Maple Sugar Tours

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Second & third weekends in March

'Old Fashioned Maple Sugar Making' by Ellen Phillips

Visit Maple sugar camps throughout the county welcome visitors to view the process of syrup making. The region’s higher elevations contribute to a late-winter and early-spring weather pattern of warm, sunny afternoons and crisp, freezing nights – a perfect combination for maple sugar production!

The process begins with tapping maple trees to collect the clear, almost tasteless, sugar water. Gathered in buckets or by plastic tubing, the sap is boiled in kettles, pans, or evaporators until a barrel is finally reduced to a gallon of pure maple syrup.

Pick up a map of the tour at your first stop. Directions to the sugar camps and all other Maple Festival activities and events are clearly marked. Watch for “Maple Sugar Tour” signs to point you in the right direction! Warm clothing and boots are advisable for visiting the maple sugar camps.
::: Sugar Camps –
 
Maple-Sugar-Tours
Print out map and directions to the Sugar Tours.
Eagle’s Sugar Camp

Eagle's Sugar CampFollow signs to Eagle’s Sugar Camp, located north of McDowell off Rt. 654 (Jack Mountain Road) in Doe Hill. Syrup producers for more than 200 years, the Eagles still use the open-pan, wood-fired method as well as the latest, advanced, computerized, oil-fired evaporators. See the process from start to finish as you can observe sugar water being collected straight from the tree in buckets and then walk inside the sugar house to see the bottled finished product. Camp owner Jay Eagle and his crew are always excited to pass along their knowledge about the process. Local honey, maple products, buckwheat, cornmeal, and baked goods are available during the Maple Festival, along with home-cooked food, maple doughnuts, and local arts and crafts. Guided tours are avaiable, and tour buses are welcome. Maple tours all day.

Laurel Fork Sapsuckers

16145312_10154981729783000_1048384770_oDo you know what a “sapsucker” is? If not, we suggest making a trip to the Laurel Fork Sapsuckers sugar camp to ask the Sapsuckers crew yourself! Laurel Fork Sapsuckers has the highest elevation of any sugar camp within Highland County and is located 10 miles west of Monterey off of Rt. 250 west, left onto Clay Hise Lane.  They are a small, family-run sugar camp that is always welcoming hands-on participation. (By the way, the family, including family patriarch Ronnie Moyers, holds a goal to give hand-shakes to as many visitors as they can!) While you’re there, enjoy seeing the traditional, wood-fired way maple syrup has been made for centuries as they use one-hundred-year-old, locally-made open pans in their production process.  Enjoy the ¾ mile loop trail through the sugar bush with various outdoor kids activities available. And don’t forget to stop in their home-cooking kitchen to try homemade soup, cornbread, and other goodies as well as shop their local crafts! Tree-tapping demonstrations and guided tours of the sugar camp begin at 11 am both Saturdays of the festival.  Maple tours all day.

Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard

Puffenbargers Sugar OrchardOn Route 637 (Maple Sugar Road), southwest of Blue Grass is Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard – one of Highland County’s most state-of-the-art facilities. Puffenbarger’s Sugar Camp is truly a pheonix that rose from the ashes and is the perfect example of community spirit and comradery. In 2008, the original Puffenbarger’s Sugar Camp was lost to a devastating fire. The whole county was in shock. However, that didn’t stop the Puffenbargers from re-building, and the Puffenbarger family’s drive to rebuild only spurred on their friends and neighbors. Inspirationally, the Puffenbargers rebuilt their sugar camp and they haven’t slowed down since. A vacuum pump is still used to increase the flow of sugar water and miles of plastic tubing makes it easier to gather the water. At Puffenbarger’s, the process of maple syrup-making is started by reverse osmosis and finished by oil-fired evaporators. If you want a little bit of schooling in maple-syrup making just go in, sit down, and have a talk with Mr. Ivan, the patriarch of the Puffenbarger clan. (You can try to talk to Sis, but you have to be quick! She’s a busy lady as she’s up and moving around the camp!) Maple doughnuts and other foods are available. Maple tours all day. WEBSITE

Rexrode’s Sugar Orchard

Rexrode's Sugar OrchardLocated north of Hightown on Route 637 (Maple Sugar Road), Rexrode’s Sugar Orchard features a stand of maple trees well over 200-years-old. The Rexrodes use the old-fashioned, open-pan system of evaporation as well as the newer wood-fired evaporation method with miles of plastic tubing to gather the sugar water. Carrying on the family tradition of maple syrup making, Derek Rexrode, Highland County’s youngest sugar producer, is on-hand that day to make sure everything runs according to plan. And his grandmother, Anna Lee, is close by supervising like she did for many years when her husband and veteran sugar producer, Everett, ran the camp. Baked country ham, BBQ sandwiches and other goodies are ready and waiting for visitors as they line-up to see these long-standing maple trees that continue to serve the Rexrode family just like they have for many, many generations. Guided tours are available, and tour buses are welcome.

Southermost Maple Products

Southernmost Maple ProductsLocated 15 miles south of Monterey on Route 607 (Big Valley Road), off US 220 at Bolar, Southernmost Maple Products funnels sugar water into the only piggy-back evaporator to be found in the southern states. Named for its “southernmost” location in the county, Southernmost Maple Products is home to a rustic country store that offers a variety of maple products, flour, honey, jellies, and baked goods. Also, run by a family of Puffenbargers (unrelated to Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard), Southernmost is a family-run operation. In addition to their maple-sugaring skills, the Puffenbargers also have some serious food skills that guests can experience during their visit. Their Maple pit-cooked BBQ is sure to make your mouth water and your taste buds beg for more! In addition, guests can enjoy pork skins and maple doughnuts available during the Maple Festival. This sugar camp is handicapped accessible, offers guided tours, and welcomes tour buses. Maple tours all day. Closed on Sundays.

Sugar Tree Country Store & Sugar House

Sugar Tree Country Store #2Located near the center of McDowell, this operation employs a modern reverse osmosis concentrator and oil-fired evaporator. Operators Glenn and Fern Heatwole are always excited to welcome guests with a warming smile, and Glenn and his family are always happy to take you through their syrup-making process. Guests can also view antique maple-producing tools that are on display! Not only can guests learn about syrup-making, but Sugar Tree Country Store also offers a great shopping opportunity. This old country store features maple products (of course!) as well as pottery, jams, hand-made rugs, children’s books and toys, and other cooking sauces and kitchen utensils. And in addition to maple doughnuts, don’t forget to get a cup of their yummy Brunswick Stew, which is available only during the Maple Festival! Tour buses can park across the road in the adjacent parking lot. Guided, maple tours are available all day. Closed on Sundays.

Duff’s Sugar House

Sugar CampLocated southwest of Monterey (3 mi. south on U.S. 220 and 3 mi. west on Route 84), Duff’s Sugar House is a small, family-run sugar house where the trees are still “opened” by hand and the sugar water is still collected in buckets. Owners Tim and Terry Duff pride themselves on making their visitors trip a homecoming experience. Their motto is “You come as guests and leave as friends,” and that is surely evident by their warm, Highland County hospitality. In addition to Duff’s Sugar House, guests (or new friends!) can also tour Fair Lawn Farm, where the sugar house is located. Farm animals, an apple orchard, and a pond are just some of the things to experience while you’re there. As for the main attraction, syrup is made over a wood-fired open pan and finished in an iron kettle. Also, make sure to fill your tummy with pulled pork, fries, and coffee, which will be served on-site. Hands-on participation is encouraged. Maple tours all day. WEBSITE