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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Maple Weekend Festivities in New York State

Do you like maple syrup? Real maple syrup? Then you may want to check out a Maple Weekend. Over the next two weekends - March 16-17 and 23-24 - the New York State Maple Producers Association invites families to learn about maple syrup production and to taste real maple syrup. Find out how maple syrup goes from tree to table, and taste some maple sweetness along the way.

More than 110 maple producers across New York State will host open houses for visitors of all ages. Search your zip code to find a sugarhouse near you.

Last year, we visited the Genesee Country Village & Museum for their Maple Sugar Festival. We started with a self-guided walk to the nature center's sugar bush. Along the way, we saw demonstrations of sap-managing and syrup-making techniques from the good ol' days through today. Maple-leaf markers on the trees helped us stay on track, and the kids had fun spotting those leaves to lead us through.
We even had a chance to drill into a tree stump and push in the tap.
Then we continued our walk through the woods to the maple sugar camp. Village volunteers were on hand in period costumes demonstrating the process of making maple syrup as well as maple sugar candy.

The kids had fun making a maple leaf craft - and warming up - in the nature center building.
Once we had our fill of the nature center and maple walk, we headed toward the Toll House and into the village. Many of the homesteads and buildings were open for us to explore and to watch demonstrations. 

We also had the opportunity to complete a scavenger hunt. There were yarn dolls hidden throughout the village; we had to record the color of the doll we found at each of the locations. The scavenger hunt itself was fun for the kids. However, they were promised a prize for turning in their completed cards. The prize was a single Tootsie Roll. Yep: one. My recommendation is to enjoy the scavenger hunt; don't even let the kids know about the prize.

During our village exploration, we stopped at the Romulus Female Seminary building where the tinsmith had set up shop. The kids could complete a craft there for $1 each (not included with admission). We were given a tin ornament, a template for a maple-leaf design, a hammer, and a nail. We placed the template on the ornament, and used the hammer and nail to punch the design. Parental assistance is pretty much required on this one. Watch those fingers!
Samples were available at a few stops in the village - a chocolate here, some maple-based cough syrup there. The one place my ROCpoppa and I were really hoping would be offering samples was the Hop House (below).
We learned all about maple beer, but sadly, we were not able to taste it. Below is part of the machinery used in the brewing process. Such a tease.
If you are looking for some maple-related fun, I recommend the Genesee Country Village & Museum for their Maple Sugar Festival. Admission is $8.50 per adult, $6.50 per child (4-16), and free for children 3 and under. They also offer a pancake breakfast during the festival for an additional $8 per adult, $6 per child (4-16), and free for children 3 and under. We passed on the breakfast during our visit since my children are extremely picky eaters, and decided to eat before we left home.

What else should you know before you go? Genesee Country Village & Museum is located at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford, NY. Parking is free. The village is stroller-friendly, however the nature center trails are not. The nature center building has restrooms, and there are restrooms throughout the village. I would recommend bringing your own snacks since the dining options in the village were closed. 

No matter where you are in the New York State area, be sure to check out a Maple Weekend near you. As always, thanks for reading.

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