Celebrate the State’s Sweetest Season this Weekend 2013

Celebrate MapleFest to Maple Harvest Day, from the Berkshires to the Pioneer Valley

Dennis Picard, Storrowton Village Museum director, demonstrates the art of open kettle evaporation to boil sap from a nearby maple tree into sugar during last year’s Maple Harvest Day.

It’s maple season in Western MA for certain!  Taps, buckets, and sap-carrying tubes have been put up in the woods all over the area, the weather is just right, and sap is running.  This weekend, celebrate the return of the state’s sweetest season at MapleFest, Hopkins State Forest’s annual celebration of the tradition of maple sugaring in Williamstown.  Taking place on Saturday, March 9th from 11am-2pm, the event offers families a chance to learn about the modern processes used to produce syrup, as well as a delicious opportunity to sample local syrup atop pancakes or poured over snow.

The forest is home to a working sugar shack, where families can duck into the small, steamy building to see the heated vat evaporating water out of the freshly collected sap.  Once you’ve learned conventional ways maple syrup is made, watch a demonstration of the syrup-making techniques of yesterday!  Families can learn about methods that date as far back as pre-Colonial times.  And, for those interested in lending a hand, helping out with the harvest is always welcome!  Haul a bucket or two, or schlep a crate of freshly sealed jugs – being part of the process is the best way to learn!

For a maple-related adventure down in the Pioneer Valley, look no further than West Springfield’s Storrowton Village!  The historic village, filled with buildings from all over New England, will host Maple Harvest Day on Sunday, March 10th from 11am-3pm.

Families visiting Storrowton will learn about maple sugaring in early New England, and can see museum workers in period costume participate in the 19th-century version of the tasks necessary to make maple syrup.

Inside the homes in the village there will be demonstrations of basic homesteading skills such as open hearth cooking, spinning and weaving, and more.  Enjoy a day in old New England, and learn about rural culture throughout American history!

Both events are free!  Hopkins State Forest is located at the corner of Blakely Street and Northwest Hill Road in Williamstown.  Storrowton Village is located at 1305 Memorial Drive in West Springfield, and can be reached at 413-205-5051.  Enjoy!

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