- Arts & Crafts Show
- Highland History Museum
- Lodging Availability
- Maple Sugar Facts
- Maple Sugar Tours
- Weather Forecast
See The Process Up-Close!
Visit Maple sugar camps throughout the county as they welcome visitors to view the process of syrup-making. The region’s higher elevations contribute to late-winter and early-spring weather patterns 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.
Print out map and directions to the Sugar Camps!
Highland County Sugar Camps
|Sugar Tree Country Store & Sugar House
Located 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. WEBSITE
|Duff’s Sugar House at Fair Lawn Farm
Located 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
|Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard
Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard has been in operation for over 100 years. Ivan Puffenbarger, who owns the camp today, started helping his father, Melvin, when he was too little to do much. When Melvin operated the orchard, he drilled trees with an auger operated by hand, collected the sugar water in buckets, and carried those buckets by horse to the sugar house. He would only make about 10 gallons of syrup a day, which was very good in that era. Ivan helped his father until he married his wife, Sis. They decided to purchase the maple syrup business from Melvin in 1959, and they immediately set out to make substantial changes. Their main focus was on increasing production. Ivan and Sis built a new sugar house and began using a tractor to tow barrels of sugar water back to the sugar house. They went from 250 buckets collected each day to about 1,000, and it took eight men most of the night to collect all of the water. Today, Puffenbarger’s Sugar Orchard is one of the most state-of-the-art sugar camps in Highland County. Maple tours all day. WEBSITE
|Mill Gap Farms
Located within sight of Duff’s Sugar House, Mill Gap Farms is the county’s first Certified Organic maple syrup producer. Anything but old-fashioned, they utilize the latest technology from Vermont and Quebec to produce their syrup. At their farm, you can visit their Merino Sheep, chickens, and alpacas. Enjoy maple cotton candy and a view of the southern Blue Grass Valley. Tours all day. WEBSITE