Destination Directory

Goodbye, Winter! Hello, Maple Syrup!

While Midwesterners delight at the first sighting of Robin Red Breast flying across the morning sky, New Englanders look for white clouds of smoke rising from sugar shack chimneys to signify winter's end. Beginning in late February, fragrant plumes of steam rise throughout Western Connecticut, heralding the arrival of maple syrup season. Group travelers interested in the longstanding maple syrup making process have many opportunities to experience it in Western Connecticut.

Soon, temperatures will consistently rise above freezing and the sweet maple sap will begin to run. The trees will be tapped and the sap collected. The thin, watery sap will then be boiled and transformed into the thick, fragrant syrup we all love.

Many Western Connecticut sugarhouses welcome visitors each weekend from late February to late March. Some area museums and nature centers plan festivities to celebrate maple syrup season.

Harvest the Syrup

The Institute for American Indian Studies will show examples of early maple syrup harvesting techniques at the Flanders Nature Center Sugar House at Van Vleck Farm Sanctuary, February 25 and 26, as well as March 4, 5, 11 and 12, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Demonstrations will also take place at the New Canaan Nature Sanctuary on March 18 and at the annual open house at the Great Brook Sugar House on March 19.

Taste the Syrup

An annual Maple Sugar Festival is held the first weekend of March at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. The museum's Heckscher Farm will hold maple syrup demonstrations and other family-friendly activities. The weekend will culminate in a delicious pancake brunch!

Pancakes and syrup will also be served March 18 at the New Canaan Nature Sanctuary.

On March 11, attend the 11th annual Maple Festival at Sweet Wind Farm.

Tour the Sugarhouses

Lamothe's Sugar House is Connecticut's largest sugarhouse. Free tours are offered on weekends, mid-February through March, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Many local sugarhouses welcome visitors on any weekend "when the smoke from the chimneys is rising!" Always call ahead to verify openings. We are approaching prime maple syrup time: Remind your travelers now, or make plans for next year! To learn more, visit

Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for Groups Today magazine.



0 #1 Karen Ballard 2016-02-25 10:08
Maple syrup and sugaring season adds sweetness to this time of year in New England. Vermont is the number one producer of maple syrup in the US - producing nearly 1 million gallons of syrup each year. Visiting Vermont or New England at that just right moment when sugaring is in season can be tricky - but groups can visit numerous sugar houses all year round to taste and learn about maple syrup production. Check out Vermont's Morse Maple Farm, Sugarbush Cheese and Maple Farm, the New England Maple Museum, Goodrich's Maple Farm an d many others. It's a sweet way to learn about Vermont's #1 product.

Add comment

Security code

Recent Blogs

Lessons Learned During 2017

Once again, the travel and tourism industry faces both new and ongoing challenges. Travel and tourism cannot be separated from the world context in which they operate. Be that context political states of war, or one of health issues or of economic undulations, what occurs throughout the world touches every aspect of tourism. It is for this reason that every once in a while, it is good for travel and tourism professionals to take a step back and to review at least some of the basic fundamentals of their industry.

Tour Planner Versus the Internet: Why (and How) the Travel Planner Will Win

We are in the midst of a digital transformation. More and more, travelers use the Internet to find travel inspiration and information. They can easily book flights and hotels—now more than ever, thanks to Google. There are apps to hail transportation, book table reservations and more.

10 Key Travel Moments from 2017

Each new year brings an air of hope. When the Trump administration instated the first travel ban in January, however, it looked like 2017 was off to a turbulent start for the travel industry. This year definitely had its rough patches, yet there were good things, too.

With each setback, the travel industry rallied together and proved that the industry isn't just an industry—but a community determined to change the world through remarkable destinations and extraordinary experiences.