The transition from winter to spring is a sweet time to be in New England and Canada. March and early April make up maple sugaring season, when buckets appear on maple trees and sugar shacks transform maple sap into delectable maple syrup.
It's a lot of fun for kids (and a learning opportunity) to see this process in action. Be sure to budget for candy, cookies, and a few bottles of syrup—for souvenirs you can enjoy all year long. Many establishments also offer sleigh and wagon rides, dog sledding, and other winter fun.
Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association
Vermont is the mecca of maple syrup, producing far more maple syrup than any other US state and hosts dozens of maple festivals every spring. Use this handy map to find a sugar house where you can watch syrup being made.
While Vermont produces nearly 40 percent of U.S. maple syrup, Quebec blows that out of the water, producing over three quarters of maple syrup produced in the world.
No slouch in the maple syrup biz, Maine has produced about half a million gallons of maple syrup in past years. The family-friendly Sunday River ski resort has its own sugar house where you can watch demonstrations and sample candy and syrup.
Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association
Another huge maple syrup producers, Ontario offers myriad maple festivals in small towns throughout the province.
New Hampshire Maple Producers Association
New Hampshire has scores of sugar houses where families can visit and watch maple syrup being made. Here's where you can find sugar houses to visit.
Massachusetts Maple Producers Association
The Berkshires in western Massachusetts are the hub of the state's maple scene. Here's where to find a classic sugar house or, even better, one with a restaurant.
St. Lawrence County Maple Producers Association
Connecticut Department of Agriculture