakfast. For information and reservations call 570-253-0930, visit www.wayneconservation.org
A stay at the Hotel Anthracite will have you in the heart of all the action. After a day touring Northeast PA’s rolling countryside, return to our boutique hotel in downtown Carbondale for accommodations that will surround you in luxury. Relax over dinner at Kōl Steakhouse. Savor a carefully crafted menu that features traditional dishes with a creative flair.